A linden tree with flowers and leaves

Reflecting on a Year at Element78 as a Junior UX Designer

Writing about personal experiences, especially reflections, can be tricky yet rewarding.  

Reflecting on my year of working at Element78 has been an enlightening exercise, prompting me to objectively assess my achievements and challenges.

Before joining Element78 as a UX designer, my career spanned various fields, from creative to education and health. I was curious to learn and adapt my thinking to the needs of people, which is how I gravitated towards UX design.

I will never forget my first online interview in the post-COVID era, where I had to present my task in 20 minutes. Despite technical challenges with the Mural board, I improvised with an alternative canvas and ultimately secured the Junior UX Designer position at Element78!

Furthermore, I shouldn't underestimate the cake I promised to bake for the office...

An illustration of a pie and a cup of coffee

Learning and Growth 

I have now filled 8 notebooks, each marking my journey as a Junior UX designer at Element78. They probably reveal a lot about my thought process and how messy it can be. Over the past year and a half, I gained invaluable experience for my growth as a UX designer in the digital field. I started with a lot of theoretical knowledge about the UX process, but here, I discovered that collaboration is key to the success of a project. Previously, I focused on the aesthetics and details of applications, but now, I prioritise functionality and the product's needs, aiming to improve user experience and satisfaction.

I had a tremendous year, learning all aspects of UX design—from Discovery, which involves research and workshops, to idea generation and prototype delivery based on project findings or predefined guidelines. It is challenging to quantify my personal growth from a somewhat unconfident beginner to a slightly more confident professional who strives to understand clients' needs in line with our agency's values.

A group of black notebooks with stickers on the front.

Collaborative Environment 

Coming back to the teamwork, and the nurturing collaborative environment at Element78, I cannot find better words to describe it other than AMAZING.

I received invaluable mentorship support from my manager and team peers, and opportunities to expand my professional development by visiting design conferences and conducting research on design-related projects. It is a small, well-knit team that cares about each other and works together no matter what challenges arise. I admire the team’s effort to find solutions to any issues or problems we face, their ability to look at the bigger picture, and their willingness to learn and always strive for personal and collaborative growth.

Here at Element78, individual efforts are equally important to the team efforts; therefore, communication is a crucial factor here. I work in partnership with developers and project managers, where listening to and understanding technical and organisational project aspects are key to the successful delivery of a new site, a happy client, and a happy team.

An illustration of a group of people sitting at a table with laptops, and pencils, thinking ideas.

Challenges and Achievements 

Like any other job, life in a digital agency has its ups and downs. I would be lying if I said that I had never faced any challenges during my year at Element78. One of the main challenges, that I am still learning to overcome and improve on, is sticking to time and deadlines. In my experience, generating initial ideas and solutions often takes longer than executing them. My strategy for this is to train my eye to see the bigger picture, try not to get stuck on the details, and then move on to the next part—though I'm still learning.

Another significant challenge and achievement at the same time was the most recent YoungMinds site refresh project. This was the first project I worked on as the main designer. Overcoming technical challenges, and with a huge team effort, we managed to deliver a light, flexible, and contemporary-looking site for one of the largest mental health charities in the UK. This project boosted my confidence in my designs, presentation skills, and project delivery, as I responded to the client’s needs while considering the capacity and resources of the studio.

A computer and phone YoungMinds website display, showing a banner with young people.

Outlook 

Looking to the future, I still have a lot to learn and improve upon. I love my chosen path as a UX designer, and this profession allows me to fulfil my fullest potential both creatively and by delivering tangible improvements not only to digital products, but also to the services they provide.

It feels rewarding to know that someone can get help quicker, complete their tasks more efficiently, or find the information they are looking for easier. My experience at Element78 helped me realise that I have chosen the right path for myself and that there are endless opportunities for growth. I am motivated not only by personal career growth but also by the values of the company, which match mine. Putting people first in the digital world is a core value for me, as well as for Element78.

A group of people working at computers in the office.

Conclusion 

My first year at Element78 as a Junior UX Designer was full of discoveries, realisations, challenges, and learning opportunities. It helped me learn not only about digital agency life but also about myself—how I interact with a team, what my work process looks like, and how I make decisions. I am looking forward to the following year, to new projects, innovative ideas, and new clients! Thank you to Element78 for giving me the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing team, and I look forward to continuing our collaboration to deliver meaningful digital experiences.

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