I am a Chinese Canadian currently based in Milan but I’ll be moving back to Canada soon to pursue my new job! I first moved to Milan in 2019 to study my Masters in Service Design and then started working shortly before graduating at the tech company Bending Spoons as a Product Designer. Now I’ll be coming full circle and moving back to Canada!
This is Rideau canal that runs through downtown Ottawa. In the winter time it freezes over and becomes the world’s longest skating rink!
This is the Navigli area of Milan, the neighbourhood I live in. It’s known for its canals and nightlife.
As a child, I always loved being creative but also helping people. I spent a lot of time drawing or doing crafts and also volunteering at local organizations like the food bank. As I grew older, I knew I wanted to do something in the creative field that combined my passion for creativity with problem solving and helping people. Design seemed like the perfect combination of all that. I studied industrial design in university and that was my first chance at seeing how a physical product I designed could have an impact on people. Though I really enjoyed industrial design, I wanted to explore beyond just physical products and look into the world of services and product systems. This led me to study service design where I got my first introduction into UX/UI. I was really fascinated at how UX/UI design interacted with service design, especially with many services now incorporating both physical and digital touchpoints. Hence I began to delve more into the UX/UI world and here I am now!
I picked the UX/UI design bootcamp because I never formally learned UX/UI design. I learned some on my own through watching YouTube tutorials, reading books and playing around with tools like Adobe XD and Figma, but I always felt like I was missing the foundational skills and knowledge to really ground my work and build my own confidence (imposter syndrome at work). Since I just started working as a product designer, I wanted to gain more confidence and upgrade my skills to be able to deliver in my role, so I decided to enroll in the bootcamp.
At first, I was a little anxious about taking an online bootcamp because I feel that I learn better in-person, but luckily, the live classes really provided that interactive in-person experience. Zander’s energy and enthusiasm was very motivating and the class activities were very interactive so I felt engaged, even if it was an online class. Plus, I loved interacting with the other students. It was a special feeling knowing that there were 16 of us, all from different time zones and from different backgrounds, coming together to learn.
My favourite part of bootcamp has been learning and interacting with the other students. I loved seeing everyone’s work and thought process. It was very interesting to see how we can all come up with such different design solutions for the same brief and it was really insightful to see how each person approached the problem. The learning that surprised me the most was probably how much we could accomplish as a class in the ten weeks of the bootcamp. A lot of us were working full-time or balancing other schedules and yet we were able to complete two case studies and a portfolio. All of this while attending the bootcamp classes themselves! It’s quite amazing when you look back at the experience.
When I was first learning UX/UI design on my own, it was overwhelming how many resources were available. There are so many UX blogs, books, tips, tutorials...it can be confusing to navigate it all, let alone know where to start! I think that’s why I was drawn to the bootcamp because it helped provide structure to my learning. I was able to block off hours each week for attending the classes and completing the homework. The tasks we had to complete each week were clearly outlined and broken down in Notion for us so I was able to tackle the work at a steady but manageable pace.
I usually start the morning off with a quick 10-15 minute yoga session to get my body moving. If I’m working from home, I’ll make a quick breakfast at home or grab a croissant at a cafe near my apartment. In Italy, we usually have a croissant with a cappuccino or espresso in the morning so that’s my go-to order.
If I’m working in the office, I’ll head to the office and have breakfast there (tech company perks!). Then I’ll start working which usually starts with a stand-up in the morning, some touch base meetings with my team and then a day of design tasks. Usually I work on wire framing, user interviews, UI designs or prototyping. The team I’m on is specialized in video editing for creators so I sometimes browse social media to research what video editing trends and features are being used. We’ll also talk with creators to better understand their video editing needs and to have them test prototypes of our features.
When I’m done work, I’ll head home and start the evening bootcamp, whether it’s classes or homework. The bootcamp is a nice way to end the day because I can connect with all of my classmates and Zander’s energy is always electrifying.
After I finish the bootcamp, I’ll have dinner, relax a bit with some Netflix or a book, and then head to bed.
I live in a tiny studio apartment so if I’m working at home, my dining table doubles as my workspace. I like to have the window behind me for some natural light and then I keep it simple - just my laptop, some water or tea, and the table. I like to keep my bag next to me so that I can quickly grab for some pen and paper when needed. And bonus: the kitchen is right behind if I want to whip up a snack.
I feel very cliché saying this but I recently got the new 16-inch M1 MacBook from work and it is a beast! I used to have the 2019 Intel MacBook and I already thought that was strong but the new M1 version blows it out of the water. It opens files so much quicker and the battery lasts all day. I actually used it while working outside for a whole day, using Figma, Illustrator and Safari (and with Slack and Spotify in the background) and it lasted with 30% battery and the fan didn’t go off once 🤯
Plus now when I go back to my 2019 MacBook, I can notice the difference in loading speeds for files and softwares, specifically Adobe software. I always thought the Apple was exaggerating the performance but I have to say, the M1 MacBook really lives up to the hype 🙌
I love lo-fi instrumentals or some chill pop for work - not too distracting but enough to groove to. However I also like some indie pop and k-pop if I want something more upbeat.