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InsightSept 29, 2023

Interview with UX design instructor Sveta Fedarava

Sveta Fedarava headshot

Presented by York University School of Continuing Studies

Sveta Fedarava, an instructor at York University School of Continuing Studies shares insights on UX design and their Certificate in User Experience Design program.

Placing a call on your smartphone, clicking the purchase button on an e-commerce site, checking the five-day forecast on your weather app. Every day, we engage in countless simple interactions with products and services we rely on and often we barely notice we are doing it. That’s by design — behind every click or swipe, UX Designers spend hours ideating and designing that interaction to make it as simple and intuitive as possible.

UX design encompasses all aspects of user interactions with companies, their products and services. The goal of UX designers is to make the experience of interacting with products, services or technology simple, enjoyable and intuitive.

Design thinking is a major tool in a UX designer’s toolkit. Could you describe what design thinking means to you? In UX design, design thinking is a philosophy of solving problems for users. The way we deliver value is through learning about something and then improving it for users — it is an iterative approach. It consists of stages where we empathize with our users. We define what the problem is, we ideate, we prototype, we test and then we implement. 

How does a UX Designer empathize with the customer or the user? To deliver something valuable, we need to understand who the product will add value to. We do that by building personas and understanding how users think and how their minds work. This entails mind mapping or creating empathy maps — trying to understand what is meaningful to those individuals or groups. Once we understand who the audience is and what they're struggling with, then the solution becomes evident.

What kind of background do you need to go into this field?For the Certificate in User Experience (UX) Design, we provide foundational knowledge for someone to start from scratch. So, whether you use deisgn tools every day or not at all, the program will allow you to learn all that you need to know. 

You mentioned empathy, but what are some other soft skills that UX designers should have?An important skill that is often overlooked is listening. Active listening is very important in UX design. And you need to be able to understand what people are telling you. Verbal communication doesn't always give us the answers we need. We also have to learn to ask the right questions to lead the conversation in the direction that will help us understand the problem better. 

Another important skill is being able to articulate thoughts and ideas to others. A big chunk of what a UX designer does is presenting and working with other people to achieve the best solution for the digital product. UX designers have to ensure that applications are built according to the specifications that they stipulate.

What are some of the projects that students will work on in the Certificate in (UX) User Experience Design?Students will learn to understand different users, conduct research and surveys, suggest creative solutions, present their ideas and design. 

The York University School of Continuing Studies award-winning program provides a blend of core job skills and soft skills to help you build a successful career in this field. The program is delivered in a part-time, blended format that allows you to upskill or re-skill quickly without disrupting your schedule. In the program, you will engage in experiential projects, produce a portfolio that showcases your UX skill set and develop a strong professional network with your peers. More information here


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