Happy New Year! 2016 is already over. For me, it has been quite an eventful year and it came and went pretty quickly. I quit my old job and got a new one. I got my User Experience certification. I built and launched this site. I went on an awesome 720 mile road-trip down the coast of California with my wife and little girl, stopping off at some cool places. I had my first ever work trip to Barcelona, to do my first ever series of user research interviews, and we finished the year off with a great city break in Berlin.

As I look forward to 2017, these are the goals I want achieve.

1. Be a “UX Designer”

For the last couple of years, I’ve wanted to cross over from development to design. I blogged about this at the start of the year.

As far as my job goes, I have no control over my title. Since I started my new job, I’ve pushed the whole UX thing as much as I can (it’s not officially part of my job - I am a Systems Analyst). In the last quarter of the year I was able to convince my seniors that we should speak to our users at an industry conference. I did my first proper research activities including user interviews and putting together personas and other stuff too. I finished the year with the indication that UX become a dedicated work stream early next year. My fingers are crossed. Whatever happens, I am now on this path and will keep on going. I want to write a blog post about this in the near future.

This brings me on to my next goal…

2. More blogging

One thing I have found out since I launched my site this year, is that blogging is difficult. Thinking about what to write about and producing good content is only one part of it. The other part is my motivation for doing it. There are loads of blogs, YouTube channels, and tutorial websites out there. Many are great, well established and well known people in the dev and design communities that I am really inspired and motivated by.

At the moment, I don’t do any promoting of my site. I don’t really produce much content either. Eventually, I want to be good enough to write something that somebody will find helpful and useful. I was quite chuffed when I received my first (and only, so far) comment on one of my blog posts. I will only get more engagement if I am more active.

I want to be realistic about what I can achieve, so my goal for 2017 is to write at least one blog post every month.

3. Launch my first client website

This client happens to be a friend at work… But that still counts right? He’s a part-time record producer, and would like a website that will showcase some of his work and allow people to contact him. If he gets more work out of this, I will be extremely happy.

As well as building his site, I want to blog about the creative process I went through - a case study, I guess.

I also potentially have some other work lined up - a side project for another good friend at work. I want to use this as a learning experience, to see what it is could be like to take on client work. I want to see if I actually have the skills, know-how, and most of all, time to make this a success.

4. Level-up my design skills

I’ve been using Sketch on my Mac for the past year. I feel I am starting to get the hang of this, but I’m still mainly using it only for UI design. I would really like to broaden my skills to include icon design and illustration.

I’ve been using an app on iOS called Assembly. This app is awesome, and if you look at the graphic at the top of this page (and on any other blog post), it was created using this app. It’s not meant to be a fully featured graphics application, and although there have been some great updates, I want to start using an industry-standard tool.

A few months ago, I bought Affinity Designer and the companion Workbook. I want to work through the book so that I can better understand the core skills needed for graphic work.

This year, I’d like to be more active on Dribbble and post some of the design work I do.

5. Travel

I love travel and exploring new and different places. We usually have a big family holiday every year, and we also try and do a couple of long weekends in some European cities. It would be awesome to try some new places this year.

Working for an international organization, I really hope that I have the opportunity to travel with work again. I went to Barcelona last year to do some guerrilla user research at an industry conference, and this year there are conferences held in Yokohama and Orlando. I’ve never been to South East Asia before, and would love to experience it.

My main goal for 2017 is right at the top of the list. Being able to do something that I am passionate about for a living as my job, would be something that I’ve been working towards for the last couple of years and would be massive for me. Anything else I can tick off that list would be the cherry on top.

For anyone reading this, I hope you achieve your goals for 2017 and have a great new year. :-)