Thank you so much for joining us for another episode of Digitally Diverse, where we do a deep dive into the journeys of the movers and shakers in the design and tech industry. So today we are joined by Kelly Weiss, who is a senior product designer at Salesforce. Welcome.
Hi. Thank you. So Kelly, for those who don’t know you, I’m sure that they would love to hear just an overview of where you’ve come from and how you’ve come to be where you’re at now at Salesforce.
Okay? Sure. Ellen. So I’ve been at Salesforce only a few months, so it’s a pretty new position.
And prior to this role, throughout my career I’ve had a lot of contract jobs and a mixture of contract and perm. And I’ve probably spent half my career working in corporate and then half in tech, mostly for startups. And I worked when I finished my degree.
I lived in the UK for a couple of years and about I’ve been back in Australia four years. So prior to that I was working in technology, mostly startups and technology in the US and Canada for nine years. Nice.
Yeah. That’s great. And what kind of brought you back to Australia, I guess would be my first question there because I’ve lived overseas myself and I think a lot of us tend to want to leave to broaden our horizons, but we always end up coming back.
Yeah, I didn’t expect to come back. I was in Canada for three and a half years in the US for five and living in La. So I was working in what they call Silicon Beach in Santa Monica, so all the startups around that area and then I moved to Colorado, which also Denver and Boulder have a very big startup scene.
Great. I was like living the life and lots of innovation and forward thinkers in that part of the world. And I came back in 2019 essentially because my father is in his older years of age and I just wanted to be a bit closer to the family after so many years away.
Yeah, that makes sense. And I guess in hindsight, probably being 2019, probably good timing to come back before everything went down. Yeah, I can speak from experience in that I was overseas and just thinking about coming home and was convinced by my partner to stay for just a little bit longer and we’ll come back mid 2020.
That was the plan and that did not go to plan. But I’d be curious to hear a little bit more about what you’re doing at Salesforce at the moment. So are you contracting there at the moment? Yeah, at the moment.
And what kind of work are you doing day to day? So the team I’m in is professional services, and what we do is we are consultants for organizations that a salesforce uses, so we help them customize salesforce. So a lot of banks and government departments and big organizations like that. They need it to have certain functions and capabilities.
And Southfool is not just the sales. They also have marketing. They have service slack now, so they have a lot of different products.
It’s not just the original sales platform that they had. So all of us so there’s a whole bunch of us designers in Melbourne and Sydney in Australia, and we’re all assigned to different projects. So I’m working at one of the large banks at the moment, and I just help them be able to use Salesforce according to how they need it.
So there’s a bit of mostly out of the box when we can, but there’s also customizations, so I do both the UX and the UI for that. Yeah. Nice.
And is there any particular reason that you were drawn to Salesforce or that role when you started with them? I was working for a startup. Since I got back to Australia, I kind of mashed back and forth. Like, I did corporate for a while, then I did a startup.
And what I like about larger organizations is usually their design team is a bit more mature and there’s a bit more support than what you get in a startup. I was drawn that they got a big team of designers and they had some good processes in place, like human centered design processes. And also Salesforce is really known for its values and ethics.
Like they actually put it into practice. So those two things is what drew me. But then since working there, I realized there’s a lot more benefits than what I initially knew.
That’s good to hear. And obviously I know that for a lot of places you can’t really go into much detail about what those look like. But is there anything that you can share about the culture there and why you’re enjoying it? Yeah, I will.
So my client is a bank, so I go into their office and it’s quite corporate, but I mean, not like it not back in the days where I used to wear suits to work all the time. Especially the design team is quite young and you see a lot of guys wearing skinny jeans even there. But Salesforce is more it’s just got like a fun, relaxed culture, lots of outgoing people.
So the office is quite a lot happening, a lot of events. And we get free snacks, which is one of the best things. Always the cherry on top, right? You’re not going to say no to that.
And there’s also often like just random food, like just the sandwiches all of a sudden. Or there’s a burger day that we didn’t know about with vegetarian options. So they’ve got a lot of events, a lot of free food, which is awesome.
And yeah, it’s just a more relaxed, fun environment than, I guess, traditional corporate organizations. Yeah. If you were to ask me what my prediction of what the culture would be like at salesforce, I would be like, it’s a big company.
That to me is really surprising that they know free food and those really day to day little prize and delight moments, which is really great to hear, I feel like, how you make your employees feel really valued and cared for. Yeah, that’s really nice to hear. Love that.
