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I’ve spent the last 3 months interning for the User Experience (UX) & Design team at DOOR3, my first stint as a UX Designer. My time here has proven to be crucial as I’m getting my feet wet in a new industry.

In my previous life, I was a social media strategist at a digital agency, but two years ago I decided to go back to school. I had an urge to be on the side of making and breaking things in the digital world.

My two years at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) has taught me a lot about the intersection of design, media, art and technology. You could say I started to become a more “T-Shaped” individual since I picked up a broad skill-set, but I lacked depth in a specific field. I chose the path of a UX Designer (Interaction Designer) to apply my newly acquired skills in creating solutions for the ever-increasing world of digital products we use on a daily basis.

Like the first time you experience pretty much anything – a restaurant, a city, or a mobile app – entering a new industry can be exciting and equally daunting. First impressions can be lasting, causing you to quickly write off a restaurant or uninstall that new app you just downloaded. So, first-time user experiences (FUX) are an integral part of any user experience journey, and my first-time experience with UX Design has been no different. Below I compare basic FUX tips with my first-time experience as a UX Designer.

  • Any FUX should focus on features or interaction patterns that may be new or unusual to most users. Working for an agency isn’t new to me, but working alongside developers is. Collaboration is key to successfully design, develop, and launch any digital product. My design decisions can have profound implications in the development process, and knowledge of this is paramount for any UX designer.

  • For products that provide the best value through personalization, a good FUX should guide users through the process of tailoring the experience to their tastes. My on-boarding process at DOOR3 allowed me to learn the UX & Design team’s workflow at my own pace, while working with the other designers on projects so I could experience this workflow myself. Even more important was understanding the workflow between designers and developers, and seeing this in action was very enlightening.

  • Ultimately, FUX’s should ease users into interacting with every element of the product, whether it’s a website or a video game. Graduate school gave me a broad understanding of different technologies and how to apply them creatively in digital and physical spaces. Through my internship, I’m honing these skills for UX Design and everything that may fall under its umbrella, including interaction design, information architecture, and visual design.

My first stint as a UX Designer has strengthened what I learned at school. I’m not just talking about increasing my familiarity with design methodologies or software, but more of my soft skills: collaboration, adaptability, empathy, learning to learn. I believe these are all crucial for any professional, even more so for a UX Designer.

Whatever comes next seems a little less daunting, and incredibly exciting. What suggestions do you have for first-time UX Designers?