We Learn Ourselves First

Originally posted at Giant UX 

Roughly 14 years ago, I started as a graphic designer churning out fifty-dollar t-shirt designs for bands as I toured across the country playing music. It worked for me at the time, but something was missing.

When I started thinking more about what I was doing and why I enjoyed it, I quickly realized I wanted it all. I wanted to handle all the design work: the CD layout, the backdrop for live shows, the website, the logo. Everything. I became slightly obsessed with how everything fit together, but it wasn't until I read and researched more that I realized I was actually practicing it. You know... it. User Experience. UX. All of it.

I share the story above because I was reminded of that moment where everything clicked for me after a recent conversation about UX principles or movements, if you will. During the conversation, some questions were raised: are UX movement, books, articles and overall principles created completely out of context or as theories that can only work in an ideal UX design and development environment? Or are each of them a small piece of the greater UX puzzle that help every UX professional in their own way?

These questions got me thinking. In such a new, evolving and undefinable field as User Experience, do we constantly search for ways to define what we do? Do we want to accept what we know now as unchanging principles that we can point to for answers? Or, instead, do we carry on the way we've always done by learning piece by piece from each bit of knowledge we gain?

There are pioneers in every field of work, and there are always people we look up to. As a musician, I would have given anything to meet Otis Redding or to rock out with Elvis. Did one of those musicians make me a musician? No. Did reading one UX book teach me everything I needed to know to be a solid UX professional? No. We learn ourselves, and we improve ourselves, as we learn piece by piece.


WordsHeather Love