The differing roles of the UX Designer — from by Rosie Allabarton
…different companies expect vastly different things from the same job.


What does it mean to be a UX designer?
Whether you land a job at a startup or a larger corporation, your role as UX designer will be directly involved in the process to make a product useful, usable and delightful for that company’s intended target user group. Whether you are managing a large team of UXers or flying solo, the UX process itself remains the same and in general works in this order:

User Research
User research involves speaking to real users in your target audience about your product. If the product doesn’t exist yet, it’s about speaking to users of similar products and finding out what they want from this kind of platform. If it’s a pre-existing product, you’ll be asking questions about how they feel navigating your current design, their success in reaching their goals, and if they find the information they’re looking for easily and intuitively. A number of methods are usually adopted for this part of the process, including: questionnaires, focus group discussion, task analysis, online surveys, persona creation and user journey map.

During the design phase you’ll be primarily thinking about how your product/service can accommodate how the customer already behaves (as seen during User Research). The design of your product revolves around functionality and usability, rather than colors or pictures (these are established later by a visual designer). Having established during your user research what your users expect from your product or site, what their goals are and how they like to operate a system, it is functionality and usability that will be your focus now. During this phase you will be using the following techniques to design your user’s journey through the site: information architecture, wireframing, prototyping.

Testing allows you to check that the changes you made during the design phase (if redesigning an existing product) stand up to scrutiny. It’s a great way to eliminate problems or user difficulties that were unforeseen in the design phase before getting started on the implementation phase. Testing methods include: usability testing, remote user testing, a/b testing. (Bear in mind that testing can be repeated at any stage in the process, and often is to increase the quality of the design and fix any errors.)

If you’ve not had much experience working with web developers, then it’s important to consider this crucial aspect of the role. During implementation you will be working intimately with developers to reach your end goal for a project. The developers will be working to transform your design ideas into a real, working website; how you approach this relationship will determine the success or failure of your project. Keeping your developers in the loop throughout the process will make this final phase easier for everyone involved; you as the UX designer will have realistic expectations of what the developers can produce (and in what time-frame) and the developers won’t get any nasty shocks at the last minute.

Officially, a UX designer is responsible for this entire process, and its execution. However, larger companies tend to break this role down into a few, smaller roles that focus entirely on one section. We will look at what these roles are in the next section.

What other roles fall under the ‘UX Design’ umbrella?…<read more here>



From DSC:
A UX Designer, ideally, would be one of the people around the table in higher education that’s helping to create excellent learning experiences. How many organizations are using one? Probably not many.  Instead, such duties are most likely being lumped into the role of the Instructional Designer or the Instructional Technologist — or is yet another hat that the faculty member is supposed to be wearing.




Learning Now tv | April 28th programme




The programme this month is action packed so hold on tight. Our hosts Nigel and Kim supported by our global reporters bring you a great programme of all the latest developments, insights and issues.

As usual our LNTV programme starts at 8.00pm UK time but you can join us live at 7.45pm UK time for the pre-programme show with Ady Howes where you can join in the live social stream.

Here is the link for the 28th April programme (no password needed):

In this programme we feature:

  • David James, former CLO at Disney, talks about The Empowered Learner and why it is vital that today’s L&D professionals stay one step ahead if they want to be relevant to the needs of the organisation.
  • Amy Brann talks to Nigel about neuroscience and how we should be focusing on applying neuroscience to enhance engagement.
  • Phil Willcox talks to Lisa about emotion at work and how you can harness that energy to make a difference in the work place.
  • Awards Gold: Growth Engineering took the Gold Award at this year’s Learning Awards for Learning Provider of the Year. Global CEO Juliette Denny explains how the organisation did it and why they are so successful.
  • Europe correspondent Ger Driesen interviews Jos Arets and Vivian Heijnen, two of the authors of the latest book on 702010.
  • Martin Couzins focuses on the PWC research ‘Redefining Success in a Changing World’ in which the respondents were CEOs – and this gives some valuable pointers for every organisation.
  • This month’s Learning Designers item focuses on Tim Hall, MD of Cognify. Here, he provides 3 tips for using gamification in your content.
  • US correspondent Brent Schlenker has been to the South by South West Festival in Austin Texas where he saw – and used – some tech that is on the way – virtual reality, 360 degree video, alternate reality, and robots.
  • Australia correspondent Helen Blunden is again focusing on social learning. This month she travelled to a meeting of ‘The Maker’ community.

