Understanding Experience Design featuring Michael Tam

min read
Vera Chan

UX stands for User Experience Design which encompasses multidisciplinary fields to shape the products and services used on a daily basis.It takes into account any interaction that a user has with a product or service and explores how it makes the user feel and how functional it is. It involves market research, product development, strategy and design to create a user experience that fulfills the needs of a customer and meets expectations. 

You've Recently Become the Global Design Director at IBM iX. Can you share what it is and why you enjoy working in design?

IBM iX is the experience design consulting arm of IBM. I live and breathe Design! I believe it is a discipline that transcends industries and can make our world a better place. I am also a mentor on ADPList.org which is a global community of mentors within the Design Community.

As one of your passions, why do you like to teach User Experience Design and What is the Difference between UX & UI?

It takes more than the 'typical' designers to drive innovation. That's why I am teaching Experience Design to people from all walks of life because their unique stories and domain knowledge are the backbones of co-creation.

UX and UI are two overlapping yet different practices — so let's stop using the term UX-slash-UI! The former is the THINKING practice of problem-finding and problem-solving your way to designs that bring better experiences, while the latter is CRAFTING the moment of interactions when being "consumed" by the human.

Having Taught for Over Half a Year, Would You Say You Have a Teaching Style, and If So, What It Would Be?

My teaching style is — think hard, make fast. I taught my students to think deeply, strategically. But they also need to get their hands dirty by producing quick output. So each class is practical, very hands-on, but also requires a lot of reflection.

There are Helpful UX Tools and Technology. How Do You Select Them to Help You with Your Projects?

I like working with Sharpies and Post-Its! Even though our classes leverage some of the most popular digital tools like Figma and Miro, tools are just tools. Nothing beats a good old pen and paper to capture your thinking and ideas.

Other than Working on User Experience Design, What Do You Like To Do On the Side in Your Spare Time.?

Football is my other passion. And I spend a lot of my time mentoring young designers from all around the world via ADPList.org — a platform where one can find, book and meet mentors. It helps people grow with 1-on-1 mentorships with world-class mentors for easy accessibility and fair guidance and support to all. I also speak regularly at design conferences. 

What Career Prospects Are There with UX Skills?

Experience is everywhere. Therefore you can apply your Experience Design & Design Thinking skills anywhere — as a UX Researcher, UI Designer, Product Owner, Business Analyst, Service Design Consultant, etc. and across industries, in all sizes and shapes of enterprises or startups.

Keen to know more about User Experience? Join H Academy to learn about Experience Design from Michael Tam. Join the part-time course here.

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