For those who are not familiar with you, what is your story?
I have been with INKspire for around four to five years and helped start the organization with the cofounders. I had the same passion as Frank when he told me more about what he wanted to create. A youth platform for individuals to express themselves was a niche market, so we wanted to make the platform for everyone to explore.
What are some of the biggest things you have taken away from your journey?
What we learned so far from this long journey is that creating a startup is a lot of work. However, it’s rewarding, especially in the nonprofit area, because you get to interact with so many people that you never thought you would meet. You also have the opportunity to meet people who are very passionate about the same things as you.
What is the most important thing that you have learned this year?
We were already doing all our work at INKspire remotely, so it wasn’t too difficult to continue during the pandemic. I interacted with many of the members in INKspire and learned that everyone’s having a great time. We’re getting a lot of positive feedback that our processes are working well. So understanding what things are working and what we can improve at INKspire has been important.
How do you stay resilient in these uncertain times? How are you adapting to this new norm?
Prior to COVID, our operations weren’t too different from how they are now at INKspire. We’re still staying remote because everyone’s from different parts of the world, but I know that people’s situations may change. We are at home a lot, so we have to be aware of our environment. Sometimes we are hard on ourselves or become workaholics because there’s no time frame in our lives anymore. So, I’ve adapted to this new norm by being kind to myself.
What does it mean to be a UX designer, and what inspired you to use your marketing background to transition into this career?
I actually started by graduating with a psychology degree. Then, I transitioned into marketing because I thought that mixing art and science would be exciting. Interestingly, as I was completing my marketing post-grad degree, I learned about user experience. In marketing, you talk to customers about their needs, and that’s where I developed a passion for designing user experiences.
Can you talk about your role as a user experience designer?
User experience is learning about your customer’s needs and developing solutions that help fulfill their needs. For example, if a customer wants a certain feature to improve their experience on the platform, then a UX designer considers their preferences and explores why they think that feature is important. With that information, you can build a platform that caters to users so they are happy and more likely to use it.
Would you like to share one thing you have designed?
I have helped create solutions and flows for some of the projects at INKspire. For example, we had a project called “Dear Mac,” which will be renamed “Dear Toronto” soon. Basically, we wanted to create a platform where users could write letters and share them with everyone at McMaster University to learn about people’s experiences around campus. We made the platform for submitting and displaying the letters, then created a kiosk for users to interact with the platform. It was a rewarding project because many people enjoyed the experience and wrote meaningful letters to share with the community.
Has your psychology background helped you as a UX designer?
I am interested in advancing my psychology skills because they have been helpful throughout my career journey. Psychology taught me how people think and to never assume anything. Instead, you should learn from all perspectives. Psychology has helped me on my path to marketing and user experiences by understanding customers, which makes me interested in learning more about them through a design lens.
Do you have a dream project or organization you would like to work with in the future?
Currently, I don’t have a dream organization that I want to work for. Maybe I’d like to create my own startup in the future. A dream project would definitely be related to psychology or mental health. It’s always been a passion of mine, and I think by exploring mental health, we can learn more about how to help our users. Right now, mental health is something that we don’t talk about often; it’s just becoming known now. But if we can explore this topic even more, that would probably be my future goal.