What is your current role?
I’m a Senior UX Designer at Each&Other. What that means is actively listening to people, be that client stakeholders or users, to understand and frame a problem. Then it’s finding insights and creating a response that not only meets their needs now but also unseen needs and has the potential to evolve with them.
Tell us about your career journey to date?
I began my design career with a degree in Visual Communication from DIT. When I finished, I left for London and after a little while (which seemed like a long time then), I got an internship which turned into my first full time design position. It was in this role that I learnt about user experience design and realised that was where I wanted to be, however I did take with me very valuable design skills and – although I didn’t call it this then – a love of storytelling.
I took a step out of industry and into the MA IXD at NCAD. It was a year where I really broadened my design capabilities and started to appreciate the areas of design that I wanted to work in but also what I was best at.
I’ve never been great at describing tangibly what I do on a daily basis like a doctor or accountant. But being in a design career gives you so much opportunity to keep learning. It does ultimately always come back to trying to understand the world around you and problem solving to make it better.
How does the reality of your career differ from your expectations?
I know design is worth the investment but it’s not not always the case that others realise this – the value of design can go unrecognised, so you have to explain and convince people.
What three skills do you believe are crucial to succeeding in this career?
- Problem solving – it’s actually not about being good at art, drawing etc, it’s more about thinking your way through scenarios and challenges, albeit creatively!
- Storytelling – you need to be able to talk about your work and help people learn what you have learnt to get to this solution
- Time management – you need to get things done but also identify where a deadline is too challenging to support a quality result and be able to communicate and negotiate a suitable achievable compromise
What advice would you give someone considering a role in this sector?
Everyone tells you to get experience, which is hard, you have to hustle and get in front of people. You try to do your own projects but it’s also not easy to work on your own, so reach out and get mentors. The Irish design community is small but incredibly kind.