Shop Right, from Home

ShopRite of Lake Ronkonkoma
ShopRite of Lake Ronkonkoma | Greater Port Jeff

Some of my earliest childhood memories of growing up in northern New Jersey are of being dragged to the local ShopRite to “help” my mom grocery shop. As I’ve grown, so has ShopRite’s reach, I’ve shopped in locations across New Jersey, New York, and Delaware as well as online. Additionally, shopping at ShopRite can be associated with a few milestones in my life. In high school, I was given the responsibility to use my new driver’s license to go to ShopRite for our family’s weekly groceries. I discovered ShopRite from Home, their online grocery ordering service, just as I was starting my first full time job and didn’t have time to spend on weekly trips to the store. More recently, ShopRite was my only destination when leaving the house while social distancing was implemented.

Home Page | ShopRite

2020 and 2021 saw an increase of visitors to online retailers due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. People were avoiding going out into public places, but their needs for products and services had not lessened. This change to the norm had more people trying out online grocery shopping services for the first time. According to Morgan Wilde, a counselor with Morgan Meyers,

“20% of shoppers said they tried online shopping for the very first time or tried something new when it came to their online grocery shopping habits.”

Now is a great opportunity for grocery retailers, such as ShopRite, to welcome new online shoppers. In order to do so successfully, they need to consider what is lost in online shopping, compared to in person. Users who rely on interaction and routine during their weekly grocery runs need to be embraced. The usability heuristics of matching and recall can be applied to achieve this. By presenting online shoppers with more life-like interactions and recreating the steps they take while shopping, ShopRite can provide a more effective and enjoyable online shopping experience.

INTERACTION

What Was Lost
The online shopping experience is preferred by many because of the efficiency and convenience of being able to search for exactly what you need. From there, users will glance through images, read product descriptions and reviews before making the decision to purchase. In this context, users are limited by how much they are able to interact with the item. On your weekly shopping trip, you might squeeze an avocado, compare the sizes of two boxes of crackers in your hands, or feel how much air is in a bag of chips before adding it to your cart. These interactions help users feel more connected to their items and confidence about their decisions.

Produce Shopping
Photo by Raquel Martínez | Unsplash

Shopping using the ShopRite app relies on static imagery and text to represent a product. Users get to see the front of the packaging and can read through the product’s main details and talking points. From there, they can choose to add to cart, save to a list, favorite, or leave. The limited sensory experience this offers affects users’ ability to match these products to their environment or to form emotional connections.

Milk Product Feature Page
Product Feature Screen | ShopRite

Why Interaction Matters
The interactions we have with the physical world shape us. One of the 10 usability heuristics for interface design, provided by the Nielsen Norman Group, is matching between a design system and the real world. “The design should speak the users’ language… Follow real-world conventions, making information appear in a natural and logical order.” Users want to conduct a process in the same way they already have in their day to day life.

The ability to physically interact with an item also may affect a user’s emotions toward that item. According to the study Suzanne Overmars and Karolien Poels published in the Journal of international Design, participants were asked about their feelings of joy and desire after interacting with static or interactive imagery of a scarf. Participants who were able to click and drag the interactive scarf reported higher levels of desire and joy compared to those who looked at static images of the same scarf.

“The more attention designers and marketers devote to emphasizing the feelings and experience of the product (“tactile” web design), the more likely it is that consumers who have a higher need for affective touch (will) take part in online shopping”.

Stronger positive emotions can be elicited when users are able to interact with something, even if they are not physically touching it.

How to Get More Interactive
In order to better reach users who are more accustomed to shopping in person, ShopRite needs to make their online shopping experience more interactive and similar to the real world. Currently, when a user wants to look at a product’s details, they click on it and are brought to a new page dedicated to the item. Instead, the app should mirror the action of picking it up, much like video games do when a player picks up a new item. Clicking on the item brings it to the forefront of the page with a movement effect, as if you plucked it off the shelf and held it out in front of you. The other items on the digital shelf would still be present in the background, allowing users to still browse through the range of product offerings while holding one.

Product Feature Page Sketch
Product features brought to the foreground while other products are visible in the background.

According to the findings of Overmars and Poels, interactive imagery should be included so users can click, drag, spin around, and flip over the product. Instead of only being able to see the front of the packaging, the user can have a better sense of what they would be getting. Manufacturers put a lot of work into marketing and designing the packaging for their products, let them do the selling, just as they do on shelves in stores. Home Depot is an example of an online retailer who is already employing this technique.

