First Post

Obligatory First Blog Post

Hello World!

...I think most people who've taken a CS course or bootcamp are very familiar with the titular programming phrase (whose origins seem unclear) from the 1970s. I thought it'd be fitting to use it here to introduce myself!

So, Who Am I?

I assume you have a little bit of information about me just from my Homepage and About Me pages. But I want to go a little bit deeper into my background to explore how I even got into UX design in the first place. I grabbed a little body copy from one of my old About Me pages:

On Valentine’s Day 2014, I was on a search for a career and I came across various UX Design and Research roles whose job descriptions excited me. Having an Anthropology degree and a background in customer service, and fixing technical problems for people, user experience designing and research felt like a calling that was career custom made for my interest in people, technology, wanting to make an impact along with my problem solving skills!

Sounds like a pretty romantic or dramatic depiction of a career change, huh? 

But it's absolutely true: I love people and trying to understand how they behave, especially around technology. That love of learning more about people emerged as I was going to college for Anthropology but not a whole lot was talked about learning about people and the rapid change of Technology (with a capital T). I think that's the silo-ing environment of academia, unfortunately, and I assume that others who were Computer Science majors at the U of MN Duluth at the time I attended had more of a fast track to entering the User Experience/Research career track than me.

Heck, I was planning to go to grad school and become a librarian right after graduating in 2012 (why not make a career of me loving to work in a place that has all the free books you can read?).

However, I'm glad that I went back to school for Web/UX design a few years later. And with that....

What, exactly is UX Zen Design?

Being part of an associate degree program for Web/UX Design for a few years, one class had to address the issue of how to brand yourself as a professional. At the time, I was fixated on the idea of "zen" and finding the right balance of ideas when solving design problems.

To me, UX Zen is the active practice of balancing designer and clients/businesses and the user's needs.

I had to work the title/name a few times since my classmates thought that putting "zen" with my name sounded like I was maybe opening up a yoga studio vs. having me be a User Experience professional/Wizard/Ninja, etc. See, a lot of my classmates were chosing monikers that had their name in it, which isn't a bad thing, but for me, that felt kind of weird: "Rachel Smith Design" That string of words just seems off to me, even a couple years after that class.

What's this blog about then?

This blog is meant to be provide more insights into what work I'm doing concurrently: work that will hopefully be featured in its own projects page, depending on the project. I'm going to make an additional blog post listing some projects, so look out for that. I had a few other ideas to dub this blog including "sandbox" or "playground". I consulted my sister, a freelance writer, on what word worked best and "studio" came to mind and, even though I'm a "studio" of one, I think that's the best word. What can I say, finding the right words matter when designing and optimizing web and app content for users.

With all that being said: Welcome to my blog! I'll be sure to update either every week or every other week depending on how often I'm working on projects.

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