Need advice on upcoming interview: presenting my projects that didn't include much UX work
15 Feb 2011 - 12:25am
3 years ago
Hi- I'm relatively new to the UX world. I've done some UX work in my current job (but not nearly enough - long story- I have a UX title, but haven't been given the opp to do much at all) and have landed an interview for a UX Design position in several days (mix of interaction and visual design). The company I've been at for years placed no focus on user-centered design- it all came from the top-down pretty much (ie., we built sites with content given to us, staying within corporate template; major design decisions or any pre-design thought either came from higher up or was given to someone else on the team, not me- or we were just building static sites and never adding ideas or changing anything). I feel I have the raw skills for UX- obviously I'm getting to the interview stage- and I have a portfolio (some work projects, a few personal designs of site concepts I just created because they were interesting to me), but I'm a little stymied by what to say in the interview (truth: terrified): They want me to do a presentation of my projects, showcase my "presentation" skills, discuss the problems I faced in my projects and my roadmap to a solution, show variations of designs, what was successful (or not), and when possible, show the final version of given projects and speak to how they succeeded and, perhaps, how I could make have made them even better.
So, the major problem is we didn't do iterative design at my company, no user testing, nothing you would think of as standard UX practice (wireframes, even producing more than one design, etc). There weren't even a lot of "problems" per se- I did a lot of site building (coding, content, throw it into a corporate template) and not a lot of design. I was not the person with the ultimate decision or responsibility as to how the user experience went, or we didn't take that into consideration in that culture, so how can I explain what "my" process was?? I've gone back and done some of the relevant work for my portfolio (sketched out flows, wireframes, interaction-type models, variations on a few designs, etc)- but how do I speak to what the real process was like for these sites I just mostly took content for and built with no extra thought? And if I don't feel I have enough "good" examples, is it kosher to add in another one that's "made up" (maybe even of the company I'm interviewing at, but that feels a little risky...)- maybe take some random website out there and critique or re-design it as an "exercise" to include in my project showcase (is that what I'd say: "I just did this because I was frustrated with this site- or whatever- and wanted to do an exercise in re-design"? I'm assuming that's better than not having any examples of "projects"? I have the website design I created on a subject I'm interested in but didn't do any user testing on it- just created it. Should I go further and create some variations on its design or interactive pages, maybe run it by a few people for my "testing" and somehow try to expand on it??
I am very nervous about this- I have to start somewhere in the interview process and it will be painful, but I'm terribly worried that I just don't have the information to back up the actual projects, even though I know how I *would* have done them if I'd had the license I'd wanted (do I say that? "I didn't have the opportunity to actually do all the UX steps I'd have liked, but here's how I WOULD have done it."???).
Any help and advice is GREATLY appreciated here- I've read all the stuff on the discussions I can find about interviewing and am hoping some seasoned people here can weigh in and help. If anything above is not clear, please let me know!