I’m an I.T. and coding is not my thing
I had the same feeling as you. I thought I was doomed to spending my life, writing and debugging millions of lines of code that are not meant for me to understand—and will never understand. But the universe conspired to make me a striving I.T. student in this realm. I was obliged to survive four years in college, so I can walk towards the golden aisle that led to everyone’s most-awaited diploma, which I’m glad happened.
I spent four (4) years in Computer Science giving names to variables so I could get the value of X that ended up with an “Undefined variable…” error, constructing loops to output a 3x3 matrix, and creating functions/methods because the test paper said so. My college life was a complete Fear Factor challenge. The nerve racking three (3) hours on-the-spot coding which dictated my summer life (will I be spending summer with my family? or with my professor?), and the unending, agonizing, waiting game, trying to figure out if I failed my Programming subject for the second time.
And so, having experienced all this, I started thinking about my future and told myself “I can’t spend the next 30-40 years of my life staring at a blank monitor wishing an angel would come down and save me from this mess. I can’t, and I guess God heard my prayer and pulled me out of the stereotypical humdrum life awaiting me after graduation. I became a UI/UX Designer.
So what is UI/UX? UI simply means User Interface. It is basically how an app, system, or website looks like. It is what users see on the screen, such as buttons, sign up forms, homepage, etc. TechTarget defines UI as “the user interface (UI) is everything designed into an information device with which a human being may interact” . Building a UI (User Interface) requires designing skills, to create a visually pleasing experience for users. However, good design goes far beyond aesthetic appeal. This is where UX comes in, which saved me from the programming life.
UX stands for User Experience. If UI is what the users see, UX is what the heart feels *wink* *wink*, and this is Apple products’ biggest advantage. It’s about how easy and intuitive, users use your website, how locking and unlocking your phone is such a breeze, and how booking a flight to Palawan is like a walk in the park, with baggage allowance. It’s about what users feels while using your app, website, or product. Were they able to achieve their goals as they purchase goods from your site? Or did they closed their browser window in frustration? It all begins and ends with the experience of your users. In other words UX is a human-centered interface (HCI). Take note: a digital product with a good UI can have a bad UX, but a good UX means having a good UI. You can never have a good UX with a bad UI, because in reality, UX covers everything. If you still feel lost, don’t worry, I have a video that you should check out.
So now that you know what UI and UX are and their importance, the next question is how to started in this field. Personally, I spent days browsing through every website reading articles about User Experience Design, and navigating through websites and evaluating my experience.
I first started as a UI Designer. I designed eye-candy buttons, much to my clients’ unexpected chagrin. Then I was introduced to UX and everything started making sense. Good design is not about making things look awesome, it’s about making people’s lives better and simple. It’s a solution! And I can produce a good design if I spent time understanding my users’ needs, through research that is integrated eventually with my design.
So where can you go from here? Well first, you can follow this blog and wait for my next post about the three (3) facets of UX—Information Architecture (IA), User Interface (UI), and Interaction Design (IxD), or you can start now by browsing through the web while you’re waiting for next week’s article.
If you find yourself still reading at this point, I hope I was able to give you a picture of what you can be, aside from being a programmer. I hope I was able to enlighten your future. If you’re one of those students or professionals, stuck with spending everyday writing lines of gibberish code to output a Fibonacci sequence, share your thoughts below and I’ll be happy to read them all. So go forth and be a UXer!