Gema Gutierrez runs Ladies that UX Madrid and is Chief Design Officer at HETIKUS. Here’s what she had to say when we had a chat…
I think I found Ladies that UX through facebook or someone told me about it – I started going to their meetings from the beginning. A few months ago Emmanuela asked me if I could collaborate with her and Pat, since then I am responsible for recording the meetings and creating the podcast for Ladies that UX Madrid.
So tell us Gema, how did you get into UX?
I started working in web design when I was only 21 years old. Throughout the years I worked in different companies, one of them had a great team of ux designers. My boss at the time encouraged me to start learning from my peers and, in 2011, I made a turn to specialise in this profession.
I started in UX design because my direct boss who was a woman encouraged me to do so. I think it is an example to follow, give security and confidence to other women in your environment. Currently I have a female mentor who helps me to improve in an entrepreneurship topic in which I am involved, it has been of great value to me.
That’s a really important point – Ladies that UX is all about female support and visibility, right?
I feel that we help a community of women to grow professionally, both through the conferences and workshops we do, and through the networking at the end of each of the events.
Speaking from my experience, for me to have references of women who have achieved professional fulfilment is important, but more important is to work with them, know them and learn about the problems they face, to help understand what advice you can give.
“Connections between people offer the opportunity to open doors where they could be closed”
Gema – Ladies that UX Madrid
I believe that women who already have experience in our professional field should strive to help make it easier for those who come after us. One way to do this is to have more visibility – to try to be a reference for other women. It is important that in the next few years the gender gap that currently exists in the technological field diminishes because in Spain there are only around 30% of women working in technology and in the managerial field less than 10%.
We talk a lot about this year’s Talk UX theme – People and Connections. What do they mean to you?
People need to communicate constantly, what would humanity be without social connections? For me this is one of the main needs of the human being after eating and sleeping 😀 Connections between people offer the opportunity to open doors where they could be closed, for this reason I always advise everyone not to stay at home, go out there, go to events, meet people…
So what is it you love about working in UX?
The thing I enjoy most is creating designs from scratch taking into account the needs of the users. The fact that year after year I have to keep abreast of new technological changes, have to learn new ways of designing (ex:voice design) makes this a very interesting profession and a challenge for me.
I feel that in some ways I have achieved many accomplishments that I could not imagine. Currently I’m focused on learning how to design with voice, I did a very interesting project with IBM artificial intelligence and I’m very interested in being able to work with Alexa and Google assistant in the future.
How do you keep yourself inspired?
When I was a web designer I used to use a lot of dribble and behance. But now I like to keep up to date with all the new digital products, testing them through free trials. I like Product Hunt very much, because every day it publishes something new. I believe that being up to date with what is moving in the technology market is necessary in our work, it is a good way to encourage inspiration.
“[With Ladies that UX] I am part of a community that can help me grow professionally and as a person”
Gema – Ladies that UX Madrid
What would you say to someone who’s thinking of going to Ladies that UX, but hasn’t been yet?
Come and meet us! every month we have a meeting and the women who come almost always repeat, that must be for something 😉
And what do you love about being a volunteer?
Being a volunteer brings great personal value. The other day one of the attendees asked me if I was in charge of our podcast, when I told her I was, she told me that she had listened to all of them and that she loved them. That day I went home with a big smile on my face. It’s worth being a collaborator because you see the benefit you make on other women.
I feel that I am part of a community that can help me grow professionally and as a person. Having the leaders slack group where you can ask any questions, ask or give advice is a support that you do not find easily and that benefits our community.
What advice would you give someone looking to get into UX?
Start following the Ladies that UX of your city on social networks and medium. Come to our meetings or listen to our podcast if you know Spanish 😉