From Imagination to Realization: Transforming into a UX Designer.
March 12, 2023
4 min read
Hello! I’m Elisha, and in this article, I’m going to share my personal journey of transitioning into UX design. From my background in healthcare (Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) to my decision to pursue this creative career, I’ll share some insights I have picked up so far. Anyone who may be considering making a similar transition, my story might be helpful for you!
Hmmm, where do I begin?
In my childhood, I loved seeing beautiful art and design. I constantly put effort into practicing and creating my drawings. It was rewarding to see my art piece come to completion in the end. Being a good daughter, however, I pursued my studies in the medical field as my parents had hoped (I gave up my passion, which I regret); I decided to study Oriental Medicine to provide holistic care to people. In school, I learned the fundamental theories of traditional medicine, which is quite philosophical (Yin and Yang, the mutual balance, etc.). I memorized all 365 acupuncture points throughout the human body and studied both acupuncture and regular anatomy (yes, it covers both eastern and western medicine) and more. I eventually got a Master’s degree in Acupuncture and Oriental medicine and started to practice.
While providing acupuncture treatments was satisfying, my passion for art and design continued to grow. I was still thirsty and felt something was missing. Art and design have always lingered in the back of my heart.
Then... Pandemic came!
During the pandemic, I went through a temporary lay-off and lockdowns. This unstable situation made me think about what I wanted to pursue and explore for the rest of my life! I strongly wanted to develop a creative side in myself. Moreover, seeing my husband (boyfriend at the time) working remotely as a software engineer during lockdowns gave me a positive impression of working in the tech industry. While I was deeply thinking about my career, my husband introduced me to UX/UI design. After watching many videos about UX design on youtube, it looked interesting and intriguing; it covers both science and design!
My curiosity grew over time, but I wasn’t still unsure about challenging myself in a completely different field. Eventually, I returned to work, but my UX/UI design interest continued. Over two years of exploration and research in the UX/UI design field, with the support of my husband, I finally stepped out of my comfort zone. I quit my job and became a full-time UX/UI bootcamp student.
My journey has (finally) begun!
I love to have a structured curriculum when learning something, and I like my decision to join the bootcamp so far. After joining Mento Design Academy, I became familiar with the designer’s mindset. There is no right or wrong answer in the design world. Everything is about the reason WHY you made that decision and how consistent you are. Additionally, I tend to stay in my comfort zone, but this program insists and makes me go out of my comfort zone. (This is painful, but it is necessary for sure! I appreciate Mento for doing this🥲)
So far, I have gained some insights after I started my UX journey, and I would like to share them with you. Surprisingly UX design is all about research! I heard about design with empathy during my UX field research, but I didn’t have a concrete definition before learning UX. To design good products for people, we must understand and empathize with our users before deciding further — We understand their pain points, thoughts, words, emotions, and behaviors towards the problem. After all, we are designing for our users, not for ourselves.
As Don Norman says, however, "true empathy cannot be achieved because we have never lived each user’s life and how their experiences have influenced them". But, we can get closer to true empathy with in-depth research; We can design solutions that meet their needs based on the data we collect. This made me realize that being a designer with empathy means putting a lot of effort into researching to empathize with the users and discover the real problem. I would like to develop and be confident and comfortable with these skills.
Additionally, UX/UI design is not a one-time process but an iterative process that involves continuous improvements based on user feedback. We design, test, and iterate, and this repeats over and over again — it’s a never-ending process! As technology evolves, our design solution must evolve for a better design for people.
We develop our empathy through research, and improve our solutions over time to bring desirable results
I want to explore further and experience the field of UX/UI and eventually build proper research skills to provide helpful solutions for many people. Also, my passion for aesthetics and visual design is prominent, so I want to learn more about them continuously! Honestly, I am unsure how my somewhat unique background will translate into UX design, but I am excited to see how my UX/UI journey goes. Wish me luck, and stay tuned to see what I become!