Do you go into the office very often or what does that look like for you? Yeah, so they’re quite good with allowing us to create our own schedule of when we go in the office. So I go in the client office once a week and then I go into salesforce once a week because I prefer just to go in twice a was. And most people I found, like, in general, going twice a week and I went in three times last week, but that was just because we had an event on.
And I also was recently I’m based out of Melbourne and I went into the Sydney office and that was like a whole nother level of cool because it was a lot bigger. They had like multiple floors and what I really liked was they had music, like, in the area where the lifts are and then I don’t know what was going on, but there was some basketball game that was like playing in the kitchen. Sweet.
Lots of food and really good views. And then they have a coffee cup in Sydney, like, you get free coffees, whereas in Melbourne they give us a card to go to a cafe and get free coffees. So, yeah, just a lot of benefits.
You’re just kind of shocked. That’s so cool. Well, it does make sense that in Melbourne they would just want you to go out and support the local cafes.
I don’t think there would be many in office coffee options that would top Melbourne cafe culture, so that’s great. Well, I’d be curious to hear a little bit more about your background, Kelly, if you don’t mind. So what kind of education path did you take and would you choose that again? Yeah, definitely.
So when I knew that I wanted to go to university and so it was just a matter of what do I do at university? And I just remember when I was at school, we did, like, a little bit of I remember I went to some lab and there were, like, graphic designers there. And I just remember it being really fascinating, even though it was Microsoft Paint, because that’s I don’t know, that just planted a seed, that I just wanted to do something that was creative. And I was living on the Sunshine Coast at the time in Queensland and I wanted to go to university there, so I could have gone to Brisbane, but I was know there’s a few really good universities there, but I thought, no, I want to study where I can be at the beach.
So the only degree that the Sunshine Coast University had at the time was design and marketing. So it was half business, half arts, and I was like, all right, I don’t know much about marketing because, you know, just finished school, but I’ll just do that degree. And it ended up being amazing because it turns out that I’m the type of person that needs to do both.
So when I finished that degree, there was a big trend back then that people wanted to work in advertising agencies. And I remember had my portfolio, like this massive thing that I had to lug around big folder, and I had an interview at an ad agency because that’s what they put time aside for graduates just to kind of help them out. And I remember showing the man my work.
I said, Can I do marketing as well? And it’s like, no, it’s one or the other. He didn’t say these words, but you’re either a mac monkey, as they call it, or a suit. You’re either in business or you’re in design.
And I’m just like, I want to do both. And he’s like, well, you can’t work in an ad agency. And I’m like, all right, I won’t.
So I dropped that idea, and I was adamant that I didn’t want to lose the marketing when I finished that degree. And I had a few people advise me and go, it’s better that you just specialize and pick one. And I just said, I’m not going to pick one.
So I went against advice from older people as a 21 year old graduate, and I just knew that I had to do both. So I was trying to find a way to do it. And then I realized that there was a lot of marketing roles at that time.
Obviously marketing assistant, and they said, desirable to have Adobe Experience. This is before it was called Adobe Creative Suite, so that they’d list Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, I think, just came out back then, and I’m like, Great, that’s what I’ll do. So my career was essentially marketing roles, where I was the in house designer for probably about ten years or something.
So that was my way of doing both, and it was great. So I got to use my complementary degree because they really do go together. And I noticed that often, like, when you’re a marketing person and just say you need a new website, you’re coming up with who’s the target audience, you don’t personas, and then you come up with story.
So the storytelling part, and then there’s the strategy, and then you’re looking at what type of pages, what content do we need? I was also a copywriter, so I would do all of that. Which part of that is UX as well? Before it was called UX. And then usually you give the brief to a designer.
So you’ve got, here’s the content, here’s the structure. Because I was the designer, I got to do the whole project. So that was one of the unique things about having the skill set of both, that I bypassed all the handovers to a designer and you would have all of the information then as well because obviously you were the person that was gathering it in the first place.
So probably a win win for your client or for your employer, right, yeah, the only thing which started to show up a little bit later is things take longer because one person can only be working on one thing at a time. Yeah, that’s true. That started to show up a bit later and that had to change.
But this is back in the days where I guess it varies depending on the size of the organization. But this is before WordPress, so I did work with smaller organizations that if WordPress existed then they would have gone onto that, but they had to use the development, use developers. So I would prepare everything, do the designs and then hand it over to developers.
