Making More UX Designers: Practical UX Apprenticeship

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The demand for user experience designers has skyrocketed. Interest in UX as a career has soared along with that demand. Every UX designer gets asked how to get into the career, but the sad fact is that there’s no real answer to that question. Although demand is high, that demand is only for designers with 2-3 years of experience or more. There are simply not enough experienced designers to fill these positions, and this experience gap is a barrier to offering potential designers a consistent path from interest to employment.

Many have observed that design is a craft... How do you learn a craft? Education and practice. Apprenticeship is a model that fits that bill well, and during the summer of 2013 The Nerdery's UX team put it into practice. I want to share our program's successes and failures, our challenges and solutions, and some of the nitty-gritty details that made it go. The goal of this presentation is to make it easier for UX teams in other organizations to implement their own apprenticeship programs, which will ultimately make it easier for interested, talented, and passionate people to become UX designers.

Making More UX Designers: Practical UX Apprenticeship

  1. 1. MAKING MORE UX DESIGNERS: Practical UX Apprenticeship Presented by: Fred Beecher
  2. 2. DEMAND FOR UX IS VORACIOUS ©2010 Dimension Films SUPPLY OF UX TALENT IS… WEE
  3. 3. 90% - Dumb Luck 10% - Design School ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship UX
  4. 4. 60% - Dumb Luck UX 30% - Specialty School 10% - Design School ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship
  5. 5. 10% - Dumb Luck 50% - APPRENTICESHIP UX 30% - Specialty School 10% - Design School ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship
  6. 6. INTEREST APPRENTICESHIP ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship DEMAND
  7. 7. INTEREST APPRENTICESHIP ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship DEMAND
  8. 8. PAGES OF REFLECTION PER APPRENTICE DESIGN METHODS BOOKS READ WORKSHOPS 20 252 TWENTYFIVE 13 THIRTEEN MENTORS PER APPRENTICE APPRENTICESHIP WEEKS MENTORSHIP HOURS GIFs EMAILED 1,701 PROJECTS PER APPRENTICE 13 TWELVE 1,138 2 ONE THIRTEEN NERDY CULTURAL REFERENCES MADE ADORABLE LITTLE DOGS ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship EXTREMELY CREEPY FAKE DOG
  9. 9. ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship
  10. 10. APPRENTICESHIP ARCHITECTURE BUSINESS VALUE HIRE FOR TRAITS PEDAGOGY MENTORSHIP TRACKING ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship
  11. 11. BUSINESS VALUE • Reduce hiring cost • Reduce lost opportunity cost • Achieve growth goals • Solidify client relationships • Apprenticeship can help offset its own costs! ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship flickr: johnny vulkan
  12. 12. HIRE FOR TRAITS, NOT SKILLS Good UXDs are… Good Apprentices are… • Passionate • Curious about people • Capable of accepting feedback • Curious about technology • Self educators • Quick learners • Aware that UX is about people • Detail oriented and “Big Picture” • Thick-skinned • A cultural fit for your organization ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship
  13. 13. PEDAGOGY LEARN OBSERVE PRACTICE PLAY ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship
  14. 14. DESIGN METHODS BUSINESS STRATEGY Stakeholder Interviews Business Discovery Workshops Feature Analysis Communicating Business Discovery Findings USER RESEARCH INTERACTION DESIGN Planning & Recruiting Ideation & Design Workshops In-Person Interviews Scenarios, Storyboarding, Remote Interviews & Process Flows Contextual Inquiry Screen Layout & Design Survey Design & Analysis Interactive Prototyping Web Traffic Analysis Prototype testing Research Analysis & Synthesis INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE USABILITY EVALUATION Communicating User Card Sorting & Analysis Heuristic Review Research Findings Search Log Analysis In-Person Usability Testing Content Strategy Remote Usability Testing Content Auditing Site Mapping - - ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship - -
  15. 15. WORKSHOPS READING LEARNING ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship
  16. 16. PLAY Apprentices found it extremely valuable to work through design problems together… even as a team of novices! ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship
  17. 17. MENTORSHIP IS THE ENGINE OF APPRENTICESHIP ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship
  18. 18. Principal
 Mentor Apprentices ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship Large Design Team
  19. 19. Design Manager Apprentices Medium Design Team ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship
  20. 20. Apprentice Small Design Team ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship
  21. 21. Accountability Observation Assistance Mentorship Oversight ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship
  22. 22. Accountability Observation APPRENTICE MENTOR • Watches • Asks questions • Shows what they’re doing • Explains why Assistance Mentorship Oversight ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship GATES • None
  23. 23. Accountability Observation Assistance APPRENTICE MENTOR • Assists with menial, related tasks • Bills time • Shows what they’re doing • Explains why Mentorship Oversight ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship GATES • None
  24. 24. Accountability Observation Assistance Mentorship APPRENTICE • Executes the method • Bills time MENTOR • Talks apprentice through the method Oversight ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship GATES • Workshop complete • Apprentice feels ready
  25. 25. Accountability Observation Assistance Mentorship Oversight APPRENTICE • Executes the method • Bills time MENTOR • Checks apprentice’s work ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship GATES • Apprentice feels ready • Mentor agrees
  26. 26. DEFINE APPRENTICE CAPABILITIES ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship
  27. 27. TRACK APPRENTICE PROGRESS ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship
  28. 28. TRACK OPPORTUNITIES TO PRACTICE ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship
  29. 29. TRACK REFLECTIONS, THOUGHTS, & FEELINGS ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship
  30. 30. TRACK PROGRAM FEEDBACK ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship
  31. 31. YOUR NEXT STEPS - LAY THE FOUNDATION BUSINESS VALUE Define how apprenticeship will benefit your organization HIRE FOR TRAITS Define apprentice traits & identify key sources • Meet growth goals? • Standard UXD traits • Offset recruiting costs? • Additional traits? • Profitable employees? • Undergrads? • Client goodwill? • Grad students? • Determine the length • Career switchers? ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship
  32. 32. YOUR NEXT STEPS - INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN PEDAGOGY Define how apprentices will be exposed to the basics • Choose design methods • Write/choose workshops • Develop reading list • Create “play” projects MENTORSHIP Define the mentorship structure of your program • How will you spread the burden? • What different levels of mentorship are required? • What should apprentices be capable of? ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship
  33. 33. YOUR NEXT STEPS - SET UP TRACKING TRACKING Set up the infrastructure you need for tracking • Forms, spreadsheets, databases, processes, etc. • Progress & feedback • Practice opportunities • Feelings & reflections • Program feedback ©2014 :: @fred_beecher :: #uxapprenticeship
  34. 34. Fred Beecher UX Apprenticeship Lead ! fbeecher@nerdery.com nerdery.com/fb @fred_beecher ! slideshare.net/fred_beecher/ ICONS BY NOUNPROJECT: Erlenmeyer Flask by Dmitry Baranovskiy :: Magnifying Glass by Lemon Liu :: Person by Alex Fuller :: Volunteer by Amanda Clifford :: Education by Travis Yunis :: Mentor by Irene Hoffman :: Statistics by Nate Eul :: Bridge by Torehan Sharman :: Four Leaf Clover by Iconoci :: Unicorn by Bram van Rijen :: Mortar Board by Ryan Beck (all other icons are public domain)

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