From RISD to Perpetual and Beyond: Meet Yvonne, UX Designer
Marketing & Design Associate
7 min read
August 16, 2023
Today, we are sharing an interview with Yvonne Wang, one of our talented and dedicated UX Designers. Yvonne brings her expertise and creativity to the table, leaving a lasting impact on the products she works on. Her journey in UX design has been nothing short of inspiring, and we are excited to share her insights and experiences with our readers.
Background and Career
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got started in your career?
Hello! My name is Yvonne, I am a UX Designer at Perpetual! I’ve been with Perpetual for almost two years after graduating from The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). I graduated from RISD with a BFA in Systems Science and Theory of Industrial Design. I also had three concentrations: one in History, Philosophy, and Social Science, another in Theory, History of Art, and Design, and my last was in Computation, Technology, and Culture. I also have a certificate from Harvard Business School, which was the Online Credential of Readiness (CORe) Program.
During my tenure at RISD, I did an internship for a web-platform startup creating a no-code tool to convert PDFs and documents into richer digital experiences like flipbooks, interactive websites, and captivating digital libraries. I learned a lot there about cross-media interactive experiences and the technologies that go along with them. I have a passion for user experience design and human-centered design from my own experience of using different apps or platforms and apparent frustrations about some features and my ideas to fix them. This critical eye pushed me to study UX design and has made me a great advocate for users because I know what it is like to see issues in different apps and platforms.
A random fun fact about me is that even though I have what some might call a “baby face” 🙂, I like music like EDM!
Q: What challenges did you face along the way, and how did you overcome them?
A challenge that I faced along the way was that I had no prior software development experience before coming to Perpetual. This initially made it difficult to communicate with software engineers, but thankfully I got help from online courses and guidance from my mentors at Perpetual.
Q: Can you tell us about your favorite projects or experiences as a UX Designer at Perpetual?
My favorite project was my very first one at Perpetual: the redesign of a Japanese version of a website for a major global news and multi-media company. I found it very interesting because of the unique design changes that were needed with cultural differences to consider when designing for a different region than USA or Europe. For example, with Japanese design, it is preferred to have text-heavy pages (less blank space), which makes the page more informative at a single glance. There was also the character difference which impacted spacing, placement, and layout.
There were challenges on the communication side and the time difference led to a lot of early morning calls. With the time difference, it was crucial that we had the project timeline well planned. We also solved some of these challenges by designing in both language English and Japanese. This helped with our design understanding because we needed to truly understand what content we were designing for. The project was also a full life-cycle project across ideation, user interviewing, user testing, designing, and development specification which gave me a glimpse of the entire user experience process in a single project!
Q: What does the collaboration process look like with other team members including developers, product managers, and other designers?
The collaboration between designers begins with a lot of back-and-forth discussions at the initial stages, and then working on a few different design directions. We collaborate with clients on which design direction is preferred and works best, with one designer assigned to develop the low-fidelity (lo-fi) wireframes while another would work on the high-fidelity (hi-fi) prototypes.
Designers may shift between different roles depending on their availability and their areas of focus. It is essential to utilize a project management system (e.g. notion, JIRA, etc) to track what is done for design and ready for our developers to implement, all while communicating with the project manager to see what needs to be done next.
Q: What part of a typical project do you find the most exciting?
The design directions are the most exciting to me. It is always interesting to come up with new ideas and concepts and also to see what the client and users like; the possibilities are endless at the beginning.
Q: Beyond designing, what are your typical responsibilities as a UX designer?
I think that communication with all of the team members to stay up to date on different projects has been crucial in my work as a UX designer. I am constantly synching up with the developers to make sure things are getting done according to the proposed timeline. Talking with our product managers is key to ensuring that you are fulfilling the client’s goals and they are always there to help keep everything on track. Something unique to a UX designer is making sure that the user profiles and personas are well established and understood, it is something that is a part of the entire process and not just when the designs are done.
Q: As a UX designer, how do you stay informed about industry developments and best practices? Are there any resources or communities you find particularly valuable for professional growth?
For industry news and updates, I always am checking The Verge! It is a great resource for staying up to date with the industry in general.
On social media, following Webflow and Figma is a must when you want to see updates and releases. I turn post notifications on so I am one of the first to hear about new features.
I also really enjoy Medium.com to hear what other designers are writing in their blogs. Usually, I like to read different case studies to see how designers approach different products and issues. I do write a bit myself on Medium: I post my case studies and research there to get feedback or to share findings.
Q: What new trends or changes in UX design do you think will have a big impact in the near future?
Figma as a tool has already made a giant impact in the field, but I think that Figma’s variables are a game changer. These would have been very helpful with the language-switching option when I was working on the Japanese news website project. I think they will increase the efficiency of designers working on large-scale projects!
Q: How do you strike a balance between pushing the boundaries of creativity in your designs and ensuring that the final product remains intuitive and user-friendly?
It depends on the project brief and the stakeholder goals, if they prefer something less aesthetically creative, I'll focus more on the details of the user experience and what the user needs. Looking at accessibility is important as the baseline. The design direction is always helpful for establishing this balance. We emphasize talking through the thought process and communicating your idea clearly to clients so they understand why you are pushing for a certain decision or direction.
Advice and Tips
Q: What advice or tips do you have for other aspiring UX designers?
Another piece of advice I would have is that sometimes, it is important to follow your intuition, direction, and best practices, and not exactly what the client tells you to do. Once, I tried to follow a client’s notes exactly, but when I showed them their version and a design that I created that did not follow their direct feedback, they liked the opposite version more! This taught me to always have different versions of my designs and to give the client more options: they cannot visualize what you have in mind unless you present it to them in the form of a design concept or direction.
Q: In your experience, what are some common pitfalls that UX Designers should avoid in their projects?
As designers, if we don’t do the research to understand the users or stakeholders, and just start designing, the features and product might not fulfill their goals. It could be visually appealing, but it would not fit the targeted user groups.
It is always best to understand and research the user persona and user flow before starting to design. A project with 3 user groups may need 4 features instead of 3 features, an easy mistake made because you did not understand who you were designing for when making your design directions.
Q: What's one lesson you wish you had known when you started your career?
It would have to be about the organization of my design files: format all the files, documents, and classes in your projects. It makes your work difficult to find and solve if you do not properly use classes. If you have a bunch of templates in Figma that require naming conventions, organize the files in one place. While this may seem small, it saves a lot of extra work in the long run.
Additionally, for sharing and presenting Figma files, the way you organize and name your pages helps clients understand what you’re trying to show and the designs are easier to follow. This organizational logic would have saved some time in my early days as a designer.
We extend our gratitude to Yvonne Wang for sharing her valuable insights, experiences, and passion for UX design with us. Yvonne's dedication to advocating for users is truly inspiring, and we are excited to see her contributions to the world of UX design as she continues her career. Thank you, Yvonne, for sharing your insights and experience with us!