UX Job Resources

This weekend I met quite a few people who asked for UX job search resources. I decided to compile a list here for anyone who is interested, or searching for a UX job! I hope these resources help you on your journey into the best career of all time! 🙂

P.S. My company is hiring a UX designer right now!
http://www.schoolwires.com/careers 🙂

UX Job Sites: 

http://uxjobs.org
http://uxmag.com/uxjobs
http://jobs.smashingmagazine.com/?search=ux
http://community.uxmastery.com/forum/community-center/jobs-board
http://uxjobs247.com
http://www.justuxjobs.com
http://www.uxjobsboard.com
http://www.onwardsearch.com/User-Experience-Design-Jobs
http://UXswitch.com

On Twitter:

@IA_UXJOBS

@FutureheadsUX

UX Networking:

http://linkedin.com
Join LinkedIn UX groups and network! It’s a great way to find out about career opportunities!

http://twitter.com
There is an AMAZING community of UX professionals on Twitter. Search UX and you’ll find all kinds of really spectacular professional connections! 🙂

Recommendations?

If you know of any other awesome UX job resources, please feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll add them to this list! 🙂

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UX Pros: Always On The Job

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I used to think it was just me, but it turns out tons of UX pros suffer from the same affliction: we can’t help mentally redesigning everything around us. And you know what? It’s not really an affliction, it’s a gift. It’s what makes us awesome at our jobs. We see the world in a completely different way. We view the world with the mentality that everything around us can be improved, and we are able to visualize those phantom improvements. We want to fix all of the things. It’s actually pretty awesome when you think about it. We see what no one else can see: the potential for a better world.

I was on vacation with my daughter when I walked into the hotel bathroom and exclaimed, “This shower head design is horrible!” My daughter called from the other room without missing a beat, “Mom, we’re on vacation, stop analyzing the usability of the bathroom fixtures so we can go to the pool.”

Seriously though, worst shower head design ever. I took pictures to prove it. haha

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So the next time you’re sitting in a restaurant explaining to your significant other why the font choices for the menu are terrible, or staring in disgust at the kerning in your child’s holiday play flyer, or you’re explaining to a miscellaneous stranger at the bus stop why the bench should be turned at a 45 degree angle so that passersby won’t bang their kneecaps on it; know that you’re not alone. There are many others who, like you, can’t help wanting to make the world around them a better place, one experience at a time.

4 Things Designers Can Learn From Shaun White’s Post Olympic Defeat Interview

I just watched the half pipe final, and was mega bummed for Shaun White. The half pipe was a slushy mess, the Swiss snowboarder Louri came out of nowhere, etc.

But you know what really stuck with me the most?

After the scores were announced he gave the gold medalist a huge, sincere congratulatory hug and gave a killer, classy interview.

He didn’t whine, or toss out excuses or throw a tantrum, he just said that they were all battling the same conditions, that the conditions were no excuse and that he was happy for the guys that performed well.

He took the heart wrenching loss with grace and humility and showed legit joy for the folks who medaled. His reaction, in my opinion, will mean more to the futures of our country’s youth who idolize him, than bringing home the gold ever would have.

So why am I rambling about an Olympic snowboarder on a UX blog? Because I got thinking that as designers, we can learn some things from his situation.

1. Sometimes life throws you some nasty conditions, power through them.

For Shaun it was a slushy mess of a half pipe.

As a designer it’s sometimes a difficult client, or an interaction design problem that is just beyond your reach, or a color scheme that makes you want to vomit. If it makes you stumble, take a page from Shaun’s book and walk away, take a deep breath and try it again. Sometimes you just need to clear your mind.

2. Sometimes you try to power through issues, but you fail anyway. That’s ok. Learn from it.

Shaun had a killer qualifying run, but still missed the podium when it came time for finals.

Remember the dot com boom? Everything was coming up roses until the bubble burst and folks had to start their lives and careers over from scratch. Is failing fun? Nope. But it happens to everyone at one point or another. The trick is not throwing in the towel, and instead learning from your failures and moving onward and upward.