And that leads me into after about I’ll just talk about the year in 2010, I was living in Vancouver and in Canada and I was working in finance again. So I worked in the exploration industry and finance mostly like in the beginning of my career, a few contract jobs, a few permanent roles, like it was a bit of a mix. And I remember I was working for this company and wearing a suit and going to a lot of finance shows and going to a lot of the mining shows across North America wearing suits and yeah, just that kind of atmosphere.
And then I started to make friends with developers in my own time because back then in 2010, there was only a big few tech hubs in the world. So it was Silicon Valley, obviously just south of San Francisco, and then Silicon Beach, Santa Monica in La and then Vancouver, so all the west coast of North America were the main hubs at the time. So there was a lot of that going on around me.
And then I started to have all these developer friends and I noticed that they were working at cafes, just wearing what they wanted and I was still wearing a suit and in a very corporate, serious environment. And I’m like, I want to wear thongs and I want to go work in a cafe. That was my main reason for wanting to move into tech, I just want to be comfortable.
Yeah, I then realized that cafe is the most uncomfortable place you could work and I hate doing that. But before I knew that, I thought it was the coolest thing. So I had to work out how do I transfer into technology, being still in marketing and being a designer.
And at that time I had done a lot of websites so you could say that that was the UX part, but I never broke it out separately. Saying I’m doing UIUX. It was more marketing and design and websites and do you want me to go into how I changed tech? Yeah, definitely.
I’d love to hear that. So I remember trying to work out the exact transition. I think what I did was I quit my job first because I just had enough.
And I think I got a contract job in mining, in investor relations, which is completely different. It’s more like communication and copywriting and stuff, which was my background, marketing, communications, and then oh, that’s right. And then I made a go as a freelancer, right? So I just thought, I’ll quit that job, I’ll be a freelancer and I’ll see about getting work that way.
So I got a few branding and website gigs and I taught myself WordPress around that time. So I ended up building a few websites for people doing all the copywriting, doing the branding. So that kind of got me into just having a bit more flexibility.
And I remember I met up with a couple of people that were freelancers or had their own agencies and they were just giving me tips like how to get clients, just what the lifestyle was like. So I did that for about six months and I just found that the money was a little bit inconsistent when you’re used to having a regular job and then all of a sudden you have to work out how to get work yourself. Although I did have work, I just had a little bit of fear and the fear around the instability.
So I remember saying, all right, well then I get a job again, but this time let’s look for tech jobs and see if I can move out of corporate. And for some reason I thought it was going to be hard that I was like, oh well, I don’t have experience in tech, how am I going to suddenly do it? But what I didn’t know at the time was it’s quite an easy transfer. So the skill set is the same, it’s just the environment is different.
And anytime you’re changing jobs, the environment is going to be different. The culture, who you’re working with, the product, it was really just an extension upon that. But for some reason at the time I was like, oh, I don’t have experience, I’m not qualified.
And I kind of made it out to be a bigger deal than it really was, instead of just looking at it like I’m just transferring to the side. So I remember very clearly there were two jobs in particular that I was advancing in interviews for, and one, I would have had to go into an office, I remember, and that was all I was used to, so I was like, whatever, I’m just going into an office. And then the other one was fully remote, which would have been revolutionary at the time, 2011, fully remote, right? And I remember going and I remember I actually told so this was a tech startup.
Most people are familiar with Atlassian, so they were a plugin provider for Atlassian, Confluence and Jira. So it was in the Atlassian ecosystem. And I remember telling the CEO it was a small company, it was just five developers and then me.
And I remember telling him, no, I’m going to say no to the job because I don’t want to work remote. Which is a really funny thing to say, but because I had been working by myself for six months as a freelancer, I was feeling a bit isolated, wanted to go into the office. He said, Why don’t you want to work remote? Probably thinking, is she insane? And I just said, Because I really want to work in a team and be around people.
And he promised me, he said, look, we’re going to be on they must have used Google Meet. I think that was the thing. Back know, we’re going to be in video conferencing.
And he lived in Vancouver too, so he’s like, we can meet up sometimes. And so I ended up taking it. And that was the beginning of my digital nomad life before that was a thing.
And I remember in that job, over the year and a half, I worked out of Italy, Mexico, numerous times. I came to Australia for five weeks, and I think I worked for four weeks fully remote. And there was so much flexibility.
