Meet Martina Mitz! 🚀
She started as a self-taught web designer in 1999. In 2007, she graduated in psychology and started working in the field of clinical Psychology.
Since then, Martina has not only contributed to the digital and service ecosystems of many recognizable companies (e.g. eBay, PayPal, Emirates Airlines, Volkswagen, Telekom, StepStone, and many more), but she also helped selected start-ups in Europe, by forming and driving their Research, as well as contributing to their product or service strategy and definition.
In addition to her 20-years of experience, she is a great inspirational instructor, with a varied skill set, tremendous enthusiasm and real-world examples that will further ignite the student desire to learn more about UX.
Meet your instructor 👇
Brainster: Hi Martina! It is our pleasure to have you as an instructor at Brainster. First of all, tell us your background story! What do you love about working as a UX Designer?
Martina: Thank you for having me. I can’t wait to start classes and meet all students! 🙂
I actually have a background in Psychology, but I started as a self-taught web designer at end of the last century.
Also, I differentiate between UX and UI. Аlthough I had some experience with visual and User Interface Design, through my background, I’ve rather followed the User Experience (UX) path.
In the very beginning, 10 years ago, everything regarding UX was exciting and confusing at the same time, but I did a lot of hands-on work back then.
In the past few years, working as a UX Strategist has helped me to not only form a structured approach for myself, and my clients, but also to give clarity about the discipline in different speaking or mentoring sessions, as well as side chats.
I love spreading the word and affecting people with a user-centred mindset. 🙂
And, I love the confidence one gains through proper User Research, so informed decisions can be made, which then have an actual, positive impact on people’s lives.
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Brainster: Can you tell us why is it important for startups to include a UX designer from day one? What’s the role of a designer in early-stage startups?
Martina: I think it’s important to include a good UX Strategist and Researcher, so a business can quickly and reliably identify the problem they are actually solving. And get to the most suitable or acceptable solution for it.
There is “the 1-10-100 rule”, also called “the cost of quality” which sums it up nicely:: “A mistake in the concept costs 1$; a mistake in design costs 10$; a mistake in development – 100$”.
A lot of early start-ups begin with a great idea and build up their technical capabilities until they reach a dead-end because their potential customers don’t care how good company X is in, for example coding, when they have trouble loading the website or encounter an unfriendly customer support representative…
You have to understand people and their contexts first. Then on this basis, you can build many different experiments to see which one best hits your business target.
Brainster: UX design is a discipline that applies insights about human behaviour to product development. How majoring in psychology prepared you for UX?
Martina: It is not just about product development – that term came up in the past 2-3 years. Services are also a major part of UX building capabilities. But, it is also not just about building. You have to align stakeholders on the same page to understand users and their problems. There is a lot of UX work that must be done before jumping into a solution mindset.
And for anything that has to do with how humans work inside their heads, psychology is the best science that explains the different phenomena taking place there.
Brainster: Some of the most successful companies have agreed that UX is the secret to acquiring and retaining customers. How can a UX designer help a business to grow?
Martina: Some of the most successful companies have human(user)-centred thinking in their DNA! They have proven it is THE differentiator when it comes to competing on or disrupting the market. And especially when it comes to keeping your customers. Nowadays, it is not just about delivering something, it is about creating a lasting relationship and loyal customers.
People want to be treated as humans, not as goods. So understanding them and listening to them has become an absolutely crucial part of successful business practices, luckily!
And who best understands your (potential) customers, then a dedicated UX-person, preferably a Researcher in this case? Based on the UX Designer’s generated insight, in tandem with the tech colleagues, they can build solution-prototypes to test with users. They can see quickly, for a very low cost, what will work and what won’t.
Brainster: Sometimes, designers work on solutions that are potentially good for short term business goals, but bad for the users. How do you balance between the business objectives and the user needs?
Martina: If a business is built based on a deep understanding of the potential clients and their inner worlds, then it will hardly ever come to such strong opposition of users and business goals.
When it comes to ethical decisions – business sometimes falls into the old habit of myopia. But having a good understanding of the humans behind the labels customers/users/consumers usually helps to see that being unethical won’t pay out around the corner. Bad news travels fast nowadays and consumers have more power than 20 or 30 years ago – again, luckily!
Brainster: What will the students learn from your experience? What is your teaching style?
Martina: I hope the students will see that UX isn’t rocket science, although sometimes it feels like it. Through our work together, they will acquire a deeper understanding of the human psyche and a structured approach to human and business needs.
We will have to ask the students afterwards what my teaching style is 🙂 I’ve heard many times that I am very “energetic” and I hope – a bit funny too…
Brainster: To be enrolled in our Bootcamps, no UX/UI experience and knowledge is needed. What’s the best piece of DO advice you can give to people looking to follow a UX design career path?
Martina: I would rather say it’s a DON’T advice. “Don’t forget the big picture!”
Maybe, because this was one of the most impactful things I’ve learned (sometimes painfully) throughout my career, but also because I’ve seen how valuable a big picture really is.
This means, create a vision of yourself. Something, that feels good thinking and feeling about it, but is also not a totally unrealistic dream, for 20 or 30 years ahead. And then, see if UX work is a possible path to there.
If so, pack your experiences thus far in a way that demonstrates a user-centred mindset and look for someone who will give you a chance to learn, and grow from there (internship or volunteer).
However, you can’t know it all upfront. So, you will need to make some experiences, which will clarify the direction more and more as you walk the way.
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