Why I’m transitioning to UX design

Maristela Obi
5 min readJul 25, 2022

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Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

Introduction

I’m in the middle of a career transition. I’ve been working in the hospitality industry for a couple of years now, and during that time, I’ve taken on many roles — from front desk receptionist to culinary staff — and learned how to interact with guests on different levels. My favorite part of my job is helping guests find what they need and making sure they feel at home while visiting our hotel. While this industry has provided me with a lot of incredible experiences, the pandemic closed its doors and I bid farewell to our last guest. To continue my passion for helping others and providing customer service, I applied as a work-from-home customer service agent for a call center company. I received calls from patients and healthcare workers and assist them with their pharmacy insurance claims, answer insurance questions and guide them step by step on how to submit claims through our website. During calls, I’ve noticed that my colleagues would complain about the software that processes pharmacy claims. The common complaint would be clicking the wrong button or accidentally deleting the notes because the buttons were too close or looked too identical. I reached out to my manager if the company can do a simple redesign of the software but unfortunately, it wasn’t addressed. So I started doing some research on what other jobs might be out there for someone with my background who is passionate about helping people and loves creativity. That’s when I discovered UX design!

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I didn’t know what UX design was

UX design is essentially the bridge between technology and people. This is what drew me to it: working with people who are passionate about solving problems through technology, while also getting the chance to interact with technology daily. There are so many aspects of UX design that appeal to me: problem-solving, research, creativity, listening skills, and collaboration. When I discovered UX design as an opportunity for me, it felt like fate!

Photo by Ben Kolde on Unsplash

I wasn’t sure if my background in hospitality and customer service would help me as a UX designer

I wasn’t sure if my background in hospitality and customer service would help me as a UX designer. For example, I’ve worked in big hotel chains, restaurants, and call centers, while it’s tempting to think that those jobs are all about the same thing (service), they’re quite different in how they approach the business of making customers happy.

Customer service is an experience-driven job — it’s about making people feel good about themselves as they get what they came for: food or drinks, having a good conversation on the phone while processing their request, and greeting them in the hotel lobby. The customer should leave happy with their purchase but also feeling like they’ve made new friends along the way.

UX design is also focused on creating positive experiences for users — but instead of being limited by physical location and proximity to other humans (which can often be annoying), UX designers are removed from interactions with actual people altogether! Instead of needing to deal with customers one-on-one directly through face-to-face interaction at restaurants or stores where you can see them waiting impatiently behind you while you finish ringing up another sale at checkout line three over there — you’ll work remotely through software programs like Figma or Adobe XD where there aren’t any immediate consequences when things go wrong because nobody else knows what happened except yourself.

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Always keep an open mind and try something new!

Keep an open mind and try something new!

Develop a list of things you enjoy doing, such as:

  • cooking
  • reading
  • writing

Then do some research, find out what other people are doing, and find out what you are good at. Ask yourself the following questions: What am I good at? What am I not so great at? What do I want to do in life? Is there a job that allows me to use my strengths and skills while also giving me opportunities to grow? If so, why haven’t I found this job yet?

I recently joined a UX Bootcamp called Mento Design Academy and it has been the best learning experience so far. They have experienced mentors and also a supportive community to cheer you on. They encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and push you to take initiative. My favorite parts of the program are the projects, weekly UI challenges, mentor meetings, and community meetings. Aside from that, they help you focus on the WHY in all your design decisions which are good training to become a better UX designer.

Photo by Med Badr Chemmaoui on Unsplash

Conclusion

I’m glad I took the leap and pursued UX design! It’s a rewarding, challenging career that allows me to work with people at every stage of their lives. From parents trying to find ways to entertain their kids during winter break to students looking for new ways to learn about literature or history — there are so many opportunities for creativity and innovation when it comes to how we interact with each other.

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