A New UX for Lehman Design Students

Lehman College
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Students in a new course piloted at Lehman College last fall learned firsthand what it’s like to be a working designer while building meaningful career experience.

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The course, “Design: UI/UX,” involved programmers, project managers, and corporate client Delta Dental.

It was developed in collaboration with Diversify by Design (DxD), an initiative to boost minority representation in the design field. Students learned the basics of user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design while working to revamp Delta Dental’s website.

Lehman is the first college on the East Coast to partner with DxD since the initiative’s launch in 2021, and the first to offer this course—called a Design Intensive—with an in-person component.

With the College’s focus on applied learning and career engagement, it was a perfect candidate for the program’s expansion, which will position Lehman as a destination for aspiring designers and a source of talent for employers.

“By exposing our diverse student body to DxD, we are not only enhancing their design literacy but also fostering a culture of creative problem-solving and critical thinking,” said Associate Professor of digital media and graphic design David Schwittek.

DxD recruits industry partners and builds connections with academic institutions, creating the framework for courses like “Design: UI/UX” that can transform both design education and, ultimately, the profession.

“Organizations get a front-row seat to what it means to be inclusive—immersed with a diverse group of talented young people, working through to an end product as seen through their lenses,” said Chris DeSantis of DxD’s parent organization Impact Collaborative.

Working with Delta Dental mentors, students were tasked with redesigning the “find a dentist” search function on the company website to better serve a range of customers with diverse needs.

Collaborating with design professionals and a corporate client within a course was a transformative experience for students.

“The course has increased my understanding of the reasoning of why we are doing things, not just so they’re pretty but so they’re functional,” said senior Kevin Crespo. “This pushed me to think outside the box and to take users into consideration.”

Like several of her peers, junior Marilyn Cadena was initially intimidated by working with professionals, but she soon rose to that challenge.

“It was the best class I’ve taken so far,” she said.

Hopefully, it will be her steppingstone to a future in design.

FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Sincerely Media on Unsplash.