Sesame Workshop, IBM launch early-childhood education initiative — from by Todd Spangler


Cookie Monster, Elmo and friends are about to hit a new digital learning curve.

Sesame Workshop, the not-for-profit org that produces “Sesame Street,” and tech giant IBM have entered into a partnership to develop new personalized educational products and platforms for preschool-age kids — with the goal of transforming the ways children learn and teachers teach.

Under the three-year agreement, Sesame Workshop and Big Blue will design interactive educational experiences for use in homes and schools that adapt to the learning preferences and aptitude levels of individual preschoolers.

For now, the organizations are treating the project as an R&D investment. IBM and Sesame Street will deploy engineers, educators and researchers to work side-by-side in classrooms and in their own labs and learning facilities. Later this year, they plan to test and share prototypes with leading teachers, academics, researchers, technologists, gamers, performers and media execs to solicit feedback and brainstorm ways in which cognitive computing can best help preschoolers learn.


From DSC:
This will be an important experiment to watch. If it shows promise, it could help parents, pre-school teachers, and the pre-schoolers themselves. Then, the trajectory could make its way to helping early elementary students, to middle school students, to high school students and beyond.

If successful, this is exactly the sort of thing that I could see as one of the key ingredients in the Learning from the [Class] Room vision. Teachers, parents, coaches, etc. will still be critical. But these type of tools and technologies could be running in the background within a blended learning environment — one that can operate at a distance if need be.


Download 67,000 Historic Maps (in High Resolution) from the Wonderful David Rumsey Map Collection — from, with thanks to Tom D’Amico for his Scoop on this


Stanford University’s been in the news lately, what with expanding its tuition waiver last year and now facing renewed scrutiny over its ultra-low admissions rate. These stories have perhaps overshadowed other Stanford news of a more academic nature: the arrival of the David Rumsey Map Center, which celebrated its grand opening yesterday and continues the festivities today and tomorrow.







The Reentry Education Tool Kit
…offers guidelines, tools, and resources to help education providers implement the  Reentry Education Framework. The Framework promotes the development of an education continuum spanning facility- and community-based reentry education programs. It has five critical components—program infrastructure, strategic partnerships, education services, transition processes, and sustainability.




Also see:




Supporting Second Chances: Education and Employment Strategies for People Returning from Correctional Facilities — from


Jobs for the Future
With more than 2 million people incarcerated on any given day in the United States, and over 700,000 people transitioning out of state and federal correctional facilities each year, there is an urgent need to do more to help reintegrate both youth and adults involved in the criminal justice system back into their communities and become productive members of society. Research indicates that full-time employment is one of the primary predictors of their success. This brief highlights strategies for expanding education and employment pathways and offers specific policy and program priorities to help improve the ability of former inmates to make a smooth transition by connecting them with these pathways. It is part of a series from JFF’s conference Bridging the Gap: Postsecondary Pathways for Underprepared Learners.




Addendum on 4/27/16:

Online Education behind Bars — from by Michelle R. Weise & Julia Lee


In early October in New York, three talented and motivated prison inmates from the Bard Prison Initiative inspired the nation by defeating Harvard University’s debate team on the topic of public education for undocumented students. The inmates’ success served as the perfect punctuation mark for the September 30th deadline for institutions to apply for Pell for Prisoners. This experimental sites project enables prison inmates to obtain federal Pell grants to finance their college education while behind bars.

For the adult prison population, the benefits of a college education, combined with supportive re-entry services, are undeniable. Postsecondary education, in particular, appears to have a more powerful effect in reducing recidivism compared to other levels of education. A 2013 RAND meta-analysis that synthesized the findings of 50 studies on recidivism revealed that a person receiving postsecondary education in prison would be about half as likely to recidivate as someone who does not receive postsecondary education in prison.


