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A UX designer who has switched from architecture. I write about UX, design, architecture, art, and the social impact of technology.

If you have landed on this blog, you have probably noticed that all of my posts are more or less about the same topic — switching from architecture (the construction kind) to user experience.

I am keen to hear like-minded voices. I have been approached by some people who have been thinking of walking in my shoes, or have already taken the leap but wanted to connect with me to share their solidarity and to swap stories.

If this is you, get in touch!

Ping me on here (via comments) or on LinkedIn (with a note, so that I know…

I am Sunflower Worshipper. Read on to find out more…

This blog has started as a living document of my journey from architecture to UX. I am happy to keep it this way for the time being — I have so many ideas in the pipeline that they will keep me busy for months or perhaps even years!

This September has been a fruitful month for me, UX and career-wise. Work at my new company has picked up pace, and now I feel truly embedded in the team — it has taken me a while to get there, and I am learning every day. …

"Also, candidates might have different life circumstances. Someone who has a job or a family, or both, can’t afford to spend much time on the task." - Thank you for this - I was so heartened to read this! As a parent to a young child myself, when I first heard of these design challenges upon starting my new UX career, I was up in arms.

A child-free 20-year old who is between jobs, can afford to spend 18 hours per day on a challenge that I, as an older, full-time-employed parent, simply cannot. …

Plane take-off (image: priyanka | Noun Project)

In this Friday’s news, a Tui plane took off precariously from the Birmingham airport, because the pilot underestimated the plane’s weight. This was due to a mistake in the software that had predicted the average weight of passengers. Persons with a ‘Miss’ in their title had been classed as children, and therefore given an estimated weight of 35kg, instead of the usual 63kg reserved for grown women. Thankfully, the pilot’s skill and expertise avoided a disaster.

When this news story was first posted on my office’s Slack, it was flagged as a developer mistake. But, from where I am standing…

"It's not about the user" - aptly put! So, in my workplace, we often refer to "The Product Trifactor" - a visual metaphor that uses a triangle to represent the realms of 'Commercial', 'Technology' and 'Customer.' I imagine this metaphor must be used often in the digital products realm. We, as UX designers and researchers, firmly sit in the 'Customer' apex, but the rest of the business does not - it spreads across the triangle, with the optimum solution being exactly in the middle. And the key to landing in the middle is hours and hours of building relationships with those at the other ends of the trifactor, and being open to things that aren't ideal from our point of view. If us UXers had our way, the product we would produce would probably be unviable; whereas compromise and collaboration would actually get us to where we need to be.

I would add to this that networking with ANY and ALL digital tech professionals could potentially help you as a newcomer. I landed my first UX job through a recommendation by a friend who works in an unrelated tech role, but was happy to vouch for me for a UX position in his company. So, if you personally know any product managers, developers, Agile delivery managers - grab them for a (virtual) coffee, tell them how passionate you are about UX - you never know where your next opportunity can come from!

A dark streetscape | Image via Sharon Casey | Pinterest

This article is inspired by a discussion I’ve had today with my former MSc HCID course mates, about a news article highlighting a landmark event — California banning companies from using dark patterns.

These thoughts are somewhat armchair-ish, based on my reality of working as a UX designer, and also as someone with a certain amount of legal knowledge (from my previous architectural career which included the study of construction law). If you know more than me on the subject, I would love to hear from you!

What is a dark pattern?

If you work in digital design, you will roll your eyes at this…

A new life (image: Yayoi Kusama | Dominic Alves | Flickr)

This week, I will celebrate a full year of living in the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

A year of not stepping my foot in the London Tube.
A year of not a single art gallery or a live music event.
A year of not a single house party or a Friday night pub with course mates or colleagues.
A year of intermittent or non-existent childcare support, trying to juggle full time work with looking after a small human.
A year of not seeing many of my loved ones.

A year of grief and loss.

I live in London, but it often…

A quick note: this is a project I have done back in 2012, in my previous life as a practising construction architect. I am re-posting this entry from an old, now defunct blog of mine because I feel it deserves to be remembered.

(Originally posted on 31 January 2013)

Time itself does not matter in the presence of the lost river.
– Peter Ackroyd, London Under

I submitted this project to the Landscape Institute for their High Line for London competition. I didn’t win, but my entry was shown at the Institute’s exhibition in October 2012. Many entries, like mine…

World at the end of a corridor

The first semester of my MSc in Human-Computer Interaction Design (HCI/HCID) at City, University of London has flown by. And boy, what a journey it has been!

‘Like Drinking From A Fire Hose’

When I came to City University for an open day at the beginning of last year, as I was taken on a tour of their Interaction Lab alongside other prospective students, the lab manager Stuart warned us that “If you are hoping for a good work-life balance during this course, well, there isn’t one”. Undeterred, and clinging to the idea that I could get by on 40 working hours per week (as optimistically…

Tania Ostanina

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