I’m Kat, and I’m all about the experience

This is the story of how I got here. I used to think the jobs I’ve held were a pretty random collection, but looking back it seems they’ve had a few things in common.

  1. They let me learn new things and deepen my understanding. Every. Single. Day.
  2. They’ve been hands-on, and creatively challenging.
  3. They showed me the value of serving the needs of other people.

I guess you could argue that these aren’t inherent characteristics of the jobs I’ve held. Maybe that’s just how I approach things I’m interested in.

Nerd

My first job was in a university biology lab. I took measurements, made x-rays, and collected data. I’m pretty nerdy and I love science so this job was perfect for me. It gave me hands on experience with the scientific method, and taught me how methodical scientists need to be so they can draw accurate conclusions from their experiments.

Artisan

Eventually my focus shifted from science to food. Cooking professionally gave me an outlet for my need to make, and it started me down the rabbit hole of experience.

I’ve cooked in a lot of restaurants, from an airport cafe to a five star hotel. They all had one thing in common – our guests needed to have the correct experience for the time and place.

At the Beverly Hills Hotel, that meant offering meticulously plated dishes with luxury ingredients like foie gras and black truffles. But at the Asheville, NC Airport, it meant making sure there were enough plastic-wrapped blueberry muffins in the bake-case. A guest rushing to catch a flight might be just as happy to gobble a few frozen chicken fingers as another would be noshing Ossetra caviar in The Polo Lounge. But swap those dishes and guests are more likely to be disgruntled than delighted.

Nerdy Artisan

Eventually I took up photography, and I wrote and self-published an e-book teaching beginners to use The Gnu Image Manipulation Program (GIMP).

I learned HTML and CSS, I got cozy with WordPress, and I made a website to sell that book. That’s when my love affair with digital design started.

Since then, I’ve devoured everything I could find about design, brands, marketing, and CSS. When I learned about UX, it seemed like a perfect marriage of science and experience. I’ve often wondered what supports assertions about best practices or what users want, and UX is giving me a way to create evidence based designs I know will serve users better, and help foster experiences they love.