Portrait of a UX Designer
Marcelo Coelho is from Brazil. After a bachelor in visual design in São Paulo and working 3 years as an interaction designer, Marcelo successfully graduated in MDes in Tangible UX Design at L’École de design, with the highest honour and unanimous jury congratulations. Interview with a young talented professional.
Where do you come from and what is your studies background previous to L’École de design?
I am from Porto Alegre, a southern city located near Brazil’s border with Argentina and Uruguay. I did my first four years of Bachelors in Visual Design at ESPM, one of the top design programs in Brazil, with the differential of having a lot of business-oriented disciplines on the program such as management strategy, marketing, and finance.
Before your MDes, you worked for 3 years. What were you doing and what did you get out of it?
My first job was as an Interaction Designer at Aquiris, the biggest independent game studio in South America, where I did interface and UX Design for games in mobile, desktop and console platforms. I also had the opportunity to work with international clients such as Cartoon Network and the Californian publisher Rumble Games - one of our games, which I designed the logo, was even the best selling game on both Apple’s and Google’s app stores in November 2013!
After I was invited to manage a team of four developers and four social media analysts in an agency called Protarget, where I was the responsible for the sector of digital projects. There I got broad experience working in different kinds of digital projects, from mobile applications and e-learning platforms to games and social media campaigns. I designed and managed the development of more than 40 projects of diverse scales, winning 13 "Site of the Day" awards during the period I was at the company. This job got me a lot of experience and knowledge, especially in leadership and business knowledge. But working both as a Manager and a Designer became overwhelming at some point - which made me decide to rethink my career and start a Masters outside of Brazil.
Why did you choose to do you MDes in France and why at L’École de design?
When I was researching for a Master course in 2015, my plan was to get prepared for the fact that the Internet was starting to go beyond devices to permeate all aspects of our lives. This revolution could be either amazing or a living hell: at the time, companies explored putting screens in every product without any further thought, like refrigerators with Twitter access, smart toasters. User Experience was, therefore, going to be essential to shape this new arrival of objects into relevant and useful products, not gimmicks.
When I found online the course at L’École de design Nantes Atlantique, which was named "Tangible UX Design", I knew it was the best choice of program for me. I had the previous experience of designing applications, websites, things that required direct interaction. The program, however, was smartly focused on creating products that relied on indirect user input, by analyzing data patterns, AI or various sensors. I think the future is there: products where us, the designers, take part of all or most of the interaction side if it - leaving people to enjoy their lives away from screens for a while and to focus on what matter: their families and friends.
You did your MDes final internship within Evernote, the famous company which helps people to live more organized lives. For which reasons did you choose this company for your internship?
Evernote’s mission of tackling information overload and bring productivity, not app addiction, was very related to the personal mission I had as a designer. It was also the opportunity to work at a product that I used every day, and to experience being on the Silicon Valley environment, which is the dream of every designer working with technology. In the end, it was an easy decision!
What job did you do? What’s your feedback on these months at Evernote?
Before arriving at Evernote I was afraid of getting to work only on small or non-published projects, but since my first task I was fully integrated to the team and able to contribute significantly to the product, which makes me grateful for them. I worked for three months on the team focused on the Business product of Evernote, and the last month was in Growth, the team that optimizes the product in all its aspects to bring more user engagement and monetization. My feedback could not be more positive: the team received me well, the work environment was great, and I believe I was able to grow relationships that will hopefully stay in the future. I cannot say precisely on which projects I’ve worked in since they are still in development, but they will be soon visible at the product or my portfolio.
You just had your final examination following your MDes focused on tangible interfaces. How do you see the beginning of your professional life?
After this experience, I can clearly define myself now as Product Designer in the way tech companies are using the term, with a focus on digital projects and a tangible touch as well. That means not only being deeply connected to UX and data analysis but additionally to the business aspects of projects as well - in other words, thinking about the market potential, strategies to gain and keep users, monetization possibilities.
After my time at Evernote, I received an offer to stay but the work Visa in the United States just opens in April 2019 for applications in a lottery system. So I decided to go back to France, and at the moment I am looking for a professional opportunity in the Paris region. At first I was reluctant about the fact that my French is not that good yet, but after receiving my final results and seeing that I was the 1st in the READi Design Lab, I’m very optimistic about this new beginning of career outside of Brazil, and expect to be delivering great user experiences for the public here soon!