Five tips for thinking like a futurist [Kenkel]

Five tips for thinking like a futurist — from by Mary Kenkel — referring to Jane McGonigal’s keynote, “How to Think (and Learn) Like a Futurist”


During SXSWedu, I attended Jane McGonigal’s keynote, “How to Think (and Learn) Like a Futurist.” Jane, who works with the Institute for the Future, shared insight for all the non-futurists in the audience (myself, included). While I work closely with KnowledgeWorks’ strategic foresight team and have read our forecasts for 2020 and 2025, it was incredibly helpful to hear Jane’s introductory lesson.

Watch Jane’s entire keynote or check out “The Future of Learning: Education in the Era of Partners in Code” to consider learning in 2025


15 best tips for young engineers — from


The proverb goes hindsight is 20/20, which essentially means you can make better decisions later on when you have become more knowledgeable about the worldBut wouldn’t it be nice to be able to make good decisions from the outset when you’re still young? The following tips were compiled for young engineers and interestingly, most of these suggestions revolve around lifelong learning. Experienced engineers weighed in and added their voice to help create this top 15 list of the best tips for young engineers.



10 great initiatives that bring girls into STEM — from


It is not a secret that science and engineering professions are occupied mainly by men with only about 20% taken by females. The number of women on executive boards is also extremely low. In order to succeed, both female and male minds are needed for any kind of jobs, especially in science-related industries. Let’s see what initiatives already exist in order to bring more girls and women into STEM!



MakerBot teams up with Future Engineers to support the Star Trek (TM) Replicator Challenge for K-12 students — from


MakerBot is excited to inspire the next generation of astronauts and Starfleet cadets by supporting the Star Trek Replicator Challenge, a 3D printing challenge developed by Future Engineers for the ASME Foundation, NASA and Star Trek. Participants in the challenge must create a digital model of a non-edible, food-related item for astronauts to 3D print in the year 2050. The Star Trek Replicator Challenge is the third in a series of ‘Future Engineers’ challenges aimed to educate students K-12 about 3D printing and engineering design.




Excerpt from the Learning Spaces Collaboratory Roundtable | Spring 2016: Focusing on the Future of Planning Learning Spaces | Boston University

Also see this PDF file.

Driving Questions

  1. How can we promote active learning environments—in classrooms and in teaching labs? What does it take to promote small group peer-to-peer interaction and learning?
  2. How can spaces promote investigative, cross-disciplinary problem-based learning and problem-solving?
  3. What does a ‘technology-rich’ learning environment mean? What are the tools needed in learning spaces to prepare students for increasing technology-dependent careers. How many ways and places can technologies be used in a facility to serve the campus community as well as to support outreach beyond the campus?
  4. In our planning, how can we exploit opportunities for sharing, breaking down departmental silos? How can we maximize the use of flexible or case method classrooms, student study, break-out space, and shared administrative space? Does it work to distribute disciplines throughout the building rather than to cluster them by floor? What needs to be next to what?
  5. How can a goal of increasing lower division student success in STEM disciplines be addressed in the planning process? What does it take to attract students to these fields and motivate them to persist? How do we create a supportive environment conducive to success?
  6. How do our spaces reflect the social nature of learning, the need for collegiality, the unplanned interactions and conversations that shape and nurture communities?


Other Driving Questions

  1. What can the design of the building do to promote a culture of innovation in academic programs?
  2. How will students and faculty interact in this building, and how are team based collaborations supported within and outside of formal instruction times?
  3. How can we design for the future and encourage innovation and new ways of learning?
  4. How do we create an environment of entrepreneurial thinking, with the vibrancy and experimentation atmosphere of the West coast combined with the structure and richness of the Northeast academic history?
  5. How can we create awareness, connections and  encourage collaboration through our architecture?
  6. How do we capture the “Maker” experience of rapidly prototyping ideas in a non-STEM building?
  7. How essential is territorialization in a dynamic, academic environment, and what are the boundaries that should be defined by the
    physical environment?
    Since Bryant has been experimenting with rapidly adaptable learning environments, through recent campus renovations, the AIC project benefited from lessons learned, including:* Maximize clear structural dimensions to facilitate combining adjacent rooms if larger spaces are needed in a few years.
    * Make all tiers in classrooms easily removable to switch to flat floor environments if desired.
    * Maximize writing surfaces throughout the building.
    * Limit the negative impact of technology by creating spaces that encourage low-tech human interaction and promote hands on mapping of strategies and ideas





Other Driving Questions

  1. To enhance the educational experience, specifically for a large student population, what elements need to be considered in planning a learning community?
  2. How have technological advances in the science workplace changed the design of the undergraduate curriculum? How does this reshape space for different types of learning?
  3. How does the need for safety and efficiency drive operations and space planning?
  4. How do we create a welcoming environment and flexible learning spaces? How big is too big?
  5. How do we rigorously and responsibly plan for an unknown future?
  6. To support student success, what elements and adjacencies should an institution/design team consider for an academic building?






