Photo of Jessica Ivins

Becoming an Industry-ready UX designer with Jessica Ivins

October 18, 2019 by UX-RADIO

UX-Radio presents Becoming an Industry-ready UX designer with Jessica Ivins

Show Notes

  • 1:00 How to be industry ready, or prepared for your first UX job
  • 8:02 Breadth of the foundation of what you learn
  • 15:05 How to lead to a consensus
  • 22:04 Getting your UX portfolio ready and build your network
  • 31:58 Accessibility
  • Transcript

    Welcome to UX radio, the podcast that generates collaborative discussion about information architecture, user experience and design.

    Jessica Ivin’s is a user experience UX designer and faculty member at Center Centre, the UX design school in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she prepares students to be industry ready designers. She regularly publishes UX articles on her blog and on medium and she’s a sought after speaker at conferences and events.

    Here are your hosts, Lara Fedoroff and Chris Chandler.

    Hi, and welcome to UX radio. This is Lara and

    this is Chris and today we’re very, very happy to welcome Jessica Ivin’s and OG faculty member from Center Centre in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Welcome, Jessica.

    Hello. Thank you for having me. Thank you for being here.

    So just to get started, I don’t know if our listeners are very familiar with Center Centre. Could you tell us a little bit about the school

    Sure. So as you mentioned, Center Centre is located in Chattanooga, Tennessee here in the US. And I’m a faculty member there. And what we do at Center Centre is our goal is to prepare industry ready user experience designers. So when you’re a student here, you attend for two years full time. So you’re in class from Monday through Friday, nine to five, and two thirds of your time is spent on real world projects. So by the time you graduate, you have a portfolio you have work experience, and you are industry ready so you can get your first job and join your team and get to work on day one.

    That’s amazing. Can I ask you, I’ve heard you say real world projects before, but kind of real world projects.

    Going back to our goal, our goal when we founded the school was to prepare our students to be industry ready, and that’s when we figured out what the program needed to be. And one of those components was they had to have real world projects meaning they had to have real work experience in order to be industry ready because we found through our research that Hiring managers were not satisfied with the preparedness of the graduates they were getting from conventional programs because the graduates just didn’t have that real world experience. They had the academic experience. They knew the theory, they just didn’t know how to apply it in a work setting. And, and also, they just didn’t have the soft skills, meaning the interpersonal skills like how do you work with team members to get the desired results that you want, right? It’s very different in a in a work setting than it is in a conventional educational setting.

    What’s a specific example of a real world project?

    So what we do is we most of the students projects, we partner with a company that gives the students a project to work on. And it’s usually a company with an in house UX team. And we say to that company, you know, you want to give us a project that is important enough where it needs to get done, but it’s not so important that it’s really high risk and really high priority. So we we say a lot of backburner projects. A lot of companies have projects that have been on the back burner for a few years. And they’re thinking we really need to get this done. But other things just keep coming first. And that’s the type of project that comes to our students. So we work really closely with the company that provides the project and we make sure it’s a good fit, because ultimately, we want it to be a good learning experience and a useful learning experience for the students for their careers. And once we establish that, we start the project and the students really treat the in house UX team at this organization as a client. So the students and the client communicate constantly. The students get the project brief. And me as a faculty member, I’m almost more of a project manager and manager and product lead than I am a conventional educator. So I manage the projects I help the students with their learning. If they get stuck, I help them get unstuck. I work with the client to make sure that we are staying on track and we are meeting the needs and by the end of the project is to have produced whatever deliverable or, and design these to be produced and delivered it to the client. So it’s a very, it’s a very real world. And what’s really cool is that our graduates have told us that after they left Center Centre and went to their jobs, they it didn’t feel like that much of a transition. They felt like trade Center Centre work those projects really prepared them because the challenge of the real world challenges and the work that they did was very similar to what they’re doing out in the real world now, now that they’re working, which is really great to hear.