As a designer, sometimes you make great products and killer apps and awesome, intuitive interfaces. Other times you release an enhancement and your clients hate it or can’t figure it out or they fire you . You can’t let failure crush your spirit. Pick up the pieces, learn from your failure and keep moving forward.

3. In the event that you fail, keep it classy and own it.

You know what I can’t stand? Folks who don’t own their mistakes and failures.

For Shaun, the half pipe was a mess, but instead of laying blame there, he just said the conditions weren’t perfect, but pointed out that that was the case for everyone. He then noted that in this case, he just didn’t deliver. There was no finger pointing or cursing Sochi, he just straight up owned his performance and his placement in a mature, classy way.

When your designs miss the mark or your clients are lost when they see your new interface concept, don’t point fingers or try to lay blame on them, just own it. Admit that whatever you did didn’t work, learn from it, and move forward. You may have the best, most innovative design concept ever, but you’re ahead of your time and your client base just isn’t ready for it yet. (I’m looking at you Motorola fingerprint scanner of yesteryear.) Take a page from Shaun’s book and own your mistake, and learn from it.

4. If someone does something awesome, congratulate them.

Shaun congratulated the medal winners very sincerely, and even gave the gold medalist a bear hug.

If another designer nails the solution to a problem you’ve been trying to solve, don’t be afraid to congratulate them and learn from their solution too. (The bear hug is optional, might want to run that past HR in advance.) 😉

In the design industry, the pace of change is frenetic. It’s my favorite part of my career, there’s always something new and exciting to learn.

Don’t get discouraged when someone else beats you to a great solution, take what you can from it and keep moving forward.

And remember, at the end of the day, innovation doesn’t have to mean creating something brand new. It can just mean making something that already exists, extraordinary.

Does your job fuel your creative energy?

You know what I love about my job as a Content Strategist and UX Editor for our Product Design and Innovation team? Everything.

One of my favorite aspects is definitely working with a team of incredibly creative, innovative people. We have photographers, print makers, font addicts, nature lovers, writers, painters, craft makers, house flippers, code dreamers, you name it. It’s an eclectic group of people who all bring their own perspective and spin to our products.

One of the coolest things about working with such an incredible group of folks, is that the creativity is almost palpable. You can feel it humming around the team when we’re  in the office. We work extremely hard, but in the downtime during coffee breaks we chat about our latest creative hobbies, share pictures of pieces we’ve done, sneak previews of things that are in progress, and it’s just generally an incredibly creative atmosphere.

After a particularly inspiring day at the office (our next project is completely awesome, can’t wait for launch!!!) I  had one of those nights, where I experienced the spine tingling creative compulsion make something beautiful. Ever get that feeling, that if you don’t create something beautiful immediately, you’re going to explode?

I picked up a camera and started shooting things (fall foliage, trees, the crescent moon) and spent the evening editing.  When I was done, and had a few pieces I loved, I realized that I had been attacked by a fit of creative energy that stemmed from working in a job that FUELS my creativity, rather than a job that detracts from it. I get to spend my days thinking of new innovative ways to do things, and the job is actually multiplying my creative energy exponentially. Add to that the fact that spending time with the awesome team of people I work with is like being perpetually wrapped in a cloud of creative innovation,  and you’ve got a definite win.

When you get home from work, are you energized? Are you inspired? Do you have those fits of creativity that crawl through your spine demanding that you create something amazing?

If you’re drained, exhausted, mentally fried, or creatively sapped when you get home, there’s a good chance that you’re in the wrong field, or in a toxic work environment.

Free yourself and find a position and team that inspire and fuel your creativity! Then you’ll never “work” another day in your life. You’ll just spend your days doing something you love with “your people” while making bank! Life doesn’t get much better than that.

Nest Protect: 4 Things Designers Can Learn From This Stroke of Brilliant Design

So I read this great article on Fast Company about the new Nest Protect smoke/carbon monoxide detector and I’m feeling incredibly inspired.

As I read through the article and really thought about the product, I realized that as a designer there were 4 key points that really resonated with me about the design, and I thought I’d share them with the rest of the community.

#1 You can make ANYTHING beautiful.

