How did you get into the field of UI/UX design? (Introduce yourself and share a bit of your background. Why UI/UX design? What makes you good for your job position?)
I studied graphic design 20 years ago, and I still remember that we used CD-ROMs and massive stock photo books to find what we were looking for when we had to get stock photos. That’s pretty much how old I am, though I also started young. I worked in advertising for years, and kind of just found myself slowly drifting towards the digital world. That was where the whole world was going as well. Initially, I fell in love with UI / UX design because it is so holistic. It is not about just making layouts and hoping that the end-users will like the designs; it is more about understanding the user’s motivations and empathizing with them. Then we also need to understand the architecture for the product we are working with. That’s what makes it so fascinating. It is also what makes it so challenging.
For me, UI/UX design has enough challenges to keep me constantly on my toes and pushing me to learn more to be a better designer. No project will ever be the same, and that’s what I like about it the most. As a designer, I am versatile, flexible, and consistently trying to find better ways of doing things. As a UI/UX designer, I am basing the design decisions on research findings to solve the correct problems. That is at the core of how I do design. Then, again there’s the visual side of things. Sometimes, depending on the project, I also love to be a good old-fashioned visual designer and focus purely on designing compelling visual layouts. It’s so multifaceted and broad, and it requires me to learn new things constantly; my work is never dull.
What was the reason behind choosing remote work? Was it only because of the worldwide pandemic, or have you been working remotely before that?
I have been working as a digital nomad for the past ten years. I stumbled across IWA (pre-Oivan) around 2011 when I started to work with them. They were the pioneers of remote work when there was no remote work in Finland or even globally. It was minimal at that time. I have been doing it since though I have spent some time at the office as well.
Does working from different places help you get inspired and have more ideas?
Yes, especially in my field, it is excellent to see a design in different cultures and countries. I think expanding world views also helps me as a designer to empathize more broadly with varying kinds of users. I am also an outdoor person, so working remotely allows me to express myself outside of work and keep my body and mind healthy.
What did Oivan offer you to support your remote work?
Oivan is an excellent company that has a great working culture. The best thing is that we’re constantly communicating, and they do not forget the remote team players.
What challenges did you face while working remotely?
There was this one purely remote project. I remember that the client was a bit hesitant initially and not so sure about the remote part. It all ended up that they were more than happy to work with us, and we also saved a lot of time not needing to travel to each other’s offices. It was a great experience, but I remember in the beginning, I had to communicate everything very clearly because we were not meeting in person. That was before the pandemic.
In your opinion, what will be the next big thing in UI/UX design? (e.g., the direction in which the industry is moving. Some books, blogs, or articles you find interesting for the topic, etc.)
I think accessibility is everything. So that we as designers will consider all kinds of users and start designing products that are for everyone. I also believe that AI and everything remote and online will be here to stay. The UI/UX design field is in constant change, so my tip for everyone is to read different blogs, follow design trends and read new (and old!) books about human behavior, marketing, and design thinking. Then, venture out of the design world and start thinking UX/UI design more holistically.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I surf. It’s part of our family’s life, my husband surfs too, and our toddler already has a wetsuit. I also do yoga (and teach it). In addition, I do illustrations, and currently, I am writing a children’s book (let’s see how it goes). Most of my free time I spend with my almost 2-year-old toddler somewhere outside, hopefully.
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