    I love that method so much to share my own experience for many years ago, a class co teaching with Lynn Boyden at UCLA. The first time we taught the class, we let the students it was just a UX introductory class in the School of Library Science at UCLA. We let the graduate students pick their own projects, and we were frankly pretty disappointed by the way that the word came out. The next semester, we recruited a couple of We’re friends on campus who had projects and the students worked on that. And it was amazing the difference. And what the students were able to reduce, huh?

    Yeah, it really is. Because you can only get so much experience by, you know, making up your own projects, I think it’s a great way to practice. But when it comes down to that real world experience, you just can’t get it. It’s kind of like, if you’re learning how to cook, you know, you can look through cookbooks, you can read recipes, you can watch cooking videos, but until you get into the kitchen and get in front of the stove, and make a stir fry and burn things a few times and you know, I mean, and that’s, that’s when you learn to cook, right? It’s it’s not from the cooking videos and reading of recipes, it’s from actually doing the work. So that’s an analogy we use a lot here at Center Centre, and I’m a big believer in that to getting as much real world experience as you can when you’re learning.

    I’m sure the hiring managers are very happy about your program. It sounds like you did some research around that to figure out what the main problems were? Can you? You know, talk about that a little bit.

    Sure. So my co founders, Jared school and Leslie Johnson admin, before we were officially a school, they did a ton of research into what hiring managers were looking for with the people that they were hiring, especially people that they were hiring for more junior positions. If you think about a spectrum of junior to senior, they focus more on what hiring managers wanted out of graduates. And what they learned was that the hiring managers, just like I said earlier, they weren’t seeing people with experience. They were getting people who understood the theory, but people who didn’t know how to participate in a meeting. So one hiring manager told Jared and Leslie that I want to hire somebody out of school who can sit through a meeting without looking like they’re going to die. Just slumped over slumped over completely disengaged, or whatever it was. Because conventional school doesn’t really prepare you to sit through a work meeting right you go to class for 90 minutes. And then you go play basketball or volleyball with your friends. And then you go to class again later that evening. And it’s just, it’s very, very different. And they also the hiring managers, we’re also seeing that people just weren’t really prepared to handle workplace conflicts. So how do you work through a conflict with professionalism? Or how do you communicate effectively with your colleagues? So how do you know when to read an email versus when to have a meeting versus when to have just a quick hallway conversation, all of those things the graduates didn’t have. So there was so much onboarding, if you will, and Trent and just professional training that the hiring manager would have to do with the graduate and it was almost burdensome for the hiring manager. So my co founders took all of this into account. And they used all of that research data to design the program the way that we have it today.

    Really interesting. I’m curious like you’ve been doing this now a couple years. what’s what’s your biggest takeaway? Like what do you think maybe the most important thing is for those students to learn?

    And see what is one One of the biggest takeaways for me about our program is the the breadth of the foundation that you get in what you learn and how it just it prepares you for the rest of your career. So what what I’m seeing after building our curriculum after working with the first cohort of students and seeing them off, they all got great jobs. And we keep in touch with them regularly. And we talked with them about how they’re doing is that they, so many people in our field have gaps in their knowledge, because, you know, most people don’t go to Center Centre so they don’t learn the full we have 24 core courses just in UX design alone, and that’s not including the Special Topics courses, the residency and everything. So students, our students take such a deep dive into UX and at the same time, it’s a general dive that they’re taking. So they learn everything from information architecture, usability testing, to the business of UX and how to run effective meetings and software development. methods and everything in between. So, when our graduates went out into the real world, it was interesting how they would tell us stories like, Well, I was sitting in this meeting, and the meeting was going off the rails, and nobody really knew what to do. And people were getting frustrated. So I use the techniques that I learned in the facilitated leadership course, I grabbed a marker and I got up to the whiteboard. And I started taking notes and leading the conversation and the meeting got back on track, and everybody was really excited. And the next week, we had a similar meeting, and then we all sat down and they all just looked at me and waited for me to leave the meeting. You know, which is which is awesome to hear. But it’s, you know, a lot of people they just they don’t, they never learned how to run an effective meeting, right. Or it could be they never learned how, like when and how to use a retrospective another graduate told us that he suggested doing a retrospective activity at the end of a sprint and people are like, Oh, what’s that and he explained a stop, start continue, which is one of many retrospectives that you can do. And they said, Yeah, that sounds great. We’ve never tried that before. Let’s try that. So it’s, it’s really awesome to hear all of the things that our graduates are contributing. And it just speaks volumes to the breadth and depth of the education that they get here. It really gives them such a strong foundation for their careers because they don’t have most of those gaps that other people have. Because most people just find their way into the field and learn as they go. Right.

