Photo: Kaisa Uik
Name: Kaisa Uik
Position: Future UX designer, design workshop facilitator
Relation with EKA: 3rd-year digital product design student
- What projects do you have on hand at the moment?
At the moment, I am in a phase, where all exciting projects have recently been completed and new ones are slowly starting. In the fall semester, we are working on a service design project for the National Library of Estonia. My team’s task is to simplify the usage of library services during their renovation process for people with disabilities. As this is my last year in EKA, I am currently trying to come up with a topic for my bachelor’s thesis. I will also continue to conduct design workshops for high school students as I did last year.
- What is your favourite stage of creating a product and what does it look like?
I think I’m equally excited at each stage, but I really enjoy the ideating phase. At this point, a lot of work has already been done: previous studies have been read, and interview answers have been analyzed. I usually feel kind of enlightened, suddenly I know a lot about the topic. When you start ideating, for example, brainstorming, it’s exciting to hear how other team members experienced the previously analyzed information and what thoughts they have come up with. It is always interesting to combine ideas, to further develop the ideas of other team members and to discuss in general, while all team members are very familiar with the topic.
- Paper and pen vs digital media – which do you prefer?
I prefer digital media (except for drawing). Being organized is much easier digitally. No matter what device I use, I have the exact same calendar and the same notes. In order to find, for example, a summary of a lecture held a few years ago, it is only necessary to make a few clicks, wherever you are. I also don’t like to have too many things, including lots of papers or different notebooks.
- What is/was your favourite project while studying at EKA? What discovery did you make about it for yourself?
My favourite was the speculative design project about the future of design education in Estonia. I think that in any field it is important to think about the future, and now I have the skills to guide other people to use speculative design methods as well. I discovered that I also like very theoretical projects. I liked that the output of the project was not a digital product and that we could come up with a scenario and the parameters of the world, but did not create any kind of new product.
- Guilty pleasure or “poor design or means of design”, what do you secretly like?
My guilty pleasure is definitely stickers. I try to be sustainable and I’m against getting new things, but I can’t stop myself from buying stickers and sticking them everywhere. They’re just so cute and tiny, especially when they’re pink… but they’re really unnecessary.
- Something you wish you were a designer of?
Facebook. Simplifying communication, sharing moments and having many users seems nice in theory, but all this could have been achieved more ethically and apolitically.
- 1 good read that has inspired you professionally? (book, article, scientific literature, etc. in print or online…)
The most influential books I’ve read are Mike Monteiro’s “Ruined by Design” and Caroline Criado Pérez’s “Invisible Women” (it seemed unfair to choose only one of them). In his book, Monteiro talks about design ethics and how the designer is responsible for the impact of his product. I’m very interested in ethics and I think that every designer could read this book at least once. In Pérez’s book, however, we see an unequally designed world that constantly fails women and does not bother to separate information by gender in order to take into account people’s gender-based needs and characteristics.
- What else do you like besides design?
One would hope that as a designer I can use up all my creative juices and in my free time I would be engaged in peaceful activities that do not require a lot of thinking, but no. Creativity comes naturally to me. I do a lot of crafts: I prefer to crochet or knit everything myself. I really like to sit somewhere outside and look at the surroundings, probably while drinking tea, sketching and writing poetry in the meantime. I often have my digital camera with me to capture the beautiful and inspiring moments. Sustainability, philosophy (especially ethics) and inclusiveness also make my eyes shine.
- What experience so far has shaped you the most as a designer and how?
One-week projects abroad have probably shaped me the most. I had the opportunity to go to France and Germany and participate in project weeks with Interaction Design students. It was the first time I experienced working in a multicultural team, I saw how different are people’s approaches. Getting to know and working with the methods and habits of other schools was definitely a challenge for me, but now my understanding of design is broader.
- Portfolio (or something similar) – Where we can learn more about your works and activities