It’s a pleasure for me to chat with Karolina Kolodziej about her journey and experience. I’m really excited to share her story because she inspires me to never stop learning and expand my horizons. In this Inside Scoop series article, I will introduce Karolina, there will be a QnA session and this or that question to make it more exciting 😁
I hope her story can inspire you as well, and you can definitely book a mentoring session with her to get to know this amicable mentor on ADPList (check her available session here). So, without further ado let’s get started!
Say hi to Karolina 👋, she is working as a product designer in a company focused on artificial intelligence called Indigo.ai.
“There are a lot of challenges and many interesting problems to tackle. The development of emergent technologies like this carries with it ethical issues and risks. From a designer point of view it’s crucial to consider possible consequences of our design in every step of the process.“ — Karolina
Karolina is passionate about designing products that make everyone’s life easier and I also want to have greater oversight over its ethical aspects.
Bite-size facts about Karolina 🤫
It was my first time booking a session with Karolina, but I already felt that she is a very resourceful and experienced woman who I would like to learn from. She is also very friendly, throughout the conversation she always gives a warm smile which makes the atmosphere more pleasant. Curious about our conversation? Let’s move on to the Q&A session!
You know what, I like to renovate old wooden furniture in my spare time. I like to do something with my hands. So I take some old piece of wooden furniture and get it renovated by myself. Mainly to detach from the digital world for a moment.
I decided to dedicate my spare time and volunteer for another organization — that’s Code— it’s a non profit company. They are expanding access to computer science in schools and increasing participation by young women and students from other underrepresented groups.
I am trying to follow an unbiased process when designing. Be open to all perspectives and user needs and apply loads of empathy during every step of the design practice. All of that in order to be sure that the technology makes “everyone’s” life easier ergo it’s accessible to everyone.
Can you give me an example of how your thought process is?
At every stage of design, we have to make some decisions. And within these decisional stages, we can be victims of our own biases of our cognitive perception. Sometimes we can unconsciously exclude some points of view and assumptions.
It happens during user research if we test or interview only certain groups of users. The most common misconception is that all of our users will have the same kind of tech skills and the same kind of constraints. When gathering user requirements, it might happen we won’t consider insights from users of all generations. And after all, we design for ourselves. It is something I try to avoid.
Regarding the cognitive bias: We, designers, can avoid cognitive biases that make us think in certain ways and can lead to irrational judgments. So, in a nutshell. First of all it’s important to acknowledge that we all have our biases and that sometimes they can plague our thinking and design process. There are about 188 different cognitive biases, but only several of them are important during the research and analysis of user data.
For example it happens when interviewing only the active users and not the drop-offs (this is the survivor bias) I wrote a little bit about this specific case in my post about the importance of the off-boarding experience, you can read it here.
Except being mindful, there are plenty frameworks and practices to move towards unbiased design process. Like for example the framework for user stories presented by Neby Teklu and Michelle Molitor at the Config 2021 (you can watch it here).
It happened once when an Impostor syndrome kicked in. But I am this kind of person who get a motivation to gain new skills when a roadblock occurs.
When I see a roadblock, I think: okay! Now I have to develop some more skills. It gives me another motivation to gain more knowledge to overcome the problem. I get my energy also from this kind of challenge. And whenever I see a problem, I want to solve it. I reflect on what’s going wrong or what can be improved. Then I iterate.
I love to visit museums of any kind, see art exhibitions and most of all I love to travel. If we stay always curious, open to other cultures and everything that’s surrounding us, even a visit to the local market or a ride on the metro can be inspiring.
I’d like to be a friendly mentor who gives motivation and make feel confident about anything in life. And — as it already happens — I want to create long-term relationship with my mentees to see them grow and progress in their careers. I’ve had some mentors in the past, after meeting them I always felt empowered and full of energy to take action. This is the kind of mentorship I wish to provide.
The three things that are the most common questions I’ve been asked are portfolio review, starting in tech and the things that are related to the imposter syndrome.
Regarding the portfolio, I suggest that we approach work on our portfolio like any other UX project. Start by thinking about our target audience and their needs. Then define our goal, so what we want to communicate with our portfolio. Most of the time, the main thing that my mentees are doing is cutting and eliminating what’s unnecessary and highlighting the most crucial information.
As I mentioned, I always suggest applying the usual UX process when building a portfolio. We test it and then iterate. Since the portfolio will expand and change while our career develops, we will want to add something new or eliminate some projects. So it’s an infinite process. Therefore, we should adopt this mindset: Better done than perfect.
I had in the past great mentors able to walk that very fine line between presenting own perspective, sharing experience and leaving space for taking own decisions and finding own solutions. My aim is to communicate, that it’s always up to mentee to take any suggestions or leave them. There can be multiple ways to solve a problem, I suggest some of them, but I still want my mentees to feel free and confident to take their decisions or find the solutions that suits them best.
Stay always curious, never stop to learn and expand your horizons. Then the empathy is a muscle that can be always strengthened. Especially in times like this.
I love the idea of connecting with designers all around the world. While mentoring here, I can see that strategies of dealing with UX problems differ across cultures. The Internet makes the world a smaller place. And I hope that thanks to platforms like this the importance of interculturality in design will be discussed more.
That’s my conversation with Karolina, hopefully, you can get a lot of lessons or inspiration from her story. Before we end the conversation, let’s ask this or that question to Karolina as a fun closure
Thanks for reading this article! I hope you enjoy my conversation with Karolina as much as I enjoy it and get something beneficial from it. And again, if you have any questions to ask or want to book a mentoring session with Karolina, kindly check her available session here.
Leave a comment below if you found this helpful. Make sure to follow ADPList to get the latest news from us or inspirational stories like this from other mentors as well.