    I’m particularly interested in something we were talking about earlier. And you had mentioned something around how people learn and learning how to learn. So how do you teach people how to learn how to learn?

    I think it’s the the big step is just becoming aware that learning is a skill, just like anything else. So just like the skill of coding HTML, or the skill of running a usability test, or the skill of leading a meeting. The skill of learning is something that you can consciously pay attention to and sharpen and it’s just Such an invaluable skill for, for what we do in our field because our field changes all the time, right? Like this is definitely not the field that you can get into and rest on your laurels and do the same thing over and over again for the next 2010 or 20 years. It’s just so much change. And the best way to adapt to change is to know how to learn a few years ago, Chris Reston, who you may know he’s a. He’s an expert in UX design. And he’s taught workshops on prototyping and whatnot. He was teaching a prototyping workshop for for us and for our sister company, UI ego, because he’s done workshops for our conferences and everything. And he was asked at the workshop, you know, what, what’s the best prototyping tool I should use? Right? So it was a really popular question a few years ago, because as the world of prototyping tools kept exploding and all these tools kept coming up, people were wondering what’s the best tool to use and his response was something like we’ll focus on getting good at learning the tools rather than focusing on what total learn because more than likely Whatever tool you’re using now is going to change. Either it will fall out of favor and a better tool will come along, or you get a new job. And that new job uses a completely different set of tools. Or you encounter a project with different challenges that you haven’t encountered before that requires a new tool. So there are so many reasons why you might have to learn a new prototyping tool. So he said, focus on getting good at learning the new tools rather than focusing on what tools to learn. I think that’s amazing advice. And I think you can expand it to just about anything, and our field, you know, your job role can change, you could get promoted from designer to a team lead, and all of a sudden you need leadership skills. So those are things that you’re going to have to learn. So the more you practice that skill of learning, the more conscious you are of it. And the better and faster you can learn, the better you’re going to be as a designer, and the more it’s going to serve you throughout your career

    is such a great answer. Thank you so much for that and thanks. I’ll thank Chris the next time I see him because, you know, people looking into the field or junior designers like that’s such a common question right what 22 Learning. And so I’ve never really had I’ve always been frustrated by my own answer, which is the tools not the important thing. So I love that idea. You know, even in our own practice here, right, it’s like, sure, we’ve been using mostly sketch as a design tool, but there’s all these other choices. And so we’re pretty motivated to learn a new tool. It happens all the time. But I mean, even for people, I’ve also seen people at midway through their career later in their career, where they’re stuck in a toolset like like it used to happen I remember with with UI designers where they say, Oh, I don’t know No, the new version of Photoshop, and it was always so mystified by that, like, you know, you have to the tool is just an extension of you. And anyway, I love that answer. So thank you that this this whole interview has been worth it for me, Jessica.


    Yeah, with the tools like fig my is great. Because you can collaborate real time. So they’re like you said, there’s always going to be something better. So it’s good not to just stick to one tool. It’s more about the, what are you creating? And and the tool is just a bystander.

    Hmm, yeah. And I think good hiring managers know to look for that learning ability to which can help you stand out in an interview, or it can even help you stand out on the job. Like, if you can demonstrate to your boss that, hey, I had to learn this new tool. And I figured it out in a few days, and I was up and running. And I was prototyping, just like I was last week with my previous tool that is going to help you in tremendous ways. It’s just going to make you a really strong asset to the team that’s going to serve you and your career, but it’s also going to make you look good to your boss, which is pretty awesome. When I

    when I interview user researchers and UX people one of the things I always ask them is like, tell me something that you learned that you did wrong in your in your test. Right, if you didn’t learn that you did something wrong, you’re doing the test wrong.

