I wanted to take a moment to share the events over the last month that had me dive head first into part of my industry that I had very limited experience in. It began with a request from an old employer to help his wife learn how to use Photoshop. I was stoked and agreed immediately, and was offered compensation for my time especially since I was willing to make it happen the same day. Once work was over for the day I hopped in the car and made my way north to pursue a unique teaching opportunity. Shortly after arriving and learning more about what she needed to accomplish in Photoshop we quickly changed course.
What she needed was to learn Photoshop because her employer wanted to make functional app prototypes using Invision (I believe they were only making wire frames and extremely simple mock-ups with another app such as Balsamiq). I was extremely excited to show her all of the power you could harness within Photoshop to create beautiful UI but we had our work cut out for sure. I had to start from the basics, here are your layers and masks, this is where you add effects or filters, make sure you are practicing non-destructive editing, let’s duplicate these art boards etc. Well, within the first hour of me zipping around making changes and using keyboard shortcuts to accomplish simple tasks, we came to the conclusion that I could probably just assist her in creating these designs in a much quicker fashion than her learning Photoshop in one night. Because of course there was a tight deadline looming over her and the pressure to produce a quality interface with 2 brand new programs for her, Invision and Photoshop.
If you haven’t guessed where this is going yet, it blossomed into some of the best and most consistent freelance opportunities I have ever had the pleasure in partaking in. I had such minimal experience in UX/UI but this was the catalyst I needed. I dove into it so fast, started learning the trends and programs and tried to deliver the best product I could in the fastest amount of time possible. It’s hard to even describe how far I have made it in just ONE month of designing user interfaces. I absolutely know that I still have a long way to go, but that is what I love about this creative industry, you are never done learning. You have to accept that this is a constantly changing field evolving with design trends and technology.
By far my favorite part of this process was learning on the fly. I was listening to live streams at work, watching tutorials, you name it. Almost immediately after I completed the second app for my now client, Adobe released Xd for windows. It has completely transformed how I create my prototypes and is so efficient at what it does. It was like the missing piece of our pipeline puzzle was placed for us and now our workflow is so seamless!! As a designer, my entire workflow is in Adobe products, so even though I always hear of new applications and trends in other programs that start to catch on, the cohesive synchronization of their applications is unparalleled. The libraries of assets that I have customized for each project follow me to every program, it saves me so much time.
So back to reality and I am gaining some nice new experience in UX/UI which is remarkably popular here in San Diego. Just a couple weeks after all of this starts and now my day job as a web developer is trying to make their decision on what prototyping application we are going to adopt for our clients, and I was able to make a very convincing case for Xd here. I sincerely hope we decide to go with it, I have definitely become a loyal fan in just a few weeks. There isn’t necessarily a moral to this story, but I absolutely love the fact that this one opportunity took on a mind of its own and has been beneficial in every aspect of my life. Stay inspired friends, your passion will take you places!