In August 2020, I completed the Harness Projects Career Launcher UX course. I'm now working as a Service & Interaction Designer at Accenture, a role I landed in the last weeks of my course!
My experience completing the UX Fundamentals project with our client Communiteer was certainly challenging, but my final presentation was well-received by the client. My mentor was fantastic in supporting me throughout the journey, as it was my first time doing UX work with a professional client, and so she helped us ease into the workload and guided us every step of the way.
I learned the basics of ideation, conducting effective research, wireframing and then ultimately building a clickable prototype via InVision. It was a great introduction into the wonderful world of UX design, and gave me great insight on the various steps involved to develop a professional outcome.
This project was a lot of fun, with a large emphasis around conducting effective user research. My mentor Andrew Doherty was a fun, quirky and eccentric guy who made this project exciting and intriguing to complete. I learned how important user research is in the design process and how vital it is to gain as much information and understanding around the problem you are looking to solve.
Our client ‘The Swag’ were incredibly impressed with my final research report, as I had done a complete audit of their current mobile and web design layouts and proposed a creative UX-focused marketing strategy backed by Google data analytics and a number of usability tests I had conducted to help turn their product into a global brand.
Project 3 was by far my favourite, as we received the opportunity to engage in some intense prototyping with Figma. Our client was IKEA who we were designing a creative means of implementing their online furniture rental store to small and medium-sized businesses during the peak of the pandemic.
Using Figma, I designed a mobile site version of IKEA’s furniture rental store, with added social media functionality to allow users to share their purchases with other customers via Facebook and Instagram. My mentor Matt Webb was the ultimate Figma guru and provided us with expert guidance with great tips and tricks on how to really make the most of using this program.
Upon completing the course, I worked hard at doing a complete makeover of my professional online presence. I redid my resume and added in my newly gained experiences and technical skills. I also had a Behance profile which I edited and curated to fit in the design projects I had completed during the course. I was then fortunate enough to land a graduate service and interaction designer role with Fjord (Accenture) just a couple of weeks out from graduating from Harness Projects. The talent management at Accenture were impressed with my folio of work that I had completed at Harness Projects and this put me in a great position to kickstart my professional career in UX and product design.
My interest in UX design came to me by accident. Prior to studying UX design, I had completed my undergraduate degree in Product Design Engineering at Swinburne University. As I was looking for jobs and grad roles in this field, I found that the most common jobs that came up when I typed those keywords were for digital-based product designers and UX designers. This then sent me down a rabbit-hole of learning about this industry which generated a genuine curiosity and deep creative interest in wanting to know more. Coming from an artistic design background, albeit in engineering, it was then fairly easy to make the switch from designing physical products to digital ones as the fundamental skills in both industries were transferrable for me.
I had a highly positive and excellent experience overall. My knowledge, skills and expertise in the UX industry increased exponentially upon completing the Career Launcher course and I’m super grateful to all the wonderful mentors and teachers that Harness Projects introduced us to who guided us every step of the way. I liked how each project focused on a different aspect of UX design to really finetune our skills to turn us into professionals in this field.
My skills improved immensely over the course of each of these three projects, primarily on a technical and research level. Because I already had gained experience in product design engineering, understanding the design process, be it via the agile or waterfall methodologies, came as relatively second nature to me and only required a minor adjustment to adhere to UX design principles. Where my skills improved the most was in learning Figma and implementing proper usability testing sessions in the research phase of a project. These were completely new skills to me at the time and I am grateful to receive the practice and guidance to develop them fully.
Plenty! Because we were completing this course completely online, it came with its own unique set of technology-based challenges which were tricky to navigate. We were also studying when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak, and being a Melbournian being restricted heavily in lockdown, maintaining my positivity, enthusiasm and drive to keep studying was tough at times as it felt like the environment around me was looking bleak. These challenges helped me grow as a designer by making sure I maintained my discipline and willingness to excel despite what my circumstances were, which is an important soft skill to have in any professional industry.
I would describe the Harness Projects experience as fun, yet serious and focused. If you’re truly committed and want to make the career change into UX design, then this course will put you on that path. Each of the projects provides you a comprehensive and holistic education towards understanding what the UX design industry is all about whilst equipping you with the necessary soft and technical skills needed to excel in this profession. Harness Projects’ practical approach to learning is a gamechanger, as it means that when you graduate you have real-world projects to show in job interviews, making you a significantly attractive hire for the company you’re applying for.
Follow Nuwan’s footsteps and check out our Career Launcher UX Course.