Five Questions for: John Walker, UX Professional

Ever looked at a magazine's masthead and wondered just what do all those job titles actually mean? What does a photo producer actually do? Does a deputy art director get a shiny badge? And why are some people creative directors and others design directors? 
  
Our blog series "Five Questions for..."  is here to help answer those questions and give you insight into working in the world of publication design. Is there a particular job that you want to know more about? Email  us at spdstudentoutreach@gmail.com and we'll find an expert who does it. They'll give you their take, and then it's up to you to put their advice to work. Read on to find out what being a UX Professional is like for John Walker.


 
The Pro's Work

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About the Pro

 
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John Walker
UX Professional
 
Clients: AMEX, NBCUniversal, Hewlett Packard, and others
Education: University of CA at Santa Cruz, BA in Comparative Literature 
Twitter: @JohnWalkerUX 



1. Imagine you're talking to someone who has never heard of your job. How would you describe it to them?
My focus is user experience: I strive to define and design great experiences for users of websites and apps. My work is wide-ranging, from planning information architecture (what goes where and why on a website), to defining the user experience (who will do what, where and why will they do it), to designing an easy-to-use yet elegant user interface (how will they learn to use the site, why will they want to return and use it again). I've worked on iPad/iPhone magazines and apps, standard and responsive websites, mobile websites, CMS interfaces and eCommerce sites.

2. What about your job makes you love it?
I love the architecture side of things: organizing many elements into a logical, coherent, consistent whole. But, I also love the more human side: What makes someone enjoy using something and want to use it again? And, what makes it pleasing to the eye? It's a logical and psychological puzzle! 

3. What do you think of as your big break, career wise?
In UX terms, working on Popular Mechanics' monthly iPad and Android editions. In graphic design terms, working at Entertainment Weekly
4. What is your biggest professional mistake or regret?
I don't know if it's a mistake necessarily, but maybe I have stayed too long at some of my jobs. You get to love your coworkers and work, and stay even when you're not developing new skills or gaining new experiences. 

5. What advice or parting words do you have for anyone who wants to do what you do?
You define where you want to go in your career. You have to be proactive, you have to keep learning and developing new skills with an eye towards what you want to do in your next job. Practice those new skills, for yourself at first. Give yourself assignments for your portfolio. Network with other professionals through MeetUps, etc. When you're confident in your new skills, go out and sell yourself! 


Is there a particular job that you want to know more about? Email us at spdstudentoutreach@gmail.com and we'll find an expert who does it. They'll give you their take, and then it's up to you to put their advice to work. 

"Five Questions for..." is edited by Joseph Caserto
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