From UI Designer to Product Designer

For the almost last four years, I worked as a User Interface Designer for a Silicon Valley tech company and my routine was something like:

  • Wake up
  • Meetings
  • Design things

And, occasionally, booking a ticket to a new trip.

In time, I would like to say that the life of a remote or semi-remote worker can be a real challenge for some people, but it can be also pretty good as it was for me. There’s a lot of articles talking about that — which you can read some interesting ones here and here.

Although I was happy about my work/life balance, I felt I was missing important elements of the Product Designer experience, like doing research with users and getting a deeper understanding of the product I was helping to build — not to mention going beyond designing and delivering only the visual aspects of the interfaces. These were the principal reasons I began to look for how other companies and teams were facing these challenges and building their cultures and then comparing with my current role.

As I looked outside my immediate situation, I became convinced I was just pushing pixels in Sketch, while I could have been trying to understand how to improve people’s lives through good design.

This was my motivation to have a coffee with the guys from Nubank (you can read more about the hiring process here) and join the team soon after in São Paulo, Brazil.

Joining Nubank and challenging the status quo

At Nubank, Designers play an important role and participate in projects from ideation to rollout. This allows the team to understand and design not only the customer-facing part of our product but also the internal processes and tools to get to that result.

As I come from a very visually-oriented practice, learning to work in a new and more holistic dynamic was my first challenge here. I spent my first few weeks observing, learning, and reading (and in many ways I still am)! This helped me to challenge the status quo and made me excited to deal with complex problems and transform them into easy-to-use designs for millions of people.

In my first weeks, I was already assigned a project that needed much more than visual polish: a real life problem to be solved. I also uncovered something extremely important during this time that I did not find so easily “out there”: real support from my teammates. I was a bit worried about getting so much ownership at once, but everyone was very supportive and spent hours of their time helping me to clarify my thought process and approach I would take while researching and talking to real people; coding/prototyping and acting like a Design Evangelist to business analysts, product managers and other people from our squad.

It's not only about the thing we are building, it's about making everyone feel part of something much bigger than their individual contribution.

This made me understand how good it is to be on a team that cares about its new teammates. There is a lot to be done, I know. Being a recent tester myself, I can say that our Design onboarding process is not perfect. But as a team, we’re using our own feedback to have an even better welcoming experience for new hires.