Get Smart Session Two: What Is UX? Why Is it So Important in Design?

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By Zahra Adamjee

Please welcome Brenda Meile, one of our talented speakers for Get Smart: Visually Speaking on October 27. This half-day professional development conference will explore what’s new in visual communications and provide attendees with tools to utilize effective imagery in every aspect of messaging.

As a creative director and UX Strategist at Charity Dynamics, we are excited for her to share her experience with nonprofits, design and web development. In a world where imagery and videos reign supreme, this is a discussion you will not want to miss.

Get to know Brenda by reading our Q&A:

What is your professional background? 

I have been working in the design world for 20 years. I started out making brochures and other printed materials for the Texas Workforce Commission. During my job at the state, I ended up talking my boss into letting me be one of the creative leads for building their first online job bank. After getting nerdy with web design and HTML, I was hooked. I knew online was the world for me!

I moved onto working with a handful of dot-coms in the early 2000’s. It was fun and furious and taught me a lot about analytics, ecommerce, and how to understand your audience’s goals. I became pretty obsessed with understanding what it means to have a good user experience online, but started to feel like I wanted to make a bigger difference in the world.

My prayers were answered when I started working with a company that specialized in nonprofit fundraising software. I started working with some of the world’s greatest nonprofits and was helping them figure out how to make this software platform really work toward reaching their online fundraising goals.

As I grew my knowledge on integration, analytics, web design and usability, I ventured into working with consulting firms that partnered with nonprofits and have been working as a UX strategist in this space for over 10 years. It’s really unbelievable to be able to help these groups accomplish their goals!

What made you decide on a Creative/UX oriented career?

I love seeing great results on the web! All designers know that creating something beautiful is half the battle. If you create a beautiful website that is unusable, it’s pretty much the worst thing in your portfolio. You have to understand what your user needs so you can help them reach their goals. That’s what user experience is all about — making something that delights your user and keeps them coming back for more.

Why is the topic you are offering at the Get Smart session so relevant today?

We’ve all experienced a time when a website, application or product just doesn’t work the way we expected. We’re left frustrated because, as a user, we couldn’t accomplish our goals. When we pay attention to our users and plan for the experience we want them to have, we avoid a BAD user experience. Understanding how to plan for a great user experience should be an important first step of any project on anyone’s agenda!

What are three takeaways you would like attendees to learn at your session?

  1. What is UX and why is it so important?
  2. The building blocks of successful UX
  3. Ways to listen to your users to continue to build on a great UX.
About Jennifer Van Gilder

A marketing research and health communications professional passionate about doing work that changes lives for the better. Adept team leader able to develop and execute integrated, multichannel public awareness campaigns and community-based solutions.

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