Home Depot Product Feature Page
This wrench is interactive with its 360 Degree View, try it yourself here | The Home Depot

By making these changes, ShopRite will be able to better match the shopper’s in person experience, making the process more smooth and emotive.

ROUTINE

What Was Lost
Shopping for groceries is a weekly errand that, for most people, becomes routine. Shoppers follow their regular route to pick up their staples or may spot something new they want to try when walking down the aisle for something else. Some people can walk into the store without a list and walk out with everything they need. Others bring a list and can never quite stick to it.

ShopRite from Home gives users multiple options for navigating their product inventory: a robust, filtered search, sub menus categorized by type or department, and special offerings landing pages. Although these features may be helpful for users who already have a particular list (down to the brand and net weight), it does not help shoppers who recognize what to get when they see it in front of them. Online grocery shopping interfaces should continue the users’ physical routine as closely as possible.

Why Routine Matters
Writing a grocery list at home every week can be a difficult task. Recognition rather than recall, another of the 10 Usability Heuristics, can explain why. According to this heuristic, people are more likely to recognize something than they are to recall it without any sort of sensory prompt.

“Humans have limited short-term memories. Interfaces that promote recognition reduce the amount of cognitive effort required from users.”

Because of the fallibility of the human memory, associations need to be coaxed out.

In the case of grocery shopping, a user is able to go on auto pilot and pick up their weekly staples because as they are walking their usual path, they look over and recognize the box of oatmeal that was sitting in their pantry, until it ran out a few days ago. They weren’t able to remember they needed it as they were writing their list earlier, but walking down the aisle gave them the reminder that they needed.

Currently, ShopRite from home requires users to recall what they need before they can find it on the site and add it to their carts. After they have their comprehensive lists written, they can use the search function or navigate “shop aisles” > category > product type > product type > search results to find what they are looking for. This kind navigation is expected in most online retail environments, categorization is even recommended by web hosts like SiteGator.

Adding Milk to Cart, 5 Steps
User’s path to add milk to cart

According to Don Norman, in his book Emotional Design, “Usable designs are not necessarily enjoyable to use.” Just because their site functions like a conventional online store, does not mean it is what the user needs. ShopRite should strive to create an enjoyable online experience for users, rooted in their recollection of the physical space.

Stocked Grocery Store Shelves
Photo by Bernard Hermant | Unsplash

How to Recreate Routine
To serve users’ who are reliant on their weekly, physical routine to fill their cart, ShopRite needs to recreate how users move throughout the store and what they see. But when it comes to browsing, users can’t just casually stroll down the aisles and scan the shelves on an online platform…can they?

Virtual reality is a tool that may help bring audio, visual, and spatial experiences into the home. With VR, a user can browse through a virtual copy of their grocery store, walk around, pick up items, listen to specials announced over the intercom and more. With a one to one recreation of their familiar store, they can follow their usual routine with all the benefits of shopping from home such as avoiding crowds and the delivery service. Megan Higgins talks on how augmented reality can be used as a tool to provide users with immersive experiences.

“Once consumers make their way to your online store, they expect to have the same experience as if they were in a physical store. The expectation is that retailers will virtually provide a mirror of in-store shopping experiences by incorporating adaptive and interactive technologies into their online storefronts. To do so, retailers must leverage technologies that can provide lifelike interactions online.”

With a full 3D immersive environment, users new to online shopping don’t have to adjust to a different approach to how they fulfill their weekly shopping needs.

Man Using Virtual Reality
Photo by Laurens Derks | Unsplash

VR technology is developing quickly, but some users and retailers may not be quite ready for that leap yet. Luckily, there are other ways to emulate the physical properties of navigating your local sales floor. It could be as simple as creating a flow to the aisle category pages that matches the flow of traffic in store. The website can provide users with a low fidelity floor map of the store and enable them to click on a location and then provide them with the item categories that are in the vicinity. Additionally, each aisle or category landing page can come with a panorama or interactive 360 image that allows users to recognize where they are and what products are available to them.

By providing immersive 3D environments or adding spatial wayfinding to their inventory navigation, ShopRite can enable their users to recognize what they need in the same manner they would if they were standing in store.

