Share a little bit about yourself?
Hello, I'm Grace H. Park. I'm the creator of "Spill the Beans" and am currently a Product Designer at The Walt Disney Company working in the e-commerce. I like to draw, paint, and make videos during my free time, and I enjoy going on hikes with my dog Benji whenever it's not too hot.
What inspired you to create Spill the Beans?
When I was in college, I never knew what field I wanted to pursue but I always knew I wanted to help others through my craft. I researched online, tried to connect with people on LinkedIn, but still, I didn't know exactly what I was looking for. I couldn't find a page or a site where real-life experiences were shared from industry professionals easily and accessibly and decided that it would have been helpful if one existed. A lot of people actually emailed me asking me to share how I got into the field of UX/UI and I realized that real experiences and advice from those who were further along their career were extremely insightful for those starting off. What better way to learn about a craft than from the people around you. That's when I decided to combine the skills that I accumulated over the years to publish my own site and create Spill the Bean(s)!
P.S. It's spilltheBEAN.org since spilltheBEANS.org was taken 😂
Can you tell us what a Product Designer at Disney does for those who are unfamiliar?
Product Designers are in charge of making sure individuals can navigate through a product, whether it be an online product (i.e. a website/app) or a physical product (i.e. an air fryer), as seamlessly as possible using research to back up design decisions. An example of this can be making sure the checkout experience on a site is intuitive to decrease bounce rate and meet business goals.
In short, I pinpoint a problem, dive deeper into "why" the problem arises using research, ideate multiple solutions, test the proposed solution, and rinse and repeat. Something that I didn't know about this field when I first got started is that there's a TON of public speak you have to do. You have to always be presenting your ideas to stakeholders and be able to explain step-by-step how you came to your proposed solution.
At Disney, I'm working on multiple different projects at the same time. This means I have to make sure to keep track of where I'm at for each project as well as keep those who are involved (i.e. developers, project managers, etc.) all updated and in the loop. There are many times where I'll have to reprioritize my tasks and pivot from the current project I'm working on in order to complete an urgent request that sometimes may come in. Working here has taught me that being scrappy and having strong communication skills is imperative in completing a project efficiently.
How did you decide to pursue design?
After college, I went into marketing for one year and wanted to look into another career path. I heard about the emerging field from my brother who was already a Product Designer and took the jump by enrolling myself in a boot camp from there. I went to two actually, General Assembly for 1 week and UCI's Continuing Education program for 6 months. I wouldn't recommend doing two though, save your money and invest in one!
What made you interested in your field?
UX was intriguing since it combined two things that I felt I knew a little bit of. UX relies heavily on research and since I studied Psychology at UCLA, I felt like I could use my major to combine research with creativity. Also, the idea that my designs would be based on data rather than subjectivity increased my curiosity.
Tell us about your job search process after graduation
It was rough. There was a lot of radio silence and very little interviews. I applied to as many places as I could and it took around 5 months for me to get a job after graduating. It was pretty discouraging and daunting if I'm going to be honest, but you got to keep pushing and taking each day one step at a time.
Any advice on how to stand out and get hired?
My previous CEO actually found my portfolio through Angel List and reached out to me via email. It's crucial that you keep working on your portfolio and getting it reviewed/revised as many times as you can since that will be the first impression that any recruiter or hiring manager will see. Make sure to make your design decisions as clear and easy to follow so recruiters can see how you think. Lastly, make it your own style and try to have fun with it! Your portfolio should be a reflection of your individuality and uniqueness.
3 Character traits that would make someone excel in Product Design
• Strong communication & interpersonal skills
• Ability to multi-task (be scrappy)
• Curiosity to ask a lot of questions
Best advice you've received/heard?
Even the smallest step forward will have lasting effects. A small progression forward will eventually add up to something greater if you stay consistent.
Any last shoutouts, thoughts, advice, or recommendations for someone who wants to learn about Product Design?
Google, read, ask, and continually be curious to learn more from others. Although the road seems long and unknown, be courageous, believe in your skills, and keep pushing forward, it'll all be worth it in the end.
Also, JUST DO IT. Give it a try, whatever it may be!