ADVICE: Is the UX Intensive right for me?

10 Feb 2009 - 12:09pm
5 years ago
9 replies
907 reads
isaacw
2009

I've been considering Adaptive Path's UX Intensive, but have heard
conflicting reports about it's value. Here's my situation:

* Sole UX Designer for an early dot-com startup
* First time holding the title of "UX Designer"
* 8+ years of web design experience (visual design & front-end
development)
* Have worked in freelance, agency, and in-house environments
* Poses many of the soft skills (aka instinct, intuition, etc.) but
lack some hard skills (aka formal training, methodology, "lingo",
etc.)

Is the UX Intensive right for me? Or should I look elsewhere?

Comments

11 Feb 2009 - 4:18am
Nik
2009

Hi Isaac,

I'd be interested to hear others thoughts on this as well. I've not
heard of the programme before but it looks good. I have a similar
skillset and experience coming from a frontend developer background as
well.

Nik

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Isaac Weinhausen
Sent: 10 February 2009 09:09
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] ADVICE: Is the UX Intensive right for me?

I've been considering Adaptive Path's UX Intensive, but have heard
conflicting reports about it's value. Here's my situation:

* Sole UX Designer for an early dot-com startup
* First time holding the title of "UX Designer"
* 8+ years of web design experience (visual design & front-end
development)
* Have worked in freelance, agency, and in-house environments
* Poses many of the soft skills (aka instinct, intuition, etc.) but
lack some hard skills (aka formal training, methodology, "lingo",
etc.)

Is the UX Intensive right for me? Or should I look elsewhere?
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11 Feb 2009 - 5:22am
Paul H Greasby
2009

Isaac,

Many UX people don't have formal training for perhaps 2 reasons;
availability and the fact their interest in UX is driven by their
passion.

Experience however does (or should) count for a lot. Front end
developers get a hard time simply because they are often the culprit
in bad usability examples. However UX people come from all kinds of
backgrounds and your past experience can serve you well if you have a
passion for user centred design.

I don't know a lot about the UX Intensive program so will comment
specifically on that course. However there are two things that are
really important to consider.

Firstly any short-term course will not make up for the years of
experience a UX specialist should normally possess, so don't think
of it as a way of short-circuiting hands on experience. But my second
point is that you're way better off doing such a course to at least
get you on the right track prior to getting the hands on experience,
rather than feeling your way in the dark. Your time after such an
intensive course will be much better spent and you'll be a better UX
professional as a result.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Paul

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11 Feb 2009 - 8:23am
Michelle Adams
2009

I'm a new (1 year in) UX designer who was previously working as a
front-end developer. I attended the UX intensive this year and found
it really useful, mainly for the reasons you mention. I felt I had
the experience and instinct relevant to my role, but the lack of
formal training sometimes left me questioning my decisions and
methods.

The course was really useful not only for learning but for validation
of what I was already doing, which gave me greater confidence. I also
learnt some really good techniques, particularly relevant if you are
the sole UX person and need to communicate your work to business
people.

The other plus is the opportunity for networking - I met some really
interesting people and it was good to hear how they were tackling
similar problems to my own.

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11 Feb 2009 - 11:15am
wselman
2009

I was in the situation as well. I came from software development into
interaction design because I found myself much more interested in it
as a field than development and I was fortunate enough to work for a
company that allowed me to make the transition. Essentially, my
knowledge of the field came from reading and working with the senior
IxD guy at my company. I attended all four days of the UX Intensive
program last year and found it to be incredibily useful given my
experience level at the time. While some of the days were better than
others, I thought that overall the program was well thought out and
the exercises meaningful. Further, I was exposed to some ideas and
techniques that I was not aware of and we didn't use and I was able
to use some of them effectively when I returned to my work.

