Designlab Blog

Posts on UI/UX design education, career development, and more.

Stay in the loop! Sign up for new articles, updates, and goodies. Got it! We'll keep you in the loop.

Week 20: Gearing Your Learning Towards Your Career Goals

UX Academy Journey

Week 20: Gearing Your Learning Towards Your Career Goals

Having delved into the nitty-gritty of rapid color palette generation in the last post, this week I’m taking a step back, and reflecting on the individual nature of the creative process, mentorship, and how to gear your learning experience to your own unique goals.... Read more

Week 19: A Recipe for Rapid Color Palette Generation

UX Academy Journey

Week 19: A Recipe for Rapid Color Palette Generation

Last week we took a little break from our regular UX design programming to zoom out and discuss how the lessons from UX Academy translate into everyday life. This week I would like to do the opposite and zoom in on and dissect one particular process that always trips me up: color palette selection!... Read more

Week 18: My Five States of UX Design Mind

UX Academy Journey

Week 18: My Five States of UX Design Mind

It’s time again to take a little break from our regular UX design programming, and zoom back out to the big picture—by looking at how the lessons from this full-on world of UX Academy are being synthesized into everyday life.... Read more

Week 17: From Slow and Steady to Full-Steam Ahead—4 Tips for Improving Your Rapid UX Design Practice

UX Academy Journey

Week 17: From Slow and Steady to Full-Steam Ahead—4 Tips for Improving Your Rapid UX Design Practice

In the four short weeks since Phase 2 began, the coursework has progressed from synthesizing the lessons from Phase 1, then a personal branding kickoff (in preparation for those portfolio pieces I mentioned), and now a running jump into capstone 1—all with a new mentor both guiding my learning and raising the bar. It is fast. It is intense. It is an amazing learning experience.... Read more

Week 16: Practicing Professionalism—The Benefits of Different Mentoring Styles

UX Academy Journey

Week 16: Practicing Professionalism—The Benefits of Different Mentoring Styles

Ah, Phase 2! What’s it all about? (Capstone projects!) What are they? (Three back-to-back final projects each focused on a different product element, meant to serve as real-world exercises in executing on a UX design project brief and serving as the finished portfolio pieces in preparation for the job search at the conclusion of the program).... Read more

Week 15: Art vs Design—and How to Develop that Design Eye

UX Academy Journey

Week 15: Art vs Design—and How to Develop that Design Eye

Last week we delved into personal branding, and took a tour through ten years of portfolio iterations on the Wayback Machine. As we move away from personal branding and towards preparation for the first of three Phase 2 capstone projects, it’s time to wax philosophical on art, design, and how to develop that design eye!... Read more

Week 14: Ten Years of Personal Branding on the Wayback Machine

UX Academy Journey

Week 14: Ten Years of Personal Branding on the Wayback Machine

As I jump back into the coursework and start gearing up for the final phase, the very hefty task of personal branding is at the forefront—of both the curriculum and my brain space. There’s no time to waste—whole careers are in the making (no pressure)!... Read more

Week 13: Why User Testing Is Everything

UX Academy Journey

Week 13: Why User Testing Is Everything

Last week we were discussing how a nice break from work does wonders for your mental state (and your productivity, once you’re back at it!) Let’s pick up right where we left off—exploring how folding UX design principles back into my other work has led to accelerating returns.... Read more

Week 12: How I Learned To Stop Working And Embrace The Break

UX Academy Journey

Week 12: How I Learned To Stop Working And Embrace The Break

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post—did you miss me? I most certainly missed you! In my last entry I was just about wrapped up with Phase 1 of my UX Academy Journey, and celebrated reaching the halfway mark (almost) by taking off for an entire week of dedicated “unplug and play” on a beautiful tropical island. Now I’m back, and ready to ramp up again for Phase 2. Shall we jump right in?... Read more

Week 11: Design and Life Lessons at the UX Academy Halfway Mark

UX Academy Journey

Week 11: Design and Life Lessons at the UX Academy Halfway Mark

Welcome to week 11 (actually, more like week 12) of my UX Academy Journey—the halfway point! After three months of rigorous study, we students are given the chance to take a break week—and break I, for one, most certainly shall—before progressing to Phase 2 of the course and embarking on three back-to-back capstone projects.... Read more

Week 10: The 7 Reasons Why I'm Studying UX Design

UX Academy Journey

Week 10: The 7 Reasons Why I'm Studying UX Design

It’s been a full ten weeks of bustling skill-building lessons—schedule mastery, atomic design methodology, and battles with a bad bout of imposter syndrome, to name a few—and as the end of Phase 1 of the program nears closer (just two weeks to go!), I’m left feeling ever busy and a little bit frantic. I’m also so enlivened and brimming with anticipation. Here are my top seven reasons why I’m (still) excited to be a student of UX design.... Read more

