In this interview, our Mastering Interface Design (MID) student tells us about her career change to UX Design.
At first, Ana had difficulties organizing herself and focusing on her studies. But a conversation with our mentor Felipe Melo was the turning point for her to make the necessary changes and transition to UX Design!
She also tells us about her new work routine as a UX Designer at a startup!
Keep reading to know more about Ana's story and let her journey inspire you!
Ana, please tell us a little about yourself!
My name is Ana Luisa, I am 35 years old and have a degree in Advertising and a graduate degree in Marketing, and I worked in that area for 10 years.
I decided to change to UX Design in 2019.
When I heard about UX, I researched the field and came across Aela and the MID program.
Despite that, I only really started studying in 2020.
What made you want to transition to UX Design?
In the last two years, before switching careers, I worked in Digital Marketing and as a designer as well. I always liked working with design, although that was never my main function.
Because of that, I researched a lot about design. I also looked for tutorials to develop specific artwork, video editing, and production.
In one of these searches, I found articles about UX Design. Until then, I had never heard of the field.
Reading more about it, I realized that UX had a lot of affinity with technology, an area that I also find interesting.
That's when I realized that UX might be an industry I could relate to more than marketing. I did enjoy marketing, but I was not fully satisfied.
While researching more about UX, I found Aela and the MID program; I watched some interviews with the students and I was hooked!
Was there anything specific that made you want to switch to UX?
I think it was the pandemic. Before that, I was working and trying to study at the same time. But I didn't know where to start; I read a lot of materials online.
When the pandemic broke out, I began working from home and thought it would be easier to balance things out.
Unfortunately, even then, I couldn't establish a regular work routine. I had a lot of work to do, and it was difficult to organize myself that way.
So I decided to quit my job to fully focus on my studies. And I enrolled in the MID in early July 2020.
How did you manage to stay focused during the pandemic?
At first, it was difficult! When I quit my job, I felt like I had all the time in the world, which made it difficult for me to focus on UX Design studies. I had a lot of free time, and it was hard to maintain discipline.
I was separating a lot of materials outside the MID to study and realized that was actually slowing me down.
When I started focusing more on the course and following the lessons correctly, I began to advance and felt more organized with my studies.
Trying to study different contents only made me more lost and disorganized.
What did you do to have more discipline and get back to focusing on your UX Design studies?
I built a schedule. I made a spreadsheet to track how my progress was going.
As I had quit my job, time was crucial. I needed to achieve my goals more quickly.
In December 2020, I had mentoring with you, Felipe, and you asked me what my plans were for the next few months and the next year.
I realized that I needed to make changes if I wanted to achieve my goals.
I planned to begin looking for UX opportunities in early 2021, so to achieve this, I had to be more focused.
After our conversation, I was able to change my organization and focus a lot! I was also able to adjust my LinkedIn! That was a turning point for me!
Data from OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) users:
– In Brazilian tourism, 47% of people buy online.
– Brazilian travelers tend to plan trips with little advance notice and prefer a personalized, online service to make their reservations.
– The study reveals that Brazilians usually buy airline tickets approximately 67 days in advance, that is, a little more than two months – a period considered small compared to other Latin American countries.
– Travelers who buy products online are predominantly from 24 to 35 years old.
– With regard to the average ticket in Brazil, the value reaches R$ 1,600, taking into account that 97% of users use a credit card at the time of purchase and most of them have as their first option to pay in installments only once.
– For Brazilians, the main national destinations are São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Brasília. Among the international destinations, the preferred ones are Miami, Rome, Paris, and Buenos Aires.
– Brazilians are more concerned about booking attractions and tours before arriving at the place of the trip.
– In relation to the resting time, the survey shows that the average stay of Brazilians in national destinations is four days, while in international destinations this number rises to 15 days. – From Ana Luisa's Portfolio
What are the differences between creating for Digital Marketing and UX Design? How was your experience with this change?
I had a little difficulty!
The creations I made in marketing were for the digital medium, websites, and social media. But there was nothing about the interface or UX!
Something that changed my perspective was having to put myself in the user's shoes.
