"I work on a great team with three other people, collaborating closely with our creative and development teams to create unique user experiences for our clients."
Q: Where are you at now? What is your title?
A: I am currently working at an advertising agency in London, England called iris. My title is User Experience Designer; I work on a great team with three other people, collaborating closely with our creative and development teams to create unique user experiences for our clients.
Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
A: I love the diversity of work in my job, and the types of clients I get to do work for. I get to create so many great experiences for well-known brands all over the world. I have worked on projects for Volkswagen, Cadbury's, Nokia, and Sure Women deodorant. I am also helping to plan experiences that are not just websites or mobile phone applications; I am considering experiences that can start anywhere, including print or television.
Q: What are you most proud of in terms of accomplishments related to your career?
A: I think I am most proud of getting to a point where I found a career in an industry that I love to do. It may seem a little unconventional for a librarian to end up in advertising, but my library skills have helped me get to where I am. Even though my skills have grown and I am getting into more areas of user experience design, I still consider myself an information architect at heart, and advocate regularly on creating structured and usable experiences, making sure I am always putting the user at the heart of those experiences.
Q: Why did you choose Wayne's SLIS?
A: I chose Wayne's SLIS because I wanted to learn more about either becoming a librarian or continuing with some earlier information architecture experience. I was working at a library at the time, and I have worked at a few more libraries since then. I think I have had a wide range of experience in the field now, and it was great to be able to choose which suited me best, and be able to go in the directions I needed to go in order to fulfill my career goals.
Q: What area did you specialize in? Why? Did you also get a Certificate?
A: My specialization with my degree was always in the way information can be used with technology. I did a certificate in Information Management, a new certificate at the time, and one of the inaugural graduates with the credentials. I felt the certificate was more closely related to where I wanted to go with technology, information architecture, and user experience design. However, I still rely on the core library skills I learned as well. I always saw working in a library to be the physical interface to what I do now, which is understanding how people use information and how we design our services to help them get to it when they need it and want it.
Q: What student organizations/extra-curriculars/practicums were you involved in? How did your involvement in student organizations impact your SLIS experience and assist you in the professional world?
A: I was involved in ASIS&T when I was at SLIS, and served as the President in my last year. The impact on my SLIS experience was tremendous, I met so many great friends, I had some amazing leadership opportunities, and I was able to get involved in many conferences outside of the university.
Q: How do specific classes or your specialization/certificate relate to your job? Is there anything in particular that you are reminded of regularly?
A: One part of what I do is information architecture, while I did not start doing IA at SLIS, I did take my courses with the consideration that this is what I was most interested in continuing. My experience has led me to an exciting opportunity where I am currently redesigning and reorganizing the biggest website I have ever done for Volkswagen. It is a content heavy site and has been several months of organizing and re-organizing the information to create something that is really going to helpful for their customers.
Q: What advice would you give to folks considering SLIS as their library school or graduates entering the job market?
A: My advice is to try everything and try it everywhere. Also, do not be afraid to go outside of libraries to find interesting work. If something interests you outside of the traditional field, seek out practitioners who can serve as mentors to help you figure out if it's the kind of career you would be interested in. One thing I love about the UX community is that it is close, approachable, and helpful. There are plenty of professional groups to help new people get started and to push them in the right direction.
Q: Lastly, what's your favorite website/blog related to the LIS field?
A: I do not think I have a favorite website or blog, or I read too many to choose one. I am constantly reading because I have to! Technology moves so fast in my field and in the world, I have to stay ahead of the curve. I would say to read just as much inside your field as you do outside though. I try to read what I can from typical UX blogs, advertising sources, social media applications, and general technology sources.