Case study

Web/UX designer — Alex Lee

Alex studied Interactive Media Production at Bournemouth University. He now works as a web designer for digital marketing agency Impression

How did you get your job?

I had my eye on Impression and was keeping up to date with available positions on a weekly basis. I've adopted this approach before, by using Twitter lists as a way to keep track of what my preferred companies are up to. It keeps me informed of their jobs and company culture.

What's a typical day like?

A normal day consists of a team discussion in the morning, followed by a number of tasks to complete, normally ranging across multiple clients. My responsibilities range from design to development, so I could be designing a website in the morning, and fixing a bug on a live site in the afternoon.

Based on the difficulty of the tasks, I could find myself working on a single task for the day, or several.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I like switching between design and development on a regular basis. Having an insight into both allows me to discover how to better understand the difficulties between the two, and figure out the best way to negate them.

Variety is also a massive benefit. I could be designing an app for a client and then suddenly have to jump onto a law firms website request, all that rolled into a friendly atmosphere helps keep a fast-paced and fun job going.

What are the challenges?

Having multiple clients with different agendas is sometimes stressful, as keeping yourself well informed on all the details can become tricky. You could get lost in one task, and find yourself trying to re-educate yourself on something else at the same time.

In what way is your degree relevant?

My degree involved coursework and practical assignments, enabling me to learn how to code and design, and use these skills straight away when going into my first role. The degree outline was very much structured to deal with real world situations as close as possible, such as designing and building a website from scratch.

How has your role developed?

I come from a more design-focused background, and wasn't too familiar with code until I got my first role. I have developed an understanding for code, which has in turn helped me secure other roles.

Once I became familiar with code and design, I started to look into the combination of the two in more detail, and think about the bigger picture - designing something isn't enough, it needs to work well. This thought process has led me down the user experience (UX) route, using what I know from previous roles to create an improved experience for the user and consider things like CRO and usability.

I am hoping this will enable me to expand my understanding of design and the web in general, and help me grow as an individual and as a vital part of a successful web team.

How do I get into web design?

The best advice I can give is to pursue a job in something that you are curious about. The drive to understand how something works or to learn more about it is going to help you develop at a much faster rate.

For web or design, I think it's important to promote your own work, even if it is just a blog or portfolio. Potential employers want to see what your interests are, and that engagement is a talking point going forward. If you're struggling for ideas, find something you think needs improving and give it a go. I remember my first interview for a web design role - we spent ten minutes speaking about a concept I put online for the IMDB website.

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