It’s been quite a while since the last blog post back in June. Last week was a pretty cold week here in London and this photo reminded me of the first ever post on this blog made back in January.

The UK (Nov 2010)... made me ill for a week.

If you live in England, you’ll know that England is probably better at preparing for war than it is at preparing for a snowy winter. Alas. At least it hasn’t been as bad as winter in Siberia.

There haven’t been many posts on in 2010. I’ve had loads of ideas for posts, but have been too busy diving into the different areas of UX and Interaction Design, reading every book I could get my hand on. I’ve learned loads and it’s probably been the most creative and idea generating (apparently ‘ideating’ is a word) year I’ve ever had. Nowadays the sketchpad is always in the bag to scribble stuff on even on the daily London commute.

This is all Boris's fault.

There has been a lot to learn, and only 24 hours per day. This post talks about how UX is broadly split up into 5 main areas, and this one talks about how getting good at them all is a lot of work. UX and Interaction Design require a mixture of technical and artistic skills such as coding, information architecture and design, graphic design, typography, business strategy, psychology, human factors, ethnography and subject matter expertise in a range of industries.

It’s a bit like architecture in the real world. In his book 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School, Matthew Frederick wraps things up with:

Most architects do not hit their professional stride until around age 50!

There is perhaps no other profession that requires one to integrate such a broad range of knowledge in history, art, sociology, physics, psychology, materiality, symbology, political process, and innumerable other fields, and must create a building that meets regulatory codes, keeps out the weather, withstands earthquakes, has functioning elevators and mechanical systems, and meets the complex functional and emotional needs of its users. Learning to integrate so many concerns into a cohesive product takes a long time, with lots of trial and error along the way.

If you’re going to be in the field of architecture, be in it for the long haul. It’s worth it.

UX is similar to architecture on this note. For sure, UX is currently not as highly regulated a profession as architecture and it takes years to learn architecture regulations. But it is very cross-disciplinary, and what gets displayed on a computer screen is limited only by the imagination, whereas architecture is limited somewhat by the laws of physics. It’s also worth considering how the pace of change in the digital world is many times faster than in the physical world, which makes keeping up with the latest trends in the field of UX even more challenging.

Sometimes, impatience is a virtue, and it got me thinking about how people learn and how one can learn faster. Ironically, after years of studying at school and university, I bought The Good Study Guide, which was “good”, and has a “good” section on how in an ever-changing world, the best thing we can all do is invest in our ability to learn, because we’re all life long learners now.

Hopefully more posts from now on…

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