Portfolio Highlight: Makeeda Johnson, UX Design

By BrainStation May 13, 2020

When entering the field of design, a strong portfolio that showcases completed work is essential to highlight your skills and experience and help you stand out from the crowd.  

Makeeda Johnson, a recent graduate of BrainStation’s UX Design Diploma Program presents a great example of a portfolio that demonstrates her project flow and design process. 

Launching a UX Career

Johnson was happy with her job as a Finance & Compliance Coordinator at a pharmaceutical company – she was often promoted and thought it was the perfect place for her. But, over time, her perspective changed. 

“After a while, I realized that, aside from helping people, I had completely abandoned all the things I was passionate about. After a candid conversation with a friend, he asked if I had considered UX Design and I thought, ‘What on earth is that?’ A few Google searches and workshops later, I fell in love.”

Not to say jumping into UX Design wasn’t a big leap.

“It took awhile for me to make the decision to leave my full-time job to pursue UX, but I knew it was right for me. I just knew that if I applied myself, the reward would turn out to be much greater than the risk. Looking back, I have no regrets and I’m happy I took the leap of faith.”

A Design for Travel

Johnson designed Trip, an app to plan your travel itinerary and log your experiences. After traveling, Johnson was often faced with the same onslaught of questions, asking where she’d been, how she rated an excursion, or what venues she recommended, so she thought, “It would be cool to create something that would help facilitate that interaction, somewhere people can  see their friend’s entire trip and easily recreate the experience for themselves.”

Through her experience, Johnson learned three crucial design practices that led her to create a successful project.

1. You aren’t the expert, your target users are

Target user feedback is crucial if you want to improve your product.

2. Embrace ambiguity

Sometimes the feedback you get will be as vague as “I just don’t like something about the way this feels” or “make this better” and it’ll be up to you to figure it out.

3. Be confident

Imposter Syndrome is a topic that comes up often and I learned it’s important to be confident in your design ability. Feedback is very important, but it’s also important to be able to stand your ground and justify your design choices when necessary.

Learn as You Go 

User research is an important step in developing user-friendly designs, but it can be difficult to manage all the feedback. Johnson quickly learned that she’d have to prioritize suggestions. 

“My initial strategy was to try and accommodate all the feedback I received. This worked well up until someone’s feedback directly conflicted with someone else’s. Going forward, I had to prioritize feedback by asking myself if it was a recommendation based on universal design guidelines or personal preference.”

Now that she’s earned her Diploma, what does Johnson remember most?

“The highlight of my time at BrainStation was definitely the people! I met so many amazing people and formed such great friendships in such a short amount of time. We started out as this shy bunch of people who were afraid to present our work to each other and now we’re basically like a big BrainStation family.” 

Interested in launching a career in UX Design? See our Diploma Program’s curriculum.