Orange Coast College’s UX/UI Explorers Club has quickly become one of the most active clubs on campus since its founding in the fall 2021 semester. The club, which meets bi-weekly on Friday from 1 to 2 p.m., takes on challenges to design projects using user experience (UX) and user interface (UI).
“User experience is basically how it feels to use a product. For example, how does it feel to scroll on Instagram? How does it feel interacting with followers?” Vice President Jeffrey Dang said. “And then there's the user interface, which is basically how it looks so pretty, the colors and contrast.”
The club uses an app called Figma, a free online tool, where members can create designs for the challenges they are given. During meetings, members learn about a topic related to UX/UI and then complete a related project that they share with the group. For instance, on April Fool’s Day, one of the prompts was to create the worst design of an app that already exists. The club also explores projects beyond design and has done research projects on the user experience.
UX/UI President Ann Tran originally found the club through its Instagram. She was an active member in the club’s first semester, participating in all of the design challenges and attending all the meetings before being asked to serve as President.
“It's true that the computer science industry is mostly dominated by men,” Tran said. “But for the board, it's split 50/50. I think it is the same for our members.”
Former OCC student Simon Ho began the club in 2021 after talking to a mentor on campus. His passion for UX/UI became the starting point for the group and he reached out to as many students as possible in an online learning environment. Dang was on the first board in the role of publicity chair and has since stepped up to become vice president.
While the club has computer science students, there are also a decent amount of graphic design members. These majors collaborate to improve upon UX/UI.
“When you think of computer science, you think of programming,” Dang said. It’s a very broad major, which has lots of different aspects and UX/UI is one of them. We have to be able to design and prototype interfaces.”
Tran, who is a first-year psychology major, expresses that the club encompasses many different interests and is not focused on coding, like some people may think.
“I currently teach kids how to code,” Tran said. “And honestly, I don't like it. That's why I want to do UX design. Because although there could be some aspects of coding, UX design stuff doesn’t really involve it.”
The UX/UI Explorers opened up board applications. Interested students can learn more information at their meetings. The club will also be hosting a UX/UI Explorers Banquet in the Horticulture Garden on May 27th from 1 to 2 p.m.
“We have a really great community on Discord where we share what we've been doing and then we call them and critique each other,” Dang said. “Once you provide the space, it's really positive for everyone to grow and learn.”