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UX Workshop at Venture for America

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› UX Workshop at Venture for America
  • Published on June 23, 2015

Yesterday we had a chance to present a UX design principles workshop to the 2015 fellows with Venture for America, or VFA. The fellows learned the principles behind creating great websites and apps, and also gained an appreciation for the entire user experience design process that is put into any product.

VFA takes recent college graduates from around the country and match them with start-ups in many economically challenged cities, but first they are put through a multi-week training camp. This group of graduates who will be joining the start-ups are known as the fellows. As part of the training they learn a variety of skills to help them succeed in their first roles, and learning UX is one of those essential skills. The startups they eventually join get new employees that are well-trained, highly educated and talented. These are new employees that these firms might not have otherwise been able to locate or recruit, but are able to do so with the help of VFA. Building a start-up is difficult, and it’s even more challenging in cities outside cities that might not have a reputation for innovation. Venture for America helps place talented new graduates into startups in cities such as Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore, and New Orleans. As these companies grow and prosper, the entire community and local economy are elevated along with them.

The Venture for America program provides additional training beyond the UX workshop that we’re involved with delivering. VFA fellows learn technical skills and financial management skills, making their training camp a mini-MBA and code camp all wrapped up into a summer program. While teaching user experience to the fellows they have the opportunity to work on their own projects and participate in exercises for organizing and structuring their work. They learn first-hand that UX isn’t just for designers, and it involves many decisions that may have a direct impact on the businesses they will be joining. Judging from their work, this years’ group of VFA fellows will use their UX training and other new skills to help their new companies to succeed as they join them following the training camp. You can learn more about the UX training courses that were used as the foundation for the training workshops at VFA.

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.