First post! I officially declare myself as an integral member of the design and tech community. Follow me on this blog as I share a 360° point of view on what I learn as a user experience designer. To kick things off, here are five things about UX and design that intrigue me, and ultimately are the reasons why I’m building my career in this direction.

1. Humanistic and holistic approach
The first design event I went to was in early February, hosted by FirstMark Capital called Design Driven #14. One of the speakers, Khoi Vinh, Principal Designer at Adobe, said that empathy is the hardest thing for a designer to learn but it’s also the most valuable skill to have [the full talk can be found here]. Hearing this gives me confidence to pursue this career because I already have a solid foundation of the skills that are valued in design. Maybe five to ten years from now, tools will change and some technical skills will be useless. But if I can articulate and communicate myself to others while empathizing with users, I already have what it takes to stay relevant in the long run.

2. Pain points as opportunities
Whenever I come across design flaws, it makes me wonder how people overlooked them. There are beautiful interfaces where the text is completely painful for my eyes and forms that refresh after a certain amount of time and all the memory is lost. Whenever I come across these roadblocks, I am more inclined to stop using the tool than try to make it work. I’m a firm believer that humans should never change their ways to make the machine work. It should be the opposite. I want to be the kind of designer who can stay alert to users’ pain points and create solutions for their needs.

3. Collaboration and community
In general, I’m incredibly hesitant about meeting people. It doesn’t help that I’m shy and introverted. When I attended Design Driven #14 in February, I committed to going home before the networking portion. But I tried to muster the courage to talk to people. I’m sure for about five people who wanted the last pizza slice, I was the designer who shamelessly took it. I’m always hungry. What can I say? Anyway, that aside, from all the interactions I had, I realized that the design community is incredibly warm and open. This surprised me because tech is competitive. Friends who work in design have said that everyone got their start somewhere so they owe it to them to pass on their knowledge to others. Despite my background not being in design or computer science, people were eager to find commonalities. I want to be a strong, well-respected designer so that I can help others. One day, I’ll be the one presenting in front of designers while giving all the opportunities I can offer.

4. Continued learning endeavor
In order to stay relevant as a designer, I need to read and stay up-to-date with all the latest trends. Adding more informative blogs to my Feedly and filling up my bookshelf with design books gets me very excited about what I could learn. My physics professor put it nicely when he said that as soon as one answer is solved, one hundred more questions manifest. I anticipate that as I strive to learn about user experience, design, technology, and everything else in the world, I will have so many more questions than answers. But I guess ultimately that is what learning is and if questions never came up, then I’d probably stop trying to learn.

5. Creating tools that change the world
Designers have the responsibility of creating tools that can change the world. That is true power. As years go by, more and more ordinary people, driven by extraordinary missions, can access tools that make them a champion in their community. It’s incredible to hear stories of people who use various platforms to help others and entrepreneurs who are building businesses to face serious social issues. It’s heartwarming to know that in this day and age, everyone is capable of making a change. Where you come from matters less and less because interaction is happening among people of culturally different backgrounds that exist in separate time zones and live in far apart places. “Creating value” for myself and for others was, is, and always will be my top priority.

There you have it. Five out of a billion reasons why I’m pursuing a design career. What are yours? What keeps you going? Where do you find inspiration? Who motivates you? Make sure you let me know in the comments.

Cheers,

Riri