Shopping Category Page Sketch
This navigation mimics the flow of traffic in a physical store

In Conclusion

ShopRite from Home has designed it’s online shopping experience with principles that can be found in other online stores. Given the rise in interest for online grocery shopping, ShopRite needs to pursue users who would be slow to adopt because they rely on physical interaction and routine. Users who are provided with interactive product imagery will have more positive feelings toward their choices. Additionally, 3D immersive shopping environments will help users to follow their current routines to find what they need in the vast inventory. Some online grocery retailers may pass up the opportunity to explore how to recapture the shoppers’ physical experience in favor of following standards set for online shopping, regardless of how well it fits with their industry. However, innovating this virtual experience will set retailers apart to their consumers.

Sources

ShopRite | Website

Evolution of the 2020 Shopper: Online Shopping Behavior | Morgan Wilde

10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design | Nielsen Norman Group

A Touching Experience: Designing for Touch Sensations in Online Retail Environments | Suzanne Overmars, Karolien Poels

The Home Depot | Website

Emotional Design | Don Norman

How to Improve Your Online Store Navigation for a Better Customer Experience | Casey Kelly-Barton

How Retailers Can Navigate the New Digital Commerce Paradigm | Megan Higgins

Sign Here: Navigation Strategies of Public Transport and Art Museums

This year, to finish of my spring break, a friend and I journeyed into New York City to visit the Museum of Modern Art. Those who know me can attest that I am not a confident traveler. I am always concerned that I will make a wrong turn, I have the wrong destination, or that everything will break down around me. If I had it my way, I would never go anywhere new, but luckily, I have friends who challenge me to get out of my comfort zone and experience new places. I promised my friend a trip to the City, and I had to deliver. To ease my mind, I looked up the directions and transit instructions ahead of time, double checked them, and saved them onto my phone for easy access. I was ready to navigate!

As navigator, I managed to get us parked outside the city (with practically no issues) and successfully on and off the two trains to our destination. There we were at 53rd Street between 5th and 6th avenues, completely lost. The MoMA was there, but as new visitors we couldn’t know for certain what building it was or where the entrance was (the lack of GPS signal was not helping). I saw a doorway that I assumed belonged to the MoMA with the approximate label “Information and Research Center.” Thinking that was a specialized or private entrance, we kept looking until we rounded the block and found an official entrance. We were then quickly ushered along by staff to the ticketing agents on the other side of the building, opposite the doors marked “Information and Research Center.” We could have saved a lot of time and energy if we knew where those doors led.

Sign Variations

According to Ernest Dwight in his article Signs of the Times, there are four types of signs that help users navigate a physical space. Identification signs are used to convey the name of a location, directional signs guide users to a location using a combination of names and symbols, informational signs give relevant information, and regulator signs tell users how they should behave. Signs serve a more important function for users who are unfamiliar with their surroundings, allowing them to navigate despite having no guide or previous experience with the place.

Navigating the Metro

As a visitor of the MoMA and of New York City in general, I relied on signs. The Metro and the MoMA serve two very different functions in NYC, so it is understandable that their navigation strategies would differ. In the Metro, identification, directional, informational and regulatory signs were implemented. Identification signs told users which train they were boarding and where they were disembarking. Directional signs pointed users toward the train platforms and the street exists. Informational signs let users know when the next train would arrive and whether or not the Metro Card machines accepted bills at that time. Regulatory signs urged users to say something if they saw something suspicious. The combined use of all of these signs are necessary for the metro to function.  Users need to acquire these various pieces of information very quickly so they can assess them and then make decisions without slowing down.

Navigating the MoMA

The MoMA, also used a variety of signs, but their visual design, proximity, and scarcity made way finding within the museum difficult. Many of the signs used by the MoMA were designed to blend in. Reserved typefaces and colors are used throughout the museum in as to not detract from the artwork. In a further effort to limit distraction from the art the overall use of signs was limited. It seemed as though the museum would have liked guests to rely on the museum map instead of way finding signs, but when the map failed to provide users with the appropriate information, there was no way to efficiently navigate the museum using the available signs.

Sign Art

Interestingly, the signs that are most prevalent throughout the museum are a combination of identification and informational signs. The plaques that hang adjacent to each piece of art not only identify what you are looking at, but they also inform you who the artist was, when it was created, where it originated, how the museum acquired it, and more. Without these signs, the art could not be appreciated to its fullest extent. I think the same can be said about the museum. The MoMA should follow its own example and implement signs that combine different types. Directional signs that both point quests to a gallery across the building and inform them what exhibit it contains and why it is significant. Regulatory signs that both asks guests not to touch and informs them of how the painting will be affected by the oils on their skin. An increased use of signs can add to a museum patrons visit.

