Kent State UXD Student Helps Create Magical Experiences at Disney
The name “Disney” often conjures up images of fairy tales and Mickey Mouse. But soon-to-be Kent State alumna Kendra Jobes sees a different side of the company.
Jobes, who will graduate with a Master of Science degree in user experience design (UXD) this August, recently earned a spot at Disney working as a Product Designer based in Seattle.
“At its heart, Disney is really an experience company. It’s all about creating magical experiences for guests. And that means trying to eliminate as many pain points in the guest’s journey as possible,” says Jobes. “UX plays a crucial role in that. Things like buying theme park passes online, mobile ordering food in the parks and checking wait times for rides via the app are all designed to help create a better guest experience.”
User experience design encompasses every aspect of a user's interaction with a product, service or company, which combine to make up the user's perceptions of the whole. The types of companies that hire user experience design professionals can vary widely across industries and organization types; it is increasingly growing as a career.
Before and as she began master’s degree program in UXD, offered through Kent State’s School of Information (iSchool), Jobes was already working in user experience roles at start-ups or mid-sized companies. Yet, she wished for a larger team of designers to collaborate with. Her experience and portfolio of work from Kent State’s UXD program made her confident she could apply her newly honed skills at a large company like Disney.
“A lot of companies I spoke to seemed to appreciate that I was continuing my education,” says Jobes.
Jobes wasn’t always looking for a career at Disney but when the opportunity came her way, she decided to apply.
“It sounded like a really cool opportunity but I kept thinking about how hard it would be to start a new job while completing my master’s so I put it off for a couple of months,” says Jobes. “I think the weeks between interviews with them is when it became my dream job. The more I spoke with the company the more excited I became about the role.”
Jobes earned her B.F.A. in design, so while she was already confident about visual design, she had less experience in research and testing skills.
“Kent State helped a lot with that. In my previous position I was able to take over much of the user testing because of what I had been learning at (Kent State),” says Jobes. “It filled in a lot of spaces in my education.”
For more information on the User Experience Design major and master’s programs visit: https://www.kent.edu/iSchool/user-experience-design-0