User Experience Design Masters – Kent State University

Jan 2019 – Dec 2020

User experience design as a discipline is concerned with all the elements that together make up that interface, including layout, visual design, text, brand, sound, and interaction. User experience design works to coordinate these elements to allow for the best possible interaction by users. (Source: User Experience Professionals Association, Usability Body of Knowledge, Glossary)

Why User Experience

  • In the last five years there has been an explosion of interest in design thinking, across industries and verticals. There is no better place to learn about the design thinking model and to learn about its application than from UX practitioners.
  • The most forgotten P of the 4 P’s of Marketing is product. Since I’ve been a business professional, so-called “marketers” have almost solely focused on the promotional aspect of marketing. Product development, whether it be new products or improved products, relies on design thinking and ux principles to ensure the right product is made the right way. Then savvy marketers can confirm product viability by researching market opportunity. Marketers left alone cannot reliably create products that people really need.
  • For a decade now I’ve watched bad marketers try to implement UX tools and language without really understanding it. I’ve been guilty of it as well. In order to better understand and create effective customer journeys and personas you have to put in actual legwork to research the audience and understand their needs and habits, not merely demographics and user-flows. UX principles will make me a better marketer.
  • Finally, the marketing world is starting to realize that customer experience (CX) is the new hot buzzword. More than likely, the same people that messed up customer journeys and personas will try to tackle CX too. I didn’t want to be one of those marketers. With a foundation in UX Design, I understand:
    • the different kinds of research available and necessary tools to help assess user needs and success in any environment during different stages of the product lifecycle
    • the basics of cognitive psychology, and how and why humans think and act the way we do
    • the intricate balance of visual design that is aesthetically pleasing and usable design that promotes findability and usability
    • the depth of digital properties and the necessity of creating thoughtful information architecture that promotes content accessibility, scalability, and portability
    • and more…

Why Kent State

  • I’ve had a couple of colleagues that attended both on-site and online at Kent State and both had good things to say about both the school, and the online UX Masters program
  • The UX Masters program, as you will see via the course list below, is quite robust. It explores all of the things that someone who only works on the periphery of UX needs to know to be an effective UXer; design thinking, design principles, research, interaction design, usability, information architecture, ux leadership, etc. For me personally, this was far more valuable than a boot-camp or certificate.
  • Finally, the program is held online only with no set meet times. For a busy parent with a full time job, being able to study and complete work at my discretion was critical. This program afforded me that.

Course List

  • UXD Principles and Concepts
  • UXD in Practice
  • Researching User Experience
  • Research User Experience II
  • Principles of Interaction
  • Interaction in Practice
  • Information Architecture
  • Information Architecture II
  • Usability
  • Usability II (Uncredited Self-Study | I asked for the material and studied on my own because the course was out of cycle during my tenure.)
  • Accessibility Evaluation & Universal Design
  • Portfolio Development and Design