Interview | Sue Irving | Ladies that UX Liverpool
And so our Women of Ladies that UX series draws to a close. And we’re delighted to be wrapping up with Sue, founder of the Liverpool chapter
Having been a regular participant at Ladies that UX Manchester, Sue recognised that there was a gap for the movement in the ever-growing tech scene in Liverpool and decided to take things into her own hands. She set about gathering a core team and launched Ladies that UX Liverpool in March 2018. Let’s find out more…
So tell us Sue, how did you get into UX?
My background is in visual design and 4 years ago I was working as a Design Manager for a high street retail company. I wasn’t enjoying the role and felt bored and creatively stale. I began to research what I wanted to do for the next 25 years career wise. When I came across UX Design, I was hooked immediately.
I invested in a 12 month Careerfoundry UX Design course and started from there. I’m now a UX Designer in the BBC Voice & AI team which is a really exciting space to be in. If you’d told me 5 years ago I would be doing this job, I’d have laughed in your face. I really enjoy my job and transitioning into UX was one of the best things I’ve ever done.
“[Doing a UX course] gave me a really a strong foundation on which to build”
Sue – Ladies that UX Liverpool
You hear quite mixed things about UX courses – can you tell us a bit more about your experience?
What the Careerfoundry course gave me was really a strong foundation on which to build – tools and theory and practical project application. But it isn’t an automatic job and I knew no one was going to knock on my door and offer me an entry level role – it was on me to make that happen.
So what did you do?
I made a conscious effort to get out and meet new people and build on my initial learnings about UX. I found out about Ladies that UX Manchester on twitter and started regularly attending that and other UX meetups (NUX, Real UX) and never looked back really!
What then prompted you to go from regular attendee to starting your own chapter?
When we started Ladies that UX Liverpool I really felt it was time to pay it forward. I wanted to share my experience with people who were also looking to transition into UX and support them if needed. I wanted to help people in the same way that people supported me, I think that’s important to do.
At the Liverpool meetups we include some form of workshop or exercise so people can hopefully apply something they’ve learnt from the event. There are six of us in the UX industry who plan the Liverpool events and as well as learning tons of stuff from each other we’ve become good friends too.
“Going to meetups really helped me to build my confidence and make connections as I attempted to transition into UX design”
Sue – Ladies that UX Liverpool
Love that – it’s easy to focus on the professional aspects and forget that one of the amazing benefits of Ladies that UX is making those real human connections and finding yourself with new friends! What do you enjoy most about being involved?
Where to start… Ladies that UX provided a really safe, welcoming environment for me to meet new people, ask tons of questions, listen to inspiring speakers and build on my knowledge. They gave me the confidence to apply to take part in HackManCity (a hackathon at Manchester City FC) where the team I was in designed one of the winning products – an incredible experience!
And going to meetups really helped me to build my confidence as I attempted to transition into UX design. I was able to make connections with a BBC creative director and Head of UX who spoke at one of the events, that helped me start conversations that played a small part in me getting a job here.
We always ask – what would you say to someone who’s thinking about attending Ladies that UX and just hasn’t been along yet?
We’ve all been there. It’s hard entering a room for the first time when you don’t know anyone. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and you’ll come away having made some new connections and hopefully learned something new. It’s a supportive space for everyone.
And to someone looking to get into UX?
Do it. The UX community is open to all. There’s great diversity in how people arrived here, and what they did before they got into UX. Stay humble, ask for advice, appreciate people’s time, find a mentor, attend meet ups and push yourself out of your comfort zone.