Meet the UX Designer: Norah Park
Norah Park is a full-time product designer at Uber and a newbie to San Francisco (she moved just a month ago from Los Angeles, and was based in Korea before that). While adjusting to the rhythms of the city and gig, she still makes time to tackle personal UX/UI projects that keep her creative and technical skills on point. We had the chance to talk with her about the potential inherent in digital tools, the power of educating oneself, and the art of matching music vibes to what she’s working on.
What drew you to UX/UI design, and how did you get your start?
I think I was born to be an artist. When I was a kid, I was often scolded by mom and teachers because I drew things everywhere, as if everything was my canvas. I majored in Fine Arts at college, and during that time I taught myself how to use digital design tools; the more I learned, the more interested I became in design. I wanted to bring all the beautiful things in the world onto my canvas, whether it was using my hands or software, and eventually I started my career as a graphic designer.
One of my biggest challenges is still adjusting to this country and learning the language, but it’s fun and exciting to see how fast I’m improving. Other than that, keeping up with the trends and technology can all be very difficult; I struggle a lot with the work and life balance.
How does Adobe Creative Cloud fit into your creative process?
I’m amazed by the prototyping user flows feature in Adobe XD that allows me to keep my workflow contained to a single app. It’s also really easy to create interface demos and preview them on different platforms. And the Repeat Grids is one of best features in the program that I haven’t found on any other UI design application; it makes my work so much easier and faster, and the interface is simple and instantly responsive.
How do you get into the mindset of your potential users?
Creating designs with users in mind is incredibly important. I try to use real devices that my users would use in same environment as they might use them, and always keep the purpose of the product in mind. Design is a language and you want the user to hear that language loud and clear. I constantly ask myself: “Is this the best and easiest way to use this device? How can it be easier and more clear?”
Let’s look at one of your projects. What was your process like creating the Behance desktop app prototype?
This was a personal project. As frequent user of Behance, I asked myself how it might work if it was reinvented as a full-fledged desktop app–one that takes advantage of the platform by providing a richer, more seamless, and largely customizable experience. Initially, I designed it on Photoshop, but I transferred over to Adobe XD as soon as it came out—and I actually finished up a lot faster than I expected thanks to XD’s easy functionality.
What excites you most about the future of UX/UI design—both in terms of creating it, and engaging with it?
As software develops and becomes more advanced, it just makes my work much easier. I can design more quickly and efficiently, and that’s a win for everyone.
What bit(s) of wisdom can you share with creative folks who are interested in becoming UX/UI designers?
As a self-taught UX/UI designer, I believe that anyone who invests the time and energy into learning and understanding can become one. Plus, there’s a ton of free material out there now and a great community that has so much to teach and offer.
Whose UX/UI work do you look at and go: “WOW”?
I think Aurélien Saloman is great; his UI/ UX designs are really creative, as well as user friendly.
Best tunes for getting into a creative flow?
It doesn’t hurt to match your music with your design and tempo. I remember designing something mysterious, dark, and whimsical to “Mermaids” by Hanz Zimmer from the Pirates of the Caribbean 4 soundtrack.
For more subtle projects, I listen to classical piano music.