Elaine, UX Designer: it’s all about design
As I build my design career, one of the most important things to me is to achieve the closest distance between the results of my work and the reason why the design discipline exists. I design because I strongly believe in the design philosophy that governs all forms of creative work. That is, to embrace the notion that every problem is an opportunity for creative solutions.
Qualtrics provides a context by which I use to evaluate opportunities for myself and the design to have impact. I'm drawn to the concept of experience management and the various ways in which UX is central to this idea. Qualtrics helps businesses understand the why: why experiences are positive, why experiences are negative, the ways experiences are positive or negative. The same rigor of questioning is needed to produce anything that's well-designed.
What attracted you to Qualtrics in the first place?
Experience management parallels the design process in many ways, and both are concepts that I love to spend time thinking about. That is, Qualtrics suggests ways businesses can improve experiences; design demonstrates the ROI for creative solutions that improve user experience. Both are connected and bring each other into focus.
What was the turning point where you knew you "had to have the job" at Qualtrics?
The company's mission and vision were exciting to me. I wanted to explore the world of enterprise solutions and learn more about everything I previously didn't understand. It was also the right time. That's when I knew I had to commit.
What does your day look like?
Some combination of daily standup, slack, and email, prep for meetings, meetings, heads-down time, design crit.
What is your favorite part of your role?
Collaboration and learning from the people around me happen daily.
You moved to Seattle, right?
I moved to Seattle after graduating from school in Rhode Island. I grew up in Palo Alto, so the Seattle culture was not unfamiliar.
Any tips for someone looking to get into a career like yours?
Advice for aspiring UX designers: Figure out what you find interesting in the field of UX, then learn everything you can about it. Say yes often and commit to what you say you will do! When you enter the industry, you have a unique opportunity to try things from the lens of a new grad. It’s a special time that won’t last or be repeated.
What has surprised you most about working at Qualtrics?
The moving plans into Qualtrics Tower were a pleasant surprise at the time. :)
What made you want to get into design?
My path to design started with art. I started taking painting lessons in high school and quickly began publishing in magazines and showing work in galleries across the USA, including the halls of Congress in DC. To continue my love for creative expression, I researched opportunities that combined my strengths in problem-solving, creative thinking, and project-based learning. When I went to RISD, I discovered the more I learned about design thinking and its many applications. I continued down this path, majoring in Industrial design and supplementing my education with classes in cognitive neuroscience and computer science. Now, I've brought into focus the intersection of these fields with UX Design.
What are your aspirations in your career/life?
I aspire to be a designer who makes impactful contributions to evolve the field of design.
What is your top #LifeHack?
Video off, face mask on.
How have you become involved in community at Qualtrics? What has that meant to you?
Community at work, especially while working remotely, is so important. To me, it means to connect with, learn from, and grow collective knowledge with people who care about the same topics.
I had the opportunity to lead a discussion group on the Leadership Podcast last quarter. Through this experience, I got connected with the Qualtrics leadership development team, attended IMPAQT, and now lead post-IMPAQT discussion groups.
Why is it still Qualtrics for you? How has Qualtrics lived up to your expectations? How has it been different?
When I started, it was less mature of a company than I thought it would be. I gravitate towards structure and best practices rather than scrappiness. But the culture around leadership, work/life balance, and internal employee experience is really exciting to me. I feel I always can find or am able to create spaces to have impact, then see these contributions come to fruition. It's an open and friendly environment that I enjoy being in with people I enjoy working with.
What's a favorite moment/memory of your time at Qualtrics so far? Or an impactful moment?
Fireside chats with Qualtrics and SAP execs.
What 3 words would you use to describe Qualtrics to someone?
How do you feel you've been able to apply what you studied at school to your career?
There are some similarities and many differences. I've been able to apply a lot of what I've learned from school in practice, but being an employee has no specific textbook. This transition is also dependent on the industry, the company, the team and the work.
What's a myth about your type of job that you'd like to bust? Or about working at Qualtrics?
Myth to debunk about the job: it's more than creating UI.
Myth to debunk about working at Qualtrics: survey is not the wake word.
|Elaine is an alumnus of the Rhode Island School of Design and started her career at Qualtrics. Alter ego: Aubrey Plaza.|
September 13, 2021