Meet the team: Experience Designer & BIMA 100 winner Christiana Kim

May 07, 2021

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Head of User Experience Design

Christiana Kim

Reason would be nothing without our brilliant team of designers & engineers working together to envision and launch innovative digital products - so we thought we’d share some of their stories.

This time, we catch up with one of our Experience Designers, Christiana Kim, a 2021 BIMA 100 award winner.

Can you tell us a bit about what you do at Reason?

As an Experience Designer, I work closely with people to delve deep into the context of their world and their unmet needs.

I use this research to uncover opportunities and turn them into simple products and services that have a meaningful impact and make sense for the users.

I’ve worked on some awesome projects that have allowed me to do this, for example:

  • Researching and ideating ways to provide exceptional experiences for customers at a global fashion brand
  • Assisting a telecoms startup to deliver valuable information via satellite technology to remote Kenyan communities
  • Re-imagining a legacy trading process with a Fintech start-up and international financial institutions

Before you became an Experience Designer, you had a career in HR - what made you change and how did you find the transition?

I’ve always been interested in technology, but when this dinosaur (aka me) was graduating,there wasn’t much career advice at school about getting a job related to tech, aside from Programming or graphic design. People were still steered towards more “traditional” studies like accounting or business. So I got into the next best thing which was HR, solving problems for humans.

After speaking to some of my friends who were UX designers and the problems they face at work (surprise! Also solving human problems) , I decided to delve into UX: starting with a bootcamp on UX design, which led to an internship at Reason. I really enjoyed the user research and the quick pace from talking to people to prototyping a technical solution - and got hooked on a new career.

Doing a career change in your 30’s doesn’t get talked about much. So many people told me not to do it, especially as I was quite senior in my previous role, and I’ve had to start from scratch as a junior. I’ve never regretted this journey though - I’ve found my previous experience in business and HR to be a massive asset when I speak to clients (but I had to work hard to convince people of that relevance).

You’re currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction Design alongside your work at Reason. How have you found combining the two?

For me, doing my Master’s part-time was an obvious choice: I do my best learning when I have the chance to apply theoretical concepts at work.

Yes, it can get stressful sometimes because my workload can get pretty high and I have anxiety issues - but I’ve learnt to ask for help when I need it, and I’ve been lucky that both Reason and my university has been incredibly supportive.

What’s a piece of advice that you’ve found valuable in your work?

I think it was one of my friends who told me once:

“Do as much as you can, in the time that you have, with whatever you have on hand.”

I’ve got this written up on a sticky note and stuck to my desk. It reminds me that I don’t need to worry about doing everything perfectly, or get overwhelmed - I just need to get it started.

As designers, we often have lots of ideas, because we get exposed to lots of stimuli - but it’s important to focus and get started rather than get discouraged by the need for perfection.

What do you like about working at Reason?

No one paid me to say this I swear! I really like the people I get to work with - and I (an introvert) miss being in the office having natural chats with people.

It matters a lot to me that the Reason leadership team genuinely cares about all of us … and from my work in HR I’ve seen many companies that aren’t like that!

You’ve had the chance to peer into the future both through your studies and your work at Reason. What have you seen coming up on the horizon that you’re most excited about?

I’m really interested in “biohacking” - not in a weird obsessive way that people self-implant chips into their arms - I’m intrigued by the way that you can drive optimisation based on what’s happening in your body. And where computers become extensions of your body that can enhance your abilities.

But for this to happen, we first need to answer a lot of safety and ethical questions, so there’s plenty of work for us as experience designers if we want to explore this field!