    Yeah, I can speak to something that I’ve learned. Something that I’ve learned is, which is was a really tough skill for me to learn is how do I lead a team of people toward making a good consensus without dictating them what we’re going to do without dictating to them what we’re going to do next. And what I mean by that is like, how do I get the team to come to a good conclusion about how to move forward when I already have a pretty good idea in my head, and I’m not just telling them how to move forward. And there’s a huge difference between the two because people are more committed to a decision if they feel like they’ve had input into the decision. And also, sometimes the idea that I have in my head for what’s best for the students in terms of moving forward is not the best idea because sometimes if I give them room to provide me input, they’ll come up with even better ideas. So that was a skill that was really hard for me to learn. I’m a very concrete person I’m very like, okay, let’s move forward. Let’s get this done. in a position of authority, I just thought it was best to, you know, give a directive to the students and tell them how to move forward. And I started realizing that it just wasn’t working as well. So I started practicing the skill of talking with students and saying, Okay, this is what we need, we need to move forward in this direction. So let’s talk about the best ways to move forward. I have some ideas. I want to hear your ideas, and we’ll bring those together, and we’ll figure out the best way. And that just changed everything. First of all, they were all really bought into whatever decision we reached, because they felt like they had a voice. And secondly, like I said, sometimes they suggest better things than I suggested. So that was a huge learning moment for me. And I just saw it produce better outcomes across the board.

    I think that’s such a great skill. I mean, I think that’s a skill that everyone who becomes a manager needs to learn is exactly the same problem, right? If you give somebody too specific direction, then they tend to turn their brain off a little bit and just do what you said. Instead of what the actual Problem is

    right. Sometimes you actually have to let them fail a little bit in order to figure out the answer on their own without giving them that answer. And that’s uncomfortable as a leader to watch that happen. But it’s so valuable.

    Yeah, I agree. And we’ve designed our program just for that. And I learned to get pretty good at this. But there are times where you want to do that, where you want to say, Okay, this person is kind of going down the wrong path. And I’m just going to sit back and let it happen, because they’re going to realize it very soon. And then once they realize it, they’re going to course correct. And that’s going to be much more beneficial to them than me telling them up front, like, hey, you’re going in the wrong direction, because, you know, it’s when we learn from our own mistakes, it’s usually more meaningful to us. And at the same time, you need to balance it because you don’t want to let them go completely off the rails and into a ditch, you know, the proverbial ditch. So it’s, it’s finding that balance is really hard and we would talk about that a lot as a staff at Center Centre, and I got pretty good at knowing when to just step back in let things go like, Okay, this person is going to figure this out. And sure enough they did. And when to step in and say like, okay, let’s, I strongly recommend, we don’t do this. And here’s why. So for example, there was one project the students were working on where there was usability testing component involved, and they were really short on time, like teams often are. And then we’re going to skip their dry run. And they were going to have their first participant basically be there be their driver. So basically not do a pilot or a dry run, which is a practice usability test with just the team before you bring in a participant. And they only had three participants scheduled something like that. And I just saw this as a huge red flag. And I’m thinking like, if they don’t do a dry run, they’re not going to get much value at all out of this first participant, and they really need to get research data out of these three people. So I kind of I hit what we call the pause button, and I said, Look, I highly recommend we don’t skip the dry run and here’s why. And I explained to them all the reasons I just gave you, and they all just kind of sat not in really okay. You Alright, let’s let’s do the dry run. And afterwards we talked about it. And they said, Yeah, we’re really glad we did that dry run, because we realized that there were issues with the way that we were approaching the test. And there were things that we need to change in the scripts and everything. And but if I hadn’t done that, it would have been fine. It wouldn’t have been the end of the world. But I think it would have had more of an impact on the project. And I think it could have impacted their morale, as well. So it’s, it’s really a balancing act. And the more experience I got, the better I got. And there there are still times probably in the future with the next cohort where I’m going to struggle, like, should I step in and say something? Or should I just let this role?

