UX Workshop at Venture for America 2021
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As part of our commitment to sharing graphic design, web design and UX skills with community organziations, we have presented a UX design principles workshop to fellows at Venture for America (VFA) for the past six years. The VFA fellows learn the principles behind creating great websites and also gain 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
Jennifer Smith is a user experience designer, educator and author based in Boston. She has worked in the field of user experience design for more than 15 years.She has designed websites, ecommerce sites, apps, and embedded systems. Jennifer designs solutions for mobile, desktop, and iOT devices.
Jennifer delivers UX training and UX consulting for large Fortune 100 companies, small start-ups, and independent software vendors.She has served as a Designer in Residence at Microsoft, assisting third-party app developers to improve their design solutions and create successful user experiences. 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 UX Design, and worked closely with major tech companies to create educational material and deliver UX workshops to key partners globally. Jennifer works with a wide range of prototyping tools including XD, Sketch, Balsamiq, Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Blend for Visual Studio. She also works extensively in the fields of presentation design and visual design.
Jennifer is also 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 holds the CPUX-F certification from the User Experience Qualification Board and assists others in attaining this designation in leading a UX certification course at American Graphics Institute. She is a candidate for a Master’s degree in Human Factors in Information Design.