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Transitioning into UX: Quickfire questions with Zebra Technologies’ Ellen Thomas

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ARTICLE SUMMARY

Ellen Thomas retrained herself, in her own time, to transition into UX Design from a different field of design altogether. Here, Ellen shares with us her drivers and advice for transitioning into a more tech-focused design role.

What made you decide to switch from a role as a visual designer to a more tech-focused UX designer?

transitioning into UXI wanted to do something new, and I wanted it to be a field with plenty of opportunities to try new things and continue to learn. UX is extensive; it encompasses many skills and tools and there are UX jobs in every sector you can imagine, so it was a great fit. Technology is changing our world; it’s a fascinating field to be working in, every day is different and the potential impact you can have is amazing.

What advice would you give to those nervously considering a transition into a tech role?

I would say just go for it; if you don’t like it, you can always go back to working in your previous field. However, if you are unsure, try before you buy; I used my holiday days to do work experience in UX as well as joining local UX meetup groups to talk to people already in the UX roles.

Now that you’re a fully-fledged UX designer, what resources/tools/communities do you use for ongoing development?

I still swear by ‘The UX Team Of One’ by Leah Burley and a yearly membership to the Interaction design foundation (around £100 for the year and access to all their courses). Figma is a great tool to use and a great company to follow on Linkedin, and they run a conference every year called FIGJAM. Miro and Miroverse is also excellent as a tool and resource.

Are there any habits you developed to best conquer imposter syndrome?

I still struggle with this, but I read a helpful book called The Discomfort Zone. I took a lot from that – basically, expect new things to be uncomfortable, but know it’s only a temporary feeling.

Also, these words help me: “If not you then who?”.

How do you think networking can contribute towards career development?

Life is about the connections you make; if people know you, they are able to think of you when an opportunity presents itself.

What are your key principles for great UX design?

FOCUS ON THE USER
Remember who you are designing for and have empathy

BE CONSISTENT
Users expect products to be consistent with similar products they’ve used in the past

CONFIRMATION
Preventing errors is one of our key goals as designers

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