This is me
Singing in a Red Hot Chili Peppers tribute band
How I got hooked on UX design
A miniature UX designer in primary school
When I was in primary school, I was always illustrating to get images out of my mind and explain things that I could not with words. As a challenge, I asked students to give me assignments and see If I could draw what they had in mind. When I was free from school, I would often go to the computer store next door to my mom's antique store. The owner was friends with my mom, and he would introduce to me all these new games and software back in the DOS & Windows 95 era. My excitement got me collecting as many game demos as I could get my hands on. I gathered hundreds and hundreds; I would introduce them to classmates to see how they would play them. I'd create levels and see where they got stuck, and look for the optimal difficulty level on average. The school gave us the freedom to decide upon the order they wanted to do their school work, as long as they completed all their week tasks at the end of the week. Many times I pretended to be done so I could draw and create 32x32 pixel animations on the pc. In the last two years of this school, my friends and I started creating games with Click & Play software. A visual way of programming that I continued far into my upcoming education. It got me interested in designing, and my dad showed me it was possible to go to Graphic Lyceum in Rotterdam. So I did and started a 10-year education journey of design, from graphic design to multimedia and illustration.
One new conversation every day
Fascinated by human interaction, but horrible unable to hold a conversate well, I challenged myself to talk to someone new every day. I did so in public transit over the course of my education. I spoke with people of every gender, age, and sexuality. And because smartphones did not exist back then and mp3 players not common, people were more than willing to skip time by talking. My anonymity made it feel safe to entrust me with their everyday struggles and even secrets. It gave me a good understanding of people and what they go through in their lives. It helped develop my empathy, and I consider this a great asset in my UX designing career.
Going with the flow, no more
Being mostly process-driven instead of target driven, I still did not know what I wanted to become. I had always hoped my mission would magically pop in my mind, as long as I would follow my passion. But at this point, it became clear to me that I had to plan and decide where to go next. I had designed games for fun as a hobby but never connected the dots before to develop games/software professionally. With a strong sense of working for something other than just entertainment, I followed an internship at a game company that makes games helping people overcome the social barrier. A topic I had struggled with for so long. With a company of only four employees, I had lots of freedom and overlap with other roles like interaction designer and tester. I wasn't just making pretty images on request. I had to keep in mind how people would interact with what I made, really co-design the interaction, and prototype interfaces for a pioneering genre. After my period as an intern, I got offered a job here, but I first wanted to experience more different assignments, instead of binding myself to a company. After working as a freelancer for two years, I realized I missed working tightly together in a team. I missed working on bigger projects, working in synergy, and also learn from other people's disciplines.
I went back into game design and found a company that made "serious games" for health (a genre that's also known as; "applied games"). Applied games are already on the verge of being software, so I switched to software development. I found the game design world in the Netherlands very limiting, much creativity but not quite developed business-wise. Sadly I experienced that many of these companies do not have a strong financial backbone and can barely keep afloat. I am just as happy working in software design.
I'm not a front-end developer. I focus on the user's experience and design:
It allows me to keep a birdseye view of the project and work on multiple designs simultaneously while android, ios and web devs do the construction. Working like this leaves more time to investigate the user and their journey in depth. I guide developers in implementing designs.
I work as a link between customer and product development.
With a mindset on growth, I think across different funnels; awareness, acquisition, activation, and retention & sales. To things simple, 1. getting people in 2. make them wanna stay.
I also speak my mind when I see improvements for workflows in teams.