After graduating from the University of Reading with a degree in BA Graphic Communication, Emma Beckingsale is now making the most of a fantastic opportunity to work in user experience(UX) for the BBC.
Emma had always enjoyed creating and displaying information, her initial interest in design stemmed from the relationship between visual communication and business success. Emma decided to study her Undergraduate degree at Reading due to the unique nature of the course and its content.
"Reading has a great reputation in the industry. Due to the nature of the course, the skills we're taught and the projects we undertake, employers are impressed by our advanced understanding of subjects such as branding, way-finding and information design."
("PURE TASTE" – a recipe app designed to bridge the gap between nature and food that Emma worked on)
It was the idea of being able to learn the skills, harness new tools whilst also gaining an understanding of typography and visual language that excited her. Emma was taught about the importance and responsibility of creating content, gaining a theoretical understanding of the subject and making use of skills such as research, analysis, logic and reasoning. These essential skills allowed her to analyse any design problem and create effective and long-lasting solutions.
During her time at Reading Emma has fond memories of the "Real Jobs" scheme, which gives opportunities for Undergraduate students the opportunity to discuss real design problems with real clients.
"Through schemes like Real Jobs and internal internship opportunities, I was able to gain a better understanding of the industry and the challenges and rewards it brings. Being able to apply learning to a real world setting helped build my confidence, develop my interpersonal skills and expand my technical knowledge."
During the "Real Jobs" module, written briefs are swapped in engaging face-to-face discussions. Emma had the opportunity to ask questions and fully understand the objectives of the client and business allowing her to build trust and a rewarding rapport with the client.
In addition to participating in the "Real Jobs" scheme Emma also valued the mock interview sessions in her second year which she credits helped her prepare for life after University and her future career.
"The mock interview sessions were great way of testing interview and interpersonal skills and they allowed me to practice presenting my work in a controlled and comfortable setting, with the added advantage of being able to ask questions and receive useful feedback, which was beneficial when interviewing for a full-time job."
(UNTITLED. MAGAZINE - a quarterly magazine from Emma's portfolio dedicated to highlighting the evolution of the creative process.)
The experience of working with clients and preparing for interviews has proven invaluable for Emma, who is now enrolled on the BBC UX training scheme.
The scheme, which is a year-long programme within the User Experience & Design department at the BBC, presents Emma opportunities to work on a series of live projects over multiple digital platforms, allowing her to further her understanding of the user-centred design process using tools such as; prototyping and information architecture in order to create enjoyable user experiences.
Emma's focus and goals are now on creating design that solves problems and benefits people and their experience with typography and the growing digital landscape. She credits her time studying at Reading as the catalyst for her ambitions as a designer.
"My three years at Reading saw a real change in the way I understood design. Through a mixture of historical, theoretical and practical projects I was able to fully understand how to engage with a brief and develop concepts through to working outcome. Using a combination of learning through projects, essays, presentations and group work I was able to develop the skills needed to enter the workplace with confidence in myself, and my work."