digitalist.global // November 22 2017
The best thing about working at an international company is definitely having the opportunity to work at other studios than your own. I’m based in Helsinki, Finland, and during the summer 2017 I was asked to participate in a project at Digitalist’s San Francisco studio. Me and the team in San Francisco made a couple of Skype calls, planned our project, and booked my flight. This was my first visit to the US – needless to say that I was excited, but a little nervous, too. The 11 hours on the plane weren’t exactly fun, but arriving in San Francisco was.
My task in the project was to travel around Silicon Valley and San Francisco conducting research interviews that we had set up with UX professionals in leading positions at bigger companies. You can probably guess that for me as a young UX researcher from a small country in Europe this was a pretty cool project. I met some really interesting people with inspiring career stories and such passion for good design. What I was most surprised about was how helpful everyone I interviewed was, offering such great insights and thoughts and going out of their way to help with my research. I learned a lot about best practice UX processes as well as about the importance of a relaxed working culture when working with design.
Naturally, every project has lessons learnt. For example, our client was located in Asia and communicating over 3 different time zones wasn’t exactly easy! Cultural differences can be tricky, but ultimately I think the fact that our team had people of so many nationalities brought even more insights to our project.
Our office in San Francisco was cosy and it was really great to see how well I was welcomed by my local colleagues. They took me out shopping, to lunch right by the water as well as trying the, apparently, best burrito in town. I got so many tips on what to see in San Francisco that I would need to make at least 5 visits to see them all. One of the things I liked a lot was simply walking the 30 minutes from my hotel to our downtown office in the morning, just enjoying the city.
By Heidi, Design Researcher at Digitalist