You know what’s hideous? A smoke detector. They’re ugly and rarely work properly, and are required by law. The creators of Nest Protect saw this awful ugly thing they had to have in their homes, and decided they wanted to make it beautiful. And you know what? They did.

The next time you’re working on a functional design thinking “wow, this is ugly,” focus on adding beauty to the mix!

#2 Just because it works doesn’t mean it works well.

Changing the batteries in a smoke detector is a pain, and you never know if it’s really necessary or not. They go off accidentally more often than they go off because they should, and they’re an absolutely huge pain in the neck to turn off in false alarm situations. The reset button is tiny and difficult to reach. Do they save lives sometimes when they work properly? Absolutely. But how often do you take the battery out because you can’t get the thing to turn off in a false alarm situation, and forget to put it back in?

The Nest Protect creators made turning it off as simple as waving your arm. They also made it change color if it needs to be maintained.

Look at your designs from an innovators point of view. It works? Great! But does it work well? Is it intuitive? Is your user going to have a fabulous experience using your product?

#3 Innovation doesn’t have to mean creating something brand new, it can mean making something that already exists extraordinary.

As designers I think that sometimes we get caught up in creating the next next, when there are tons of things surrounding us every day that could be greatly improved. It sounds really strange, but the Nest Protect design has inspired me to look at the designs I work on in a new way. I want to make the designs I touch come to life in an extraordinary way.

Research which parts of your product need some love, and take them from drab to fab!

#4 Don’t let yourself get caught up in how things are “supposed” to work, let yourself envision how they COULD work.

Who the heck looks at a smoke detector and goes, “Wow, that thing sucks. We should make it talk, make it easier to turn off, and make it a night light. Oh, and make it change colors to let people know it’s working properly, and give a visual clue if something is wrong.”

An incredibly creative team of people, that’s who. Always think outside the box!

Want one? You can order them here!

Accessibility: It Applies to Me Too?!

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I had the opportunity to attend and present at the Penn State Web Conference this summer. It was a great conference with some amazing sessions. Karen McGrane did a keynote (amazing) and so did Cindy Li (amazing again). I may or may not have told Karen McGrane that she is brilliant and I love her while she was signing my copy of Content Strategy For Mobile. 🙂

We’re All Just Temporarily Abled

Cindy Li focused on accessibility in her presentation, and tools you can use to test your product or site. I learned about 8 million tons of information I didn’t know beforehand, but one thing she said REALLY resonated with me. She said, “We’re all just temporarily abled.”

She mentioned her mother who has an ocular disease that is slowly blinding her over time. Then she mentioned that while she doesn’t have an ocular disease herself, she is beginning to require stronger glasses prescriptions each year.

Why am I talking about her eye health? Because she then pointed out that as designers we need to design for accessibility, not only for folks who are permanently visually impaired or have severe motor issues right now, but also for our future selves!

Design for the Future You

With each passing birthday, our vision is starting to go, eventually our hearing will start to go and so will our mobility. I will have these issues, you may have these issues, they’re just part of the aging process.

We aren’t designing accessible products and websites for an invisible subgroup of people who have permanent visual or motor issues, we need to design these sites and products for our future selves as well.

The next time you’re tempted to brush off accessibility while you’re working on a design, picture yourself in 20 or 30 years trying to use your own website or product. Adopting this mentality has given me an entirely new outlook on designing for accessibility.

Angry, Sobbing and Drunk People Will Try To Use Your Product Or Service

The last day of the conference a second session was given with a focus on accessibility. This time the presenter, Robin Smail, pointed out that every visitor who comes to your site is NOT going to be dedicating 100% of their mental energy to navigating your product or website content.

What if they just fought with a family member or coworker? They are going to be smashing their mouse around on their desk trying to get through your product or site. What if they’ve been crying? Their vision is going to be impaired. What if they’ve been drinking? (I’m sure YOU have never shopped online while slightly intoxicated, but you know… OTHER people do it.) 😉

The point of her talk was that we need to focus on accessibility and awesome UX for ALL visitors, whether they have permanent issues, or temporary ones.

Do it!

