One of the goals I have for this year is to attend more conferences and workshops specifically related to User Experience (UX) Design. So this past weekend, I attended the UX Hustle Summit – a conference I learned about through the Women Who Code slack group that I am a part of. The theme of the conference is crafting a UX career that is intentional, empowering, self-directed, and involves leadership. I reviewed the planned lineup of speakers and workshops and immediately decided to attend the summit.
The UX Hustle Summit turned out to be an incredible day of learning, inspiration, and connecting with new people on a similar path. With each speaker, a lot of helpful knowledge was shared, most of which I plan to implement in my UX Journey. There were several workshops during the latter part of the day that engaged the audience through talks and hands-on exercises. Here is a look at some of the speakers and brief takeaways from their presentations.
Jenny Sun, UX consultant and founder of Journey into UX discussed one of the key parts of the UX Journey – the UX Portfolio. Her presentation was especially helpful to me since I am in the process of rebranding and recreating my UX portfolio.
- Your UX portfolio is not about you. It’s about the UX hiring manager
- Most recruiters and hiring manages spend an average of 15 seconds to view your portfolio.
- Keep a weekly work journal when working on projects.
- Take pictures, videos – paint a picture of what your project process looks like. This will also help help you when writing case studies
- The “About Me” portion of your portfolio is also very important
- use it to discuss your UX Philosophy
- discuss your passion – explain why you care about the User Experience
- share your story about your transition into UX Design
- talk about some of the organizations you are affiliated with
Jessica Ivins of CenterCentre – the UX School gave a workshop on how to find your speaking topic and adding public speaking to your career path. During her session, she took us through a speaking topics brainstorming session that had us answering several questions, some of which are listed below. This was another very informative session as I sometimes have difficulty coming up with speaking topics. So this was a great exercise on how to quickly brainstorm and narrow-down on speaking topics.
- What have you accomplished and learned in the last 2 months, 6 months, and 2 years of your career
- What skills do you have now that you did not learn in school
- What are some skills that you have accumulated throughout your career
- Of these skills and knowledge, which are you the most excited about, and what would you be willing to teach
Sophia V Prater, organizer of Ladies that UX Atlanta and the UX Hustle Summit. Sophia gave actionable advice on how to make a legit career out of your creative side-hustles. Three key points from her presentation are
- Become the “8-bit” version of your idea TODAY – the lowest rez version of your idea or of your future self. Start with your idea, with the tools and resources you currently have, and grow in the process.
- Give yourself deadlines and accountability – she shared how she made a card deck game available for purchase before it was complete. This made her accountable to customers who purchased the card deck!
- Teach what you need to learn – I can totally relate to this. One of the best ways that I learn and retain information is by teaching others.
Havana Nguyen, is a super creative powerhouse. She is a UX designer, a lead character artist on KamikazeComic, and a Blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. In her presentation, Havana gave pointers on how to apply UX to your personal life. Some key points are –
- As UXers, we are problem solvers, so apply the same principle to your personal life
- Mobile-First Design and Forced Prioritization – when designing for mobile, we care forced to prioritize the information displayed. Apply this same principle to your life – it forces you to prioritize.
- Task Debt Sprints – Just like Sprints in the Agile process, you can make time for task sprints. Dedicate some time to just taking care of logistical things that tend to pile up. This can help you feel productive and less burdened.
- Life is iterative, try out different processes to see what works best for you.
J Cornelius, founder and CEO of NineLabs, and a long-time Atlanta community organizer discussed how he UX’ed his own business. He explained that we are now in a buyer-driven economy. So use your own tools and figure out how to communicate your value to your customers.
In the panel discussion, community organizers Jamie McAtee (IXDA), Zach Pousman (Helpfully Lunch), Angel Banks (Women Who Code), and Sophia V Prater (Ladies that UX) discussed the challenges of community organizing and gave excellent advice on how network with confidence. Some key takeaways –
- being a leader is about identifying peoples strengths and being able to connect them to others who can benefit from those strengths.
- take a look at the home screen of someone’s phone. It will tell you a lot about who they are, and what is important to them.
“Go where you are rare – venture out to non-UX meetups where your perspective and knowledge is unique, be it technical, business, or entrepreneurial circles” – J Cornelius
Diane DeSeta, founder of UX Mentors, gave a presentation on the mentorship hustle. She discussed the mentor and mentee relationship and showed how we can learn from each other’s unique perspectives.
“Your mentor is not your recruiter! Don’t expect them to just open up their network to you and get you a job. They are there to help you grow.”
- Develop a mentor panel with people from different perspectives.
- Don’t be an “Askhole” – someone who constantly asks for advice, yet always does the opposite of what the advice is.
Overall, it was a well-organized, informative and concise summit. There were lots of giveaways, helpful and welcoming volunteers, and the food far surpassed regular conference food! I am looking forward to next year’s summit, and am committing myself as a participant in a Lightening Talk! Thank you @sophiavux for putting in for putting in all the hardwork and effort to pull it all together. It was a great day!
I am Christiana Unaeze, a passionate User Experience Designer and creative entrepreneur who loves jewelry, creating content, and all things DIY! UX design is the perfect union of my love for design, tech, and human behavior. I also stay involved through teaching, writing, and speaking. You can find me online and on Twitter