Hi Tana, tell us a little bit about yourself!
Hello! I’m Tana. I’m originally from Bangkok, Thailand, but moved to Los Angeles when I was 18 and have been living here since! I love traveling, outdoor adventures, and trying new things. I enjoy craft beers & cocktails, and like to explore bars, speakeasies, and breweries. I appreciate films with beautiful cinematography and can easily spend the whole weekend binge watching tv series.
Can you tell us what you do as Product Designer at Disney for those who are unfamiliar?
As a Product Designer, I get to be involved in many different aspects of the design process - conducting research, user-testing, wire-framing, creating visual mockups, prototyping, presenting, creating design documentations, just to name a few! On a day-to-day basis, I work closely with other designers, product managers, engineers, copy writers, and content strategists to create and deliver end-to-end guest experiences across web, mobile, and app platforms. Currently I’m working on "Play Disney Parks", a mobile-app gaming experience that lets guests connect and interact with the theme parks while they are there, as well as at home. Prior to working on "Play", I also worked on E-Commerce products, such as online ticket sales, checkout experiences, etc.
How did you decide to pursue your specific career?
Story time! lol I grew up watching a lot of movies, especially movies that have beautiful and stunning visuals. That’s when I first learned about fundamental design elements like composition, color, typography, and texture. I was in high school when I set a goal to study films in college and get a job in the film industry.
Fast forward to my college years, just like the many things in life that don’t go as planned, I decided to study graphic design instead. I found that I enjoy solving problems in a creative, meaningful way. After graduation, I worked at a few advertising agencies as a Digital Designer for a few years. While I really enjoyed my time in the advertising field, I often found myself feeling unfulfilled. That was when I discovered User Experience design and began taking UX and UI design courses and completely fell in love!
What made you interested in your field? What do you like about it?
There are countless reasons why I love being a Product Designer, but one of the biggest reasons is being able to see the impact of what I do, especially when it helps millions of people meet their needs in a delightful way! I also just love design in general. I like to think that design is everywhere in our lives even when we don’t see it. I enjoy looking at things in the real world and think about how and why they are made that way. When I use an app or a website, I like to observe and think about my experience using it. Does it work? And why? Is this the best way to do it? Could it be better?
Any advice on how to stand out and get hired for those starting off?
1. Find your niche. When you’re just starting off, it’s ok to try out a lot of things but remember to find one or two things you really enjoy and you’re really great at. Once you’ve found it, commit to mastering those skills. Live it and breath it, and most of all, make sure it shows in your work. That will help make you stand out from the crowd!
2. Networking is key. Put yourself out there. Step outside your comfort zone. Go to design meetups, conferences, events, or even start a conversation on Twitter! Talk and get to know people. You never know which conversation will be the one that changes everything.
3. Never give up! As corny as it sounds, it can be easy to feel exhausted and stuck sometimes. I’ve been there and know how it feels to be rejected one after another. But if you are passionate and love what you do, keep trying, practicing, and learning, and your day will come!
What are 3 character traits that would make someone excel in your field?
1. Self-driven - The ability to take ownership and drive towards the solution without being told to do so. Take initiative in identifying problems and proposing solutions.
2. Flexibility/Ability to adapt - Things move fast and change all the time. It’s important to be ready to adapt and pivot quickly.
3. Collaborative - Work well with others, communicate effectively, be open to feedback, help others, be humble.
What fuels you to continue to do what you do?
That rewarding feeling when your idea or design gets built and delivered for the world to use.
Most difficult thing about your job?
Turning complex problems and complicated business rules into something simple and easy to use. Also, having to figure out a way to make your grand ideas and cool design concepts work under multiple constraints, limitations, and deadlines. Knowing when and how to compromise and being able to let go.
What would you like to say to your younger self?
It’s ok to say no. Don't be too hard on yourself. Believe in yourself and your skills. Don’t think less of yourself. There will always be ups and downs, but you will be fine. Things will work out in the end :)
Best advice you've received/heard?
"You’re not an imposter if you’re prepared."
Any last thoughts, advice, or recommendations for someone who wants to learn more about Product Design?
Start creating things! Even though you are not sure how. When you get your hands on something, you encounter problems that requires you to learn and figure out a way to solve that problem. There are many great YouTube channels and design articles you can watch and read to learn and get inspired. If you feel stuck or don’t know what to do, reach out to people whether it be on Twitter, LinkedIn, or mentorship platforms like ADPList. You will be surprised by how many people will be more than happy and willing to help out!