Edited and prepared by Oscar Michel, Masters in Journalism, DCU
Great interview with Jenny Shen, Independent UX UI Designer specialising in traveltech. Sr Designer at
@Toptal. Founder of @LadiesthatUXAMS. UX Mentor. Girls in Tech TW Top 40 Under 40. Jenny will be speaking at Codemotion Berlin 2017 taking place on October 12th-13th. More info here.
1 min pitch for what you are doing now?
I design digital products and help tech companies optimise user experience, user interface and success metrics such as conversion and engagement rates. I focus on solving difficult UX challenges in travel, mobile, ecommerce, and SaaS markets.
How was the last 12 months, what worked well, what didn’t move as quickly as you would have liked?
Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been spending a lot of time and effort on building my business and marketing, and it seems to be paying off bit by bit. A few months ago, I had so many projects on my plate, which is a dream for any freelancer. Also, this year I joined Toptal, an exclusive network of vetted designers, developers and financial consultants. Being a part of Toptal has been great! I’m surrounded by many smart and driven people, who are experts in their fields, and there are lots of opportunities for Toptallers.
I’m also quite happy about the number of speaking engagements I have this year because I never thought that I could speak at a conference. But once I set a goal for myself to work on a good proposal, soon after I got the news that my talk is accepted. Aside from Codemotion Berlin, I’m also speaking at HackConf in Sofia, WebCamp in Zagreb, and Talk UX in Taipei.
In April, I started a mentorship programme to help UX beginners and it has been going quite well. I’m mentoring 4 people per quarter/semester and I love sharing my own experience with my mentees and seeing them grow and succeed.
Although I specialise in the travel industry, the majority of the projects that I am working on right now are not about travel. I’d like to see more travel companies come to me to improve their UX and UI, however, after talking to many travel startups, I noticed that compared to other industries, travel startups are less keen to invest in design. It’s still a puzzle to me why some people still can’t see the importance of design when the travel market is so competitive. (If you think you know the answer, please reach out on Twitter!)
What are your plans for the future?
I want to write more this year and I’m hoping to finish a few drafts soon. I know how important it is for designers to share their experience and know-how so that the whole industry can move forward, so I want to do that.
Aside from my design day job, I want to promote remote work because I believe remote work is the future of way of working. I also want to promote freelancing because it has been a rewarding journey for me personally, so I want to share how people can create their own dream jobs by being their own bosses. I’m currently planning to develop content so others can learn about how I freelance and how I approach remote work.
What will you be talking about at Codemotion?
You will learn how culture affects product design, why and how to design for users across different cultures.
– How culture affects design, UX and front-end
– A case study of cultural differences: Germany v.s. Netherlands
– Compare UI patterns of the East and the West
– Design for culture, not stereotypes
What inspired you to attend it?
I first heard about Codemotion when they reached out to Ladies that UX Amsterdam (the UX community that I’m co-running) to be a community partner. It was a pleasant collaboration and I learned that Codemotion is a big network of conferences, present in 7 countries with 500K+ attendees. I also know some people who have given talks at Codemotion, so I’m very excited to be a part of this exciting conference!
Which influencers and websites do you follow to keep up to date with the latest developments?
For UX and design, I follow Julie Zhuo, UX publications such as UXdesign.cc, UX Planet, Prototypr, design blogs of tech companies including Airbnb, Google, Dropbox, Shopify and Invision. I also go to UX/design meetups and conferences when I can.
How can people find out more about what you are working on?
To find out what I’m up to, you can go to my website, Twitter and Medium. If you want to check out my newest design work or work-in-progress, Dribbble would be the best place. I also add completed case studies to my Toptal portfolio.
Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked?
If you are someone who’s getting started in UX, a designer who’s getting started in freelancing, or the only designer in the company, my mentorship programme is for you. The next mentorship period starts October 1st and applications will open around late September. For more information about the mentorship programme and to get notified when applications open, you can check out on my website.