Vex, Switzerland πŸ‡¨πŸ‡­

Marina Kraus

Memorisely Bootcamp Student

Hey! I'm Marina, a product designer in Switzerland. I love the outdoors β€” when I'm not running or skiing in the Alps, I travel through Scandinavia enjoying digital nomad life.
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Where are you from and based as a UX/UI Designer and Student?

I am originally from Bavaria in Germany but living in Switzerland for over a decade now. I am based in a mountain village called Vex and working remotely most of the time. From Vex, you have a beautiful view of mountains and glaciers which are up to 4,000 meters high.


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

I have signed up for the UX/UI Bootcamp, and meanwhile also the Design Systems Bootcamp.

The reason? I was actively looking for a bootcamp where I can focus on all the basics but also more advanced knowledge. Many courses seemed superficial to me and I didn't want to do another impersonal online course. I was very careful in my selection, as I wanted to get feedback on my work and have experienced people to ask individual questions. This is where Zander and Memorisely convinced me pretty quickly β€” or better said, "Supa fast!" ⚑️


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

There was always something that attracted me to traveling, nature, and sustainability. That led to some exciting years in Austria and Switzerland, where I worked in tourist destinations and explored the surroundings on skis, hiking shoes, or my bike. Seeing the impact of tourism in nature motivated me to study in Switzerland and become an environmental engineer.

What does this have to do with UX design? πŸ€” Well, after finishing my studies I started working in the Swiss livestock farming industry on the interface between IT and agriculture. As a digital native and member of the management team at Qualitas AG, I started to focus on improving the digital experience of our customers by establishing online marketing and social media communications, and by improving the brand, look & feel of the corporate website.

Over time, I shifted my focus more and more towards product design and stepped into the exciting world of user experience. I completed a bootcamp for basic coding skills and learned about the influence of design on SEO. I also attended a women-friendly hackathon by women++ in 2019. As a lifelong learner, I am continuously growing my skills in all disciplines related to digital design. πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’»


What do you find most exciting about UX/UI Design?

Today, there is an app for almost everything you can imagine. What fascinates me most is the immense influence the user experience has on its success and how it can make an app a top or a flop. For me, UX design is therefore associated with a lot of responsibility towards the users, the team, and towards the company.


What does a typical day look like for you?

I usually get up early β€” most times, between 6 and 7 AM. Since I almost always work remotely, my commute is only one floor downstairs. For breakfast, I always have a cup of coffee with milk β€” or rather, milk with a shot of coffee and some bread with chocolate cream. I can't do anything without this in the morning. πŸ˜„

After that, I check emails and messages in Slack and review my to-do list; which, I usually write the previous evening.

I often spend my lunch break with my partner, who also works from home; and, we enjoy a meal together. If the weather is good, we sit in the garden with mountain views.

In the afternoon, I often need short breaks between my tasks, as my productive time is definitely in the morning. Sometimes I use the Pomodoro technique β€” 25 minutes of focused work, 5 minutes break β€” to stay focused. This way I can work in a concentrated way during short intervals. At the end of my working day, I write down my to-do list for the following day so that I don't forget any important tasks.

After work, I often do some exercise and go running πŸƒβ™€οΈ, road cycling πŸš΄β™€οΈ or ski touring β›· in winter. I often grab our photo equipment together with my partner and we go out into nature and look for the most beautiful sceneries. He often focuses on the landscape, and I tend to concentrate on the tiny details.

Here's Some flower photography in the evening sun up in the mountains. πŸ‘‡


What is your current desk setup?

I love to keep it clean without distractions. I am working with a 13" MacBook Pro and an LG Retina Display. For my to-do list, I am using a handwritten notebook.


And your work station setup across devices?

As for my physical desk, I also like to keep it clean on my devices. Mostly, I use tools like Slack, Notion, Figma, and some other communication apps.

On mobile I also have fast access to the Swiss weather, Insight Timer for meditation, MoneyControl to keep track of my finance, and Bring! for grocery shopping. The background picture is from my favorite hide-away beach in Sweden. πŸ’™πŸ’›


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

The live classes are extremely valuable and I probably couldn't have found a better bootcamp for learning in a group of motivated people. In each live class, I enjoy meeting the whole group, learn together, and experience new things. The input from Zander, but also the questions from all other designers in class, and the exchange in the group are irreplaceable. The hours just fly by every time.

Learn UX/UI live β†’

What has been your favorite part of Bootcamp so far?

Besides the live classes β€” which are unforgettable β€” I really appreciated the office hours. The meetings with Rianne and Flavio were extremely valuable and the inputs they gave me on my ongoing work were always helpful.


Name one learning that has surprised you in Bootcamp!

There is no such thing as "user testing" β€” there is only usability testing! πŸ˜‰

Very often, usability testing is referred to as user testing. However, there is no such thing as user testing, because as UX designers we are testing the usability of our product and not the users themselves.

This showed me, once again, how important it is to think about what you are doing, but also how to talk about it thoughtfully and not just to throw around buzzwords.


What challenges do you face as a UX/UI Student?

Since I'm doing the UX/UI bootcamp alongside my job, I'm relatively busy. So, I have to organize myself well to keep all the tasks on track. I always try to complete the tasks in the same week as the classes β€” usually, I do succeed, but sometimes I don't. If it doesn't work out, I try not to put too much pressure on myself and just try to make at least a small step forward every day.

For me, I must organize my work efficiently and independently so that I can work smoothly in a team and the others can rely on me and my deliverables.


What work or project are you most proud of?

I recently finished the first case study of the UX/UI Bootcamp, which I'm really proud of. I have documented all my work from this project in my portfolio.


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

I recently relocated and had to buy lamps for my new home. Instead of screwing lamps on the ceiling everywhere, I decided to go with Hue, by Phillips. The smart home solution offers lamps, but also light bulbs, which can be used in any lamp, and controlled via an app or remote control. I was totally fascinated by this, as the system works completely independently of the actual electrical switches. The app is extremely intuitive and the UI is clear, understandable, and, in addition, designed just beautifully.

It really blew my mind, and I would love to be involved in the product design of a product like this.


What tunes do you listen to while designing?

I love listening to relaxing or motivating chillout tunes while I am working on my UX and UI designs. Often I choose some internet radio and, when I like a song, I put it on this playlist.

Have fun while relaxing, working, or whatever. 🎧


Share three suggestions for fellow and/or future students?

  1. Do one small thing every day and don't procrastinate because "you will have more time on the weekend/next week/after your current project" β€”You never will – so start now.
  2. Share your work early in the process, and reach out for feedback from other designers.
  3. Just because others do things a different way doesn't mean you're doing wrong. Believe in yourself and your skills, and do it your way! This will make your work unique!

Thanks for reading my story!

Vex, Switzerland πŸ‡¨πŸ‡­

Marina Kraus

Memorisely Bootcamp Student

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