Alissa Del Toro is a UX/UI designer, currently working as an Experience Designer for Boohma. She has a passion for developing products that create engaging and dynamic user interactions. With a background in engineering and consulting, she recently made a career change, and moved to the Portland area. We were curious to see how she'd approach her first Design Week Portland, so we asked her to share her itinerary favorites with us. Her week looks like it's on track to be full of UX and digital happenings, with events like Good UX for Augmented Reality, Particle Design's open house, and Placemaking in the Digital Age. Read on to learn more about Alissa and her journey into the design field in this short interview!
DWP: Being relatively new to interactive design, could you tell us a little about how you got into the field, and the work you’re doing now?
Alissa: I went to a design bootcamp to make a career transition from tech consulting into UX/UI work. Interestingly enough, getting into interactive design from a skill standpoint was not as challenging as I had predicted. As I began my design journey, I was pleasantly surprised that a lot of the skills I developed in engineering and during my tech consulting career were transferable. The hard part....? Getting a job! Because I didn't come from a design background & didn't have any experience directly in interactive design, it proved difficult to get my initial foot in the door with companies. I had to network a lot and leverage connections to get in. But, what I can say is...once you're in...YOU'RE IN! I've more recently switched jobs from agency work to an in-house design team. My current role is heavily based in strategy and research as an Experience Designer for a tech product startup. I ensure the user experience is intact as we continue to build upon the product. It's super awesome and I love it!
DWP: How does your background in engineering and consulting play a role in your design process?
Alissa: It plays a huge role! It helps me to better work with my engineering teammates, and it allows me to better determine what is feasible designs for implementation. Like I said before, I didn't realize how many of my skills were transferable until I was in the thick of things. When it comes down to it, to be a great UX designer you need to be a problem solver — the same innate skill needed to be a great engineer or consultant.
DWP: What are you most looking forward to during Design Week?
Alissa: I am most looking forward to the Immersive Storytelling event and the Digital to Physical Exhibition. I love learning about the intersection of tech, art, and innovation. I think that storytelling and experiential design are profound in providing purposeful messaging, sparking change in communities, and I'm excited to see how I can translate these things into my designs and/or other ways I can be a part of the movement.
For more from Alissa, follow her here!