Freethinking Graduate Accelerator Programme

This programme equipped me with the skills to become an industry-ready UX/UI designer. In a short space of time I became a contributing member of a design team.

February 2020, probably one of the last normal months in any of our lives when Corona was just a Mexican beer, it was also the beginning of my formal training in the world of design and consulting. I was fortunate enough to join the first batch of graduates to embark on Freethinking’s project SETI, a graduate accelerator programme. 

Two months into the five-month programme Corona became coronavirus and forced the world to hit the pause button. Everything changed, nothing was certain and panic was the new norm. But in the true spirit of adaptability that consultants and designers must have, the programme continued albeit remotely. 

SETI was geared towards getting real world experience which was exactly what I got when I was placed in a large financial services company’s design team. 

As part of this team, working both in-person and remotely (cause of coronavirus),  I evolved as a designer gaining new skills and deepening my design knowledge. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Below is a list of some of the many skills I have developed and deepened as part of this programme. 

Disclaimer: Unable to showcase client project work because of NDA, but please do ask me about any of the skills listed.

Top 10 Skill developed & tools used

01

Interaction design

Understanding the needs of specific users and the requirement of business to create an optimal overall experience.

Ask me about:

  • Customer leads journey creation
  • Component design

03

Information architecture

The stuff of the matrix. Figuring out how things fit together so that you can create a seamless experience for users. It is an area I love working in.

Ask me about:

  • Site mapping
  • Conceptual thinking

02

Presenting

The secret weapon used for persuasion but more importantly to create shared understanding.

Ask me about:

  • A typical design week 
  • My worst presenting experience

04

Agile

I have always related this term to performing arts. Interestingly like creating a performance an agile team must move quickly and easily to thrill and delight.

Ask me about:

  • Working with a diverse multi-disciplined team 
  • My experience vs my understanding of agile

05

Critiquing

I never shy away from sharing my opinion, but I am learning how to constructively critique and use critique as a tool to grow.

Ask me about:

  • How to not take criticism personally 
  • Critiquing without being critical

07

Stakeholder engagement

Communication is my forte but not everyone is as proficient, so understanding who you are working with is a great first step. 

Ask me about:

  • Relationship building with collaboration 
  • Dealing with difficult stakeholders

06

User research

Tight deadlines and budgets mean that this is not always a priority. But a good designer will always find a way to get the full picture.

Ask me about:

  • Research methods 
  • Getting the full picture

08

Visual design

When I first saw Monet’s Water Lilies I was overcome by the magnitude and how it calmed me. In that moment I truly grasped the power of art. 

Ask me about:

  • Working with material design 
  • User interface design 

09

Sketch. Wireframing. Prototyping.

Putting pen to paper, it’s the hardest part for me but once I get going there is no truing back. I easily get sucked into design work 

Ask me about:

  • Software tools 
  • Prototyping high and low fidelity 

10

Storying telling

It is so simple, and everyone does it but knowing the nuances that make a story good comes with years of practice.

Ask me about:

  • Unpacking user stories  
  • Crafting compelling stories 

Tools

My grandmother always told me that tools are only as good as the person using them, but they sure do make the job easy if you know the right tool to use. 

Here are some of the design and analytics tools in my bag of tricks. But I’m learning new tricks everyday so watch this space.

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