Unlike the Metro, the MoMA aims to get users to stay a while and get lost in the art. I don’t think that this requires guests to physically be lost in the building. With the correct implementation of signs across the museum, guests can feel at home. When this happens, they will be more enabled to locate and revisit a piece of art that has touched them and invite new guests for a personal guided tour. Hopefully the MoMA staff reconsiders signs and the visual way fairing techniques the museum implements during its refurbishment later this year. The only worry guests should have is whether they missed the last train uptown.

Don’t Touch: A Gallery for Everyday Design

The other week, I had the opportunity to visit the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. My friend and I did not look into the exhibitions that were held there at the time and were planning on going in blind and allowing ourselves to wander around aimlessly. That was our intention, until my mother intervened. She thrust a newspaper article at me titled “Good design in everyday products is focus of MoMA exhibit“. She knew that both Hannah and I are very interested in design and are minoring in Design at Grove City College. The article states “The exhibit takes a fresh look at everything from domestic furnishings and appliances to ceramics, glass, electronics, transport design, sporting goods, toys, and graphics.” These items were curated to address the question, “What is good design and how can it enhance everyday life?” In fact, this question is presented to guests as they enter the exhibit.

I was thrilled to learn about this exhibit because I’ve always been fascinated the choices designers make when designing products for users. When describing the concept of design thinking in his book Well-Designed, Jon Kolko states, “Decisions are made in order to help people accomplish their goals and achieve their aspirations.” I was excited to take a critical look at products we interact with and with the help of museum curators, see how the different aspects of a product’s design contribute to it’s successful use.

Presenting Design

Four different categories of product design made up the exhibit: good design in inexpensive, everyday items (collected in the 40’s), submissions to a furniture design competition (that occurred around 1950), international designs (contemporary to the previous categories), and modern items that guests were encouraged to interact with. The chairs that were featured, had physiques that would feel at home in much of today’s minimalistic, modern, interior design. Their designers prioritized comfort and affordability, choosing to craft the formfitting and flexible seating with low-cost plywood and repurposed rubber. This feature would be attractive to users in the 1940’s who were faced with scarce resources and are still attractive to users in 2019 who look to reduce, reuse, recycle, and retain cash. Guests could look upon these products, and their blueprints, and learn about the resources that the designers used.

Another offering of the exhibit was everyday products that exemplified good design. The first item guests come across is a simple broom. The exhibit challenged guests to look at items they constantly interact with and consider how it was thoughtfully designed. Hannah’s favorite of these offerings was a teapot. This pot was constructed of an aluminum alloy with a wooden handle. This item seemed out of place in an exhibit titled The Value of Good Design. It struck me that a teapot made out of metal would be extremely heavy. I personally would want to steady the bottom of it with a second hand as I poured, but my body has an aversion to second degree burns, so that would be a bad idea. Hannah was enraged because in order to fill the pot with water, the handle would have to be removed with the use of a screwdriver. Obviously, this object was not designed with the human user in mind. Sure it was beautiful to look at, but it was a failure as a teapot, and as a result, useless. This teapot put form before function and was included in the exhibit to showcase what it looks like when design fails, contrasting the other items.

Presenting Design…Better

Although I’m thrilled that an exhibit dedicated to appreciating product design exists, I found myself disappointed by its execution. As many museums do, the MoMA exhibited old things. That is the charm of most exhibits, seeing old things you would have never had the opportunity to otherwise because they were far away, precious, or long gone. The museum saves it, collects it, keeps it safe, and shares it with you (on their terms). Although I enjoyed taking a critical look at items I pass by at yard sales, I would have also enjoyed taking a critical look at some of today’s innovations and unsung simple designs. What do I walk past daily that has changed my life? The MoMA’s gift store held some really neat, innovative gadgets as a tie-in to the exhibit, I would have loved to have seen them upstairs and learn the name of their designer as well.

There is another, blaring issue with the Value of Good Design. As the exhibition stated multiple times throughout, good design is about form and function. Particularly with product design, form needs to come before function. Many of the plaques scattered around the gallery giving further description of the items conveyed what the item was, what it was made out of, who made it, and what awards in design it received in the past. I was aching for more. Who bought this product? Did it work well, or just look nice? Why did it win that award? How many were sold? Why don’t I still see this product in stores? Why did the designer make that decision? What were the prototypes like? What were obstacles in the design process? The problem with this exhibit is the fact that it is an exhibit. The MoMA has not only taken these products out of their time, they took them out of their setting. They are objects that do their job well, not doing their job. I could understand how the chair design succeeds and fails instantaneously by sitting on them. I can appreciate how the Tupperware containers store food, if they were storing food.