Week 9: More Teatime Topics with Robbin Arcega, UX Academy Alum

UX Academy Journey

Week 9: More Teatime Topics with Robbin Arcega, UX Academy Alum

Last week we caught up with UXA alumna and current weekend Group Crit Facilitator and general tea-loving awesome person, Robbin Arcega, and waxed philosophical on all things UX design. This week we’re exploring how to overcome one of the most common hurdles facing newbie UX designers, as well as hearing Robbin’s teatime tips and sneaking a peek at her personal UX design reading/listening list.... Read more

Week 8: Teatime Topics with Robbin Arcega, UX Academy Alum

UX Academy Journey

Week 8: Teatime Topics with Robbin Arcega, UX Academy Alum

We’re taking a break from our regular programming this week to bring you something a little new and different for this series—with a whole lot of fun on top! Enter UX Academy alumna, current UXA weekend Group Crit Facilitator, and generally awesome person/designer/writer/tea drinker Robbin Arcega!... Read more

Week 7: Kaboom! Atomic Design Methodology!

UX Academy Journey

Week 7: Kaboom! Atomic Design Methodology!

If you’ve been following this series so far, it’s no secret that I’m exceptionally bad at making judgements about how long to spend on my homework. I’m even worse at knowing when to call time on a project—once I get moving and in a groove of sorts I zone in, unmoving, for hours on end, tinkering with minor details and finessing minutiae. And then the curriculum dropped a very timely “aha bomb” on me.... Read more

Week 6: Card Sorting, and Sitemaps, and User Flows, Oh My!

UX Academy Journey

Week 6: Card Sorting, and Sitemaps, and User Flows, Oh My!

Remember last week, when I called the battle of the big bad schedule boss in my favor? Ha, ha. Ha. And that’s all I will say about that. Week seven is here, and I can feel the pace accelerating again. There is no time for spending nearly all day on a two-hour project (something I did twice this past week), and there’s certainly no time for one of my long and contemplative musings.... Read more

Week 5: Research: An Origin Story (And the Mother of Effective Design Storytelling)

UX Academy Journey

Week 5: Research: An Origin Story (And the Mother of Effective Design Storytelling)

As a person who is obsessed with research to the point of overdoing it, it never ceases to amaze me how many industries are able to exist without letting the research do most of the heavy lifting. It’s also a large part of what makes UX the industry rocketship of the future, and what makes this UXA Journey so fun.... Read more

Week 4: Newbie Design Student Tips From The Future

UX Academy Journey

Week 4: Newbie Design Student Tips From The Future

While this last month has felt like a bullet train speeding through a college level design degree on hyperdrive, with just four weeks under our belts we here in the Weingart cohort are still only on the cusp. For those of us in the part-time track, the first week was all about design fundamentals, the next an introduction into UX, and last week, the research ramp up.... Read more

Week 3: Hitching A Ride Out Of Procrastination Station

UX Academy Journey

Week 3: Hitching A Ride Out Of Procrastination Station

For the first two weeks of UX Academy I found myself running up against the clock in an attempt to outpace the dreaded “progress report email,” and when unforeseen plumbing catastrophes knocked my already tightly wound schedule all the way into the next week (literally), I knew I had no time to linger for my daily visits with my old, enchanting friend and lifelong lover: procrastination.... Read more

Week 2: A Masterclass In Schedule Agility

UX Academy Journey

Week 2: A Masterclass In Schedule Agility

Hey there, design reader! Thea here, again or, if you didn’t catch my piece last week, then for the first time! I had hoped that the tale of my second week in UX Academy would be one of triumph: all work completed and submitted on time or even (fingers crossed) with time to spare—so much time to spare, in fact, I could even brag about being able to tackle all of the course’s additional optional lessons (and then some). That’s not what happened—not by a long shot.... Read more

Week 1: Why I'm Becoming A UX Designer In My 30s

UX Academy Journey

Week 1: Why I'm Becoming A UX Designer In My 30s

Hey there, design reader! I’m Thea. I’m a part-time student at Designlab’s UX Academy, Weingart cohort. This post is the first in a series of blogs I will be writing chronicling my experience going through UX Academy over the next six months. There’s no real set structure or agenda to these posts—instead these will be a more like a collection of musings, thoughts, take-aways, tips, reflections (and, let’s be honest, probably the occasional mini-rant) based on the journey itself. So buckle up or, rather, cuddle up close to your screens (especially if it’s snowing there, as it has been here in Seattle) ‘cause this is, hopefully, about to get interesting.... Read more