Alumnus Topher St. John is a Junior User Experience (UX) Architect at Ansira, a digital marketing agency in Dallas. He primarily works with prototyping and wireframing on specific projects for clients. St. John uses software like Axure and Adobe XD for prototyping and HTML/CSS programming for wireframing.
He exchanges new UX practices and information with his team to stay aware of the latest industry trends.
"The spectrum of practices I've been exposed to here at the agency ranges anywhere from general research, surveys, interviews, and heuristics all the way to AI, development, and custom CMSs," St. John said.
St John switched from computer engineering to technical communication after a negative experience with advanced mathematics. His first course as a tech comm major was Information Design for Electronic Media (TECM 3200). He found the course intense. It took some time for him to get used to the pacing, but he clicked with the content immediately.
"I immediately fell in love with the complexity of coding and the depth and exploration of user experience," says St. John, "My affinity for questions and relating to the people I engage with are core reasons I excel as a UXer."
St. John found tech comm rewarding and intriguing. As he learned more, the coursework became less daunting. As his senior year began, he used his knowledge to improve each project and maintain his portfolio.
"Your portfolio isn't just a demonstration of your work, it's a story of how you accomplished X, Y, and Z," said St. John, "An employer should be able to look at your portfolio and understand your perspective. They should see where you started, see how you struggled, see how you adapted, and see how you overcame."
Dr. Chris Lam and Dr. Jordan Frith provided the inspiration that kept him motivated.
"Inside the classroom, in their office, on the sidewalk, it didn't matter - they always found time to share and lend advice and help anyway they could," St. John says.
ADVICE TO FUTURE PROFESSIONALS
St. John wishes he had learned more about the wireframes and prototypes during his time with UNT Tech Comm. He is happy to know that Information Design for Electronic Media now covers wireframing processes.
"Having examples of Axure, Sketch, Invision, XD work in a portfolio is necessary to find a career in UX. While I understand that tech comm teaches you the methodologies, the research, how the research applies, and the code - you have to still have to have tangible examples of your digital proficiency with these tools," explains St. John.