A new month and new product designer form. This time you can get to know Merike Liiva a fresh graduate of our bachelor’s curriculum. She recently won the second prize at the EKA Applied Research and Development Competition for her thesis “Supporting family members of ICU patients in North Estonian Medical Centre”. Merike tries to take the maximum program out of all her activities, therefore during her studies at EKA she also attended an exchange year at the RMIT University in Australia. Professionally she has headed in the field of user experience.
Name: Merike Liiva
Position: UX Designer, ADM Interactive
Connection with EKA: Product Design Graduate (The year 2021)
1. What projects are you currently working on? What exciting things have you discovered during this project?
Working in a design agency, I have almost 10 projects in progress at the same time in one month, but one of the most important projects for me, which has just been in development, is the new vaktsineeri.ee web page (still in progress at the time of publication of the form). This project reminded me that simplicity is the key – I hope this page reflects that to users.
2. What is important in design, what is irrelevant?
It is very difficult to create a good product completely alone, so I believe that cooperation is very important in design. The product doesn’t have to look great on the first try. In my experience, this never happens and the first idea is usually not the best.
3. What is your favorite step in creating a product and what does it look like?
The most pleasant stage, of course, is when I can enjoy what my created product looks like and how people enjoy using it at the end, but I also really like the obstacles and failures in the product creation process. It creates some adrenaline, forces me to develop and come up with new solutions. Maybe that was the reason I always wanted to take on the most difficult projects at EKA: a working electric scooter in the first year of studies at EKA and a bachelor’s thesis in collaboration with intensive care in the middle of the Covid crisis when the hospital was closed and no staff had time to communicate with me. There is always a solution, even in the most difficult situations. In my opinion, this is one of the most important skills of a designer – to see solutions to problems.
4. What was your favorite project while studying at EKA? What did you discover during that?
My favorite project while studying at EKA was my bachelor’s thesis, because it is a very close topic for me, and after 4 years of studying product design, I had the opportunity to test all my knowledge and skills.
The biggest discoveries during this project were about my own strengths and development. With regard to design, I found it very important to rely on scientific materials and psychology in human-centered design.
5. How do you see the role of the designer in society in 10 years?
I feel that the role of digital product designers in society is changing because years ago there was a strong focus on developing ‘manual skills’, but now we have a lot of free-to-use kits, icons, and materials. Creating digital solutions is becoming like assembling components, but thanks to this, we have more and more resources to focus on the substantive side of design – solving problems, not visualizing the solution.
I am pleased to see that design thinking and designers are increasingly being used in the public sector as well. I hope that in 10 years we will have more and more designers in Estonia who will also focus on making healthcare services more people-oriented.
6. As a designer, I respect…
People who are willing to communicate openly, who are willing to share their stories and experiences so that designers could understand the context in which they work. Without open people who are willing to answer designers’ stupid questions and test freshly made models, designers would not be able to do their job well.
If you are interested in the way of thinking of Merike Liiva as a designer you may contact her by e-mail: email@example.com