Product Design Alumni Profile: Kathryn Samson
Kathryn has recently completed our ten week Product Design (UX/UI) course this September 2019, and is now continuing her work as a freelance graphic designer, with the confidence to work in a UX/UI design capacity.
Tell us a little about your current work?
I’m a freelance graphic designer, working in the industry for over 20 years, so I have a broad experience as a designer but have been very print based. I’ve recently finished the Product Design course, but I’m continuing the relationship with the company I was paired with during the course, contributing in a UX/UI capacity. It’s exciting as they’re mainly developers so it’s a baptism of fire, but the good thing is I definitely have enough mentors on hand.
What made you choose Experience Haus?
I actually found out about the Product Design course by Experience Haus through another organisation, Hexagon, who pair UX mentors with people who want to move into that field. Hexagon is a community of women and non-binary individuals trying to help others who want to transition into that space. My mentor there suggested this course and funnily enough she has recently been to the Experience Haus studio to present about online accessibility.
What did you want to achieve from your Experience Haus course? Do you think that objective was fulfilled?
I wanted to add to my design skill set with UX/UI design capabilities. I absolutely feel like i’ve now got all the tools I need to build my UX/UI design career. Because i’m continuing my work with the startup that I was paired with during the Product Design course, i’ll definitely continue to gain more experience and will also have a real case study for my portfolio.
What did you enjoy most about the course?
Because I have a design background, I thought I would enjoy the design aspect the most. And though I did, I absolutely loved the user research part of the course! It was fascinating getting into the heads of users – imagining what they might want. Having the tools to interpret how all of that relates to developing a product was brilliant.
What was the one big takeaway from your course and how will you apply it to your life?
For me, it’s definitely the methodologies and procedures that you take in order to get the most from your research, which feeds into how you design the product. Understanding and applying them during the course, whether that was in teams on a hypothetical brief, or alone on the real briefs from our paired startup, was invaluable.
What advice would you give someone thinking of joining your industry?
I think what I was worried about was that you would need to have a knowledge of coding, but now I don’t think you do. It’s definitely good to have a bit of an understanding, but I think that is the main reason that traditional, print-based designers, including myself, might be reluctant to move into UX. So my advice would be that you can definitely make that transition, but consider also taking a short course in an introduction to coding – in parallel to the Product Design course.
Experience Haus is proud of the connections we foster before, during, and after the course. What was your personal experience with your cohort?
There were multiple backgrounds and age groups amongst the students on my course, but because we spent so much time together, we’ve actually found a bit of common ground and have become good friends. We’re very supportive of each other, and have been attending meet-ups about UX together. We’ve even spoken about collaborating on future projects.
What would be your dream job?
My five-year plan/daydream is to move to Florence, Italy. Florence is renowned as a centre for the arts, and I want to teach graphic design at one or more of the arts universities there, so it’s going to be a huge advantage having UX/UI in my skill set.
Get in touch with Kathryn