    I love what you’re doing over there with a curriculum and the program at Center Centre, and I can tell that you’re very passionate about what you do. I’d love to hear from you something that like an example of when you’re teaching and you’ve been just like, filled with complete joy. Like what are those? What’s a moment like that for you?

    I would say so helping a student get through something that they’ve been obviously been struggling with for a long time, that they haven’t had the opportunity or the chance to, to get through. So I had one student who really struggled with writing their entire life, they, they went through college graduate from college and their, their writing was not, it was like basic stuff like grammatical mistakes and whatnot, that they would make spelling mistakes. And this person was very conscious about their writing. And this person had a growth mindset and wanted to get better with their writing. So we talked about it and I said to the student, you know, we could do a, basically a coaching program where not coaching in the negative sense where in some organizations, it’s got a negative connotation, where we’re going to put you on a performance improvement plan and coach you and if you don’t improve your out, it’s not that at all. It’s more like helping somebody who wants to improve, improve. So he and I came up with a plan together again, We collaborated on the plan, I didn’t dictate what the plan would be, we came up with a plan. And we work through it together and their writing got much, much stronger. And it got to the point where, you know, they’re never going to be Stephen King or the next, you know, JK Rowling, the next writer, that’s not the point. But it got to the point where they had the tools and the skills to write an email, like a professional email that didn’t have any run on sentences or spelling mistakes. And they felt much more confident in their writing. And they were even blogging. And they learned how to work with an editor and everything. So that was really fulfilling is getting those opportunities to work with somebody who’s obviously been struggling with something for a really long time. And they just didn’t have the opportunity to sit down with somebody who could coach them through it.



    Let me ask you a little bit. I feel like our the field of us has been greatly impacted by what I’ll call sort of the GA model. One of the things in particular is the way that the GA program focuses on building a portfolio. I feel like it changes the landscape of UX job hunting. And so it’s something I’m curious about what kind of preparation do you guys do? or advice to people who are putting a portfolio together or getting ready to ready to do job search? Like how do you how do you prepare your students for that?

    So one of the things our students learn at Center Centre is to start preparing for your next job search right away. And it’s not just because they’re students, it’s something that I would advise to anybody. So what I tell people is, you know, nothing is sacred, and anyone could get suddenly laid off, which is true, I’m sure you have seen it. I’ve seen people get laid off and it was completely unexpected. I’ve seen really good people get laid off for basically financial and budgetary reasons, had nothing to do with performance. So nothing is sacred. And even if you’re in the field and you’re happily employed, you could lose your job next week. And what I say to people is, think about How you can prepare for that, so that you’re not scrambling. So you’re not in this stressful situation where oh my goodness, I’ve just lost my job. And now I have to get a portfolio together and a resume and this and that. And I have nothing because I haven’t thought about my portfolio since I found my last job five years ago. So with our students is one of the things that we’re we’re actually revamping with our curriculum is integrating job search prep much, much earlier, we had and we didn’t wait until the end of the program with the first cohort, but we realized that we waited longer than we could have. And the cohort of students had that classic problem where toward the end, they had to scramble to get a resume together and a portfolio and everything. So right now, we’ve actually made it intentionally part of the practice projects where from the first course you are practicing, you know how to talk to a hiring manager, how to build your network, how to build a resume, how to build a portfolio, what format your portfolio is going to be in and whatnot. So that’s the biggest thing I would say is for your portfolio, prepare ahead. Time, and I just wrote an article that went live on a list apart, which is a really popular publication if your listeners aren’t familiar in the in the web field, and it’s all about the Career Management document. So basically, I have one, and it’s one that I recommend for everybody. And it’s basically a repository of, it’s a record of all the work that you’ve done, including resume bullets and assets for your portfolio, like photos of your work, screenshots of your work, etc. And it’s basically this big collection of Lego blocks, and each Lego block. It represents some of the work that you’ve done over the past, you know, it could be a Lego block, if you put together this past week from something you’ve done, it could be a Lego block from a year ago. So you basically have all these Lego blocks that represent work evidence, like evidence in the design work that you’ve done. And whenever you’re ready to put together a resume or a portfolio, you just pull what you need from this repository of Lego blocks and assemble the resume or the portfolio and send it over with your application and keeping that career management document up to date. is such a lifesaver for when you need it. And it also helps you remember things because you’re not going to remember the details of the project work you did three weeks ago or three months ago, and definitely not a year ago. So if you can make a regular habit of capturing that and storing it somewhere, when you need it to put together a resume or portfolio, you’ll be able to, you’ll have a record so you can remember all the work and you can have easy access to all the pieces.

