Zara Nathan

Design introduced Zara to coding, animating, user interface design, and the user experience process, setting the stage for her career in UX/UI design.

Zara Nathan smiles at the camera, the skyscrapers of Manhattan behind her.

I had always wanted to be a designer, but for what specifically I was never sure. In school I wanted to do either fashion design or interior design. I then enrolled for Industrial Design, and in the first year you had to take courses in all three majors. I had an interest in both coding animating as these weren’t subjects I’d had the opportunity to explore in high school. I decided to switch to Media Design to see where that could take me. That is something I would suggest to prospective Design students: don’t be afraid to try new things and change direction as you won’t get a feel for what the different degrees have to offer until your first year where you do courses common to all the Design majors.

I enjoyed the variety our course provided; we were able to learn about mobile media and UI (user interface) design as well as post-production and motion graphics. These last two areas interested me the most, and they were where I could see myself working. However, game design and wearable technology were also fascinating. We looked at everything from game art production to usability evaluation and the way we interact with objects and technology. There was also an opportunity to research and experiment in specific wearable technology design projects, which gave us the opportunity to be creative using very different media.

The main learning highlight from my studies was time management. For post-production you could never allow learning design programs such as Maya to be a last-minute thing. Likewise, coding can be very unpredictable and you don’t know if something will go wrong for your project. You need to allow yourself that extra time.

Originally, I gained an internship with a start-up in Wellington straight after finishing my course. I then worked as a UX (user experience) designer in Melbourne. The most helpful factor for me in getting this role was my background in working with web developers while studying, as well as taking part in an independent study creating a mobile app product. Through this independent study and the mobile media course, I was able to learn the user experience process from start to finish.

I then had the opportunity through sponsorship to live and work in Colorado, USA for a year and a half, as a UX/UI Designer at Telnyx. Telnyx is a start-up based in Chicago, with a small design team that I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of, helping shape the company’s customer experience. I now continue to work for Telnyx remotely from London, United Kingdom.