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I am a UX Designer

The question that is commonly asked in high school: “What do you want to be when you get older?” I never had a problem answering this question, my answer was to be a User Experience Designer. Early on I discovered Project Lead the Way (PLTW). Eager for knowledge, I took as many PLTW classes that had an engineering emphasis that were available. This lead to experience in Microsoft Suites, Mulitisim, Autodesk Revit and Inventor, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, CAD animation, civil engineering principles, and digital electronics. Yet, my passion for the deeper purpose wasn’t being met. This lead to the discovery of User Experience.

            My ultimate goal is to make an impact on a user’s everyday life. User Experience will allow me to do this by combining my love for consumer/product relationships and user empathy. My passion started at a young age with my annual summer visit to my grandparent’s farm. Thinking about the experience at my grandparents, I once described it as:  

“The human side of things usually gets overlooked when products are being made. In a small town, like my grandparents, the sense of community is unreal. For example, high schoolers would just load groceries for senior citizens, without being asked. This would never happen in a busy city. This reminds me of user experience, in fact. When you are a part of a project, and work for the user’s benefit, instead of overlooking the end-user, you help them ‘load their groceries’.”

The trips to my grandparents helped develop my passion for being actively engaged with others. This could be seen through my high school and college career when I aided teachers, took leadership positions, and sought out new opportunities. A key example is in my tech class, which built the sets for the annual plays. I also lead a team in analysis of the most efficient plan, design, and cost-effective materials for a picnic table for a local church. I took any opportunity that came my way. One of which included taking college-level classes during my senior year in high school. These provided valuable soft skills, such as communication, cooperation, empathy, presentation, and being an active listener. My involvement didn’t just stop within my high school, though. I was actively involved in the community also.

            Fishers, Indiana is an ever-growing community. To help support the world around me, I got involved with the Hamilton Humane Society, Ronald McDonald House, and the Adaptive Winter Formal. Even with a busy schedule, I found time to play with my dogs, read a book, or play a game of scrabble with my Mom.

            Near the end of my senior year, I was admitted to Purdue University, where I am currently working towards a Bachelor's in User Experience, with psychology and communication minors, along with certificates in leadership and entrepreneurship. Continuing my passion for consumer/product relationships I obtained in high school, I received the privilege of presenting my Tech120 group's solution to personalized learning, to the Polytechnic school. Some of my other achievements include being an active board member on the UX club, along with holding a UX job at the Envision Center.

            My ultimate goal is to make an impact on the user’s everyday life, and there is no doubt I will. If you want to get in contact with me, I can be reached through the following email: sharpe12@purdue.edu.

My Favorite Quotes

The Toothbrush Test: To build experiences that users use twice a day, every day to make some meaningful differences in their lives.

Google

My Design Philosophy

My Vision

I remember trying to peek over the edge of our dining room table, trying to get a glance at my mother as she wrote out checks when I was little. Watching as she carefully wrote out the amount and then rapidly scribble in her calligraphy signature.

 

Design to me is like writing with a pen. I have been given all this knowledge, or ink, and have all the resources to design. Yet the decisions to scribble or to carefully fill out the check is up to the designer. Depending on the situation and what project you are currently facing, each check would be different. Sometimes you have to put caution to the wind, and test on the spot to get the raw hard feedback, thus getting dirty splotches all over the check. Other times you want to take your time developing ideas and have beautiful cursive so it is elegant for people to read.

 

No matter the metaphor, designing, to me, is taking a less desirable state of a product or service and using creative problem solving and methods to make it a more desirable state. The desirable and non-desirable states will differ from project to project, as defined by clients, users and other stakeholders. As designers, the responsibility is on us to take all these things into consideration and depict the desired requirements and present an efficient and creative solution.

 

Thus, never having the exact same check or pen markings.

My ultimate goal is to make an impact on the user’s everyday life, even if this is by a simple thing, like a click of a button.

Google has a Design Anecdote, that sums this up nicely, it is.

"The Toothbrush Test: To build experiences that users use twice a day, every day to make some meaningful differences in their lives."