your daily code for breakfast

Spotlight 55: Senior Interaction Designer Lydia!

I know it’s been over a month since the last Spotlight interview (my bad, I’m sorry!). But we’re back! And today I’m publishing an interview with a very inspiring and amazing woman in tech: Lydia Selimalhigazi. Thank you so much Lydia for your time, I *really* appreciated it. Curious about Lydia and what inspired her to pursue a career in Tech? Read more below :)

About Lydia
I am Lydia, originally from Paris, France but currently living in Berlin, Germany, where I work as a Senior Interaction Designer @Clue. I have 10 years of experience in design, with a background in print/illustration.  Not long after I graduated with my Masters, the very first smartphones were released on the market and I quickly felt in love with mobile and the opportunities that interaction design offers. Since then, I focused on creating beautiful app experiences and developed an extensive knowledge of the design patterns and standards that underlie each platform. In short, I am a typography fan, cat lover, could die for smelly French cheeses and a glass of wine, have a special thing for the green droid, get overly excited about Material Design, and I believe that every day is an opportunity to learn something new.

Name: Lydia Selimalhigazi
Job: Senior UX/UI Designer @Clue
Favorite website, app or gadget: I really like Slack, I think they did a great job to bring up an unique and playful identity. Gamified apps such as Elevate or DuoLingo are also two of my favorites, and I enjoy experimental apps such as Prune on iOS or Biophilia on iPad. I spend a lot of time on Dribbble and Designspiration for inspiration, Broadly and Medium for daily articles and Twitter and Pinterest for all sort of social things.
Favorite book: “Fahrenheit 451” from Ray Bradbury, “Kafka on the Shore” from Murakami, Pennac, Queneau, any short stories from Maupassant, Wilde or Villiers de l’Isle d’Adam (“Véra” is my absolute favorite), “Les Fleurs du Mal” from Baudelaire and most of Rimbaud’s work if we’re talking poetry. I’m also a big fan of graphic novels and comics. I would also recommend “Hooked” from Nir Eyal, as an absolute must read if you are interested in product and habit forming mechanisms.
Twitter: @Lys_Lydia


What inspired you to pursue a career in IT?
I actually graduated before the mobile scene was even a thing. It was the early days of smartphones and apps and no one had a clue about interaction and user experience the way we define it today. Even so, I immediately felt in love with the possibilities mobile design offered and the challenge to create a dynamic design based on flows and versatile content influenced by the user of the product rather than a static content which is what print is based on.


It wasn’t always easy to put aside most of the rules I had memorised during my studies and learn by myself, but I don’t regret it for a second. My first interaction project was the perfect bridge between print and interaction design as I started with the full design of an iPad magazine called Katachi. After that I moved forward to the startup scene and I am now working for a product I absolutely adore and fully believe in. Serving a cause using your best assets (design for me) and living from it is a great feeling and I would definitely not consider any other career than UX/UI designer.


What does your working day look like?
I arrive at the office around 10 and share coffee and breakfast with my colleagues before attending our daily team’s standup. I focus then on my goals of the day in correlation with the feature I’m currently working on. It can be research oriented, user interviews, whiteboarding sessions, conceptualization and brainstorming, design/dev pairing with the devs on my team, preparing wireframes or designing the UX and UI parts. I love every aspect of my work and I am always eager to learn and discover new things. On the evening I generally spend some time on side projects or do some illustration to relax. Design is more than just my work, it’s absolutely my passion and I literally need it to feel content.


What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
It’s definitely Clue, the product I’m working on at the moment. There are so many reasons I don’t know where to start.
Clue is an app helping people to get a better understanding of their bodies by allowing them to track the changes and variations of symptoms happening over their cycles and the meaning behind each of them from a scientific and medical perspective. By working for this project I really feel I can help people to monitor and better deal with any medical condition they are suffering from, or just simply empower them to know their bodies better.
We also convey values, such as inclusivity and equality, which I strongly believe in. Moreover, we are completely user-centred, which is also very important for me, and we put design, quality and innovation at the top of our list… And working with a team of lovely and super talented people is, of course, a big plus.


Do you have a hero, or someone who inspires you?
There are many persons, companies, projects and initiatives inspiring me and I like to stay connected and up to date with what’s going on in the tech world. I tend to follow my own intuitions though.


Why do you love working in  IT/Tech?
Because it’s constantly evolving and bringing new possibilities and challenges on the table. As a fervent learner I’m constantly stimulated and it’s a great feeling. I also appreciate the relaxed, respectful and trustworthy atmosphere we have on this field.


Do you have a degree in IT? If so, what taught you the most? And if not, did you miss some important knowledge?
I have a master in graphic design but really wished I had the time and money to continue forward and learn to code. I also feel it would help me to better understand the logic behind the UX/UI and be a better designer. Thanks to great initiatives like “Women who code” I’m glad to see it’s not too late for me.


What would be your advice to everyone who is interested in a career in tech? (or learning to code?)
Go for it, learn by yourself if needed. Don’t be afraid to try and experiment. It’s a market in constant evolution and you will always have the opportunity to improve and gain new assets.


Extra question from Claudia: If so, how important was coaching for you and why?
I learned a lot from people coming from different horizons, designers and others, and it helped me to open my mind and push my boundaries. So it was definitely important and obviously changed the path of my career.