With technology and digitization advancing by leaps and bounds, we have started to rely on our gadgets heavily.
With that comes the usability factor, and that’s where our today’s magicians come in... the UI/UX designers.
UI and UX respectively stand for user interface and user experience of websites, applications, so on and so forth.
In this segment, we are in conversation with Muskan Raina, UI/UX Designer at Naukri.com where she shares her journey and experience working in the field.
Could you please tell us a little about what you do? And how long have you been working in the field of UI/UX design?
I’m a UI/UX designer at Naukri. I seek out creative, design-led solutions to the challenges our jobseekers face.
My role is to understand the user and business needs, and accordingly design a hassle-free, seamless experience that enriches the activity of job search and career advancement.
I’ve been in this field for 4 years now and yet every single day is full of surprises, challenges, and learning.
What got you interested in this field?
Since childhood, I have been surrounded by art and artists. My parents and sister, have all been great designers in their respective fields. Thus, the inclination, to use design as a medium to create an impact felt natural.
What led me to become a UI/UX designer in particular was my higher education in Psychology. It taught me to understand human emotions and characteristics and map them.
I realized that UI/UX was the perfect blend of design and psychology, two fields I’ve always been passionate about.
Once you found your passion, what was your next step to make a career out of it?
After realizing my inclination towards UI/UX as my career path, I researched on how to enter the field.
I spoke to my family members and peers to understand their thoughts on the same. Some of my friends who were already in this field guided me about the requirements to achieve my goals.
I also researched online to find out my next plan of action to shape up my career goal of becoming a UI/UX designer.
I found YouTube to be specifically helpful. It had everything I needed to know to get started, right from what this field entails to all the short courses explaining the process and practices.
Did you pursue any additional courses to land your current job as a UI/UX Designer?
No, I self-learned my way with the help of YouTube videos and books to understand how to start this journey and what direction to take helped me land my job as a UI/UX designer.
However, there’s a list of courses that have popularly helped people to get a crack at the field.
A few recommendations based on my understanding would be:
• Product Design by Google - Udacity
• Introduction to User Experience Design - Coursera
• 10K designer
• UX Design Curriculum- Springboard
How did you get your first break?
My higher education being in literature and psychology made it incredibly difficult to switch field to design.
At that time, I did not even understand entirely the concept of UI/UX. I was looking at a design career with little knowledge of its niche.
Now, I was faced with two options—Either I take up a proper designing course or to get equipped with the basics through self-learning and then get an entry-level job as a designer.
Since practical knowledge has always been more valuable for me than classroom learning, I went ahead with self-learning and started applying for jobs and eventually landed my first job as a graphic designer in an art studio.
I used to interact with the UI/UX professionals there and started learning the nature of their work which got me intrigued.
Following this, I worked on applying those learnings to build my portfolio, which landed me my first break in imaging and AI enabler technology company as a UI/UX designer.
What are some of your key responsibilities as a UI/UX Designer?
My responsibilities include understanding the user and business needs and problems brainstorming and forming a strategy for solving them, defining the scope of the projects, conceptualizing the structure, working on the user flows, sketching wireframes, and then creating high-fidelity designs.
What does your day as a UI/UX Designer look like?
My day begins with updating my tasks in our daily standup segment where we present our ongoing modules and receive feedback from other designers on how to approach the problem and enhance the visuals.
Apart from carrying out the key responsibilities of a UI/UX designer as mentioned earlier, a major part lies in articulating problems, concepts, approaches, solutions and presenting them to the Product, Tech, and QA teams.
A key aspect of this process also involves reading and understanding metrics to form/enhance better solutions.
If not UI/UX Designer, what would have been your alternate career choice?
It’s very hard to imagine an alternate career choice since I’m living my dream of being a UI/UX designer. However, if I had to pick any other option, it would have been a career in Psychology.
The human brain and its intriguing way of working fascinate me and constantly find myself intrigued by human nature and what shaped them to be so, and all the less asked questions regarding the human psychology.
What are the 3 things that you like & dislike about this job role?
