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“Working together with the product manager and developers definitely gave me the experience I wanted.”
Do you ever get flashbacks of moments when you did a thing you’re absolutely passionate about? Do you ignore them? Or do you take steps to settle some unfinished business? Criselda went through that exact situation recently, but she took a leap, overcame her doubts about her skills — and so she found her way back home to design.
Criselda studied Graphic Communications in college. After graduation, she was unsure of the career path she wanted to take and while she enjoyed design, she wasn’t confident enough in her graphic design skills to pursue it full-time. She decided to capitalize on her network and the skills already at her disposal and looked for other opportunities. Having worked in administrative roles since the age of 16, Criselda enjoyed collaborating with people and taking initiative. She worked an admin job for a magazine and later in a PR agency. Missing more hands-on and creative design work, she quit her job last year.
You must be thinking, what a bold move! You’re right. Criselda didn’t stop there though, she started to invest in herself and her skills. She took a 3-month UX design boot camp this year and she’s been doing freelance work since then. When the Co.Lab opportunity came up in one of the design Slack channels she’s in, she got really interested.
She thought Co.Lab would be a cool community for product managers, designers and developers to all work together. (Spoiler alert: It is!) Still pretty new to UX design, Co.Lab looked like a great way for her to grow her skills and to provide a nice addition to her portfolio. She wanted to see the kind of ideas that the teams would come up with, the products that would be built and what all the teams would accomplish in the short 4-week period.
Join Sefunmi and Helen, co-founders of Co.Lab, for a Live Info Session and AMA. Come along with your questions as you learn more about the upcoming Winter 2021 cohort and hear Co.Lab alumni success stories.
Systemize is the product that Criselda’s team built. It is a to-do list app that assists with daily productivity with a cool feature to colour-code your tasks. She had never worked on a to-do list app before so the process was very novel to her. She used Adobe XD to design Systemize because it was a great opportunity to utilize a design software she hadn’t used frequently in the past.
Coming into Co.Lab, Criselda had never worked with a developer and really wanted to see her designs developed into a functional app that people could use. She had also never worked with a product manager (PM) before. Although she was familiar with the role of PMs, she had never teamed up with a PM on a project. Now, she’s played a vital design role in a team with Krystina (her PM) and Jimmy and Jeffrey (her software counterparts) to take the concept of a to-do list app to a day-to-day product.
The journey to Systemize wasn’t without its roadblocks though. The developers were Android-inclined while she and the PM were primarily iOS users. Working out the difference, the team resolved to develop an Android app, in order to ship the product within the limited time frame. Testing was a bit difficult at first but her best moment was seeing her designs and the app all come together!
Recently, Criselda started a new job as a User Experience Designer for a digital health startup called Health Espresso, a portal that allows healthcare professionals and patients to stay connected. When she’s not working on that, Criselda is building with UnCo., a creative problem-solving studio turning ideas into practice and getting people involved in their local and global community.
Beginning the role shortly after concluding Co.Lab, Criselda says that Co.Lab prepared her by providing an expectation of what the teamwork, iterative design process and challenges could be like in real-life settings. She says she gained not only the much-needed experience of applying her skills to novel concepts, but she improved her abilities to communicate ideas within a team. She’s happy that Co.Lab helped her focus decisions around the users she designs for and how they will be affected by each action.
I can’t end this story on Criselda’s Co.Lab journey without sharing that the team, Criselda, Krystina, Jeffrey and Jimmy, will officially release Systemize on Product Hunt by the end of the year! It will be available on the App Store & Google Play Store by Spring 2021! Don’t worry, we’ll update you all when that happens!
Criselda was part of the September 2020 cohort of Co.Lab. For more information about Co.Lab, click here.