There's an increasingly smaller gap these days between the roles of designers working concerned with the physical world (i.e. industrial designers) and those completely enveloped in the digital (UX designers)—not only that, it's starting to feel especially important for industrial designers to become more familiar with virtual environments to help bolster their own work—whether that involves the integration of some digital hardware or the aid of rendering software in the fabrication of a physical object. So naturally, industrial designers are becoming evermore curious about the role of UX designers and how they can learn more about the field to benefit their work, just as a discussion board member brought up on Core77 the other day. User Darren_Hough writes:
"These days [as a designer], I do a lot of concept work, rendering, structural work, working with manufacturing, etc., heavy on creativity but in a different direction. It's good work but it's fairly niche, meanwhile every job search for ID people brings in a dozen interface positions that seem to be pretty lucrative. I'm well versed in human centered design/research methods (I have a master's in ID), etc. and I can absolutely make things look great, but I'm a little unsure how to get going in a tangential design field again. I could take some courses at General Assembly or somewhere similar, but looking at the course offerings it looks like it's all things I'm already familiar with. Could anyone more experienced than me advise me as to logical next steps to make this happen? Thanks!"
Given UX is only a relatively new subject in academia, it's interesting to ask different people how they eased into the area of UX Design and their previous experiences that led them up their current role. Within the discussion board, user Cyberdemon (who successfully moved from an ID to a UX role at his company) brought up a few interesting points to keep in mind when learning more about UX design.
Learn about the different roles UX designers can fulfill
"Interaction design like ID has a lot of smaller niches and learning about them and experimenting may try to decide where you want to focus. Similar to how ID has skills in sketching, CAD, model making, user research, etc - the Interaction field requires an understanding of information architecture, wire framing, interaction design, prototyping, visual design, development. You ideally want to be very strong in one or two areas with a basic understanding of the other skills, at least enough to drum up a portfolio. (You don't need to be a killer visual designer to do UX, and if you are a killer visual designer you probably don't need to be a wizard at coding or prototyping)."- Cyberdemon
Don't fret if you don't have an academic background in UX
"As a fair warning for someone who hires, I cringe a little bit when I see General Assembly courses on the resume, not because they are "Bad" per se, but many people take a GA course and assume they're ready to go. Since you have an actual design background, I think you will probably understand the importance of a portfolio, how you present your work and process much more then the average biz school grad who wants a career change. You can look into it and see if it seems like it's for you since I assume with one Master's you're not looking for another." - CD
Try it out
"One benefit with building web sites or apps is the barrier to entry is very low. Consider starting your own pet project to learn some of the basics (iOS or Web is a good place to start vs Android). Even if you make something crappy, just making it you will learn a ton. There are tons of online courses, youtube videos, Lydia.com courses etc that have intros to HTML/design that you could watch through in your spare time to get a sense of the skills.
Once you get the basic understanding of how to build something, you can then use your design skills to understand how to test it, improve things, and really start to understand interaction patterns for existing apps. A lot of good UX is about applying the correct patterns where appropriate (an architect doesn't redesign a doorknob for every door they install) and where to make things unique to solve a problem that might not have been solved yet."- CD
Have you taken the leap from ID to UX? If so, what did you do to make yourself more familiar with the field? Share your advice with fellow designers in the comment feed below or on the original discussion board!