The user experience drives the apps and programs when you use a computer or smartphone. You got into the field because it’s fun to put design elements together in a way that the end user can intuitively grasp. You enjoy making graphics, reading user feedback and implementing needed features, and ultimately creating something that carries your design ethos for thousands, or even millions, of users to experience. But choosing a career path can be difficult with all the job titles in the field. Following are three things you can do with your degree:
Image via Flickr by Peter Morville
Information architects make the user experience better by reading their feedback, anticipating queries, and understanding why the user is looking for the information. The architect then uses this information to create flow for the website. Sometimes this means building a website from the ground up, and at other times it’s improving an existing website to entice users to browse instead of bounce. The architect also needs to identify “dead” material that isn’t drawing attention to itself and improve or remove it from the website entirely.
An architect creates structure for the work they’re creating or improving. In the case of an information architect, it’s working on websites to make the user experience that much better. A user experience design degree is a good fit.
Data is great, but it doesn’t always explain why people do what they do. That’s why user research is an important part of good website design. As a user researcher, you’ll learn people’s motivations who land on the website and what they experience once they get there. You then take the information you’ve collected and turn it into useable data for website design. For example, a user lands on a website looking for item X but finds item A. You determine why this happens when item A is on the website and pass along the information to the design team.
A typical starting salary for a user researcher is around $80k, but you may find yourself moving to a big city to get that big salary. And if you have student loans, you might want to think about refinancing them so you can afford that move more easily.
This position takes the information that comes in from research and architecture and utilizes it via changes in the website design. The designer takes into account what users are saying and changes the complained-about features, adds missing features, and tests how the website interfaces with tablets, smartphones, and personal computers. It’s not exactly a User Experience position, but it’s one that helps create a better flow on the website or app for the end user. And because technology interactions rely on good flow, it can be a satisfying career path.
These are some career paths that work well with a user experience design degree. While it’s not the exact job position you studied for, your degree offers several options that relate to your field of study.