And I remember, especially in Mexico, the Internet can be quite bad. So I had to work out of this interloom, this oceanfront resort, like just back a bit, sitting on the couch and stuff. And everyone was on holiday and I’m on my computer like 8 hours, like, sitting there all day.
And sometimes I’ll talk to people and they’re like, you’re working here? Like in paradise? And I go, yeah. And they’re like, oh, you’re so lucky. I wish I could be here and be paid to be here.
And I’m like, yeah. So I feel like I really got to do the digital nomad thing. Before it was a thing.
Yeah, before it was cool. Yeah. When I was at the right age to do it, because I feel like right now kind of past that.
Yeah. So that’s how I initially got into working in the tech space. Yeah.
Awesome. And it’s interesting that you say that. It wasn’t as hard as what you thought it would be to transfer into that industry.
I feel like a lot more people go in between corporate and agencies and startups and more tech focused companies. A lot more fluidly now than what they used to, like 1015 years ago. Have you noticed that as well with some of your colleagues? I wouldn’t say that many, but not that many, but I guess more than before.
And as I said, I did it. I worked corporate a few years ago, then I just did a year at a startup. And now I’m back to corporate and there’s big differences in many, many ways still.
But I really think it’s just the skill set to have is just adaptability and just knowing that, okay, they’re different environments. And I used to think it was interesting that tech was better. Right.
I’m like technology and startups are much better than corporate. I just made this assumption, right? It’s cool, it’s more flexible. And I was a freelancer and a consultant for many years in the US.
That was primarily what I did. And I remember I used to work in Santa Monica in clients offices and I would bring my dog, right, and she was small, so she had to sit on my desk next to me and she would scream if I left her. So I had to bring her into the boardroom, into client meetings and stuff and just have her on my lap.
And everyone started work at 10:00 A.m., so I used to work like 10:00 A.m. Till 04:00 p.m..
I got paid by the hour, not by the day. And I’d go to the beach in the morning and then I’d go for a walk to the beach at lunch and then I’d go to the beach after work. And it was a great lifestyle, but not as much money because it was tech startups, right? Yeah.
But didn’t have much money to pay. So I always thought, yeah, it’s so much cooler and you can do this and you can do that. And then after being in Australia and being in both, I’ve realized that I don’t think one is better than the other.
Now I think they both have their positives and they both have their negatives and I’ll say equally across both. Yeah, I think that’s you’re right. There’s no right or wrong answer with what’s better or worse.
And everyone’s kind of got their preference. And for sure there’s definitely people who have a definite leaning one way or the other. But it’s great that now and you’re a really good example of the fact that you can switch and you can go from one to the other depending on what your life is looking like at that moment.
And you do have that flexibility of choice. So yeah, it seems like you’ve hit the jackpot with where you ended up landing. Yeah, I think it’s different life stages.
Like, I remember when I was working for a startup last year based out of Brisbane, I was living on the Sunshine Coast again, like many years later. And that role, I asked if I could go work out of Thailand for a month because my sister was living there. So I set up in Chiang Mai and just worked from because that’s the digital nomad hub of Thailand and I love that place.
So I got to work from there and working co working spaces and then sometimes work at cafes. And I never had a virtual background. They always be like, where are you today? My team members.
So that was great for flexibility, but to do that in corporate, you can’t really do that because that’s not really a priority or a desire. Like, I got to do that last year again and it’s just like, all right, yeah, don’t need to do that right now. Yeah, no, that’s great that you can kind of it’s the beauty of contracting, right, is you can go with wherever the wind is taking you at that moment.
And there’s definitely some cons to contracting vest perm in that regard. But yeah, it’s great that you know now where each kind of work environment would fit with you. So, yeah, that’s great.
So Kelly, you mentioned before know, initially in your career it was more on the marketing side of things and then you moved more into UX. How do you think that that foundation in marketing has benefited you in the design industry? Yeah, so I’d say it was more like 50% marketing, 50% design. So it was always both.
I never only did marketing and I never only did design. And I think if that was the case, it wouldn’t have worked for me because if I was only doing left brain marketing, I would have got a headache and would have been too much. And if I was doing design all day, I would have been bored.
So I always had to have that combination. The last four years I’ve been working solely in product design and UIUX, and I don’t want to say I dropped the marketing because I feel like the UX part is still the marketing, but just under a different umbrella and different words. So I can talk about the transition into officially being in UIUX.
