Jasmine Giving a Usability Test

Reflections of a UX Design Fellow: How I Grew as a Professional at DEI

Jasmine Hentschel, DIG UX Design Fellow Alumni
@JasmineShuree

UX researchWorking with the Digital Innovation Greenhouse (DIG) provided a very fitting way to wrap up my eight years in Ann Arbor. Having completed both my undergraduate and Master’s degrees as well as some full-time work for the university, I felt well-positioned to leverage my in-depth knowledge of the campus community as a User Experience (UX) Design Fellow.

With DIG, I gained experience working on several large-scale education technologies for use in a variety of settings on campus. My methods ranged from paper prototyping, wireframing, and icon design to interviews, focus groups, usability testing, and beyond. Being the first UX person at DIG, I was given freedom to tackle problems in a myriad of ways. I completed some projects using techniques I have significant experience with, but was also at liberty to challenge myself and use less familiar techniques when they were appropriate. At first it was difficult being the only UX professional in the organization, but I quickly grew into an outspoken advocate for and committed teacher of my methods. By introducing different ways to solve problems and innovate, I got people thinking and talking about new approaches for designing great products and also reflected deeply on their importance in my own work.

Results of a Wireframing session.

Results from a Wireframing session.

DIG provided me with several avenues for growth as a professional and an academic. I was constantly challenged to justify my approaches to people unfamiliar with best practices in UX, which helped me develop confidence and versatility as both a designer and researcher. Finding ways to communicate my and my colleagues’ ideas visually was very thrilling; it’s always motivating to watch people see thoughts and ideas come to life through design. Perhaps the best part of my summer at DIG was getting to interact with the greater U-M community. I’m always enthusiastic about getting out into the field and communicating directly with current or potential users, so having such a vast array of connections across campus through other members of DEI was immensely helpful for user research.

Jasmine presenting to DEI at the end of her fellowship.

Jasmine presenting to DEI at the end of her fellowship.

I’m grateful to have spent the summer surrounded by so many professionals knowledgeable about EdTech and the rapidly evolving higher education sphere. Many people in the office acted as mentors and often shared their invaluable experiences and expertise. I’m eager to continue following the work of DEI as I move on to other professional endeavors, and can’t wait to see the wonderful ways they continue to engage the campus community in the coming years and months.

 

The Digital Innovation Greenhouse within DEI is seeking a User Experience Designer. For additional information and/or to apply, please visit this job description.