An exhibition on everyday is difficult. The items need to be showcased in a gallery in order to see them simply for what they are and appreciate that. However, by doing this, we have undermined their design. We force them to be something they are not. A chair is no longer a functional chair if no one is allowed to sit on it. The Value of Good Design does is not the one and only place we should dedicate to appreciating the design of everyday products. It should serve as a reminder that everything we interact with has been designed by someone and we should be cognizant to appreciate it as it fulfills it’s purpose and helps us to accomplish our goals.

How Can User Experience Designers Ask Effective Questions?

I have so many questions. One of my favorites (and most self-defining) is: Who is this for? Now, I usually use an angry and aggressive tone when asking this question, because I do not understand why something is designed the way it is. For example, earlier today I decided to purchase a digital copy of Don Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things. When it came time to complete the transaction, the familiar “add to cart” button was replaced with one that read “Buy Now with 1 Click”. This function enables Amazon customers to bypass a number of steps in their transaction. No need to go to the cart, confirm payment and shipping options, and press the check out button: a real time saver for regular and frequent customers. I was not interested in this function today, because I needed to be certain the correct credit card was charged. “Too bad” Amazon’s interface told me. There was no option to complete the transaction through traditional means. After 40 minutes of purchasing it with incorrect billing information, requesting a refund, exploring my account settings, and yelling in a public place, I have the book, but I don’t know how I paid for it. Obviously, this function was not designed for me.

Why should we ask questions?

This example illustrates the importance of User Experience (UX) design. UX is a field of design concerned with how products and tools, such as software interfaces, behave in order to ensure users can complete functions better with a more positive experience. In order to provide users with these products and services, a designer must first conduct research in order to gain a better understanding of what the users’ needs might be. In most cases, a portion of that data is collected through interviews. Designers must be skilled in the art of asking questions. Lacking this skill will affect every stage of the project because user input is an overarching necessity. They must also ensure that they are forming the questions in a way that will not alter the subject’s responses.

What kind of questions should we be asking?

The questions we ask should be appropriate to a step in the UX design process. Garrett Kroll provides a list of 100 example questions that designers should use throughout the UX process. He outlines six different stages: the kickoff meeting, stakeholder interviews, user research, user testing, design reviews, and stakeholder reviews. Some questions will be asked of the client, of your design team, and of course, of the end users.

When starting off the project, you want to ensure that your team is on the same page, you should ask “What does the project need to do?” Towards the conclusion of the project, a design team can give feedback when you ask, “How can this design fail?” Asking these questions of your peers enables you to work together efficiently, utilizing peer criticism.

It is also important to ask the clients questions in order to wrap your head around the project. “What have you tried that has or hasn’t worked?” These questions can reveal information about the clients and what they perceive the problem to be. It gives designers a starting point.

Most importantly, UX designers need to ask the users’ about their experiences with the product. Initially, you can ask users questions that will help identify current issues. “How often do you encounter the problem?”

Once designers have an iteration of a solution, they must test it out and ask questions to discover how it performs. Hamilton Hernandez outlines the process of asking questions during the usability testing phase. Question can be asked before the test takes place in order to learn more about the subjects and their past experiences with similar products. It is also beneficial to ask questions while they perform the test. Questions like “Why did you take that approach?” asked in the moment give important insights about the project’s functionality. Finally, you should follow up after the test and look for responses about the overall experience.

What is a UX Designer and How do I Become One?

Whenever someone asks me any questions about my future plans, my mind goes completely blank. I know I’ve put some thought into this and have some rough plans plotted out, but being asked to communicate them puts my brain into panic mode. It becomes difficult for me to explain why I want to enter the field of user experience (UX) design. As a deliberative person, I need to fully research and understand a subject before I feel comfortable conveying it to someone else. Following this logic, if I broaden my understanding of UX design, I will be able to explain my professional interest in it to others with more ease. This article serves to prepare me for conversations about UX design and my career goals by communicating my knowledge first in written form.

WHAT IS UX DESIGN?
In my experience, the general perception of design linked with aesthetic. Something is designed well if it is pleasing to look at. User experience design is concerned with how something is designed to function. Lindsay Norman, a product designer, distinguishes the goals of two fields within design, “UX designer: this is how this thing should behave. Visual designer: this is how this thing looks.” In UX, it is most important that the user is having a positive experience or completing functions in the best possible way. According to Vault, UX designers will “research, design, and evaluate the user experience of products and services” in order to accomplish this.