However, it really depends on what you feel you need to learn. If you
are looking for practical techniques, then the workshop is quite
useful. If you are interested in theory though, it isn't going to
help you very much on that front.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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11 Feb 2009 - 12:08pm
isaacw
2009

Thank you for all the feedback. So far it sounds like the workshops
provide a decent introduction/overview, but don't go very deep into
the theory side of things.

Were all 4 days useful? I was thinking of only attending the last two
days (IA and IxD) and attending the first two at a later date.

(The "Design Strategy" day seems like it's geared towards
organizations trying to fit design into their business & culture --
something that is not an issue where I work. Regarding "Design
Research": Our budget and timetable are too constrained to allow for
much of this role at present.)

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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11 Feb 2009 - 9:37am
Scott Noblit
2009

I was actually in a similar situation a little over a year ago. I attended
it and I would agree that it hasn¹t made up for the things you can learn
from a lot of hands on experience, but it did introduce me to a lot of
information at once. It was also a great experience for meeting other
professionals in the field. This was very helpful, as I was from an area
where there I did not have many UX peers.

So I would say that it was definitely a positive experience for myself. It
gave me some new tools to work with but also helped me understand what
questions I needed to start asking.

11 Feb 2009 - 1:02pm
wselman
2009

"Design Research" was actually my favorite of all the workshops. I
think that you'd be surprised by what you can accomplish even with a
limited budget and timetable. I use at least some of the techniques
discussed on that day all the time. The strongest part that I found
applicable to my day-to-day activities was the discussion of how to
formulate research questions and conduct interviews. I use this all
the time when doing discovery work and user validation.

I think that it would be impossible to cover theory in such a short
span of time. To study it would require a great deal of reading and
to make it meaningful, class discussions and writing (esp.
considering the wide variety of disciplines whose ideas we employ). I
think you'd be better off seeking out a more formal academic setting
for that kind of instruction.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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11 Feb 2009 - 1:18pm
jabbett
2008

I come from a web design/software development background -- the design
research and design strategy were the two most useful days for me.
Really eye-opening, and full of practical examples and opportunities
to try things out in a group setting. The IxD day was also fun...
learned great ways to get our whole team involved in the design
process and generating useful ideas.

The IA day was the least useful for me, since IA was the first
technique I learned to improve my web design work about 10 years ago.
(In fact, back then, I think it was the only web-focused technique we
had!)

Please contact me off-list if you'd like to chat more about the
details of each day.

-Jon

On Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 1:02 PM, William Selman <wselman at gmail.com> wrote:
> "Design Research" was actually my favorite of all the workshops. I
> think that you'd be surprised by what you can accomplish even with a
> limited budget and timetable. I use at least some of the techniques
> discussed on that day all the time. The strongest part that I found
> applicable to my day-to-day activities was the discussion of how to
> formulate research questions and conduct interviews. I use this all
> the time when doing discovery work and user validation.
>
> I think that it would be impossible to cover theory in such a short
> span of time. To study it would require a great deal of reading and
> to make it meaningful, class discussions and writing (esp.
> considering the wide variety of disciplines whose ideas we employ). I
> think you'd be better off seeking out a more formal academic setting
> for that kind of instruction.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=38469
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

12 Feb 2009 - 11:43pm
Henning Fischer
2007

Isaac,

Full disclosure, I am one of the teachers and helped develop material
for the design strategy and design research days. UXI was designed
primarily to give attendees hands on experience with tools and
techniques that we have found effective in our practice. Each day is
more geared to the application of theory in practice rather than
delving deep into the underpinnings of what we do and why we do it.
There is a pretty comprehensive bibliography for most of the days
that goes deep into the theory side of things.

In regard to the design strategy day, it's geared to give the
designer tools to a) bridge the gap between business objectives and
design outcomes and b) better communicate the value of design to the
people s/he works with.

I hope this helps clarify a few things for you. If you have any other
questions the content or schedule (both practical or theoretical),
drop me a line at henning [at] adaptivepath [dot] com. One last
thing, the UXI 2009 will have a lot of revised and new content this
year.

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