Breda, Netherlands πŸ‡³πŸ‡±

Rianne van de Rijt

Memorisely Teaching Assistant

Heya! Rianne here, UX Researcher and Designer, and one part of the teaching assistant duo of Memorisely, alongside Flavio. I'm a huge running and nature enthusiast! 🌳
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Where are you from? Where are you based?

I am from the Netherlands πŸ‡³πŸ‡± currently based in Breda (also called the pearl of the south)!


Breda's beautiful 'Grote Kerk' (Big Church) marks the center of the city next to the market square. πŸ‘‡

My 'mandatory' lunch walk comes past this beautiful water area. πŸ‘‡


What led you to Memorisely, and how did you land a spot on the team?

Good one, not 100% sure when I joined the Memorisely community. However, I remember it was quite early on. Loving the positive energy in the community and wanting to solidify my transition from Graphic Design to UX resulted in me jumping into the very first UX/UI Bootcamp.

The bootcamp has transformed so much since then and I love seeing it grow and now be apart of that growth.

How I joined Memorisely? The teaching assistant (TA) job got posted and it instantly gave me the gut feeling that I needed to (also) jump into this! After a few months, I was able to join and that kickstarted a lot of things!

I love being a TA as I also love guiding people (in my free time I give guided walks in a nearby national park), taking them on a journey while sharing fun facts and knowledge on what we encounter. As I have dedicated a special Instagram account to my nature walks (It is in Dutch, @boswachteren). I love to bring the same energy of openness and curiosity to the Bootcamp sessions. Together with Flavio, we provide a sounding board for students β€” providing feedback and exposing directions that can be taken to grow in the UX/UI field, which is great!


How has previous experience impacted you and prepared you for this role both personally and professionally?

My nature guiding has helped me much in gaining confidence in presenting for a big group of people. This was very useful for facilitating workshops in my role as a UX Researcher and starting out as a TA.

During my career, I switched roles a few times, from Graphic Design to Digital Design; and from UX/Behaviour design to UX Research. I really like that with each pivot, I am learning new things. Strengthening my UX knowledge.

This year, I started freelancing more on the side, talking to clients, discovering their needs, providing strategic solutions. Approaching my work ethic more autonomic, than just working in employment. I love juggling multiple projects at the same time. Next up, is even finishing my own tiny house to accommodate more traveling in the future!


Talk to us about your experience working in a small, remote start-up environment?

Past experiences led me to work with large in-house teams and agencies. The start-up environment was new to me. The direct contact between the whole team is a dream! I have never felt so connected so quickly, even remotely!

We are definitely starting to become a whole MemFam (Memorisely Family)! I can't wait for a live offscreen team meetup!


Walk us through your typical day?

I tend to sleep more during autumn and winter, so my days tend to start relaxed now. Always with a good cup of tea (not a coffee person πŸ™‹) and a solid breakfast. Sometimes I go crazy for breakfast, but usually I aim to make a good lunch with eggs, noodles or even have 'dinner' for lunch. That is the nice thing of remote work, you can prep your meals more easily.

The one downside of the Netherlands is we usually lunch with a simple sandwich for lunch. I love to make lunch a little party during my day.

Typically I'd like to reserve my mornings for focus work and my afternoons for meetings and work that needs less planning (and brainpower). This doesn't always work out that way. Most of my Tuesdays and Thursdays can stretch longer due to working in different timezones.

The biggest challenge for me? Is not to get too hungry, I need to be properly fed to be able to think πŸ˜‰

This might not look tasty, but let me tell you! It is! It's called 'wentelteefjes' in Dutch. Bread soaked in a mixture of egg and milk adding cinnamon, powdered sugar and maple syrup and this makes the best breakfast!

Sometimes I find the inspiration to make a colourful breakfast.

Morning or evening walks around the neighborhood is mandatory for my well-being.


The most exciting or unique part of your day-to-day at Memorisely?

Talking to bootcamp students β€” hearing their stories, seeing their process and contributing to this. Fulfillment levels to the max! Even if my days overstretch sometimes, chatting to students gives me so much energy my batteries recharge instantly.

Also I notice details, like counting the times that Flavio says 'for instance'. I really like the dynamic we provide as a team! Hopefully, that shines through to the Bootcamp students. Being able to make a joke here and there keeps my day lighthearted and fun!

Learn UX/UI live β†’

What's your best advice for overcoming challenges in the workplace?

Keep chatting with your team! Openness is key! Not only in your personal space, but also at work. Especially when you face hurdles, but even when all things go smoothly.

