Learnings from a Contract Role
I was in charge of creating the visual brand identity, and executing a user interface for students to interact with. The founder decided to go with another design based on a template rather than my design — which could be due to reasons like financial budget for developers, time constraints, and more that were not communicated with me.

However, he was pleased with the designs — stating, "Fantastic work, really. I have gotten such great comments from partners and advisors on it. Thanks so much - your work and work ethic, creativity and skills are fabulous!"
Below, the founder gave me a template to base by designs on. Another thing I learned was to ask more questions about why he wanted this design and what and IF there were research backing up his design decisions.

Most of the time, it seemed he wanted to just "get it done" based on what he envisioned, rather than spend time doing UX research to back up designs and explore solutions.
As a way to better communicate the site flow with developers and the team, I created a site map.
Next Steps
This role was an interesting one and my first experience doing contract. Working with a start-up was definitely a challenge — budget, time constraints, and working with a multi-faceted team were a part of it. The lack of UX research was also apparent, as the founder simply wanted me to copy a template. I steered away from it and did competitive analyses on my own, but ultimately, what was launched was out of my hands.

Next time I could do more on advocating for a UX research process in learning more about the problem and users of the website and what goals they had in mind. Learning about this, communicating more with the founder about his goals, and conducting interviews with students may help with extracting insights that inform our design decisions that could also be implemented within the time constraints, budget, and developer capabilities of the team. 

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