We’re delighted to welcome Catherine MacEwan, our Junior UX Designer. She’s been working closely with the rest of the team to help create artefacts that are both beautiful and usable. But we wanted to know a little more about what makes Catherine tick, so Rebecca sat down with her to find out what the last month has been like at Border Crossing UX.
So, Catherine, what do you do at Border Crossing UX?
I am Junior User Experience Designer at Border Crossing UX, and I support the creation of visual materials. I am also learning and transitioning into a more UX design focus.
Tell us a bit about your background and where you are from.
I’m from Aberdeen and went to Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (DJCAD) in Dundee to study Graphic Design. While there, I created a range of projects from editorial and typography to campaign and brand development.
What made you want to work in User Experience?
I really like the idea of making people’s lives easier. Most of the work we do at Border Crossing UX is through interacting with organisations or experiences, where the stakeholders are aware of the frustration of when something doesn’t work easily or takes a lot of time. So, whether the task is for the client’s internal needs or reaching the wider public, working on making interactions and communication smooth feels worthwhile to me.
What attracted you to becoming a Junior User Experience Designer at Border Crossing UX?
What first attracted me was the very human feel of the job description. The broad range of clients and the way the ethos of the company aligned with my personal values was also a big draw to me; at university I had a hoped that my work would not be a source of conflict to my core values or be the source of any unhealthy work relationship. So far, the job has proven this to be possible!
What has been the biggest surprise so far?
The understanding, positive and healthy employee culture instantly came across in the interview and has held up since – I think I am spoiled with having this as my first job in my design career.
What has been your favourite part about the job so far?
Receiving positive feedback from clients and seeing aspects of their work elevated by what we do, as well as the teamwork and discussions within the office have been my favourite part so far.
Is there anything that you’re particularly looking forward to?
I look forward to working on making a public sector service, which has wide reach, more user friendly. I am also looking forward to having more client contact, learning how to facilitate workshops and building strong client relationship management skills.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
My inspiration has always come from people, their emotions, and lives. I think that is why communication is more of an inspiration and focus to me than just general design aesthetics – this is why I believe UX design is perfect for me!
Did you have a specific moment when you knew that design was what you wanted to do?
Not exactly. I actually had a months long debate in my last year of school, debating between medicine and design. I do remember the day I decided, even though I still had some hesitation, and I was very excited once my decision was final. I believe my uncertainty has informed my path now – which is to say designing with the empathy, strategic thinking, and people skills that had initially drawn me to wanting to become a doctor.
You’re relatively new to Edinburgh. What’s your favourite place/restaurant to visit in Edinburgh?
Anywhere that is a step away from being in the busy city and a bit closer to nature. The Water of Leith paths or the old railway line paths are great for long walks.
Finally, what is your go-to song to get you into the creative mindset?
The album Evermore by Taylor Swift. It is so creative, full of imagery and well written. It makes me think of how impressive the human brain can be. I also find it to be calming and have listened to it so much that I can listen to it at work without distraction. I used to listen to this album a lot towards the end of my degree. So, listening to it also reminds me of bodies of work for which I received really good feedback. Therefore, it’s a reminder of what I am capable of.