An Interview With Willow, Creative X’s Co-President!
This week, we sat down (virtually) with the co-president of Creative X, Willow Yao, to talk about her UX journey and her experiences interning at Amazon this summer.
How did you get into UX design?
Like many others, UX design wasn’t on Willow’s radar until fairly recently — the summer before her freshman year at college, she was reading an article about graphic design which mentioned UX design. She quickly fell down a rabbit hole of learning more about what it was and finding how many of her interests aligned with this mysterious industry and career path.
What is your current intern role at Amazon and what do you work on?
Willow is currently a UX design intern on the recruiting team for Amazon. The recruiting UX team consists of UX writers, designers, and researchers that create products and experiences for employees and candidates.
Her main project this summer is to create a scheduling tool for interview candidates. She also made durable Figma components for the design system and a prototype for an SDE interns project.
How did you get your internship? What does the recruiting process look like?
Something people may not know is that Amazon’s UX design recruiting process is very spread out. Willow applied in the fall and received an invitation for an interview in the spring. This was beneficial for her because she was able to work on and improve her portfolio from her initial application and demonstrate more of her skills and projects during the interview.
What does an average day at Amazon look like for you?
During wire framing, she’ll meet with a UX writer to get feedback on copy. Before user testing, she’ll go over interview scripts with the UX researcher. She also meets regularly with the project manager to understand constraints and to stay aligned with the projects’ goals. Since Amazon is such a huge company, Willow often finds herself meeting a variety of people in different roles. She has shadowed with recruiters and attends team review meetings where people present their work and ask for feedback. There is a very strong collaborative culture at Amazon, especially given the range of cross-functional teams.
What is the work culture like?
It’s not news that Amazon is a large company, and the benefit is that designs reach a lot of people. For this reason, Amazon also emphasizes communication and writing: clear documentation is very important, and storytelling is necessary because designers will have to present to those who may not have a good understanding of the topics.
Willow also says interns would have to be comfortable designing to test their own intuition, as well as being wary of all cases and complexities. This can be daunting when designers must present their work despite feeling that it isn’t finished yet.
What projects (side or school) have you worked on?
Willow’s favorite side project was a creative jam with Yunoh and Raina (former Creative X e-board members!) It was her first time collaborating with other designers and it taught her a lot in a short period of time. Design-a-thons also provide much more freedom to do whatever you want and be creative. She realized how important it is to collaborate with others and spend time on ideation; this way, it’s easier to recognize strengths and weaknesses.
For example, Yunoh’s strength is prototyping, Reina’s is design thinking, and Willow’s is research!
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Willow initially wanted to pursue nursing as a career, but realized that healthcare was not as good of a fit as she thought. She also missed her artistic/creative side. Her proudest accomplishment is deciding to pursue design!
Last, but not least, what was the best food you ate in Seattle?
Army soup at Korean Tofu House :)
We hope you enjoyed our interview with Willow!