Interview with Jenna Reed, DESIGNATION Alum and UI Designer at Conversant

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Jenna Reed is a UI designer, and an alum of Kobi Cohort. Joining us from Atlanta, Jenna came to Chicago for DESIGNATION, and stayed after graduating when she was offered a UI position at Conversant Media.

 

Where are you now working, and what is your job title?
I’m working at Conversant as a UI designer.

Tell us a little bit about your new job!
I’m designing a UI library for the Conversant platforms. Conversant is a digital marketing agency, so their primary goal is to supply ads to users via clients. They want to make these tools easier to use and have improved UI, that’s where I come in.

How would you describe the DESIGNATION experience?
DESIGNATION provided an understanding of how to go about the design process and insight into design thinking.

What was the most interesting or useful thing you learned during the cohort?
I was able to choose where I wanted to focus, but everyone was involved with the other’s experience through the classroom exposure of UX/UI and front end dev. UI isn’t just about pretty visuals, it’s about backing up your work with solid reasons for making choices. It is also directly connected to UX, so gaining an understanding of both of those processes has helped.

“I liked seeing all the work I had accomplished and realizing I could get somewhere better after all the work I’d put in.”

What are the people at DESIGNATION like (including staff, instructor and fellow students)?
Everyone is usually head down working and focused at 1871 or running around, but if you’re lucky you can have some fun times too. The dynamic is different every cohort. Everyone has their favorite and least favorite instructors, just get direction where you think it will help you best.

What were you doing before you came to DESIGNATION?
I was a web designer for a financial tech company.

How did you hear about DESIGNATION, and why did you decide to come?
I wanted to gain a better understanding of the UX process and develop improved UI design practices.

How did DESIGNATION help prepare you for your new role?
It did just that. I now get what UX/UI actually are, their differences, and how they go together in an overall project workflow.

What was your favorite part of the DESIGNATION experience?
Getting my portfolio together was exciting. I liked seeing all the work I had accomplished and realizing I could get somewhere better after all the work I’d put in.

What advice would you give to someone who was trying to break into the industry?
Try to do a lot of research into UX/UI and front end dev. Understand the process involved then look into companies who have the same understanding of their own process. If you find yourself struggling with bureaucracy or departmental issues, you won’t be satisfied with a job. Prepare early for what type of companies, salary, and environment you want. Also complete your portfolio as early as possible, or before the start of DESIGNATION if possible. It’ll be at least 2 months until your first day on a new job, so if that’s the point try to do it on your own early. People at DESIGNATION are a resource, but it’s ultimately up to you.

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