Whereas before I was a marketing, I used to say I work in marketing and design. So it really started in around 2013, 2014. So keep in mind that I was designing a lot of websites anyway, so I was doing UIUX, but I didn’t know that it was called that at the time.
And I remember I worked for this really cool startup. It was the second startup I worked for in California and it was a blockchain company. So this was in the early days of blockchain, so they were pioneers.
And the company is still around today and it’s quite big, but I won’t mention it. And they had a transactional wallet cryptocurrency. So I started by doing the usual marketing, like communications and storytelling and copywriting and social media, and then also working on the rebrand, the logo, the color scheme, and then building a website in WordPress.
And once all of that was done, they’re like, all right, we’ve got an MVP wallet. That was usually an MVP. They haven’t hired a proper designer, so it’s a little bit ugly and a bit clunky.
And they’re like, we need it redone. So I’m like, all right, well, I know that’s a product I usually design websites. It can’t be too different.
So I’m a designer, I’m sure I can do that. So I remember going into it thinking it would be similar to graphic design. And there was a product owner and there was a CTO, and then there was like a dev team, so we didn’t have a BA.
And so there was like a few traditional roles missing, but that’s common in startups. I remember talking with the product owner, like, who are the personas and the target audience, what features do we have now? And by the way, there was no human centered design, so a lot of startups can’t afford that, right? So you’re not validating, you’re just making assumptions, hoping for the best. Yeah, it’s all assumption based.
So all of my product design in the first few years, there wasn’t much validation except for one app, but that was it. So I remember going, oh yeah, I can do it. And then as I looked into it, I was like, this is really complex and this is a lot harder than I thought.
Making the transition from design into product design, visual design into product design. So I ended up just having to download a bunch of I went to UX Pin, which was quite big at the time, and they had like a prototyping tool, which now you would use Figma. Previously, you would use Envision, but back then UX Pin was quite big and they had all these guidebooks on UX and UI and this and that, and I just remember reading them all joining meetup, groups going to meet.
Up groups, asking for help, finding someone who I’m still friends with, and then hiring him and getting him to come and help with some UX strategy. So it was a lot more complex. And so I did Wireframes and really put it together.
And then when it was time for the UI a few months later, they wanted me to do some marketing stuff. So we had to get an agency to do it, which was a little bit disappointing because I was really looking forward to it. But I learned a lot from that agency, like how to structure the files properly for UIUX.
At the time, it was Photoshop, this is before Sketch was a thing and before Figma existed. And so I learnt a lot from these people and I’m glad that my company had the resources to invest in them. And it wasn’t just all on me to do it because it was quite a transition.
And then the next project was an app and again, it was easier because it was already built. So it was me just adding more features and functionality, doing a bit of marketing as well on the side. But yeah, it was more just adding to something that existed rather than creating it from scratch.
So I feel like my way in was supported and yeah, I mean, there was still a lot more learnings. That I had to do. I didn’t feel that I needed to do any courses or anything because I had quite a good background with the marketing transferring into UX.
And what I want to talk about is when I came to Australia in 2019 and I noticed that human centered design was a big thing here, which it was not in the startups that I was working for in California and Colorado. And my best friend is a service designer and she was living in Melbourne. And I remember I was looking for a contract job and I’m like, do I look for marketing? Do I look for design? I’m trying to work out what to do.
And she suggested, why don’t you just focus on UIUX? And I said, I don’t know if I want to drop marketing. And when I started to look into learn more about human centered design and the double diamond, I started to run through some of my marketing skill sets and processes with my friend and then she would convert them into different workshops or different artifacts that existed in UX. So as a marketer, you’re obviously working with personas a lot.
It’s the basic foundation. It’s like, who are we designing for, what problems are we trying to solve? Looking at feasibility. And a lot of it was very similar, it was just different words.
So I wrote down everything that I was doing in marketing and as I said, she converted them into what they were in UX and I realized I had a lot more experience in UX than I realized. So that gave me a lot more confidence in, especially as I said, adding the human centered design part, which is quite different because startups, everything can be quite rushed because they got a smaller budget and a different time frame to corporate. So I knew that there was going to be a bit of a transition.
So by having her allow me to identify, I felt more confident and I was able to just go in as a senior UIUX designer straight away without having to go into mid just by having a couple of product design experiences before that. And one of my first projects in Melbourne was a really complex didn’t have there was no product owner, there was no BA. In the beginning, I had to do everything from the know, learn how to do user testing, which was really easy for me to do just from my marketing skills that I had.
