Student Profile: Alvin Chan
Alvin was a student on our ten week Product Design course during the winter of 2019, then recently completed our ten week Product Management course.
Why did you choose to study with Experience Haus?
I chose Experience Haus because I needed the relevant skills to become a UX/UI designer. I decided to switch shortly after graduating from Industrial Design in summer 2018 because I thought the scope for innovation and improvement was diminishing in designing physical goods. Digital, or UX/UI design, seemed a lot more exciting and profound – nearly everyone has a smartphone or computer so that’s a good start. My friend Dimitri also studied with Experience Haus and recommended it to me so I jumped on.
After finishing the Product Design course, I knew there was a new Product Management course so I signed up to that too, because it is beneficial to know the methodologies and personnel businesses utilise to design their products or services.
Did you know what you wanted to achieve before you embarked on the course? What did you enjoy most about the course?
Yeah, I wanted to become a UX/UI Designer. I know this sounds very salesman-like, but if it wasn’t for the course, I wouldn’t have been able to share my UX research and design process during my job interviews, talk about what I did like user interviews, usability testing, and interface design. I wouldn’t stand a chance with only presenting the work I did in uni, and certainly wouldn’t have landed my UX design job.
What did you enjoy most about the course?
Learning the relevant processes like experience mapping, user flows, and applying it to a live brief from a startup was really enjoyable. More often or not, a lot of these vocational courses ask you to apply what you learnt to a theoretical project that came from your own thinking, which frankly, isn’t enough.
Also learning with fellow course mates who come from different backgrounds, be in a senior designer, marketing manager, or someone else straight out of uni like me made it more interesting too.
What is the single most important thing you learnt?
Having an open mind. And by that I mean, what you design can sometimes be what you think works, because you went through it over and over in your head. However, just because you think it works, doesn’t necessarily mean other people see it that way, and they might even completely disagree and don’t like your design.
That will definitely happen in everyone’s design career, but it’s up to you to forget your personal opinions and get to the meat of the matter by asking why. It’s always easier to find out these mistakes early in the design process and resolve them, than to U-turn when deadlines are just around the corne
What are you up to now?
I’m currently working at nitro, in an UX design team to guide one of their big Pharma clients, MSD, to adopt a more user-focused approach to Agile when devising marketing collateral of their medicine to healthcare professionals, or raise awareness of a certain illness in the general public.
That’s more about changing corporate culture. The more typical design work I do will be coming up with website designs for relevant campaigns, starting from wireframing, to organising content, then from low to high-fidelity prototypes.
How do you stay up to date?
I subscribe or follow a bunch of things. If I’m looking for some UI inspiration, I’ll look at Instagram, Dribble, and Pinterest because they are very image-driven networks. If I want to know more about UX, I’d read case studies on Medium, research reports from Raconteur, or listen to podcasts on startups, or different industries that are trying to implement design. It’s always helpful to follow a range of sources to widen your thinking.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about going into your industry?
You just have to start and then keep yourself moving. I switched from Industrial Design so it was easier for me to transfer my skillset for digital or service-based outcomes. Don’t feel disadvantageous if you don’t come from a design background, sometimes the people that do have a truly fresh pair of eyes to design, and that’s where surprises may lie.
A lot of the research and design work involves either talking to lots of people or working with the computer for hours and hours, which can seem to be a tough mountain to climb, but if you like talking to people, keen to get to the bottom of things and are analytical, then design will be an invigorating industry for you.
What would be your dream job?
I don’t necessarily have a dream job yet, more like a dream goal. Ultimately, my own lifelong mission as designer is to show people a better way of doing things, and if the job allows me to see what I do can make a positive impact, I’m all for it!
Get in touch with Alvin