Perception and expectations are two things that are key in all communication. Where are you at know? What experiences have led you to think this way? How does this impact your expectations? What do you expect? How would you react if your expectations are not met?

During most projects or meetings that experience friction,Β I have noticed it's either when one of those two is not aligned with the other. I tried to teach myself to check the expectations and perceptions of the team for each project, at the start and during the whole process. Often checking in to see if we are still aligned. Later on when a project is finished it is also good to do a retrospective. Looking back how the project went, what you have learned, what can be done better, what went well. There are ample of examples of retro templates available out there.

One useful example I found in the Figma Community is below. πŸ‘‡


Care to share your work space setup?

I aim to keep my desk tidy, currently it also houses my sewing machines and some plants, so it can be quite challenging. Especially when my mind and sticky notes go crazy, suddenly a 180x70cm desk is even too small.


And your go-to or must-have apps?

Here it goes! ⬇️ Not super neat, but it is manageable and semi-tidy. The exception is Notion that I use way more often β€” it's so important that it is on my homescreen.

As a true designer, my apps are mostly colour coded β€” besides the apps I use most for work, running and my nature guides.

Usually I skip the Macbooks bottom navigation, so I now see Miro is still in there. It has been a while since I have used that tool now that I use FigJam.


What product recently blew your socks off?

On my last holiday, I got a membership for Komoot a hiking app that allows you to download hiking trails offline and it can be connected to your smartwatch. This way you don't need to grab your phone all the time when you are finding your way in the woods. Just looking at the directions on your smartwatch, gives you easier access to navigation. Plus it helps you to stay in the moment more. I love when technology works this way β€”technology that allows you to use less technology at times (for example, not be distracted by phone messages if you just want to look at the route you are walking). And when downloaded, you can even use the app offline!

You can plan your own route, or be inspired by other hikers that have made routes themselves. The app also provides mountainbike, long distance and trail running routes.

I use Strava a lot for monitoring my cycling routes and running. In addition to that, this app is the perfect companion for planning where to go!


Share your "can't live without" productivity tip or hack?

Can't live without: running, or at least moving (walking, cycling, skating). I find myself even prioritizing this over work. Which results in being more productive when I do work! Win-win!

Plus, I realise more and more, that when you are happy and healthy looking after your own wellbeing, you can look after something else too β€” like work, for example. Rianne approves running πŸ™‚


Name one thing you recently learned that surprised you.

Very recently, I bought a tiny house to finish. The inside is still completely empty. The outside still needs some work! But the amount of things I learned on woodwork and building already had blown (🀯) my mind! And that is only scratching the surface. This is going to be such a journey!

Tiny house spam aside, I learned there are so much connections to human behaviour online that actually are mirrored from offline experiences! Have a look at you desktop icons and terminology β€” like bins and folders that first existed offline and now have a place on your screen. Amazing! I feel that it is important to get to know these behaviour quirks of people and see how we can utilise them in online innovation.


The offscreen project I will be working on for the next few months! πŸ‘‡


What's your favorite thing to do outside of the virtual office?

Put your πŸ₯Ύ on, get your coat (Dutch weather alert β˜”οΈ), open the door, go out! Just for a short walk, up to day hikes during weekends or even complete camping trips, or backpacking for a long distance trail!

You'll often find me snapping a photo of plants, insects and other critters. Discovering what they are named, where they are growing, and their uses. Huge nature lover over here πŸ™‹β€β™€οΈ

Walking with friends or giving guided walks in a nearby National Park to me is the perfect way to go offscreen and to still feel useful.

Snapping πŸ“· of clouds and skies, I can stargaze endlessly, so fascinating. It is so nice living nearby a nature area.


Share your current go-to tunes.

When I am working I mostly don't want to be disturbed by too much 'language'. Thinking in Dutch and talking in English sometimes is already challenging enough. English or Dutch songs or radio chit-chat can become quite distracting. Thats why I tend to go for Chill Low-Fi music. 🎢


Three pieces of advice for breaking into the UX/UI Design field?

  1. Start somewhere. Start small. Make the steps so that you are still challenged and they are also fun!
  2. Reach out to other designers! Together you'll have more fun, a wider scope, a different perspective. All super valuable in learning new things!
  3. Do you feel your knowledge could use a boost? Try different resources, reading a book, joining a bootcamp, doing workshops, follow conferences. To get somewhere, where you are not right now, you'll have to start doing something else to actually get there. In other words: put in the work.


Thanks for reading my story!

Breda, Netherlands πŸ‡³πŸ‡±

Rianne van de Rijt

Memorisely Teaching Assistant

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