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Jan 14, 2019 23:37:45

The Essence of UX

by @abrahamKim PATRON | 591 words | 🐣 | 457💌


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In real life conversations, I’m obsessed with providing value to the other person. I enjoy helping others feel good about themselves, see how smart they actually are, and like they learned or were teaching me something. So when first learning how to code, I decided I should focus on user experience thinking I would simply transpose my interest in providing good social experiences onto the digital realm.

For a couple years I tried writing only front-end code. But being the sole developer in all my projects, I wasn’t able to do such and I considered all the backend work annoying. Often I’d write a ton of the logic on the frontend in Javascript (with mocked JSON objects) only to throw together a poorly written backend as an afterthought. I always saw myself as a frontend guy who was doing the backend just for the time being. I always thought that someday I’d find myself in a role where I’d be working with my white knight — a back end developer.

But then came Laravel, a web application framework for PHP. I initially began researching frameworks once I finally got sick of writing quick but unmaintainable PHP. My previous projects had become so sloppy that it was hard to entertain ideas for new features, because the slightest change would prove difficult and expensive to implement.

I was drawn to Laravel because I’d been a huge fan of Ruby on Rails. I’d never used it or even written a line of Ruby, but had been a fan of Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson the two founders of the company Basecamp, which also is the company that founded Ruby on Rails.

I admired the Rails way of doing things, but could never justify — workwise -- getting into the ecosystem. I enjoyed the PHP community so I filtered my search and from my research Laravel seemed to harbor the most similarities in ideology and practice to the Ruby Framework, so I went with that.

Backend programming, or more accurately programming as a whole, for me has never been the same since. I now gladly hold a new conception on User Experience. The common notion seems to be that UX is something almost completely visual. I blame this on the past couple decades’ focus on GUI (Graphical User Interface) based technologies like the Smart Phone, Laptop, and Desktop.

What Laravel illuminated for me was the essence of user experience.

With voice based technologies creeping deeper into our lives, it’s becoming easier to see that UX transcends a single sense or all the senses together. The sensory such as visual user interfaces and voice based commands are just manifestation of the underlying UX.

Until last year I’d fancied myself as a front-end UX guy. But my only reason for wantingto focus on the front-end, in this case HTML, was because I associated almost exclusively visual with UX. But now that I’ve gotten this new insight into what UX actually entails, I’ve become obsessed with the backend. Because the underlying data is what dictates what kind of products and services you can build. 

I want to be in UX for the long haul. I didn't want to just master HTML/CSS and then have Voice take over and then be a commodity worker just because I had focused on a manifestation of UX rather than UX itself. I want to be able to understand the underlying data, so that I can truly leverage my creativity along with it to come up with the best products and services possible.

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