Today it’s my pleasure to interview Ewa Matlak, a UX/UI designer at DAC.digital.
I will talk to Ewa, who has been in the industry for several years and discuss her journey, challenges, and advice for other women looking to pursue a UX/UI design career.
Let’s get started!
- Hello Ewa, thank you for having this interview with me. Maybe we can start from the very beginning. Can you tell us something about yourself? What exactly are you doing at DAC.digital?
Hey, I’m moving sliders in Figma 😀 And in all seriousness, Figma is a really big part of my job, which I love. In it, I design interfaces for platforms and applications that I analyze beforehand. As for privacy, I lead a surprisingly quiet life: coffee, series, walks, and podcasts. After many hours of intense thinking and analyzing, my head explodes, so I like to recreationally open a program and create vector drawings.
- What inspired you to pursue a career in UX/UI Design?
I didn’t have a clear plan for my career path. While I was still in college, I discerned what I was good at, and what made me happy. The common denominator of these activities was creativity, but also any analytical activity that allows inquiring, collecting, analyzing, and drawing conclusions. I think all of this somewhat fits into the definition of UX design. It is also an area where I can make it easier for people (in this case, users) to interact with the product. Nothing frustrates me more than the lack of logic in a process – working as a UX/UI Designer, I have influence over how a given interaction will look like.
- How did you get into UX/UI design?
I started my work as a Graphic Designer. It brought me a lot of joy. I was able to use my creative thinking. I came across people who saw my potential, trusted me, and entrusted me with tasks I hadn’t had the opportunity to do before – layout design. This was the moment when I realized that something that makes me the happiest is combining traditional design with interface design. Then I can also use my analytical skills.
- What do you find to be the most rewarding part of your job?
My work is so varied that it’s hard to pick just one part. There are many of them. On the other hand, I feel the greatest joy when, after long and complicated analyses, I find a solution, and after some time, it turns out that it works. Similar emotions accompany me when I work with clients. I enjoy getting to know them. I try to understand their business as best I can. They are also creative and smart people, so I listen with attention and pleasure to what they have to say.
- What do you consider to be the most important skill for a UX/UI designer?
Just one? Distance. Because even with the ability to interpret analytics, a creative mind and a great technical background, we can’t make good decisions if we are tied to our own solutions.
- What do you enjoy most about your job at DAC.digital?
At DAC.digital, I like the fact that everyone treats everyone as a specialist. We trust ourselves, and our competences. We are an ambitious team. In addition, we work in an atmosphere of respect, we have an original sense of humor and we inspire each other.
- How do you think, what are the benefits of having a more diverse team of UX/UI designers?
There are many of them. For example, in a team where someone has a higher level of experience, we come to certain conclusions faster, and we also have someone from whom we can draw knowledge and enrich our own experience. Diversity in terms of skills allows us to use the potential of people exactly in those areas where it is needed at the moment, and it also makes the team more interdisciplinary. Remember that UX/UI designers are not always specialists who graduated from graphic design schools. They are often people with knowledge from various other fields, and their knowledge in that field is often useful during their work.
- What do you think are the biggest challenges for women in the IT industry today?
I think the biggest challenge is just getting into the industry. Sometimes it’s someone who doubts women’s competence, and sometimes we ourselves doubt it enough not to take that step and try our hand in the IT field.
- What challenges have you faced as a woman in your UX/UI design career?
I’m usually met with respect. Stigmatization is rare enough that I can’t recall a specific situation. What I do notice, however, is that there are still people in society who make the assumption that as a UX/UI designer I am only responsible for colors, because that’s a female attribute, and all technical issues are a male domain. Fortunately, these are opinions from outside the work environment, where people are well aware that this is nonsense
- Have you ever encountered a situation in your industry where you did not feel equal?
Of course! I used to be the only person at the video meeting who did not turn off the microphone. I’m kidding. OK, I’m not kidding. This is an authentic situation. The UX/UI industry, like any other, is made of people. There are ambitious people here. They are self-confident, they are lost, and they are malicious. I certainly see the difference in knowledge from time to time (I know how much I can already know and what I can know yet), and when it comes to treatment itself, I am lucky, but I met here only with kindness.
- What do you think are the biggest opportunities for women in the UX/UI design industry today?
If the UX/UI industry attracts you and you have a chance to try your hand in this area – do it. It is a work that allows you to discover many talents. Suddenly it may turn out that you are not only able to use Google Analytics and sweep in Figma (to all who work in this, I bow down low without mockery). But you have many other talents that you have not seen before. For example, you draw accurate conclusions, you can come out with initiative, and you have the right suggestions and interesting ideas. It’s really encouraging.
- What changes would you like to see in the IT industry to support and promote women better?
I would not introduce any revolution. Sometimes the simplest steps are the most effective. In order for awareness to grow on a topic, this should be discussed. How many women, so many needs. So I think the most effective way to make changes is to start with ourselves, talking about what motivates us, what gets in the way. It is very difficult to answer questions, working in an environment where I have nothing to complain about.
- Would you do anything differently if you could restart your career today?
Everything! And so seriously – as the classic says, everything happens for something, and everything that happened along the way led me to the current place. But to be honest, I would do a few things differently. I would ignore all the voices that doubted me, and I would find a mentor faster. Instead of stress, I would spend more time reading some industry books or listening to smart podcasts. I would also give up a few useless courses. I wonder if these decisions would have led me to DAC faster.
- What advice would you give to a woman looking to enter the UX/UI design field?
Advice is gender-independent – follow people active in the industry, carefully select courses, complete and refine your portfolio, find a mentor and be self-explanatory.
- What further plans do you have to develop your career path?
Nothing is more gratifying than visible skill progression. Therefore, I would like to do what I am doing now, but even better 🙂 If it happens, I will be happy.
This is exactly what I wish you. I am keeping my fingers crossed for the fulfillment of all your plans. Thank you for this interview and for sharing many beautiful thoughts with me.
Junior Employer Branding Specialist