General Assembly

We've always wondering what crazy workings are going on behind the closed doors of General Assembly. For one, did you know they are based in eight cities around the world? Hello Boston, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Sydney and Washington D.C! As print designers, we're interested in having digital skills under our belts too. We chat with Elena Sanchez, who is a Designer in Residence at General Assembly. She has worked as Lead UX Designer for a company in NYC, co-founded a mobile startup and used to teach Usability at a Spanish University. Elena is from Barcelona but loves travel, she was living in the United States last year and recently moved to Sydney. Hi Elena!

Tell us a little about General Assembly!

General Assembly is a fast growing school teaching skills in technology, business and design all aimed at furthering students careers in digital. GA launched in New York three years ago to teach people all of the things that no-one else was teaching, all with an entrepreneurial spin. What sets GA apart from other education facilities is that they teach real-world skills and all of their teachers are industry professionals, so they are teaching the latest tools and techniques being used right now. Everything is taught with a learning-by-doing approach, which I really love because it is really hands-on and prepares the students for what it is like to work in the real world.

What course do you teach and what do you love about the subject matter?

I'm the Designer in Residence for the full-time User Experience Design  course, which is an intensive course aimed at people that want to make a career move into UX. What I love about UX is that you never stop learning, every project is different, the context, the users and their needs are never the same, so you need to be creative and came up with a different solution every time.

Design work by General Assembly The Design Kids interviews General Assembly work-2

How would you explain UX design to a bunch of print designers?!

UX is usually defined as “A person's perceptions and responses that result from the use or anticipated use of a product, system or service”. So, as UX designers, we try to make sure that a product or service not only looks good but is intuitive, meet the user needs and is delightful to use or interact with.

What are the biggest challenges we face as designers in 2014?

One of our challenges as UX designers is always to find a balance between users’ needs, technical feasibility and business requirements, because if you design the perfect product for your users but you didn’t consider business needs, once the company bankrupt, your users will no longer have a product.

Design work by General Assembly The Design Kids interviews General Assembly work-4
Design work by General Assembly The Design Kids interviews General Assembly work-4

What are some of your goals personally and professionally?

Even if I have been working in the UX industry for a while now, I am still passionate about what I do. Therefore, I would say that one of my goals is to keep this passion alive, continue enjoying my work every day and feeling that I can make a positive impact in people’s lives.

Where do you see design education heading in the future?

I think the design industry is changing and taking care of how a product looks is no longer enough. Designers should also be aware of how a product works and how it fits into people’s lives. The next generation of designers need an education that takes into account this broader perspective of design and teaches visual design but also usability, human factors, psychology, and even business.

Design work by General Assembly The Design Kids interviews General Assembly work-6
Design work by General Assembly The Design Kids interviews General Assembly work-6

Where to find General Assembly online.

Want to learn more about User Experience Design and why it matters?
Check out this free online class brought to you by General Assembly!

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