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Julia Khusainova,
Product Designer at Shyp

Posted on Oct 13, 2016 by

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Julia Khusainova is a San Francisco-based designer. Originally from Russia, Julia has a long career working at tech-based startups, and currently works at rising logistics and shipping company Shyp.

Where do you work and what is your current title?

I work at Shyp as a Senior Product Designer.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself & your background.

I’m originally from Russia. I graduated as Software Engineer and spent a few years building products. Eventually I got into design and never looked back since then. I also enjoy traveling & photography and I currently work on a project that involve both of these.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?

I don’t think I can recall the exact moment but it was around the time the first iPhone came out. I thought to myself – wow, I want to design UI for this thing!

What was your first design job? Any interesting stories about how you broke into the field?

Funny enough, it was an application for translating strings into multiple languages – so it had a lot of table based UI. This might sound super boring for an aspiring designer and more exciting for an engineer, but I figured I can make it look and function the way it will valuable to the user. And I did. Since then I love designing all sorts of dashboards and internal tools that use data.

Please describe a normal day at your current job. What’s the workflow like? What are your primary responsibilities?

I currently work at a startup so a lot of what I do is defining the product. I work closely with my team of PMs, Engineers, QA, Copywriters, Marketing, Ops to create one holistic experience for our users. I’m also responsible for defining the visual direction for our products and building style guides that will be used by designer and engineers when working on new features. I also drink a lot of coffee.

Are there any memorable war stories, client interactions or close calls that have taught you something important about how things work?

Of course! One of my favorite moments is meeting John Maeda (while working at Twitter). One of the inspiring things he said was that the most exiting feeling is to do something other people are saying you can’t do. It stuck with me.

What’s a common mistake you often see entry level designers make? What are some tips to avoid or overcome it?

I think a lot of junior folks are trying to do too many things at once, not focusing on what’s important and not setting clear goals on what they want to achieve. It is too tempting to take on a million projects and try to prove to everybody (and yourself) that you can do it. But in my mind what is more important is to learn and in order to do this you need to focus. Focus is one of the most important skills a professional should possess.

Any industry sites or blogs you read on a regular basis, or anything else you read for inspiration?

Obviously, I keep up with Product Hunt, Medium and leading design blogs like Google Design, AirBnb design, etc. But I also suggest to diversify the reading list to keep things interesting.

There’s something new and amazing coming out every day. What’s something awesome you’ve seen recently that you’re dying to share, or something you’re excited about?

There are some big things coming up at Shyp – we’ve been working hard on a new product that is about to be launched! I was the lead designer on it and can’t wait to see it out in a wild especially since early feedback from user testing came back super positive.
I’m also super excited about my personal project I’m working on. It’s called Oak & Fog (oakandfog.com) and I’m planning on launching it by the end of this year.

What advice would you give to someone trying to break into the industry?

Learn. The world is designed, either by humans or by nature and you can absorb this knowledge by looking around and analyzing why certain elements exist in the way they do.

What do you think is the future of your industry?

I believe it will be an essential part in defining on how people interact with each other, as well as our lifestyles. That’s why the role of digital design is extremely important. And a lot of this is on us, designers, is to define the future of it.


You can follow Julia on Dribble, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

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