- Leah Henderson
Finding My Voice
If you found my site, you already know that I have been in the UX/Digital design industry for many years now. My path to digital, though was not a planned one. When I was first "planning my life" back in college, my goal was to work for a magazine. My passion was found within the printed page and informational graphics, helping to relay information in a visual format. My first few jobs were in this specific industry, but I quickly found out that this was not, in fact, my passion.
So now what? Panic, sure, but more than that it was an opportunity. A chance to figure out where I fit. I made a side step to a more traditional graphic design firm where I further explored my love of branding and print collateral outside the magazine medium. At first, I felt this was going to be my direction until this company got purchased by a digital firm. At this point, I almost ran for the hills. I took coding in college and needless to say it was far from my favorite course. Sticking around, though, and taking this opportunity with an open mind was the best decision I ever made.
At this point in the digital industry, UX was not a term we used. It isn't that we didn't think about the user and plan our screens; this terminology was just not around yet. I was lucky enough to find a home where they taught me strategy and thinking first, design when you have a plan. Little did I know that they were fueling my love of UX from the very beginning.
As I transitioned into this complex, forever changing world of digital design and strategy, I started small and quiet. I was not confident with what I was doing, but I was up to challenge of adapting and becoming a designer with a voice within our company.
I worked for this company for over ten years and was blessed to work with some of the best minds in our area. We were a mid-sized team, but one that was passionate about creating work that not only was visually appealing but that made sense to the user. In the beginning, I would struggle to speak in meetings, feeling as if I didn't have value or didn't know what to say. With experience and time, this started to change, and I was leading meetings instead of following along.
I had found my voice within my company, but I didn't find it within our industry. Although I followed blogs and speakers at conferences, I still wasn't sure if I had something different to bring to the design community. As I passed through my 30's, I started finding my way and my voice with how I approached digital problems. I started speaking and am now teaching at a design college in my area. These students and faculty have fueled my voice and have helped me articulate and see what I can bring to our industry.
This blog is my way of breaking this final barrier. We are all different; we all find our own way and our own path. This is mine.