In 2016, I made the shift from food service to programming. I'd realized that I wanted to help people move through their everyday lives with greater ease and pleasure, or, as I put it at the time, "I just want to make things work better for people." It seemed that building software was an ideal and practical way to help people solve everyday problems. I completed Nashville Software School's full-stack web development bootcamp and found work as a front end programmer for a small company building a cloud-based web app for legal professionals. This was where I fully realized the value of doing the design work before building the product. I began to understand that design work is where I have the greatest potential to positively impact people's use of a product.
My employer didn't have the resources to devote to a UX team. However, through trial and error, the development team recognized that, in order to increase productivity, we had to implement some processes for gathering project requirements and getting stakeholder buy-in before ever writing any code. When we actually started implementing these processes and communicating closely with our primary users throughout the development process, we saw a drastic increase in the satisfaction each new feature provided upon its release, and a decrease in the number of changes/bugs/etc. that had to be resolved later.
This experience -- seeing the difference between building a product with no design, versus building one with some initial design work -- showed me the importance of understanding the user, researching, and designing a thing before building it. It not only makes everyone involved happier and more productive, but it assures the user's satisfaction and the validity of the product itself. Once I realized the power of the UX design process, I knew it was where I wanted to focus my energy. I enrolled in the UI & UX Design class at Nashville Software School, and I have devoted my energy to pursuing work that will improve product designs while allowing me to fully indulge my passion for human behavior.
For more specific/traditional information about my background, please check out my resume, LinkedIn, or feel free to contact me!