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› UX Training at Venture for America
  • Published on June 25, 2014

This week I had the opportunity to kick-off the educational sessions for the new Fellows at Venture for America (VFA) by delivering a session on UX Design at Brown University. The VFA Fellows are recent university graduates who have committed to spend two years working at a start-up. VFA helps select talented students and connects them with startups to build entrepreneurs, placing them in communities not typically known for start-ups and the new economy, such as Detroit, New Orleans, and Philadelphia. VFA provides training to those that are selected, known as Fellows, and then sends them off to join their startups. As part of the training camp they learn web and app design skills such as user experience, development skills such as coding HTML and JavaScript, and business skills that include financial modeling and sales. Through the training, the Fellows are prepared with the skills they'll need to help contribute to the startups they are joining.

After spending time with them, it’s clear there are some very fortunate start-ups that are gaining fantastic talent with this year’s crop of VFA fellows. Smart and talented young men and women from around the country gathered at Brown University in Rhode Island for the VFA training camp. In my session I provided an abbreviated version of the UX courses that I deliver at American Graphics Institute. Providing guidance on how to plan and design their web and application projects before they start to code.  The group had a level of energy that is infectious, and it was a great way to kick-off the week. As a presenter, it’s rewarding to see such an engaged and interesting group, and the VFA staff did a fantastic job selecting the Fellows. I'm hopeful that I provided some user experience lessons that they will carry with them as they move into their new startup companies.

After my UX session the team then started into web coding, and I’m looking forward to keeping in touch with some of the VFA Fellows, seeing them put their new skills to use as they head out to join startups around the U.S. over the coming weeks. As we have long had an office in Philadelphia, and work with numerous clients in Detroit, it's great to participate in helping VFA to enable a new generation of entrepreneurs and companies to grow and thrive in these communities.

About the author

 is a user experience designer, Photoshop expert, educator and author based in Boston. She is the author of more than 20 books on design tools and processes, including Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies, Adobe Creative Cloud Digital Classroom, and Photoshop Digital Classroom. She has been awarded a Microsoft MVP three times for her work with user experience design in creating apps for touch, desktop, and mobile devices.

Jennifer delivers UX training and UX consulting for large Fortune 100 companies, small start-ups, and independent software vendors. She has been hired by Adobe and Microsoft to deliver training workshops to their staff, and has traveled to Asia, Europe, India, the Middle East, and across the U.S. to deliver courses and assist on UX design projects. She has extensive knowledge of modern Windows UX Design, having worked closely with the Windows team to create educational material and deliver UX workshops to key partners globally on behalf of Microsoft. Jennifer works with a wide range of prototyping tools including Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, Blend for Visual Studio, and Balsamiq.