Progress in Learning Interaction Design

Since I didn’t discover any highlight that I want to share with you here this week, I decided to jot down a brief record of my progress in learning interaction design.

With a more-than-7-year engineering background, I am not a typical “design” person, in terms of making things in a visually appealing fashion. However, my decision to make user experience designer as my career goal is not irrational or impulsive: because I know design for user experience is much more than visual elements, but includes deep empathy, and sensitivity to details, and requires a mind of systematic thinking. I am quite confident that my past and current academic training gave me a good foundation on these, and I will approach this career from a different perspective and skill-set compared to those visual designers or industry designers out there. But I am also fully aware that I need to pick up handy tools to turn my understanding of the users into an interactive and testable product. That’s the reason I am trying to devote some time learning technical skills to render different stages of prototypes.

Things I’ve been up to are: using photoshop to do wireframe and low-/ high-fidelity prototyping; leaning elements that should be sliced from photoshop to be used in frontend coding versus elements should be written just in HTML and CSS; learning HTML, CSS, and jQuery to build interactable websites. With other course work load and research work load, learning these parallel is a challenge and opportunity for me. The best lesson I learned along the way is: learn it when you need it; practice it once you learn it. With several projects in the line, I am pushed to pick up necessary skills as needing them for the projects. This has been an efficient learning journey for me since I don’t typically work in this way as a more “theory”-oriented person. I kept quick notes of handy skills and tried to practice them as soon as having a chance. I tried out different ideas, for both practicing newly-learned skills and preparing alternatives for the design.

Nearly 2 months have passed and I am making progress gradually. Now I would probably call myself a guru in Photoshop for Web design (not for creating arts or decorating photographs, though). I am glad that I figured out what my standpoint and my contribution could be to the UX design area, and I am acquiring corresponding knowledge and skills. I might not become a talented visual designer in my life, but I can really be a good UX designer who always have users in her mind, turn her understanding to product prototypes, and test & improve them constantly.

Finally, is a great resource I would like to recommend to everyone who wants to learn web design and development. Dig up the university’s database, hopefully you can get these great tutorials for free.


3 thoughts on “Progress in Learning Interaction Design

  1. intuinno

    Hello, Emma, Your post is very interesting to me, for I want to be an interaction designer but I also has no visual design background. And nowadays my learning about new tool is online visualization using D3.js. It’s quite surprising to see similarity. See you later.

    1. Emma (Zhihua) Post author

      Hey Doug, thanks for stopping by! We should sit down and talk sometime! At least being supportive to each other as former BMEers who transferred to UX design. I heard about D3.js, but haven’t got a chance to get my hands dirty with it. Would be great to try it someday!


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