Yeah, it kind of sounds like a lot of the user research side of things. A lot of it is very data led, which I’m sure I know marketing is as well. So yeah, it would be super similar.
It would just be the same, but different. Really. Yeah, different words.
And I remember before I knew what all the artifacts were, especially for synthesis, I would just create, make up all these things, right? Like I was using Sketch at the time, and there was miro back then, but so I was using Sketch, and I remember I would map out the synthesis in the way and structure it in the way that I thought. And then later on, I learned that there were official UX artifacts that matched exactly what I automatically made up and needed to do in my head. Well, that’s great, you’re on the right track.
That must have been very validating, be like, okay, yeah, I do know what I’m doing. Yeah, it’s super interesting and it happens so much with a lot of people that I speak to day to day. They’ve come from a marketing background and realized that they were doing UX and UI without even realizing, or you’re right, just had different names for it.
So yeah, that’s fantastic. And I guess in that regard you doing that 50 50 split between marketing and UX. Would that be something that you’d recommend to perhaps students or younger people wanting to get into the field? Well, I mean, it depends.
I feel if you want to be a UI UX designer and I’m saying both here for it would be product design because that’s obviously both. Or do you want to just work in UX or you just want to do UI? I probably wouldn’t recommend choosing either UX or UI because I feel like over the last few years they are expecting people to know both. And I know that there’s a few large corporate companies that have stopped the split and then they’ve made everyone a product designer.
So I was fortunate that I had that because I know in a lot of interviews people would go, would you say you’re more UX or UI? And every interview they asked me that and I’m like, well that clearly must be quite a thing, right? Someone’s one or the other. And I said to them, I’m both. I said, I’m 50%, I can’t choose which one I am.
And I just couldn’t. So I recommend, if you want to get into UIUX, to actually do UI and UX, because end to end is really a good way to do it. Some projects you might just focus on more UI or more UX, but it’s a really comprehensive and complementary skill set to get into.
With regards to the marketing, I feel like I’m obviously still a marketer. I’m not working as a marketer right now, but I’ve been able to throw in when time allows. Some of my marketing skills, like in a contract that I had for another bank a couple of years ago, there was a lot of content that had to be written on some of the screens and the VA was giving it a go.
But I basically and in my last role in the startup, I basically wrote and edited every single bit of content, whether it went in an email, whether it was on a modal, whether it was actually in the product, so that was me using my copywriting and then just in other discussions in various areas. Yeah, I’ve been able to bring that skill set in, but I don’t feel like I completely miss marketing because I feel like the UX is giving me that left brain, that problem solving. If I do want to do marketing still, then it would just be something that I would do maybe on the side when it came up.
And with regards to design so product design is not that creative, really. If you go from being a visual designer or a website designer into product design, you’re losing a lot of that creative outlet. So, again, if that’s something that’s important to me, which it is, then what I need to do is just my own projects on the side.
I just have to do my own creative projects because I’m not fully getting that fix from work anymore as a product. Yeah. And would that be the advice that you would give to potential people who are wanting to get in the industry, is kind of like, keep it broad and figure out what you prefer later on down the line? Well, what I’ve said to people for years than I knew, especially if someone comes from a visual design pathway, I say to them, if you want to be creative in your job, focus on websites.
Right. Just focus on websites. If you are okay to give up that creative outlet, do product.
Why did I choose product if it’s so important for me to be creative? It’s because product seemed to be more complex, more interesting. I found that I was doing websites for so long that it was great, but I just felt like I needed to go a little bit deeper, and that’s what product design can do. I’m not that experienced with apps.
I’ve just chosen that I don’t have to be an expert in all three. So I focused on being an expert in web design, and now I’m focusing more on the last few years, an expert in product design. If I do feel like I want to change, I might look at apps.
But yeah, so I recommend that if you’re starting, you could just choose. You could go, all right, I just want to do apps. If you want to be really creative, focus on websites.
If you want something more complex, working with bigger teams, then it would be product. Yeah, I think product just allows you to get under the hood a little bit more. Right.
Very deep and complex. I’m guessing apps would be similar ish and websites would be they’re complex in their own way, especially information architecture, if it’s a big web site and you’re really having to figure out the navigation. Yeah.
So you could do it that way. You could go in and choose, which is what I did in the beginning, or you could just be open and get experience in all three and then say all right, I’m going to spend a few years and just get really good at websites, or I’m going to get really good at product. And then you can always change.
