Economics, Choice, and UX: how I started my UX journey
I chose economics, but a career in UX was hiding in plain sight.
I missed the last two weeks because I was distracted—the last thing I want right now😔. It’s a journey, and stuff happens, but I’m not trying to exonerate myself. Thankfully, I’m back in action with my long-awaited journey starter. Let’s step on the gas, shall we?
What goes into planning for a journey adventure? High up on the list of to-knows about the choice destination include distance, climate, and available lodging and menu. Ceteris paribus, the journey is definite in cost and time, but some others are not so clear-cut.
All that’s sure is the starting point and a few miles ahead. Once on the road, it becomes a one-throttle-at-a-time ride, an on-the-journey improvisation. With no end in sight, at every twist and turn, and steep and slope, the horizon unfolds a new reality. Such is my UX journey. I chose economics, but a career in UX was on the ride all along.
We choose some things, and some things choose us
The concept of choice is one of the basic tenets of economics. Because resources are scarce, choosing between competing alternatives is no longer a choice but a necessity. Picking economics was an easy choice for me.
In senior secondary school 1 (grade 10), I took all subjects in the sciences, arts, and commercials. It was mandatory, allowing students to weigh their options before deciding on a future path. Circumstances made my decision easy.
My Economics journey is pretty cut out… but my UX journey played a hide-and-seek game on me
My Accounts teacher was always spotlighting me, so I wouldn't say I liked anything accounting. Chemistry was taught in theory, not practice, so the abstract nature made me dread it. But what a sweet experience I always have in my Economics class.
Economics made practical sense, and my teacher was good at making it easy to understand. I still look back at the energy my teacher put into instilling a solid foundation in Economics, which helped me in my undergraduate studies at the Ekiti State University (EKSU) and master’s studies at the University of Ibadan (UI).
My Economics journey is pretty cut out, from secondary school to the university for my first and second degrees. But my UX journey played a hide-and-seek game on me until my eureka moment came.
It all started with my fascination for tech. I have been an avid reader of Gsmarena since 2008, and when I got my first laptop in 2012, I had Dreamweaver, Visual Studio, and a host of other apps. I started learning Java, HTML, and CSS; I wanted to do motion design and build websites and desktop apps; I liked everything. Huh! I gassed out.
Around 2009, I started writing about myself, everything I could think of: my discoveries, my wins, and of course, my failures. You could call it a journal safe that they were scattered in several jotters I still have today. So, my interest in tech and writing was already a thing, but I didn’t know where it would lead.
Two parallel lines meet at the intersection of UX content
Fast forward to 2019, and I am a graduate student of Economics at the University of Ibadan. There I met Leye (@leyeConnect). We were both master’s students in Economics. His head was always buried in a bulky Lenovo Thinkpad, conjuring magic, or so I think.
I visited him in his dorm, room D2, Abdusalam Hall, in early July, and lo and behold, on his external screen was a beauty. He was conjuring magic—a client's poster design—and I couldn’t help but stand in awe; (1) because of the beautiful design and (2) his diligence.
We gelled after that, partly because I was also the class leader. Then, my passion for tech, which had been hibernating for about eight years, came alive. I wanted to learn everything I could. Leye and Dimeji (@diimejii) organized a design class tagged ‘Design the Future’ in November 2019, which I attended (Watch a video excerpt from one of the classes here). Something was drawing me, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.
2020 came, and Covid happened. And my passion for writing also found a good use. I started freelancing as a product copywriter, then as a full-time content writer. At the same time, I took another online class that Leye and Dimeji organized in April 2020. I made good progress in my design and writing journey but in parallel lines.
Economics is primarily about human behavior; combined with the design classes, I learned about how human psychology influences design decisions
In March 2021, I opened Adobe XD on my laptop for the first time. What I saw made sense. Then I went on a research spree and stumbled upon the world of UI/UX for the first time. Then I found everyone was crazy about the term. So, I explored. Again, Leye came into the picture.
Around that time, he was organizing an in-house UI design class. I attended, and thus my full-blown journey into UX began. But it actually started before now. Economics is primarily about human behavior; combined with the design classes, I learned about how human psychology influences design decisions. My content writing background also taught me how to write concise and compelling copies that meet business and user goals.
So, it was no surprise when I suddenly stumbled upon UX writing in one of my research. Wow! So, writing is also a form of design? I exclaimed with excitement. Everything suddenly came together—two parallel lines meet. (Almost) impossible! This is what I wanted all along, but I never knew.
A career in UX was lurking in the shadows, waiting for the right moment. I couldn’t have seen this coming, both design and writing skills meeting at the intersection of UX content. From there, the UX journey has been nothing but challenging, but I love challenges, especially if it’s something I’m already passionate about.
Moving forward from the intersection in the right direction
I’m having my fair share of what you’d expect from an adventure; a good dose of excitement, pleasure, and fulfillment balanced out by some anxious and nerve-wracking moments. My UX journey is both white and black, and that’s what makes for harmony in life.
Currently, I write microcopy, web copy (I wrote Sanity Hub’s), blog posts (I wrote one for 0xAsusu), email newsletters—everything copy—for a crypto fintech startup and a design studio, and I also spend time writing this newsletter.
I’m still figuring it all out, to be honest, but making good progress nonetheless.
In my next post, I’ll be exploring Conversation Mining (see a tweet I wrote) as a way to know user goals. It will be the first in the case study/scenario series of posts.
Until then, keep moving forward.
Wow - what a journey. So glad you made the right choice.
This is awesome...