    And so because you use those real world projects at Center Centre, are the students allowed to use work evidence from those projects and their portfolio?

    Yes, they are. And we did have one of the projects was under NDA, but we didn’t negotiate the NDA so there was some flexibility so the students could talk about and share the work. It just had to be like redacted in certain ways. But we did build that into into the project. But yes, we we encourage them to share basically project the real world project work that they do in their portfolios and not any of the other work because they do a ton of practice work. But that’s not really what is most relevant to the portfolio. What’s most relevant is your real world work.

    That’s amazing. All right, Jessica, I have a question for you, which is what do you want your legacy to be in the US do?

    You know?

    That is a great question.

    I would say being intentional about how you design your career is what I would want to leave people with. So I talked about career management document. I talked about preparing early for your job search. Just being intentional about your career and not just focusing on the day to day work as well. The day to day work is obviously important. That’s what earns us a paycheck. And that’s that’s what we do. being thoughtful about your career, learning how to learn, I think is really going to set you up for future success. I’ve worked with people in the past who I worked with one guy who got let go very suddenly this was years ago. Nobody really saw it coming. He didn’t see it coming. We didn’t see it coming. He was just like oh from the team. He had been at this job for four or five years and had, you know, no professional networking everyone else any UX events, he, you know, didn’t have a portfolio ready. I mean, he was just caught completely off guard. So here he was in a stressful situation, and completely unprepared to find a new job and all the sudden going out to UX events, nobody knew who he was and having to introduce himself to everybody. So I would say the more you can be intentional about how you portray yourself, making yourself known, whether it’s through social media or going to networking events, or whatever it is, and really being thoughtful and designing, you’re designing the, like higher likelihood of success for your career. It’s really going to benefit you. So hopefully that’ll be my legacy. Yes, that’s good. So students are looking for programs, certificates, universities, there’s so many choices today. So what would you say to students You are considering Center Centre, what is your unique value proposition? So I would say to somebody who’s really looking at a bunch of different programs and ways to get into the field, I think it’s best to really do your research and see what your goals are, and see what these different programs and options provide to you. Because depending on your goals and your financial situation, the options that are best for you can really vary. I mean, I know people who’ve gone to boot camps, and afterwards they’ve gotten a job and they’ve been successful. And I know people who’ve gone to boot camps who afterwards have been basically in the same place that they’re in before they went to the boot camp. Now they’ve just paid 15 grand and spent three months at a boot camp and they’re no further along than they were before. So I think it it can really vary based on your situation based on how much work experience you have, based on how your financial situation and whether or not you can get approved for a loan. So what that’s what I do is it’s so big People will randomly come, people will read my blog posts or something and they’ll contact me and they’ll say, which UX program should I go to? And I respond, and I say, you know, I can’t, I can’t tell you that because I don’t know your situation. It’s but what I tell people is really do your research and make sure that you’re making an informed decision before going into something that may or may not help you.

    So I still I still want to know, because I really believe that Center Centre has something really special. So I’m just like, would love for you to differentiate Center Centre from some of the other choices that are out there. When people

    ask me about Center Centre once in a while, people ask me, you know why two years so Center Centre is two years long when I could go to a boot camp for three months or 10 weeks or whatever it is. And what I say to people is that again, when we design the school, our goal was to prepare industry ready designers and we found that the best way to do that was to have an onsite two year program to prepare you to be industry ready. And our first graduating class is great proof of that because they graduated, they got great jobs very quickly, we keep in touch with them, they’re all doing very well. And that’s what really differentiates us. So I realized Center Centre is is not for everybody for various reasons, because we are a really big commitment. And at the same time, I do believe strongly that our students really get the value that that they that they pay for and the value that they pay for. It’s a two year commitment of time. So it’s a big time commitment, but I’ve just seen them have such great success in their careers so far, and they haven’t even been out in their careers for a year yet, that I feel very good about what I do. I get up every day and I feel confident about coming into work because I know that my students are getting what they bargained for. And my students are prepared for a much better career foot throughout the rest of their lives because they’ve attended Center Centre.

