Dan Davies{ Front-end Developer }

First week in UX

10th January 2014

As you know, I’m now working in the UX department at the agency. I came in Monday like a kid on his first day in school. Packed lunch under my arm and a head full of wonder, excitement and doubt. What the hell was I thinking!

I’d spent time over Christmas reading up but I decided not to overload myself so I felt guilty not reading too much but on the flipside, happy that I’m honest with myself that I can’t possibly know everything right now and that a holiday is just that. No point not relaxing is there.

Swatting up

Because of schedules and work already underway, there wasn’t really something to get my teeth stuck into straight away which allowed me to get reading and playing about / learning the software that will become my life for the foreseeable future. Axure.

The majority of the first day was about training videos. If you have never used Axure before and want to, the learning materials are very good. I’m not great at following instructions and learning. I’m all about building the flat pack furniture my own way but found that it’s explained in small chunks that didn’t overpower my brain.

Getting dirty

The rest of the week has been all about doing stuff. I was to work on an existing project. A very exciting project. Using Axure, I was tasked in wireframing a responsive navigation and various other sections of a site. This was where the job became quite real. I struggled with this to begin with. It felt alien, mainly because I don’t normally do wireframes and when I do, I tend to build straight into HTML. This process felt clunky and I wasn’t sure.

And then the magic happened…

Myself and the UX lead got into a discussion about the menu icon on mobile. Left or right. I asked about on Twitter. We looked at studies and after about an hour and quite a discussion, we decided on the right.

Now people might not agree, you may agree. Some will argue it depends but the thing that mattered to me was not the actual position we chose, it was that we broke it down and researched. I felt like I was solving a problem which made me realise that UX is about just that.

Later on in the week, we had the same with a site search. Usually I would treat this as a simple form with a button. I however found myself questioning what we were doing, what others were doing and again, a discussion was formed around something as “trivial” as a search form.

Again, some will have their own opinion on how it’s done but I repeat what I said earlier. the fact a discussion was formed around a componenent excited me. I felt like I mattered and my opinion whether it was right or wrong at least I had the chance to say it.

So in summary

It’s been a challenging week. Mainly because I don’t know the ins and outs of the software we use. I also don’t know what is expected of me as such. It’s purely a confidence thing. Once that flows, I’ll grow some bollocks. I might be hard on myself. Never easy starting something new. I guess I still feel like a Front-ender who solves things working in HTML and Photoshop.

On the plus side, I’ve loved solving problems. Got quite a buzz from discussing things that normally I just talk about without any impact. Now, I’m having impact.

It feels like I’ve made the right move. Week 2 should be interesting.

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