4 writing apps to help students conquer the blank page — from by Lani Aquino
When writer’s block strikes, these 4 apps can get students back on track.


Staring at a blank page can be daunting. Add a reluctant writer to the mix, and what should be a great opportunity for personal expression becomes a personal nightmare. These 4 apps will strengthen students’ writing skills and turn written composition from a chore into an engaging learning activity.



6 key apps to develop kids’ reading fluency — from


Below is a collection of some very good iPad apps to use with your kids and young learners to help them develop their reading fluency. The apps provide a wide variety of reading materials that include interactive stories, engaging activities and games, quizzes and many more. And because reading is a composite skill, using these apps will also enable kids  to practice a number of key subskills related to reading including: pronunciation, vocabulary, phonics, word recognition, and spelling. Check them out and share with us your feedback. Enjoy.



Microsoft Announces Minecraft: Education Edition Beta, Release — from


Microsoft has announced beta testing of Minecraft: Education Edition, which is the company’s education-focused suite for Minecraft that integrates tools for teachers and students to help them use the game more effectively in the classroom.

The education-centered offshoot of was first revealed in January of this year. This May, a closed beta of the game will involve more than 100 schools in 30 countries, reports Pradeep of MS Power User. By June, any school will be able to access the Education Edition for free as long as teachers have a fully updated operating system and an Office 365 Education account. Eventually, Microsoft plans to charge $5 per user each year.

Minecraft: Education Edition is specifically tailored to teach the skills that Minecraft cultivates – namely collaboration, navigation, social skills, and empathy.



Cool Tool | Schoold App — from


High school students take note: here’s a cool tool in the form of an app. The free app runs on iOS and Android and just got launched last month pulling almost 5 out of 5 stars after several thousand reviews. For the 20 million college-bound students and 30 million parents, we know you’re drowning in a sea of data scattered all over for the more than 4,000 U.S. colleges and universities. So, Schoold is like Zillow for college hunting – or perhaps for students and universities. It’s a one-stop-shop for everything you need to know, want to know, and have to line up.





15 of the best educational apps for improved reading comprehension — from


Reading comprehension is a matter of decoding, reading speed, and critical thinking about the text, all of which can improve with tiered practice. (See 50 apps for struggling readers.)

So below, in an order of general complexity, are 15 apps for improved reading comprehension, ranging from word and sentence fluency, to recall, to critical thinking skills, to reading speed.

By the nature of reading and literacy progress, most are indeed for K-5 and SLP, but the latter apps, especially Reading Trainer, Compare Twist, and Enchanted Dictionary, can be used through high school in the right context. Let us know on our facebook page what we missed.



The 5 best new 3D tools for April — from by Rob Redman
We select the best new tools for 3D and VFX artists this month.


This time of year can often be a quiet one for those of us working in 3D art and visual effects, with developers gearing up for the events season and new releases being a bit thin on the ground.

However there are a few notable updates and newcomers, so have a read below to see what could help you improve your work or help you be more efficient.




Addendum on 4/25/16:




Projections of Education Statistics to 2023 — from



By William J. Hussar, National Center for Education Statistics
and Tabitha M. Bailey, IHS Global Inc.

This publication provides projections for key education statistics. It includes statistics on enrollment, graduates, teachers, and expenditures in elementary and secondary schools, and enrollment and earned degrees conferred expenditures of degree-granting institutions. For the Nation, the tables, figures, and text contain data on enrollment, teachers, graduates, and expenditures for the past 14 years and projections to the year 2023. For the 50 States and the District of Columbia, the tables, figures, and text contain data on projections of public elementary and secondary enrollment and public high school graduates to the year 2023. In addition, the report includes a methodology section describing models and assumptions used to develop national and state-level projections.



Also see:




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