Hey there, design reader!
Here we are again, four weeks in and counting. If you’re new to this series, I’m a part-time student at Designlab’s UX Academy, Weingart cohort, and this is the fourth installment in my weekly chronicle of my experience in the program.
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 to UX, and last week, the research ramp up. We’ve now completed our first round of competitive analysis and empathy research—for many of us, this meant running our first set of user interviews, surveys, and debriefing with a quick round of research synthesis before delving into the real meat of the data we’ve amassed thus far this week.
The full-timers, however, are already knee-deep in high fidelity prototypes for the first major project of Phase 1, iterating new versions probably as I type this. Here I was feeling rather like a sprinter who just realized they were only ten feet into a marathon (for which they are ill prepared!). Meanwhile, my fellow Weingartians on the full-time track are plowing through the same program that I’m attempting to keep pace with, but in literal doubletime.
This just goes to show you that, while the program is admittedly rigorous (by pretty much all accounts), it’s also highly student-driven. The process will be, by nature, slightly different for everyone.
And then there are the universal truths.
The Xu Wei cohort—welcome!
A few days ago, us newly seasoned Weingartians were tasked to welcome the March cohort, Xu Wei—who joined the UX Academy journey just last week—and offer any tips and insights from a few weeks in the future. What followed was an outpouring of pointers and tricks from people at various stages in their projects and different tracks within the program.
What became immediately clear was that, whether the student was a part- or full-timer, working a side hustle or regular 9-to-5, whether they were working on a tool for time travel booking or insurance bundling, there are some parts of the blitz learning process we can all relate to.
If you’ve been following along with these posts, then you already know all about the newest personal big bad boss I have to beat in order to level up—time management. As one UXAer put it on Slack, besting that beast and progressing through the course can feel very much like “drinking from a firehouse,” especially at the beginning.
And she’s not wrong.
For those of you jumping into UX design and UX Academy for the first time, welcome! Get ready for an amazing/fun/challenging/totally wild ride. My first takeaway: don’t sweat the small stuff, because oh, what a difference four short weeks will make!