Right. Then you can try apps and you can try something else too. Yeah, that’s one of the perks of the design creative industry at the moment, is give it another ten years, there’s probably going to be some new medium out there that we’re going to be in dire need of designers for and product designers for.
So, yeah, it’s all well and good to be like, okay, this is what it’s great, what is good for me now. But if the tide could turn and a brand new avenue could open up, which is really exciting, it’s probably one of the greatest reasons why I like being part of the tech industry at the moment is especially with AI and VR, there’s so many doors that are going to be opening up in the next decade or so. It’s really cool.
Yeah, I feel like AI is going to be its own unique way of designing, and that may be another branch as well. Yeah, definitely. And Kelly, I’m curious.
You’ve obviously got a lot of drive and motivation. Know, put yourself out there and try new things. Is there anything that you do on the regular that inspires you, motivates you to do what you do? Yeah, I feel like I’m at a point where and I feel this is really important to do something where you’re able to use your natural gifts and talents.
So I just feel like the mindset that you need to have in UIUX just suits my mindset. Like, it’s a good match when it comes to creativity and being a designer, I feel like you’re born with that lens. So everywhere I go, I’m noticing symmetry and patterns and colors, and I’m very stimulated by colors, and I get very excited seeing certain colors and seeing them together and seeing certain artwork.
And when Mid Journey came out the AI platform to create artwork, I was on it for 6 hours, and I was like, so stimulated and so excited and I couldn’t sleep. So I feel like just, there’s that natural artist inside of me. So I do work on my own creative projects on the side to be able to get that fixed, which I think is important if you don’t 100% get it from work.
And I’ve chosen product design, which doesn’t give that. So that’s my way of balancing it out. Medium, there’s a lot of really good articles that I found, like UIUX articles that I look at on medium and lots of industry trends.
I find that whoever are the leaders in software, I guess, in the industry, they have some of the best articles. So a few years ago, Envision had some of the best UIUX articles, and Sketch probably did, but maybe I didn’t notice them. And now it’s figma.
So you look at all of Figma’s articles, and that’s how you can learn a lot about what’s out there. So, yeah, medium just gives you a lot of different contributors that you may not get on other specific design information platforms. So that’s usually where I look.
Colleagues, I love talking to colleagues. Like. I tried the latest photoshop with AI.
How was that beta version there? If you have an Adobe Creative Suite subscription, which I do, I bought some artwork that I wanted to print out. So I do my own. I buy it, and I needed it to be landscape, and it was portrait.
And I tried using Photoshop to do it myself the traditional way, and it was a mess. And the AI was amazing. It was brilliant the way that it did it taking over the world, that was really great to do.
So cool. Okay, cool. I’m going to have to go have a fiddle with that.
But yeah, it’s super exciting. All the new stuff that’s coming out around AI, it’s a whole new frontier. And usually I love to end these episodes with the question, if you were to give your younger self any career advice, what would it be? There would be two.
One would be, would you listen to all those people that told you to specialize? Because now I say to them, ha, I wouldn’t have been any good in UIUX. I would have just had one of the skill sets. So don’t think that just because people are older than you that they know what’s right for you.
They don’t. They’re just going on their own knowledge. So it’s really important that you honor what you’re drawn to and what lights you up and what your natural skills are.
That trumps over triumphs over anyone that gives you advice, even if they are older. And I guess the second thing would be if you don’t have every skill set or know every single piece in a role or in a certain pathway that you want to go, but it’s still drawing you there, like, confidently walk towards it and just know that you’ll learn those little pieces. You can be honest about it with people around you and just say, hey, this area I need to learn or I need to get better at.
What do you advise that I do? So for me, it was more in the beginning, like different responsive layouts, just having to learn a little bit about that in the beginning because that wasn’t something that I started knowing, so I learned about that. So just keep moving forward and times change. So even if you feel that you get to a point where you know a lot of things, there’s going to be something new like AI, and then suddenly you’re a beginner again.
No, that’s great. And yeah, I think be picky with what advice you choose. Still look for advice, but don’t take it all as gospel, is what I’m hearing.
Which yeah, 100% agree. Thank you so much for that. Kelly.
Really appreciate you coming on and having a chat. I feel like I’ve learned so much, so yeah. Thank you again.
Yeah. Thank you, Ellen. It’s been been really nice to be here.
Thanks for having me.