Elsy Meis is a Austin-based UX Designer and Creative Technologist passionate about the intersection of storytelling, media, and technology. In her variety of roles ranging from Marketing to Graphic Design to UX Research and Web Design at research institutes, tech startups, and branding agencies, the core of my work has sought to create positive experiences. Two months ago she started as the sole UX/Web Designer at Tenderling Design, an Austin branding agency with clients in the luxury hospitality group, where she design marketing websites for resorts, boutique hotels, and multi-family real estate.
Elsy was first introduced to UX design as an engineering student at CU Boulder when she stumbled upon Creative Technology and Design, a hybrid design-computer science major that can also be referred to as “nerd art.” Her studies as both a developer, designer, and writer introduced me to the unique fusion of arts and sciences we call User Experience. As a researcher at the NSF AI Institute for Student-AI Teaming, she developed her love for interaction design and novel research methods, and presented my first publication at Human-Computer Interaction International in 2022. Maritime technology startup, Terradepth, brought me to Austin, where she practiced a holistic approach to user and customer experience through the lens of a marketer. That led her to my current role, where branding and storytelling are a large focus of her work.
Connect with Elsy to learn more.
Listen to the Podcast Here, or Find it Wherever You Get Your Podcasts:
Here are Five Things We Cover:
- Starting with Research: Embracing the non-technical facets of UX, Elsy stresses that any design project should be research-centric. This involves interviews, understanding the targeted audience, and distilling user feedback into actionable product improvements.
- Continuous Learning is Crucial: The path to becoming proficient in UX design is dynamic and requires dedication to perpetual learning. Elsy highlights the different areas of study like psychology that come into play, in addition to more traditional fields like computer science and graphic design.
- Importance of a Personal Brand: Your portfolio and personal brand in the UX field can set you apart. Elsy underscores the need for tailored branding to effectively showcase your unique skills and experiences in the creative landscape of UX design.
- Storytelling in UX: Narratives are a core component of UX design. Elsy elucidates how impactful storytelling can be when shaping user interactions, and how it contributes to refining the overall user experience.
- User-Centric Design Philosophy: Perhaps the most significant point Elsy makes is about the philosophy of putting the user’s experience at the forefront of design. She illustrates this with real-world case studies including her work on eBay, emphasizing how the right UX approach can redefine brand perceptions and cater to user needs in everyday life.
Here are Three Actionable Takeaways From This Episode
- Embark on a Starter UX Project: To gain practical experience and understand the real-world implications of user experience (UX) design, start by choosing an existing website or application that you believe can be improved. Analyze the current design, identify pain points through personal observations, and consider what you’ve learned from the podcast about strategy, research, and interviews. Then, draft a plan to redesign the website focusing on the user’s needs and based on the insights you’ve gathered. This will provide a tangible project for your portfolio, with a clear demonstration of applying theory to practice.
- Dive into User Research: Before jumping into the design process, conduct thorough user research as recommended by Elsy Meis. This might include interviewing potential users, engaging in competitive research, and synthesizing user feedback. Utilize tools such as surveys, user interviews, or usability tests to gather qualitative data. The insights you gain from this research will be instrumental in informing your design decisions and ensuring that the product you’re designing aligns well with the users’ needs and expectations.
- Develop a Personal Brand and Tailored Portfolio: In the competitive field of UX design, standing out is essential. Start building your personal brand by showcasing your unique approach, perspective, and values in design. Create a portfolio that not only displays your best work but also tells the story behind each project. Highlight your problem-solving process, how you have incorporated user feedback, and the impact your design has on user experience. Remember to tailor your portfolio to the type of UX work you want to be doing, as this will help potential employers or clients understand your expertise and envision you within their projects or teams.