Hollie Doar is a UX designer in Melbourne, Australia. We asked her a few questions about her work for our new Design/Shine interview series, which highlights talented women in the industries of design and technology.
The name of this interview series is a nod to shine theory, the idea that women can raise each other up by highlighting each other’s accomplishments. It’s a concept that’s been used across many industries and fields (and even recently by female staffers in the White House.)
What do you do for work, and why do you do it?
Holly: I am a UX designer at a creative agency. While the everyday tasks of my role vary, at it’s heart what I do is create experiences for people that are both delightful and useable. One of the great things about working in an agency is that you are able to work on projects that vary greatly in scope and focus.
I do it because I am endlessly fascinated by people, and I love being able to make something that has the potential to make what could be even just a small task in somebody’s life just that little bit nicer and easier to navigate.
Who taught you the most about design?
H: The last eighteen months have been an enormous learning curve for me, and I feel like I learn so much on a daily basis from a wide variety of sources! To be honest I’m not sure I could name a single source. I started out by doing a part-time UX Design course at General Assembly, which provided a great starting platform for understanding what UX is and some of the key techniques. I’ve also learned a great deal in my job. I’m lucky enough to work with a range of really talented people and through them I get to see and experience new design techniques and opportunities. I also read a lot – books and blogs, I’m signed up to so many newsletters I can hardly keep up!
What are some of the UX designs that inspire you, or trends you’re paying attention to lately?
H: I am really inspired by designs that perhaps seem visually simple, but allow users from all walks of life to achieve what it is that they set out to do. I think one of the best examples of that is the work that has been done to overhaul gov.uk. Government websites in the past have been exceptionally information heavy and very difficult for people to navigate and find what it is that they are looking for, but by coming from a user first perspective they have managed to turn this on it’s head.
What’s something you’re most proud of in your design career so far?
H: I trained as an anthropologist, so I get the most excited when I’m able to bring research showing what people do and why they do it into the design process. The work that I’ve been the most proud of has always been that which is user-centric, and when I’ve been able to bring a sense of empathy for the user and translate that into a solution.
What are your go-to tools for collaboration, working, and productivity?
H: Post. It. Notes. I should take out shares I go through so many.
Google Docs is excellent for collaboration. We also use Slack and Trello a lot.
For wireframing I use Axure, as it allows for a level of complexity that I find some other tools don’t – especially when it comes to documentation.
For journey mapping (and any other kind of mapping or diagramming) Omnigraffle is my go to as it’s nice and easy to use.
What kind of music is on your work playlist?
H: We have music playing at all times at my work, and I generally just listen to whatever’s on that. However, every now and then I’ll pop my headphones on and listen to anything from very cheesy 90s pop (if I need a mood boost) to a yoga and meditation Spotify playlist (if I’m a little stressed).
If you had to give an aspiring UX designer one book to read, what would it be?
H: Design of Everyday Things, by Don Norman. It can be pretty heavy going at times, but it’s given me the best basis for thinking about how to design in a way that will actually be usable for people.