Currently, many UX designers work to optimize digital systems. Their work is increasingly being recognized as an asset to companies because its abilities to increase productivity, increase customer satisfaction, and reduce development time and costs. One UX designer I talked with shared that she uses analytics to make improvements to her company’s internal and external interfaces. Because of this, the company has been able to improve the functionality of these systems with while decreasing the time wasted during development. UX is a relevant position in today’s digital marketplaces and systems.

CAN YOU BE A UX DESIGNER WITH A COMMUNICATIONS DEGREE?
Because this field is growing, and fairly new, there is not yet one standardized approach to it as a career. According to the User Experience Professional Association,

The training and professional background of UX professionals is equally broad. Many have qualifications in closely related fields like human-computer interaction (HCI), information design or psychology. Others have used their backgrounds in computer science, project management, journalism, fine arts, library science, or business as part of their journey towards being a UX professional.

Those without a specialized degree are skill able to pursue a career in UX. Caroline White on Career Foundry states that it is more important to be able to perform the necessary skills than to have certification .

WHAT SKILLS DO YOU NEED?
When creating solutions, UX designers need to be able to create visual representations of their work, as well as implement them functionally. Lindsay Norman recommends that designers should be familiar with the Adobe Sketch application because it will enable UX professionals to quickly draft visuals. Other designers I spoke with value a well-rounded skill set in the Adobe suite, with an emphasis on XD. With this program in particular, designers can create mockups that convey functionality with its interactive tools. Outside of mockups, experience in HTML, JavaScript, and CSS coding will be necessary in order to implement software solutions. By cultivating skills in visual and computer programing, a designer will have the technical capabilities to fulfill the demands of the UX field.

The technical skills a designer possesses have no value if they do not know how to apply them. The life of a UX designer is one filled with constant learning. Regardless of formal education, designers must be self-motivated continually improve their knowledge of the field. Again, the UX is growing, new techniques and resources are constantly being added to the UX canon. Online courses such as Career Foundry, Neilson Norman Group, and Udacity give designers the opportunity to learn in a more structured program. For those who prefer to read, the Nielson Norman Group provides a number of online reading materials. There are also enough books on UX to create a library (with Don Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things at its heart). Auditory learners have the option to listen to podcasts like 99% Invisible and Mixed Messages to further their learning. It also benefits any UX designer to use social media to follow others’ work and make connections with other professionals. There is much that can be learned about the nature of UX through this continual discussion. It may seem daunting to have to teach yourself skills and principles in the field, but to those with a passion for UX, it is a pleasure.

HOW WILL YOU GET A JOB IN UX DESIGN?
Now, because I have no experience with attaining a job in UX, I cannot claim to have any practical or legitimate knowledge of the matter, but that is what research is for! When talking with a UX designer, she revealed that in many circumstances, entry level UX positions are looking for individuals with prior UX experience. The cycle of “need job for experience” and ” need experience for job” is perpetuated. I was able to talk through a number of strategies with her on how to triumph despite the cycle. She recommended going to graduate school for a degree in human-computer interaction. By taking this path, I would create a foundation in UX while creating a network with other UX professionals. For those not able or willing to receive extra formal education, seeking an internship in related to UX is the first step. Internships present designers with the opportunity to build up their resume’s and gain experience. A third suggestion is to gain employment in a different position, and then work toward a position in UX within the company. There is no one, set way to join the UX design career field, so each individual must approach their journey according to their wants and needs.

IN SUMMARY
User experience UX design is a field of design concerned with how products and tools, such as software interfaces, behave to ensure users can complete functions better with a more positive experience. Through my research, I’ve found that it is more important to exhibit mastery of relevant skills than having a certificate or specialized degree, however, it was suggested to me to pursue a degree in human computer interaction in order to gain a more solid foundation in the field and form a network of other UX professionals. I do not plan to go back to school just yet, so I will initially try to enter the field through internships related to UX. Alternatively I can acquire a position related to communications or design in a company I am passionate about and then work my way over to a UX position within the company. In the meantime, I will have to work at developing UX related skills. I am already familiar with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and XD, which can be used to prototype ideas, but I will need to use online resources to teach myself how to code in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript which will enable me to implement solutions. Overall, I’m going to have to learn continually by taking online courses, reading up on UX articles, and listening to UX podcasts. It’s going to take a lot of work on my part, but now that I’ve found a direction for my career, I feel motivated to challenge myself and take these first steps.