The 3 things I like about my job are as follows;
It’s extremely rewarding and motivating to know that I’m making a significant difference in the job search and career development experience of millions of users. I get to understand and map user’s sentiments in order to come up with strategies that would potentially solve their problems.
Another side of the strategy is to also cater to the business objectives of the platform. I enjoy understanding and analyzing the data, carrying out primary and secondary research, brainstorming and sketching solution to create a good experience for the user.
I find it extremely thrilling that all of this creates a huge difference in the business.
There is absolutely nothing I dislike about being a UI/UX designer. It’s very challenging and demanding since the process starts right from the ideation stage till it’s pixel-perfect for development.
Then goes right back in that loop after receiving data and understanding how the design performed versus the current expectations. But this is exactly what keeps me motivated to be in this field every single day.
How do you maintain a work-life balance?
Since this field demands lot of thinking and the challenges can become overwhelming at times, having a healthy work-life balance is extremely important.
I make a task list everyday sectioning them into two categories - realistic and idealistic. I try to listen to my body and go with the flow after I’ve crossed my realistic goals for the day. This helps me keep track and organize everything without burdening myself.
Talking to my teammates, working with other products also refreshes me as I get to understand how they are solving problems for their respective products.
Listening to music, doodling on my dairy, journaling, and taking a long walk, helps me calm my mind and relax.
Are there any mandatory skills one should develop when pursuing this field?
Some important tools that you need to know are Figma, Adobe illustrator and Photoshop. Apart from that, being curious about why and how things function the way they do and developing a design sensibility is very important in this field.
What would you advise our readers planning to pursue a profession in this field?
There are plenty of helpful resources on the internet to help form a basic understanding of the field, YouTube being a goldmine.
Developing empathy towards the users and their needs, understanding how to build strategies to cater to them, and developing a good design sensibility to supplement the strategy would go a long way.
Getting a good mentor or enrolling in a course could be a good starting point.
Books such as ‘The Elements of User Experience’ by Jesse James Garrett, ‘The design of everyday things’ by Don Norman, and ‘Laws of UX’ by Jon Yablonski are extremely insightful and can help you get in-depth knowledge of the field.
Building a good design portfolio is also very important to land a job in UI/UX. Explore case studies on behance and medium from the industry experts and then start building your own.
How has Naukri helped in your career growth?
Naukri has helped me realize my potential to face greater challenges and solve problems with a creative approach.
I am grateful for the wonderful mentors who constantly guide me and motivate me to keep stepping up and go beyond to reach my true potential
What are the 3 things you have learned since you started working as a UI/UX Designer?
To always question everything. If it seems too easy, you’re doing it wrong.
Data driven design always trumps a design not backed by data and research.A good design is a combination of understanding the data and interpreting it in the best possible manner.
Articulating and presenting the concepts and solutions are as important as building them.
What was your interview experience with InfoEdge?
My interview experience with InfoEdge was a fun-filled and interesting one. The first step was the portfolio round where I presented my portfolio and walked the interviewers through my case studies.
They asked a lot of questions to understand my approach towards design. To analyze it better, I was given a problem statement, the solution to which I would be present in the next round. The task was to design an experience for the user to suggest them travel destinations post covid.
I had a lot of fun brainstorming my go-to strategy and concepts to solve this, considering there was a major shift in various factors such as budget, psychology of the users, travel restrictions post covid, etc.
My job was to dive deep into these areas and come up with an experience that helps users make a decision on what travel destination would be ideal.
I presented my case study for this problem in the next round and the design members taking the interview were aligned with it. They also provided a lot of constructive feedback to improve as a designer.
The last round mostly was to understand my key areas of interest, what product I’ll be a good fit for, how I can add value to it and how it can add value to my career and growth.
What is "In Conversation with"?
Seeking an expert's opinion is not always easy, so we are bringing the expert's opinion to you!
In this series, we aim to explore the career journey of people from different fields, backgrounds, and career stages who have tread the path and made a place for themselves in their specific areas.
Join us as we try to understand all about what they do, how they started, and where they are headed next.
Stay tuned to read more such articles. To get insights into your desired field, send suggestions to email@example.com!