Seattle 🇺🇸

Allison Kachala

UX Designer at Microsoft

Hey! I’m Allison, a designer who values systems thinking approaches to problem-solving. You can usually find me watching dog videos, doing sudoku, or adventuring outdoors. 🏕
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Where are you from and/or where are you based as a Memorisely student?

I am originally from Toronto 🇨🇦, but moved to Seattle 🇺🇸 for work.

Toronto - This is the Toronto skyline when Lake Ontario is frozen.

Seattle - This is Mount Rainer, it’s an active volcano and the highest mountain in Washington State.

What inspired you to pursue UX/UI and become a designer?

I’ve always been interested in inventing, building, and collecting things ever since I was a kid. I was sure that meant I was supposed to be an engineer when I grew up, but then I found out about Industrial Design from a family friend, which aligned more with my interests. It allowed me to get a holistic perspective on designing products. Throughout school, I developed a passion for creating experiences that blended technology and physical products together.

Midway through school, I was applying to internships and accidentally fell into the UX field. I was accepted as a UX design intern at Autodesk. They were interested in my application because of the process I go through when solving problems, despite me having no UX experience. I completed a few other UX internships, and now I am a full-time UX designer.

UX/UI design allows me to combine my interest in creating products and my love for technology while solving problems for people to improve their lives.

Which Bootcamp did you choose to enroll in, and why?

I enrolled in the UX/UI Bootcamp. I had never formally learned interface design skills through my school. I’ve learned mainly through reading books, watching videos on YouTube, and hands-on learning throughout my internships. After working in the field for about a year, I was looking for ways to continue learning, grow, and help me build my confidence as a designer. One of my friends had taken the Memorisely UX/UI Bootcamp before and highly recommend it to me, so I enrolled in the next available bootcamp.

What's it like to be a student in Memorisely's virtual classroom?

It’s such a great experience! The use of cloud apps like Notion and Figma makes it so easy to follow along and stay on track. It’s also such a unique opportunity to collaborate and learn from people from such diverse backgrounds.

What has been your favorite part of Bootcamp so far? What's one learning that has surprised you in Bootcamp?

I really enjoy the live classes! Zander brings so much energy and knowledge to each class. The lessons are all interactive, so you get to practice the skills you learn in class, and you’re able to get feedback, ask questions, and work with your classmates.

I also love working on a case study that follows the timeline and skills learned in the classes throughout the course. So you get to apply the knowledge and skills learned to a real case study to practice what you’ve learned.

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What is the biggest challenge you face learning UX/UI Design?

It’s easy to read about tools and methods but without applying them myself, I find it is hard to transfer them into my design work. There are also so many different resources to learn from it’s hard to know where to start or the foundational principles to build off.

What does a typical day look like for you as a student?

The class for me was at 9 am. So I’d typically grab my coffee and start my day off with class. After class, I hop over to my work laptop and work the day away.

What is your current workspace setup?

I’ve been working from home for the past year and a half, so my workspace is mainly composed of computers, to do lists, books, and stickies on my wall.

What are your go-to or "must have" apps?

  • Figma - Obviously!
  • Notion - For my own notes and tasks
  • Spotify - For tunes
  • Books - For resources to refer to

What (digital or physical) product recently blew your socks off?

The Casper Glow light.

It's not just a lamp. It changes the way you naturally interact with a lamp, but in an intuitive way. Instead of a button to turn a light on/off, you flip the Glow Light over to turn it on or off. You're able to dim the light by rotating it on a surface. There is no permanent upright position to the lamp. The glow light is accompanied by an app where you can also turn it on or off and set a wake-up or sleep time, so it acts as a sunlight lamp and helps cue your body that it's time for bed. And, of course, the sleek and elegant design blends into any space.

What tunes do you listen to while designing?

Anything lofi normally that’s easy to jam to and keeps me in a rhythm while designing.

Share three pieces of advice for fellow and/or future students?

  1. Be curious - Ask questions if something is not clear. There is no such thing as stupid questions. If something is unclear to you, it’s probably also unclear to someone else in the room. Reach out to people and ask them about themselves to learn more about their career path; people love talking about their journeys. Learn about topics indirectly related to your interests, and you may find some interesting connections that you may not have expected.
  2. Keep growing - Just because you’re done school or have a steady job doesn’t mean the learning needs to stop. Keep finding opportunities to learn from, read books, articles, watch videos, to keep your mind growing and active, and you may discover a new passion or interest.
  3. Ask why  - When working on a feature, constantly ask yourself what problem are you solving and why, to ensure you are focused on the core issue. (Highly recommend the book Start with Why by Simon Sinek 📚)

Thanks for reading my story!

Seattle 🇺🇸

Allison Kachala

UX Designer at Microsoft

Fancy a coffee?

I'd love to grab a coffee and chat about
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Systems thinking
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