User Experience Design: A Club for All Disciplines

Want to be part of a dynamic, innovative group of people working on real projects for real companies?

Join the club.

The BYU User Experience Design Club (BYUXD) just made its debut as the newest interdisciplinary club on campus.

User experience design is what it sounds like–designing an experience for users, whether it be through a physical object, software, or even events, in which every aspect of that experience is tailored to users’ needs and preferences. According to Derek Hansen, associate professor in BYU’s Information Technology Department and advisor of BYUXD, user experience design “considers wholistically the needs of a person. In the past, a lot of companies had designers that didn’t really think about the user. The days of reading a manual to know how to operate your device are thankfully coming to an end. If you’re going to be competitive now, you have to think about user experience from the very get-go.” And BYUXD is designed to help students learn to do just that.

As part of BYUXD, students will work with other students from all majors on projects for sponsors and participate in international design-focused competitions. Through working on these projects, students will also learn methods to gain the user perspective and be able to develop their personal design portfolios. To facilitate interdisciplinary participation, departments will have a student liaison tasked with promoting user experience design and the club events within their own department. Not a technology major? Not a problem. User experience design is by nature very interdisciplinary–there is no one department on campus that has students with all the skills necessary to create a full, rich user experience. Over 50 students participated in the opening social event, coming from programs in industrial design, information technology, advertising, graphic arts, information systems, computer science, illustration, and more.

In addition, Professor Hansen believes that the experience of working on an interdisciplinary team to solve real-world problems will be invaluable for students once they graduate. Says Hansen, “There are a lot of companies that come to our different departments, whether they be information technology, graphic design, or industrial design, and they’re all telling us similar stories–they don’t want someone from ten years ago who can only think within their silo. They want students who are aware of the big picture who have experience working on interdisciplinary teams and think about the user in everything they do.” His point was reiterated at the club’s opening social by Roy Peckham from Exxon Mobile’s mobile design team. Peckham had been wandering around campus looking for designers all day as part of the career fair, and was thrilled to find out that they were congregating in their opening social that evening, where he was invited to speak about the importance of user experience design.

How do you develop those skills that are in such high demand? Hansen continues, “You do that by practicing, by doing, by working with innovative, interdisciplinary teams while you’re in school so you’re immersed in that kind of environment. As you do, innovation becomes a part of who you are and how you see the world.” Innovation, and by extension, user experience design, is about seeing yourself and the world in a new way. If that’s what you want, BYUXD is the club for you. Sign up at clubs.byu.edu.  

BYUXD Club Quick Facts

  • Meeting Time/Place: To be determined
  • President: Nathan Crowther, njcrowther22@gmail.com
  • Faculty Advisor: Professor Derek Hansen, dlhansen@byu.edu
  • Facebook: BYU-UXD
  • Twitter: @byuUXD
  • Email: byuuxd@gmail.com