My goal in marketing was to generate impact and engagement; I wasn't thinking about the experience as a whole.
So, this change was significant for me.
In addition, before joining the MID, I thought I would use the same tools, such as Photoshop, for example.
But then I realized that I don't! I hardly use any of that!
So, I think the most significant changes were in this sense, starting to think about the experience and not just creating beautiful screens, and getting used to other tools.
Reading Tip: How User-Centered Design Can Benefit Everyone
How was the process of hunting job opportunities in UX Design?
I think my process was a little out of the ordinary. Coincidentally, in the MID program, the mentor who analyzed all my initial 3 projects was Rick.
At one point, he came up to me and asked if I was working, if I had a portfolio, and if I was interested in getting a referral for a job.
I said yes, of course! But at that moment, I was still going to start building my portfolio. As you always say in the course, the ideal is to have three projects to start a portfolio; I had just delivered the 3rd project!
I told Rick that I was interested, but I still had doubts if I was ready, a bit of impostor syndrome, you know?
I built my portfolio and sent it to him.
After about 20 days, he told me there was a position in a startup he was consulting and asked if I was interested.
I said yes, as long as he thought I could handle it!
Rick recommended me, and the recruiter contacted me. She loved my work and forwarded me to a conversation with the Head of Product, who had also switched to UX; she was a movie producer before.
We talked, and it eventually worked out. She asked me several questions about the course I was taking since I had no professional experience in UX yet. She asked me what the scope of the study was, what I had already covered, and what the materials were.
I got lucky. Because I wasn't looking, and in the first interview, it all worked out!
How has working with UX been?
Working with UX has been great! I believe it also has to do with starting out with the best possible conditions.
Rick, my mentor, was a consultant there, so he made himself available to talk to me if I needed help, and we scheduled some time to talk.
The team was very nice, and everything was new to me. I wasn't familiar with the tools and software they used there, but in the end, everything turned out fine.
Working in a startup is also new to me. We had some classes at the MID that covered a little about startups, but I never thought I could work in one, especially not in my first opportunity.
But it's been great, and I'm really enjoying working there!
What made you fall in love with the startup environment?
Startups require constant adaptation. We work with scenarios that change a lot, so change is constantly present!
It's been very interesting because, for example, the product team is just me and the Product Manager. There's no one else; I'm the only UX designer in the company. So I feel that I have a lot of freedom.
They have made me feel very comfortable bringing in ideas, research studies, or sharing my doubts. I could share topics in the daily meetings and even with the CTO.
All these people made me feel very comfortable to ask and discuss solutions. I feel like I'm learning a lot, and maybe in a big company, I wouldn't have this freedom to implement ideas.
So, it's been good in that sense, the freedom to discuss, implement, and have respect for ideas. I had never experienced this before.
How did you balance being a junior UX designer while also being the only designer in the company?
It was complicated at first because I had a lot of doubts about how to start each process.
So, from the first screens I developed, even if they were simple, I would research and look for references about everything. I took advantage of the flexibility of deadlines and gathered all these research findings, talked to Rick, and even watched some MID classes again.
In addition, I was in constant communication with the Product Manager. I expressed my doubts, and she guided me, even though she wasn't a UX designer herself.
So it was great to start with all this support.
What is your biggest challenge at the moment?
My biggest challenge is understanding how to work with different frameworks and methodologies, especially because I had never worked with all that before.
We have a lot to solve in the app, and it is important to know which framework best suits the problem we want to solve.
Not every problem uses the same methodology, so I need to understand when to use one tool and when to use another.
I think the main challenge is to establish what my step-by-step will be to solve the problem that is in my hands at the moment.
What is the biggest lesson you learned during this path that you would share with Ana from the past?
If I were to say something to the old me, I would probably tell her to start the MID earlier!
And I would also say to focus on studying! It's important to be organized and think about the path you want to follow. Your purpose.
I would say that there is a lot of content available, but it is important to establish goals to avoid deviating from the path.
I would say that to her. to focus on the scope of the MID program!
In addition, I would say to control anxiety.
Sometimes we worry too much about time, but it is important to be patient. The MID program has everything to prepare students to transition to UX, so stay focused and calm!