“So, the first project we want you to work on when you get here is the user experience redesign of a genetic variant database and clinical reporting software,” he said over the phone.
I swallowed hard and thought, “What the hell am I getting myself into?”
Before I even began at my new position as the Director of User Experience at Involution Studios, a boutique software design firm in Arlington, Massachusetts, I found myself planning my strategy for how I could quickly refresh my outdated understanding of genetics and learn about the technologies that were now used to sequence DNA. I had two weeks to prepare for the project while wrapping up my then-current job designing 3D modeling software for architects and engineers.
I knew this was the way of life at a design studio: creating wildly different tools and products, for a variety of clients across a number of industries, and in rapid succession. But I was really looking forward to it. I knew I would be repeatedly diving headfirst into new projects and domains while striving to understand the client’s business, technology, workflows, and user context to creatively solve real problems. Although I’d always taken the time to deeply learn the domains and technologies of every product line and company in my career—from digital imaging, to automotive systems, to medical devices, to ecommerce, to civil engineering, and architecture—I usually had a runway to build up the ...