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What is your role at Six Vertical?
I am a UX/UI designer at Six Vertical and focus on research, visual design and problem solving to create great online buying experiences for our customers, partners and employees.
UX design (user experience design) is responsible for the overall user experience of a site and web app, including research, wireframe, prototyping, storyboarding, user testing, monitoring how the users use a system and more. UI design (user interface design) is responsible for the look and feel of a website or web app; essentially it includes the aesthetics throughout the entire app.
I work with graphic design tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects and Sketch. I play both roles of a UX designer and UI designer. Both elements are crucial to a product and work closely together. But despite their professional relationship, the roles themselves are quite different, referring to very different parts of the process and the design discipline. Where UX design is a more analytical and technical field, UI design is closer to what we refer to as graphic design.
What first got you interested in design?
Ever since I was a child, I was fascinated with the art of creating something out of nothing and seeing my vision come to life. I saw that creative ideas are the core of improving society and that designers can single-handedly solve a problem. I knew I was going to be a product designer that could change people’s lives through my work.
What is your favorite part of design?
I can solve different problems every day, which is new and challenging. Designers are in the career field of growing, changing and developing and help their clients see their future.
Tell us about your Mutual Value Plan. What goals are you working toward?
The Six Vertical culture emphasizes and promotes individual growth by expanding your toolset.
I’m continuing to prune my vocabulary. This skill allows me to talk to our clients and engineers in their language so I can sell my ideas. Our clients are stakeholders in our projects. We have to use their language when we communicate with them. If you’re not doing that, you’re alienating them. That’s not a good strategy for long-term success.
I also want to become a power user in my tools and try learning something I’ve never done before. I love Sketch and Adobe Creative Suite, but I know there is so much I still have not taken advantage of with these powerful platforms.
I’m continuing to work toward these goals every day to improve as a designer.
You’ve been learning a lot about HTML and CSS recently. How will these skills help you grow as a UX/UI designer?
Knowing how to code helps me produce better prototypes and have the communication skills to work with our technical partners. It gives me the ability to form a more holistic user experience and articulate my ideas in a way that a technically-driven mind will respect.
It also heightens my understanding of developers so I can think from the perspective of a developer as I design the product. It takes my designs to the next level to become a great UX/UI designer.
You recently received your first Six Vertical Badge, Level Up. Tell us about this badge and how you earned it.
The Level Up Badge represents gaining new knowledge and skills. Leveling up is a process of converting our personal blind spots into new strengths, converting knowledge into skill and turning skill to confidence. I really appreciate that Six Vertical gives me this opportunity to learn and grow.
Being a designer allows me to exercise my creative ideas on a daily basis. I love the challenge, I enjoy working with various software programs and I enjoy continually learning.
What advice do you have for fellow UX/UI designers who are just starting out in the career field?
If you design every day, you will be surprised how quickly your skills improve. Build your portfolio and work on side projects. Whatever you choose matters much less than making sure you regularly solve real-world problems through design.
Break out of the box
Have the courage to think outside the box and to take risks to design something new. Designing a step ahead of others is a brilliant way to stand out from the crowd. It is also a great way for designers to refresh themselves and increase their skills.
Learn new things
Learn through relentless research and learning. You can grow as a person, develop your knowledge base and improve yourself for the better.
Research the latest techniques and design principles. Research new studies and articles published by thought leaders in user experience field. Read what prominent user experience designers say about the early career steps that led them to where they are now.
About the Author
Shaelynn Miller is Six Vertical’s Content Marketing Coordinator. She appreciates everything she’s learned throughout her career journey, starting from pursuing two internships to earning her bachelor’s degree to today as a member of the Six Vertical team. When she’s not writing and marketing, she’s playing with her dog, walking in the park or baking.