UXD Spotlight: Felesia McDonald

Felesia McDonald

Whenever you visit a website on a computer or smartphone, you’re probably not thinking about the layout and usability of it. As a consumer, you generally just want a site that works and navigates you quickly to the buttons that you click on the page. But the fact is that this pleasurable online experience was architected by an individual who understands exactly what people want when they’re online.

User experience design is a discipline that combines a number of factors that make a website more intuitive and easier to navigate, creating an enjoyable interactive experience to someone visiting a specific page online.

Kent State University’s online UXD program has churned out a number of graduates who have gone on to be successful in this rapidly growing business field.

Meet Felesia McDonald, a User Experience Designer at OEConnection. OEC develops parts ordering solutions for the global automotive industry. Felesia is a 2014 graduate of the Kent State online UXD program:

“I have a bachelor’s degree in communication, and for 22 years I worked in journalism at The Plain Dealer, a daily newspaper in Cleveland. For seven of those years, I was an interaction designer. Prior to enrolling in the Kent State UXD program, I had gotten a diploma in web design from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. The course was 100 percent online, which familiarized me with this kind of learning.

I began to discover pretty quickly that knowing how to build a website doesn’t always mean that it’s going to be a good one. During my diploma program, I would get frustrated when I would go online and visit sites that didn’t work the way I thought they should. So I applied the knowledge from my web design coursework into my job at The Plain Dealer and begin building their web applications based on what I was learning.

A few years into working in interactive graphic design, I decided to go back to school and get my MS degree because I wanted to advance further in my career. That’s when I found Kent State’s UXD program.

But I had two kids at home to take care of, and I was juggling between working full-time and being a mom. There was no way that I could carve out the time to spend two nights a week sitting in a classroom, even though I had a strong desire to take the UXD courses.

I was already employing a lot of the skills being taught in the UXD program from my time working at The Plain Dealer, so those classes were somewhat like a natural progression for me. I completed the Kent State online UXD program in two and a half years, and the projects I worked on during that time helped me enhance my online portfolio and showcase my skills.

The Kent State program is very good at giving you a solid foundation in UXD. You’ll develop a strong understanding of how to do your work in the field that will ultimately make the projects you work on better. I don’t think I would’ve been able to learn as much and succeed in UXD without Kent State.”

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He is an Associate Professor in the Evaluation and Measurement program within the College of Education, Health and Human Services at Kent State University. He is also the program coordinator for the online Master of Education degree in Research, Measurement, and Statistics.
Dr. Astrid N. Sambolín Morales is an Assistant Professor in Kent State Online’s 100% Online Master of Education degree in Cultural Foundations. She received her PhD in Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity from the University of Colorado Boulder and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research provides a more nuanced picture of the agency, resistance, and empowerment enacted by displaced Puerto Rican m(others) in the U.S., and her work was funded by several grants, including the University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center, the BUENO Center for Multicultural Education, the URBAN Research Network, and the NAEd Spencer Foundation.
Felesia McDonald, ’14 is an adjunct instructor in the iSchool, teaching courses in the 100% Online Master of Science in User Experience. McDonald is also the Sr Manager UX Design at Optum, a branch of UnitedHealth Group.