As both a filmmaker and as an UX Designer, I want to bring you an immersive experience to my story. To do this I have recently joined the Springboard UX Training Course to get a more formal education in UX Design and hope to join the Toptal UX designers community to gain more exposure to innovative design projects and gain more experience working in UX Design.
Even though less formal, I have a lot of UX experience already. One of my first experiences was at the age of 16, about the time the internet was starting. I was a formative member of a start-up and became very interested in user experience. I was part of a team designing one of the first online job boards and through company goals, trial and error, technological limitations, and feedback, we created the most popular job board for healthcare, HospitalJobsOnline.com. I had to think about things like: if I’m looking for a job, where would I go once I found the website? Thus, the term, “Job Seeker” was coined. We used it to direct the user on how to apply for a job. A month later, Monster.com was also using the term.
I went on to getting a B.A. in Film and Digital Media and was interested in bringing video to the internet. Shortly after graduating from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 2001, YouTube came out and something called “internet radio” was happening. I decided to enroll in Directing classes at Vancouver Film school to network and get more hands-on film set experience, and I went back to working for the job board. This time at the job board, the focus was keeping users on the job board. Content was needed. Thus, Nurse Tallk Radio was born.
As a young producer, I was using my directing skills for not a visual medium, but for nurse themed podcasts. My focus became researching health and wellness trends, lining up guests and hosts, giving leads for sponsors to our sales team, sending out questionnaires, fielding calls, editing shows, composing music, and interviewing a variety of interesting people on my show. I produced shows featuring Hollywood nurses, healthcare directors, educators, and healthcare military personal from all over the country. The early recordings took place in my basement studio through the five phone lines piped in through my wall and interfaced through two Telos Ones controlled by a switch board I wired myself, a mixer and recorded on my Apple computer. The internet was so slow back then, I would drive to the nearest Starbucks with my computer and upload the shows that I edited to the internet.
With podcasting experience, I moved on to working for LensWork Publishing. When I started at LensWork, they were primarily a black-and-white photography magazine with a very clunky website. My first tasks were to edit the daily podcasts, redesign the website and introduce a new product: LensWork Extended. The podcasts and website were tasks I was all too familiar with, but LensWork Extended was another beast all together. I was both designer of LensWork Extended and tech support. This was a great experience with UX as if someone had a problem using our product, they would call me. I’d help them and change the design when I could. Some changes were technical bugs, but when it came down to it I tried to accommodate a variety of user experiences.
Filmmaking on the back burner boiled over and resulted in me taking some time off and creating the series Sounds of Freedom.
After taking 3 years off and spending a lot of money, I started at Skagit Publishing as a graphic designer in advertising and quickly moved to be part of the digital media department which makes up the Skagit Connext team. I do a variety of tasks from programmatic advertising to layout for publications, but overall, we design websites. Hopefully by gaining more formal education through Springboard in UX Design and working as a freelancer on UX projects, I’ll be able to bring more to our design wheelhouse at Skagit Connext.
With my passion for filmmaking and with this UX focus, I believe it has all lead me on the right path to be an user experience filmmaker. What is a UX Filmmaker? Check out future blog posts to find out and as my journey with UX continues. And look for changes to this website soon as I plan on marketing the debut of Sounds of Freedom soon!