    Wonderful and what About companies who are looking to hire Center Centre students, how can they find out more about that?

    Right now we’re in between cohorts. So we don’t have any students to hire yet. So all of our graduates, like I said, are employed. But you can get in touch with us or follow us online where we’re on Twitter, you can join our email list. And once we have another class, we will definitely be sharing that. And you can keep up with what the students are doing. And if you’re interested in providing a project, talked about projects earlier, you can get in touch with us about that. And just basically keep keep in touch with us. And we’re always happy to hear from people who are interested in hiring students, and hopefully, at one point, we’ll have a student for you to hire.

    That’s awesome. I have one

    last question myself, which is, what’s something in the UX field that excites you and interests you these days?

    So I’ve been really digging out about how to infuse accessibility throughout each course of our curriculum. So I’ve learned a ton about accessibility. So Since I started working here at Center Centre, a lot of people me included a few years ago, they they think of accessibility as screen readers, right and making sure that a screen reader can read your content. Or they’ll might, they might think of color contrast making sure there’s sufficient contrast. And while those things are very important, there’s so much more to accessibility. So I’ve learned about writing in plain language and clear language. I’ve learned about how when you give a presentation, so our students have a course on presenting, how do you make sure that your presentation is accessible to someone in the audience who maybe has trouble hearing somebody has trouble seeing right, there’s so much to accessibility. It’s so expensive. So we’ve been as we enhance our curriculum for the next cohort, we’ve been looking at ways to infuse more accessibility into each course. And I’ve been really geek out about that. I’m really excited about it. And I found a ton of resources on how to do it. So that’s been one of my wheelhouse is lately.

    Yeah, what a great answer. I mean, I think I think we’re finally having that momentum. We finally turned the corner where? And unfortunately, it’s because there have been lawsuits. Mm hmm. Yeah. That that it’s finally getting the kind of emphasis that it deserves. And I think you’re right. I mean, it’s such a it’s it’s much more than a people tend to approach it as sort of a remediation. Like, oh, let me add this in for this particular audience. Whereas I think what you’re saying is much more powerful, which is let’s let’s be inclusive

    in our approach. Mm hmm. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. And our students they, like from the early courses on they’re required to meet certain accessibility requirements. So it just it’s part of their standard process, which is the best way to design something that’s accessible. You don’t want to wait until two thirds into the project to start thinking about accessibility. You think about it from day one. So we took that approach, and we apply that to curriculum. So our students like I said, they focus on access Ability from the early courses and on forward so that it just becomes habitual and the design as a result becomes accessible.

    That’s wonderful. Well, thank you so much for being on the show today. It was such a pleasure having you.

    Thank you so much for having me. It was great to be here.

    Yeah. Great to talk to Jessica always. We will see you soon.

    Thank you.

    UX radio is produced by Lara Fedoroff and Chris Chandler. If you want more UX radio, you can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and Google Play or go to UX dash, where you’ll find podcasts, resources, and more. This episode is brought to you by philosophy through agile design, rapid prototyping and software craftsmanship. To learn more, visit Philosophie with an

    Thank you for the transcription Otter!

    More About Jessica

  • Jessica on LinkedIn
  • Jessica on Twitter
  • Medium article “The Career Management Document
  • Jessica’s website
  • Jessica is a user experience (UX) designer and faculty member at Center Centre, the UX design school in Chattanooga, TN, where she prepares students to be industry-ready designers. She publishes UX articles on her blog and on Medium, and she speaks at conferences and local events about design.