Making an Impact with UX Design – Interview With Diogo Alvarez
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Making an Impact with UX Design – Interview With Diogo Alvarez

Making an Impact with UX Design - Interview With Diogo Alvarez cover

Find out how Diogo, one of our students, was motivated by his desire to positively impact people’s lives, leading him to make a career change.

Don’t miss out on this inspiring article – read it now!

Diogo, please tell us a bit about your background before pivoting to UX/UI Design

In my last year of college, I studied advertising and got an internship at an agency. I stayed there for two years, but it ended up shutting down due to the technology crisis. I spent nine months as a freelancer, working from home.

In 2010, a job offer came up at Netshoes and I stayed there until March 2018. I was a Photography Assistant – that was my first position at the company – then Art Assistant, and later Art Director. At Netshoes, I met UX and UI and started to develop an interest in the area.

What did you do as an Art Director?

I was responsible for the creation of campaigns. Both internal marketing and retail, so I worked with art, not video.

Sometimes, when we did some shooting, I did some direction in this area. But what I really did was the art interface, logo creation, and image treatment. It was very traditional advertising.

What drew your attention to this area of product interface?

At Netshoes, I did a lot of landing pages, always for the final consumer – up until that point, there was no UX.

When this area started, I began to understand its function and importance because until then, I didn’t know anything about it. Before, for example, I made the squares and painted them gray – I didn’t know they were called wireframes.

Then the UX professionals took over this part of the job and started passing me the material with some rules.

As time went by, I started to understand why I had these rules and got to talk to these professionals to learn more about the area, because I missed this relationship with the final consumer.

Reading Tip: Why Is Empathy Essential For UX Design?

How was this transition from Advertising to UX Design?

In many cases, I believe that advertising pushes the person out of the area. I say this because I have seen it happen with many friends and colleagues, who are unhappy with Advertising and want to transition.

I went through this. I had been at the company for almost ten years and although it was an excellent place to work, I was not enjoying the area as much.

When I learned more about UX and UI Design, I realized that I had an easier time and familiarity with UI, so I decided to challenge myself and learn more about UX.

The possibility of helping people through my work really moved me.

I got into advertising to see my art, so when I saw my creations on some billboard, I thought it was so cool.

However, it was just for me. With UX and UI Design, I was able to really impact people’s lives, understand their pains and needs, and be able to deliver my best to them.

Sketches of a project made by Diogo for Netshoes.
Sketches of a project made by Diogo for Netshoes.

Reading Tip: 4 Fundamental Principles of User-Centered Design

What was your biggest challenge when you got into UX Design?

When I left Netshoes, I did freelance work at an agency servicing a technology account.

It was a quiet job because it was more focused on UI, an area where I already had experience. After this job was over, I returned to the same agency to work for a bank, but it was more complex.

In this job, I worked with a partner, we paired up. I worked with UI and he worked with UX and we always tried to work together to learn more about both areas. It was a very cool and enriching project, but I left when I got this position where I am today.

In this current position, I am UX/UI or Product Designer. It’s been much more challenging because now I deal directly with the final consumer and stakeholders. I am really down to business, and this makes all the difference to me!

What is motivating you the most in this change?

In the past, I used to receive a project, understand it, and complete it to the best of my ability. Any necessary changes were communicated to me by the client.

However, my approach has changed now. I prioritize sitting down with clients to understand their needs and the purpose behind the changes I’m making.

This increased proximity has been a new experience for me, and I find it very fulfilling. As a result, I’ve been delivering more thorough projects, which has generated a lot of positive feedback.

During one of my recent campaigns, I had a tight deadline of just five days. I had to focus a lot on the layout, so we broke the project into sprints, delivering smaller sections over the weeks to ensure the final product was as accurate as possible.

Working with UX Design has allowed me to learn something different every day, and that’s what makes it so exciting.

Having been in advertising for so long, my learning curve was significantly lower, and I felt stuck. But now, I relish the opportunity to keep growing and developing my skills.

What do you think helped you make the transition to UX Design?

I joined the course in December 2018 and started buying some books and watching YouTube videos.

However, the most important factors in this journey were the classes, the mentoring, and the support from the Mastering Interface Design (MID) team and community, who always help each other.

In March, I left Netshoes, and in April, I started working at this new job. It was really fast; in less than six months, I pivoted to UX. Coincidentally, around the same time, I began finding freelance work, which ultimately led me to my current position.

How was the process of putting together a portfolio and preparing for the interviews?

I already had a portfolio from my previous job at Netshoes, but it wasn’t very organized, as I didn’t need it for anything at the time.

After leaving the company, I started to pay more attention to it, organizing it and updating it with new projects.

At a talk I attended at the MID program, I learned that less is more when it comes to portfolio projects. I trimmed mine down from about ten projects to 5 or 6, which I still consider to be quite a lot.

The hiring process was surprisingly fast when I applied for my current job. I had the interview in the morning, the manager reviewed my portfolio, and by the afternoon, I had received a job offer.

After completing the necessary paperwork, such as a medical exam and photo, I was able to start the job within a week.

However, I have also been through other recruitment processes that were more time-consuming.

For example, at one startup, I had to do an interview and a test with the HR team, followed by interviews with the product owner, the product manager, and the CEO.

Although I wasn’t successful in getting the job, I would have had another interview if I had made it to the next stage. All of this took around a month.

Wireframe of a project by Diogo Alvarez
Wireframe of a project by Diogo Alvarez

Reading tip: Design Thinking: Creating Innovative Solutions

What advice would you give to someone who wants to transition to UX Design?

I believe the biggest advice is to take the Mastering Interface Design (MID) program, if possible.

The classes are very good, the teachers are always there, and the colleagues are very supportive at this stage, helping each other and exchanging knowledge.

I think this is very cool because this way the market grows together.

Other ways to learn are books and YouTube channels. Many sources with very good and instructive content pass on information very clearly.

Now is the best time to transition. The market is booming in Brazil, Europe, and all over the world, actually.

What are your next steps career-wise?

I plan to grow even more in UX Design.

I want to have an international experience, it would be very interesting. And always seek knowledge and study.

This area is dynamic; there is something new to learn every day. I think it is important to have this desire to study and keep going in this direction, I think it’s the best I can do!

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