General Assembly - Break into UX Panel Discussion

As a bit of a sponge I tend to spend a lot of time swiping through my huge Feedly RSS feed, since relocating to Seattle I've been making more of an effort to absorb information from places other than the internet and have been attending a lot of talks and discussions.

(Image from General Assembly website)

(Image from General Assembly website)

Last night I attended a panel discussion, Break into UX, at General Assembly. I was interested to hear about the similarities and differences between designing physical and digital products. 

The panel was made up of a brilliant mix of people within the UX industry, all with different roles, backgrounds and ways of breaking in to UX. Including designers and researchers, corporate and agency.

As a relatively new industry it was great to hear how people broke in to the industry and their barriers to entry, which ranged from education and courses to lying their way in! (perhaps a method I won't try just yet!!)


There were a couple of talking points and comments that really resonated with me;

With a background in (physical) Product Design, I understand how important analogue design is, from sketching to rudimentary card board / blue foam / anything-you-can-get-your-hands-on modelling. And when asked about the most important tools in the industry, the majority of the speakers mentioned in some way analogue design, citing post it notes, paper... even t-shirts! 

Learn, Read, Do:
As UX is such a new area, a large number people entering tend to come from a very varied variety of backgrounds, usually without formal training in UX. One comment was to learn, read, do; become a bit of an information junkie, then do the thing that shows you have the skill! A lot of industries have similarities in process or thinking with UX design, panelists suggested looking at what you can leverage from your experience that makes you stand out in this rapidly growing space, and gain visibility.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to people talk about their industry, I really feed of peoples enthusiasm for what they do, so it was brilliant to listen to such varied stories of peoples entry in to an industry.

So... what's next?! I heard that there is a talk at Zillows HQ in Seattle, there currently aren't any tickets left... but I'll keep checking back! Have you heard of anything cool happening in Seattle that you think I should check out??

Sophie Horton-Jones