Interview with Evi Odioko, UX Design Intern at Google

Evi Odioko is a born and bred Nigerian designer who interned at Google this summer. She is a student at Indiana University, pursuing a Masters degree in Human Computer Interaction. You can follow Evi on Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter.

If you have any questions or are interested in being interviewed, feel free to DM me on Instagram or reach out on LinkedIn!

Q: How would you describe your journey into UX design?
A: I’m the last born of 8 siblings. So I grew up mostly observing the relationship of the people around me, that was the start of my interest in human behavior. Later on, I developed an interest in design but just the aesthetic part. I did graphic design from my teen years all through university and at a point I started questioning a lot about what I did and the meaning behind design. I talked with a bunch of people, and a friend asked me to look up Human Computer Interaction. It was a perfect blend of my interest in the human relationships, design and technology.

Q: What is your design philosophy?
A: Design should convey emotion: When users try out your products/services they come with either a positive, negative or ‘bleh’ emotion. Your design should always leave users with the positive energy of easy interaction and accomplished tasks. Design should always be user-focused. When this is the core, everything else is affected and you’re mindful of what goes into your design.

Q: How would you describe your experience interning at Google this summer?
A: Amazing! Especially, being my first real-world work experience. The work culture is empowering, not just for FTEs but for interns also. I worked on some really exciting projects this summer.

Q: What are some of the challenges you have faced in your professional journey?
A: Being an international student, it’s challenging to get your foot in the door and you have to work a little extra.

Q: What does success mean to you?
A: Success for me is when my design actually helps people. It’s also helping people succeed; ie. designers who are in the stage you once were and need guidance to grow.

Q: What advice do you have for designers living in other countries that want to land a job or internship at a top company like Google?
A: No jokes, you have to work a little harder to prove yourself. Focus on honing your skills and push your work out there. Make connections with people already working in the position you see yourself in, check out their portfolios etc.

Q: What UX skills do you think are useful, but not taught in school?
A: Communication and collaboration.

Q: What do you think makes a bad designer or UX researcher?
A: Ego.

Q: What did a typical workday look like for you at Google?

A: I don’t think I ever had a typical workday. But it always went something like:

  • 9.30 am — Arrive at work; grab breakfast from the Water Tower Cafe (my favorite spot for breakfast!)
  • 10.30 am — Catch up on emails and prep for morning/afternoon meetings.
  • 1pm — I usually have lunch with my team after meetings
  • 2.00pm — Heads down work time
  • 3.30 — Coffee chat with my mentor
  • 4.30pm — Project sync with my host/co-host
  • 5.30pm — Work from the 14th floor balcony. The view is amazing.

Q: How do you see UX evolving in the future?
A: There’ll be less demand for the “pixel pushing” talent, there are a lot of AI based tools working on that already; I was fortunate to be a part of a similar project. Demand for people who can really connect and empathize with the user will continue to rise especially with new form factors coming into play. A product that’s usable won’t be the goal anymore and it’ll be a basic requirement. As it should be now.

Q: What’s your biggest design pet peeve?
A: Unnecessary, ‘futuristic’ interactions.

Q: Do you have any tips for anyone looking to get into the UX field?
A: Get a basic understanding of terms and concepts. And then work on applying your learnings into practical solutions. Practice, study and talk with other designers. Make a habit of noting things around you, you could improve and try to design a solution for them.

Q: What do you think are the biggest gaps in UX education space?
A: The need to churn out UX designers “fast” with as many case studies possible. There’s more time spent teaching technical skills of the finished product and not enough time spent learning and imbibing the process and soft skills required.

Q: What’s your favorite emoji?
A: The rolling eyes one.🙄

Q: What do you do to improve your design skills?
A: I’m learning about other fields not necessarily. This helps give you a broader perspective on design and you have a larger pool of information to pull from to apply to your design solutions. I’m also working on side projects with other designers that push me beyond my comfort zone.

Q: What are you currently watching on Netflix?
A: Money Heist!

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