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UX Workshop at Venture for America 2021

  • Published on July 2, 2021
UX Workshop at Venture for America

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

Christopher Smith is president of American Graphics Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the publisher and editor of the Digital Classroom book series, which have sold more than one million copies. At American Graphics Institute, he provides strategic technology consulting to marketing professionals, publishers and to large technology companies including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and HP. An expert on web analytics and digital marketing, he delivers Google Analytics classes along with workshops on digital marketing topics. He is also the author of more than 10 books on electronic publishing tools and technologies, including the Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies. Christopher did his undergraduate studies the at the University of Minnesota, and then worked for Quark, Inc. prior to joining American Graphics Institute where he has worked for 20 years.