Part 2 Of A 2 Part Series…

A little about myself…

If it’s your first time reading my Medium, check out my part 1 story, “From DACA to UX Dreamer.. How One Uber Ride Changed My Life”

I am the recipient of the Ironhack Uber scholarship which has helped me to become a UX Designer, at 8base. Ever since I was little, design has always helped shape my life.

Exposure to the arts and design

I remember the first time I was exposed to the work of Zaha Hadid & Patrik Schumacher. In 2005, my brother Mansur took me to see an installation that was larger than life with couches that looked like spaceships. All of these forms were new to me and seemed to be right out of a science fiction movie. I was fascinated!

Zaha Hadid , Elastika 2005–2014 at the Moore Building in Miami’s Design District

As a kid, I developed a passion for 3 things: design, history, and sports. I told myself I was going to either become a designer, an archeologist, or a professional rugby player and I knew to make a choice was going to be a difficult decision, but luckily…

I didn’t have to make that choice, life made it for me

Enter Architecture

One thing led to another and I decided to pursue a career in architecture, something that had lingered in my mind since I was a child. I felt as if everything in life had prepared me for this.

Architecture project, Site: West end of Lincoln Road w/ 1111 Building
Architecture project, Site: Porto School of Architecture

Truly, I felt that through a career in architecture I would be helping change the world!!! I didn’t go into architecture for fame or money, (which, as everyone in the field told me anyways, was nonexistent). I chose architecture because I felt that through architectural design I’d be able to help people recover from catastrophic events, create sustainable living all over the world, and enjoy pleasant experiences that a well-designed space can bring.

Enter Ironhack

While I was accepted into FIU’s Accelerated Masters in Architecture program, I had to put my degree on hold to help provide for my family. After working multiple jobs at a time, I discovered Ironhack. Ironhack is a globally ranked coding boot camp that allowed me to become a UX developer in 9 weeks! Thanks to their partnership with Uber, I was able to win a full-time Scholarship that covered my tuition. Once I was accepted, I dedicated every single day, to truly understand UX/UI Design. The more I learned about UX/UI, there more it resonated with me. Coming from a design background through architecture I understood the connection.

“The disciplines of interaction design and architecture share a number of common traits — such as a focus on solving problems for people and encouraging people to interact with products and environments in new and exciting ways — and each discipline can learn much from the other. ” — Rahul Sen, Product Designer”

The Architectural Connection

User experience shares many parallels with architecture. The design process that UX designers follow is virtually the same as architects.

In order to start designing as a UX designer, you need to first empathize. By conducting user research through surveys and interviews you can gather quantitative and qualitative data that will help you define the pain points of the user you are designing for. In architecture, you have to do the same. Before you can begin sketching, creating , sections, and 3d models, you first need to understand who you are designing for, what the purpose is behind your design, and if it meets the needs of the user.

Photo of me synthesizing my research data through affinity diagramming

As an architect and a digital architect (UX/UI Designer), your designs undergo an iterative process in which you are constantly making changes based on feedback that you receive from users, stakeholders, and other members of the team.

Mid-Fidelity Wireframe of my second project, Basal.

Seldom do your initial concept sketches, and high-fidelity prototypes end up looking exactly the same. Through user testing, you find out so much about how you can improve your design and truly create a pleasant user experience.

High-Fidelity mockup of my second project, Basal.

Through an education in architecture, you are exposed to the principles of design such as axis, symmetry, hierarchy, rhythm, datum, and transformation. These principles are not only utilized within spatial design but in interface design as well, allowing you to create a delightful experience. Alongside with creating a delightful experience you need to create a product that is usable and accessible.

In interface design, you need to consider usability heuristics and accessibility guidelines that parallel ADA compliance, life safety, and wayfinding in architecture.

The transition from architecture to UX/UI comes easy. In the end, as you learn more about UX/UI, you will begin to realize that you have been doing UX the whole time! More and more architects are making the switch from Architecture to UX, and they are bringing a fresh and innovative approach to the practice. Everyday businesses are transforming digitally and technologies such as VR/AR are in need of UX/UI designers with the capabilities to think in 3D. The skills that you obtain as an architect are to be embraced and will help you stand out in the crowd of UX/UI designers.

If you’re interested in hearing more, I am speaking at Venture Cafe on 9/27. “Intro to UX for architects”. RSVP Below and I can’t wait to meet you!

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