Introducing: Serena!

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We're excited to welcome Serena, our newest Senior Product Designer & UX/UI Instructor!

What is the best design you’ve done, or project you’ve worked on, and why is it your favourite?

All of my professional work is under NDAs so I unfortunately don’t have any screenshots I can share. I recently redid my personal website and started sharing code snippets. It’s a work in progress, and I’ve got a lot of improvements I want to make on the styling side, but I’ve learned that there is value in putting your work out there even when it’s not fully done. Especially if you’re a bit of a perfectionist, you might never feel ready!

Serena recently started sharing code snippets on her website 💻🔍

Can you tell us about a time you stepped out of your comfort zone and it paid off?

It’s a difficult question, because I generally like a challenge so I’ve actually become quite comfortable with being uncomfortable if that makes sense. I moved to a few different countries which also makes taking risks less scary. Recently, I would say having to write content for my personal website was quite a big challenge; I’m not a great writer and I tend to be better at explaining things through visuals. I also got to write my first API!

I think I tend to seek physical challenges more; I love hiking, and the feeling you get when you enjoy the view at the top is incredibly rewarding. I have a few chronic illnesses, nothing major, but sometimes they can make me feel like I’m not in control of my body, and exercising helps me reclaim that.

Do you have any hobbies/things you enjoy that make you a better/unique designer?

At the risk of sounding cliché, empathy is really one of the most important traits you need to have as a designer; so anything that gives me insight into other people’s lives probably contributes to who I am as a designer. The obvious ones that come to mind are reading and travelling. I’m also a front-end developer, which has helped with multiple aspects of my work: it improved my communication and collaboration skills with my more technical coworkers, and it’s made me more mindful of designing products that won’t be too difficult or impossible to implement.

One of Serena's side projects

One tip for a designer to elevate their designs?

Honestly? Don’t. No, I’m kidding. But really, if you’re just getting started, I don’t think your main goal should be for your designs to stand out or look cool. So many designers are focused on making something unique and they end up with confusing, unusable, or unaccessible products. Once you’ve got the basics covered, I think you’ll find the devil is in the details; something as simple as a hover interaction could really elevate the whole experience.

Another tip I would give is to find inspiration in an unexpected medium; this could be a painting, or even the nature around you. One of my favourite studios is Futura, based in Mexico City, whose designs frequently use a lot of elements from South American architecture and illustrations.

You can find Serena on the community Slack channel or LinkedIn!


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