Tell us a little bit about yourself (Your name, what you do, your background)
I’m Thaian and I have designed digital products for the last 12 years. As a UX specialist, I have been very pivileged to have had opportunities to offer my services in several industries, from politics & activism to SASS industrial B2B products for both south and north American markets. Four years ago, I moved from my native country, Brasil, to the SEA region with the goal of spreading the knowledge I developed previously in a fast-growing market. Since then, I had opportunities to lead Product Design teams in industries that ranged from logistics, oil & gas, and fintech.
If you are here to sell yourself, what’s your brand motto?
I strongly believe that UX is a bridge between businesses and humans. The experience I had as a UX consultant for Fortune 500 companies opened my eyes to one thing in particular:
Companies like Vale and Ambev/Inbev managed to quantify the financial value of incorporating the UX process for smoother, faster, and better delivery of their digital services. The reason is UX helps companies to pinpoint and measure issues that users will have more precisely *before* potential millions of dollars are spent on the development.
How did you get started on UX design?
I quit designing school in 2011 because it never answered my biggest question about the industry: how do we, designers, prove our value to the market and to the companies that hire us? Meanwhile, I became a business partner with friends who were offering software engineering solutions to the US market, mostly in the politics/activism environment. As the sole designer of the team, I had to find out that answer by myself. Dealing with stakeholders very early in my career gave me the perspective I needed and the opportunities to download the information that, eventually, solved the aforementioned question. Hit me up to know what this answer may be hahaha
Where does your motivation come from?
I believe that everyday workers are the biggest power in late-stage capitalism, which we’re living in. As so, my biggest interest in design is to empower them. In such a scenario, the software is the interface everyone will have to deal with in industries that are going through digital processes. By adequating software to fulfill the needs and reduce the pains of those who depend on them to execute their work, we are improving – and there are ways to measure it – the quality of work. An important side effect of it is the quality of work impact businesses. Workers who have better ways to do their jobs will be retained, their productivity will be higher and good feelings are infectious.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently in a sabbatical, taking the chance to reflect on the value and purpose of my work practice. The best part of it and it’s giving me the chance to apply the methods and routine I used to use at my Product Design practice to other things in my life. Funny enough, I’m right about applying agile methods of measuring delivery and chunking milestones into personal projects not related at all to UX design haha
What is the most challenging part of the design process? How did you overcome it?
Measuring and demonstrating the value of design to both stakeholders and users. Like mentioned before, there is a strong relationship between the well being of users and the impact it delivers to the business. The tricky part is to find out where are the common grounds between both parts. There is no silver bullet, however, that is completely dependent on the industry, specific sets of users and what results we want to deliver.
What is your favorite part in the design process? And why do you like it?
Cliché or not, talking to final users. There is something special when you listen to someone. Is less about what they have to say, but a lot about *how* they say it. In a past project, a hypothesis my team had about what was the most problem to solve was disproven by a user. When they mentioned a particular problem they had (that we hadn’t accounted for until that moment), said user started cussing and using very rude words. It became clear that was a much bigger pain than we initially hypothesised haha
From your perspective, what are the differences between UX designers and UI designers?
These are different skillsets that need to join forces as they are solving common problems. Think of an illustrated book. Both the writer and illustrator are conveying the narrative of the story. The goal is common, the skills necessary to achieve it are different. It’s the role of the Design Leader to join these forces to achieve the intended result.
What is your advice for young people engaged in the design industry?
Don’t take anything for granted, question everything. Question why do you follow a specific process, question the value you deliver with your designs and question authority.
What opportunities and challenges do you think designers will face in the future?
Tools are always getting better and will make our jobs as easier as ever. Will this impact the need to hire a designer? IMO, only if what defines you as a designer is the capacity of using design tools. How do you prove your value beyond drawing wireframes?
How do you define success as a UX designer?
Bridging the human aspect of products and their impact in the business.
If you could have one magic, what would it be?
The power of making people’s lives less miserable at work – after all we spend more time at work than with our family and significant ones. Thankfully, I already acquired this power!
What are your personal & creative plans for the future?
Get back to operating in my own company, offering UX consultancy and UI delivery via the multiple hyper talented designers I have been delegating work for the last years. Hit me up so we can collaborate! hahaha
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