The experience maker
Companies are looking for skilled designers who can create good user experiences, and the University of Queensland is producing these grads.
Have you ever found yourself in a digital maze, endlessly clicking through irrelevant pages to get to what you want? Or have you had to wait forever for a page or app to load? The resulting frustration is called a bad user experience/interface (UX/UI) and companies now know user design can make-or-break their product.
So they are turning to UX/UI designers to blend creativity, technical know-how and people skills to win over and keep new users. These designers need to understand both the company and the customer so they can create clever user design solutions – and then test them.
“My job involves building products that matter to people,” says software designer Felix Lee (pictured), a University of Queensland graduate who works for Brisbane-based software company NetEngine.
“My typical day consists of usually pretty fun tasks such as designing user interfaces, conducting user design workshops and coding up designs; sometimes even pair-programming with co-workers to learn from each other.”
Felix grew up in Sabah, Malaysia, before moving to Brisbane five years ago to complete a three-year Bachelor of Information Technology (BInfTech) from UQ.
“It was pretty awesome to study at UQ,” he says. “What I liked most was the people – I stayed back at workshops where we were all passionate about building our product and ate pizza while we were at it.”
UQ’s BInfTech is highly project-focused, developing students’ teamwork, project management and presentation abilities. Industry input also ensures students are career-ready by the end of the course.
Felix majored in UX Design, which gives students the skills needed for human-centred design professions. The course helps students understand the UX design process, including research, testing and prototyping.
“Good UX designers need the ability to empathise with users,” Felix says. “We think of the users first and make decisions based on how they use the product, instead of what we think is cool.”
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN UX AND UI WHEN IT COMES TO USER DESIGN?
Both user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) shape the design of a website, app, or product, but although they sound similar and are often confused – even by people working in the industry! – they are different.
UX design combines coding, technology, and people skills, and aims to improve usability, ease of use, and pleasure.
On the other hand, UI design is closer to traditional graphic design but in digital form, delivering the look and feel, presentation and interactivity of the experience.
– Ben Skuse