Mapping the Journey of a Design Career
Nikki Espartinez presented “Mapping the Journey of a Design Career” at UX Camp Winter 2021. Enjoy!
Independent Product Design & UX Strategist
Nikki Espartinez is a designer of digital experiences and products. The core themes of her work are User Experience, Design Operations and Design Evangelism. Nikki is very passionate about all three of them.
Alongside that, Nikki also think of the future deeply. From the way we work to the way we actually will live our life, she thinks design is very much integrated on it. To help her explore those thoughts clearer, she started a newsletter on those topics earlier this year.
The following transcript very likely contains typographical errors. Please forgive any mistakes!
Before I begin, I would like to thank everybody for being here today at your camp, Chicago winter addition, very happy to be here and to share the stage with amazing people from the US, the tech industry. I hope you all get the chance to catch the other speakers as well, there’s a lot of interesting ideas being discussed here to the Mets, a real pressure to be a part of this. So my name is Nikki, and I am a pod of designer, I design digital products and experiences. I’m here today, talk about a design career.
More specifically design either of a user journey map in through your expression to make it even more personal. I’m using my own career experiences, stories and all the lessons I’ve learned along the way as the content for the setup.
For those of you who don’t know, I used the journey map as defined by NNG. Noon is a visualization of the process that a person goes through in order to accomplish a goal.
So in a NATO, it’s a time that really shows the overall experience of a thing or a product. One of the most critical goals of a user journey map is to do a story, a conclusive and her research story, hopefully. And right now, the story I wanted to as facility of a design career.
To say the pod of A are designing to or over in progress, we’re constantly going through this multiple alterations at any given time from the problem status to solve the companies we choose to solve them with… Our careers are inherently rich in stories, or at least from my experience, that’s what ever even stories that are built in the foundations of both successes and failures, so like every good story has the beginning, the middle, and hopefully fingers crossed. And in a very, very, very, very, very distant future, I hope for all of this to make sense… Let’s rewind back to the beginning of the story. How did you get started with design?
It’s a question I’ve been asked so frequently, especially nowadays, I started out in the most uninspiring of pace, basically, I had no plans of ever becoming a designer.
I came to this field part a complete president. I’ll get to that part in a second.
See, when I was a kid, I was so convinced that I wanted to be a film maker. I was always inspired by the legend in the industry, such as Disney, Star Wars, the average up watching these films, in fact, my favorite was the son of music, but then life happened and I didn’t get into the university that I wanted, and I was never going to become a filmmaker or a creator writer. Instead in 2008, I found myself in design school, I basically applied to everything and got into nothing, this was the only place for me, but despite that, had high hopes, I learned everything from producing videos to building websites with hmcs flash during the rep to 0-R and Aw, that good stuff. But
I wasn’t very good at them. To be honest at first, right. To be fair, it was probably my fault, I wasn’t taking myself and the craft seriously enough back then, it also didn’t help that a few years later, I was a Farmers of Corning Inc of mediocre jobs, I was severely underpaid and frustrated, and it wasn’t just the anxiety that really push me, but also just the general discontent from what I was doing and I was doing a lot, that’s the range of sport. I kind of wanted to pursue photography while also practicing graphic design, while also exploring web design, were also doing a lot of illustration on weekends.
I was all over the place. It was a media fun situation to be in. I was 24 and 25, I was sent and my seal design career was opposed, soloing to do and Etihad a change. And that change came in a former… Came in the form of advertising. I got into the van innovations team of a huge helping-based ad, get the Belmar brands in and out of the country. It was all that I first got my first real wake up call, it made me question my actual work as a designer, looking back, it wasn’t the easiest of experiences, I guess no life-changing ones are… To completely honest, I had to do the 30th that now as a pass for a designer already on ART, which a six year of professional experience then, I had no prior awards or recognitions or anything… Stanley was worth taking seriously. So naturally, I started at the bottom. I was doing some crazy gifts and Facebook as one in the morning, eating scary rejection emails from my creative director for breakfast and basically getting the same shitty cycle of production work on lunch, I wanted to be an art director so badly… But you know the saying opportunity is missed by most people because distressed in overalls and it kinda looks like work… Well, in hindsight, I was living it, it described perfectly what this wake-up call face or stage is all about, and although I was at my lowest point in my career, the things I’ve gotten from this area was so they worth it. I got more than just a threat of a career upgrade, I was in res in the most unconventional or… It made me realize that if I needed to be better, I have to focus on a few key areas of design and commit to them. So that’s exactly what I did.
