Lead Interaction Designer at ChaiOne
This month’s ChaiOne Employee Spotlight is on Joie Chung, a Lead Interaction Designer at ChaiOne. As a lead interaction designer, Joie is responsible for mentoring young designers and managing the design of two ChaiOne products, ContextHub and Game Plan.
Here are some of Joie’s thoughts on being a ChaiOne designer:
Can you describe a typical workday?
I usually work from home in the mornings to wait out traffic. This is when I set up for the day by checking emails, HipChat, and Pivotal Tracker for updates from team members. I like to check in on what they are doing and make note of things that they might need. Afterwards, I put together my list of things I want to accomplish that day.
When I get to the office, I attend various standups, check in on the junior designers, and work on accomplishing my list. Each day varies, but I spend most of the time designing new features for our ChaiOne products. I also spend a lot of time performing design audits and consulting with engineers to ensure that apps are being coded to my design specs. I work with engineers that are involved with all areas of Game Plan, including client implementations, the web admin portal, and the core app templates. We are also currently designing a new analytics platform which is very exciting.
Did you always want to be a designer? How did you get into this field?
I’d never been an art person until high school when my counselor signed me up to take art against my will. My teacher was so engaging that it actually made me more interested in art and design. I started getting more involved by taking advanced courses like animation and graphic design, and joined the National Art Honor Society. At that time, I was also working at an internet arcade. I don’t think those exist anymore, but it was a good place to play multiplayer computer games with a group of friends. I taught myself to code websites for the arcade and then expanded into making sites for the games we played. Long story short, I ended up teaching myself a lot and landed a job creating websites for clients. I knew I had a good eye for design, but my own design was not refined and it was frustrating. I realized then that I wanted to go to college to study design.
I transferred my Associate’s degree to the University of Houston after hearing about their great graphic design program. I worked my butt off and made it through a very competitive portfolio review into Block, a rigorous two-year design program, and then graduated with my BFA in Graphic Communications.
I was still working as a web designer/developer during school. When I graduated, I knew I wanted to transition to interaction design. We once had a guest speaker talk about his life as an interaction designer and it sparked my interest. Apple’s introduction of “apps” on the iPhone created an emerging need in the design industry for people who knew how to design software for users. It was increasingly important for applications to be both beautiful and easy-to-use. The idea of being part of it all was so exciting.
Where do you get your inspiration for your designs?
I download new apps all the time—I like to check out how they work and how they are visually designed. I also like to know what’s going on in the industry, so I follow many great designers on Twitter and Instagram, as well as online magazines such as HOW and Computer Arts. Keeping up with what’s new keeps my mind fresh. I also like to look at Dribbble to get inspiration for a specific project.
What are some important traits that designers should have?
- Attention to detail: Designers need to be at least a little OCD – teeny tiny details are so important.
- Critical thinking: Our job is to identify problems and design creative solutions to get the right results.
- The ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes: Most of the time you are not the user, so it’s important to understand the real user’s point of view.
- Good communication skills: It’s not only important to be able to communicate what you did, but also why you did something.
- Collaboration skills: The ability to work with designers, engineers, and other members of the team is vital to getting things done.
How would you describe the ChaiOne Design Team?
We are a fun, talkative, creative, and lighthearted bunch with a real passion for design.
What things have you learned so far at ChaiOne that you would tell a new employee?
- Make sure you participate in ChaiOne events – whether it is Breakfast Friday, Beer Friday, or a quarterly event. This is how you get to know everyone and learn more about people’s talents and personalities. This will help get you comfortable in your new C1 family, but also help you work in project teams together and know who to go to when you need help.
- Don’t be afraid to speak up. Everyone has a voice and it’s great to have an opinion as long as you are able to defend it.
- Take criticism positively—it only helps you get better.
- Lean onto others because we have all been there before.
- Take your work seriously, but don’t be too serious :)
What are some of your favorite apps?
Fun Facts About Joie:
- Previously worked for a Nerf modification company as a web designer/developer
- Her favorite secret item on the Starbucks menu is a Toffee Nut Frappuccino
- She has a terrier named Bebo that likes to give high fives
- Born and raised in Louisiana, then moved to Texas when she was a teenager
- Been to every state in the continental United States
- Likes to silk screen shirts and is currently setting up a room in her house just for that
- Took 7 years of French, but can only read it
- Likes to play racquetball at the gym
- She is the eldest of three sisters
- Loves Game of Thrones and is currently reading the fifth book, A Dance with Dragons
- Likes to watch cooking shows even though she doesn’t really cook
- Her favorite superheroes are Iron Man and Thor
- Has volunteered throughout Houston by planting trees and distributing food at the House of Amos emergency food pantry
- She used to paint faces and make balloon animals for children at MFAH Family Days
- She has been skydiving