My Journey to Becoming a UX/UI Designer
I love to build things. When I was a kid I would nonchalantly say to my mom, “I’m going out to the garage to make something!” (a worrying thing for any kid to say to their parent), and off I’d go. I’d come back with some chunks of wood nailed together, or a gluey mess of cardboard, it was never very good but that didn't stop me. I loved making forts, and in our house I was the Queen of crafts, anything I could get my hands on was worthy building material.
Over the years I never lost that love of creating. Thankfully, the end products improved significantly. I drew and painted, I wrote music and stories, and I fell in love with baking, I still made the occasional fort, but there was always something so inherently fascinating to me about technology. An entire vast universe full of endless information (and endless building tools), I was hooked!
It took me a few years to find my place. I tested out different jobs and possibilities; it will always be devastating to me that in one lifetime we cannot possibly master everything. Finally, I stumbled on UX Design while taking another course and it all fell into place. My love for building coupled with my intent fascination with psychology, passion for marketing and design, and my desire to help other people succeed. Whether it was designing an app that solved a need, or helping to take a client's business to the next level, I knew I was home.
To me, (a lover of research, research, and more research) UX Design just makes good sense! Ask your customer what they want so you can deliver what they need, it’s such a simple concept! I am endlessly enthralled by the things I uncover in user interviews and how one bit of research can reframe an entire project.
One of the key indicators of a great UX Designer is empathy. The empathy that drives you to put in the extra work so you can confidently turn to your team and say “This is what our customer needs. This is what will make their life easier.” As a UX Designer, someone who deals in empathy daily, I believe it’s so important to have a clear idea of your values, so I thought I would share mine with you here.
Operate With Integrity
Honesty and truthfulness are the cornerstones of any good partnership, which is what I believe our relationship to our end users, clients and colleagues should be. As a designer, I am acutely aware that users trust me with their information, it’s my job to protect that information and use it only for what was intended. In a world of technology and the Internet of Things we have so much access, it’s important to me that as a designer I consider the impact of any design decision I make.
Be Willing to be Wrong
The only way we grow is by making mistakes. Constructive criticism is one of the most powerful tools in my toolbelt and I will never not rely on colleagues, friends and family for advice and feedback in order to grow. The ability to be wrong and to recognize when I need to let go of something that isn’t working, or listen to someone who has a better idea opens up so many perspectives and possibilities. No one has a monopoly on good ideas.
Always Design for Accessibility
In any ecosystem, diversity is vital for survival and it’s no different with people. With that diversity comes distinct needs and requirements for various users and we do a disservice to ourselves and to others when we don’t address and respect those needs and requirements. Any time I work on a project I take the time to consider the accessibility of the product and include users from diverse backgrounds to gain a deeper understanding of divergent perspectives.
It’s a wonderful feeling to love what you do, but if you don’t work at it even your favourite activities can become a stress or burden. Learning new things and making time for my hobbies like music, reading and video games means I come back to work the next day feeling refreshed and excited. Getting outside as often as possible, surrounding myself with passionate people, and allowing my work room to breathe before coming back and taking another look helps to keep me excited and passionate about my job.
If any of this resonates with you, I’d love to connect! Whether you’ve got a project in mind, or you just want to chat about UX/UI design with someone who’s as excited about it as you are, you can find me at any of the places below!