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Meet El Segundo UI Designer: Michelle Blackshire

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Blackshire.

Michelle, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I graduated with a degree in Interior Architectural Design and quickly decided after graduating, and working on structures for Disneyland and Universal Studios, that I really loved creating the presentations much more than the 3d modeling. So I taught myself Illustrator and Photoshop every day when I got home from work. I really wanted to teach myself how to design infographics and visualize data, and my first design job title actually was ‘Infographic Designer’ at Wpromote. Since then I veered into product and UI design when I landed my job at Omaze, where I’ve been for over 2 years. This has been my favorite job I’ve ever had, and it’s so much fun continuously trying to improve the user experience for our customers.

Has it been a smooth road?
The design industry is constantly changing and I’ve found it extremely important to stay current with where its focus is, and that means always investing in education. I’m always watching Skillshare videos and more recently been spending my money on General Assembly classes to learn both front-end languages and User Experience design. My day to day job is UI design, but learning exactly what goes on before and after the interface is designed helps me understand the entire product creation process. It’s competitive out there, that’s the challenge. And my dad has always taught me to stay current and follow technology.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
I think my proudest moment in my career so far was launching the pilot for a platform called Omaze Schools, which helps students fundraise for their school in a more fun and effective way. It was the first time I’d launched a product from the ground up and I had the privilege of working with a really awesome product team to complete it. We’re seeing a lot of success with it so far and the compliments I’ve received on the usability and ease of the platform have really touched my heart.

Were there moments when you had to struggle?
There was a nice chunk of time between deciding I hated doing 3D-modeling and floor plans and actually finding a job doing what I loved, where I was living on unemployment and literally had about $15 a week left for food. Don’t get me wrong, I know that’s a lot more than so many people have, but when work gets stressful or if something doesn’t as planned, I look back to that period of time and it keeps me grounded and grateful. I was constantly making up projects for myself to build a portfolio filled with infographics inspired by my favorite TV shows so I could find a job. My husband refers to that time as the $1 meals and cockroach era, because we had to live in this cheap place in Long Beach that had roaches run across the wall when we turned the lights on. Again, we were still fortunate for what we had, but that’s a memory we keep with us.

What’s your outlook for the industry in our city?
I like working as a designer in LA because there is a nice chunk of the tech industry here and the opportunities are there, but it’s not the Hollywood of the tech world like the Silicon Valley is. It feels like my craft is more appreciated in Los Angeles. Yes, I would recommend Visual and UI and UX designers to start out here because you will have less overpopulated competition than the San Francisco Bay Area and really be given an opportunity to stand out.

Contact Info:

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