In closing, just remember that as you’re designing your products and websites, focusing on accessibility and quality UX will improve the experience for ALL of the visitors to your site!  And, it may even save you from some frustration yourself in the not too distant future! 🙂

This link contains some pretty fabulous accessibility testing tools to get you started! 🙂 https://userexperiencerocks.wordpress.com/favoritetools/

Blogging: Overcome Your Fears and Share Helpful Tips with Your Peers

I just read an awesome article by Mike Perham, Blogging and the Paralysis of Choice, and a comment left by one of his readers got me thinking. The reader mentioned feeling under qualified about his interests, and feeling fear about sharing his thoughts through a blog because of it.

You Can Do This

It took me YEARS to overcome this precise fear. It took a large amount of prodding from friends and coworkers and an impending speaking engagement to finally push me over the edge.

View Your Blog as a Laid Back Place to Share Tips with Friends and Peers 

Once I’d made the decision to go for it, I decided that I would use my blog as a medium to share tips, tricks and tools with the rest of the UX and Design community. Once I’d decided that my blog would just be used as a method to share thoughts and helpful hints with my peers, all of the pressure to write incredibly enormous, wordy articles about fantastically interesting, previously undiscovered, earth shattering topics, was gone.

Zero Pressure = Extreme Fun!

And you know what? I’m having an absolute blast. I LOVE blogging! And the support I’ve received over the past 4 months from my UX and Design communities has been truly amazing. I’m incredibly grateful to every person who has taken the time to read my thoughts, and I sincerely hope that at least one of my posts will help make someone’s life a little easier in the future! If I can save one person from hours of Googling by sharing tips on my blog, all the time I’ve spent writing will be well worth it.

Write About What You Know

So to all of you out there thinking you are under qualified, remember that every person on earth is under qualified at most things. We all have our favorite topics, and we have topics we have zero interest in at all. So don’t worry about what you don’t know, just write about what you do know.

Just Do It

Fire up a blog, and write about things that are helpful to you in your daily life. There’s a good chance that there is someone out there franticly Googling up a storm looking for exactly what you have to offer.

WordPress is Free!

And just to get you going, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. WordPress is an absolutely fantastic blogging system and it’s even free! So what are you waiting for? Get started! 🙂

Make Your Legacy the Gift of Life

Have you ever experienced something so powerful and moving, that you had to really think about it for a while before you could put it into words?

About 5 months ago, a dear friend of mine was quite literally fighting for her life. She had been for several years, but had finally hit the point where if an organ transplant did not take place, the type she needed to survive, she was going to die.

Our conversations before she left for Duke Medical Center were all focused on positivity, and envisioning her future after the surgery. The day she left, I was very hopeful, sending positive energy.

The days started to tick by, and I got more and more concerned, as did her doctors. She had reached the point that even with a successful transplant, it would be a miracle if she survived.

Then it happened, the perfect liver was delivered, she had her surgery, and began the exhausting and terrifying process of fighting for her life. She had to get her body to accept the new liver while recovering from having her body torn in half. And you know what? She had all kinds of ups and downs, scares and close calls, but she beat all the odds and she did it. She lived.

Her doctors and nurses continue to call her their miracle patient.

Fast-forward 5 months. I received an email stating that she was starting back to work, that she’d be in on Tuesday. When I saw her last, she was beautiful inside and out, one of the kindest hearted most wonderful women I’d ever met.  Her complexion however, reflected her illness. She was yellow, and sick and her limitless supply of personal strength and faith were the only things forcing her physical self to keep moving.

I walked into the office Tuesday morning apprehensive, I had no idea what to expect when I saw her for the first time. I turned the corner and saw her sitting at her desk, she turned to face me and she was glowing. I’m talking glowing like an angelic force was inside of her radiating outward. I have never in my life experienced anything even remotely close to what I felt that day. I burst into tears. She was standing there, happy, healthy and radiant thanks to her limitless supply of personal strength and faith combined with the incredible gift of life that had been given by a selfless individual who agreed to be an organ donor.

If you aren’t an organ donor now, please consider becoming one. You won’t need your organs when you are gone, but they can make all the difference in the world to the people watching the clock waiting for a hero to save them. You can make your legacy the gift of life.