The Mitsue-Links UX Blog shares some of our insights and opinions about UX in Japan, experience design and cultural differences between user research in Japan and the world.
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Inside the UX Team: Welcoming our New Intern
This post is part of new series aimed at getting to know the UX team at Mitsue-Links. April saw the addition of new intern, Paula Valencia, who will be hanging out with us for the next few months. She's a design student from Columbia who is eager to get some first-hand experience in user research.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
Well, I was born in Bogota, the capital of Colombia. At the moment, I am an interactive media design student at the Icesi University in Cali, Colombia. I'm currently in my 5th year and will graduate this August just after finishing my internship. This is my first time working in a big company and I think it's a little challenging but really interesting as well.
I consider myself a curious person, so I like to learn about as many new things as possible. As an interactive media design major, I have been able to study a diverse range of topics, including graphic design, user experience, information architecture, corporate identity brand design, motion graphics and video editing. However, my concentration has been in web/app design and development.
What is your interest in user experience?
As I mentioned before, my major covers a lot of different skills. Most of my projects try to involve every process in the development cycle, such as brainstorming, wireframing, high and low-fidelity prototypes, user testing, analysis, etc. So, sometimes it feels like I'm just getting very general knowledge in those areas and I don't get to focus on anything specific.
I think learning the whole process has been beneficial and allowed me to develop a passion for many skill areas. But now that I have the opportunity to specifically focus on one area, I'm really excited to acquire more knowledge about UX research. Testing with Japanese users is also a great way to develop my understanding of the culture. I've already sat through a couple of UX studies here and some of the insights were really eye-opening to me. I'm excited to see more user behaviors and learn about their wants and needs.
Why did you choose to come to Japan?
So actually, this is my second time in Japan. About a year ago, I won a scholarship to participate in an exchange program at Nihon University in Mishima, Shizuoka. Basically, I decided to come back because of how impressed I was with this country. It's such a different place from Colombia, so everyday was kind of like a new adventure. One of my favorite things is the mixture of old and new. Like when you're walking around the city and suddenly you find a temple. You kind of feel like you've been transported to somewhere else.
I guess my interest in Japan started when I was about 11 years old. In Colombia, anime it's pretty popular and it's readily available on television. Culturally, it was a really different from anything I had experienced before and that really drew me in. When I was 14, I decided to start learning Japanese and that expanded my fascination. When the opportunity came to move to Japan for the exchange program I jumped at it. Of course I wanted to improve my Japanese and knowledge of the culture, but it was also a chance for me to see things from fresh perspectives.