Sure, the process of learning and learning new things definitely grounded me and destroy my ego, and the best and the worst was possible, but a bit of… Especially when I started landing some really, really amazing projects, and one of which was the stormers interactive on a property called the PBIS, this was such a monumental opportunity for me, and it posted myoporum significantly to say that this is one of my biggest projects to date is another statement, as a designer, creative and someone, I grew up watching Star reformatting come true, and the hand of Ivan dream is a process anonymous to hardships, patients, resilient, frustration, humility, and all that good stuff that makes an… Absolutely worth it. This eventually became the holistic favor for my future projects. I took everything I learned from this project to the next hop that Mennonites would lend me some project similar or better than this one. So now, we are now on the tail end of the make-up stage, make-a-call stage, and just to express how massively, massively life-changing this face was for me, I’d like to addict to share a few things I’ve learned before being… Move forward, and I’m gonna keep the short frame, number one, shady moments, they don’t define you. At any point in time, you can change the trajectory of your career just by making a few good decisions and sacrifices, number through, great work is not synonymous to easy…
To struggle as part of the process, you just have to upset that very early on and just focus on making the craft and yourself better.
And number three, this one is What needs no further explanation, talk more wisdom and that shared this one, I would leave the dot. Number four, life is not a brief, you can decide stuff without the opinion of others, just be financial if you need to do so.
And number five, which is my favorite, experiments and experiences need to go lead to expertise and good stories. I’m talking here now because… Exactly. Because of good stories.
So getting that back to the map, dealing past the week up, postage was rudo, I learned a lot, and at that time, it was in this clear to me as it is now, but a lot of those experiences served a purpose… I’ve developed tenacity, which came in handy, very handy during the earlier days of my job hunting in the United States, this is now what I call the Aha phase. As you can see, based on this map or my emotions at that time were drastically becoming increasingly more and more positive and energized, and that’s for a good reason. The back story is… So what happened was, header, the Philippines, I had to leave a job I’ve come to love all over the… My friends and things like that, there were a ton of surprises for sure, but the biggest one of all was I don’t think that a 20 or the independent overseas Filipino worker living and working in a foreign country, much more so in an extremely locative, very, very overly-stressful and competitive industry, like the tech industry, and honestly felt like some sort of a process in a movie, I… Sicilia with the content today.
Anyway. So this was right around the time when I shifted my focus to user experience primarily.
I don’t know what it is about being here in the US, but I’ve experienced a new form of hunger and drive for just about everything related to this amazing field. I read books, a lot of books, just to make sure that I’m completely prepared for wireless that I have to face when it comes to this field, I’ve learned that it’s okay, it’s okay not to follow a linear progression, diversify not just your knowledge, but also the type of company team you work with, follow your curiosity and see where it leads to you and your work scythe limit, especially if you’re prepared to use strengths, it’s all about playing the long game and betting on yourself relative been immensely fortunate enough to work with these wonderful companies along the way.
As important as those things are, that’s not what the aha face is all about. This is all about what it means to be… This is all about redefining what it means to be happy by doing things, and the more that I think about it, the more I am convinced that happiness is really doing this to make you feel invincible and strange human at the same time.
It is all about tending the world that, Hey, this is what I can do, remand in my brain and show me how we can change some things with it for the better… It’s not that the UX is perfect, it’s a UX is perfect for me. And in choosing it in shoes with great fresher, the responsibility to be part of the problem Software User advocates and principal cures at any given time. I honestly, I can’t think of a better use of my life than to be of complete service that is incredibly satisfying and rewarding field. So going back to back into the mat, as you can see, there’s without a doubt, a direct correlation between two happiness and we are putting the vast majority of my energy on, and that energy is definitely something I took Willy in the resolution phase, which is the present the last three years, it’s been courteous so far, especially coming from the first few faces of costs of ops and definitely a lot of memorable towns, but here we are. And despite that, I really feel like I’m just getting started. I also found that the best way to keep on learning new stuff, aside from the oil is to teach surveillance, teaching the US course over a general Sunday, and a program-based platform called brokers, if you’re ever in a similar position, consider doing the same things, teach share and just maybe influence people’s lives along the way.
Now, more than ever, we could use all of the optimistic horses that we can gather, it’s quite easy to be skeptic, especially nowadays, it is much harder to be courageous and actually be committed to being the change you want to see in the world, starting with design. And of course, what are always Thomas students, never missed the opportunity to write right about any and every lesson you’ve learned, because how do you become a better thinker.
And also because you’ll never know who you inspire.
So last year, I actually started my own newsletter called Working For, I’ve been writing about is your experience, the future for Philosophy and tinie since… There’s also this thought-provoking expert from canaries that slasher Porterfield wrote a Medium.
He says that like the answer to why is because why else would you even want to be alive, but they do things as well as you can… And I couldn’t agree more.
So let’s see how we’ve done this, we started out in the discovery phase, then moved towards the wake up of face where the bulk of the lessons learned came from, and finally we ended this or happy now with the AHA face as well as the resolution. This is the user journey map of a design career, what time a bilinear experiences. We rarely are… It is completely up to us to change our chose impact, it is completely up to us to design our chosen paths and to play the cards that we are given, entire can’t change a lot of things, but we can certainly change how we react, what is in front of us, opportunities come and go, but you have to be… You have to be prepared in case you meet the ones that can change the trajectory of your own computers, to each and every one of you here are generally excited for you to meet those set opportunities and once again… And once you do, never, ever, ever, ever, ever take anything for brand.
Thank you for a time, and I hope you learn something.