Q&A with an Ayogo Interaction Designer
|Name: Ellena Lawrence|
|Title: Interaction Designer, Ayogo Health Inc.|
|Fun Facts: I played underwater hockey at the national level and went to the World Championships.
I did a 4-month exchange in Ireland with a focus on mechanical weaving. While there I had the opportunity to take a masters medical device course with the founder of the MIT Media Lab in Ireland.
|Hobbies: Gardening, sewing, building things, hiking, biking, swimming, softball, cooking, skiing, drawing.|
|Personal Website: ellenalawrence.com|
Each month we place an Ayogi in the spotlight. This month meet Ellena Lawrence, a member of the Design Team who uses her passion and expertise to create beautiful and accessible products. She may be a disciplined interaction designer, but Ellena’s gift is to knock the stiffness out of hard work through her smart humour and sheer enthusiasm. If you are lucky enough to be on her project team be prepared to laugh yourself sore.
When first applying to post-secondary schools, Ellena thought she wanted to pursue Graphic Design. However, after her uncle introduced her to Industrial Design she knew that’s where she wanted to focus her studies while at Emily Carr. Her program at Emily Carr set her up for the user experience design work she would eventually do here at Ayogo. “The design principles of a physical product are no different to an app’s. You still need to understand the user’s context and ask the same questions: Does the user understand how to use it? Is it clear? Is it intuitive? What are their restrictions?”
As her degree wrapped up Ellena started looking for her next challenge. She came across Ayogo and applied to the only open posting at the time. “Pretty sure I applied for the Creative Director position, which I was totally under qualified for! But Paul Prescod emailed me back asking if I would be interested in an internship.” Two years later Ellena is an invaluable member of the Design Team as an Interaction Designer. Using her skills, expertise, and love of exploring new ideas and interesting topics, she works with the Design Team on user research, requirements gathering, user experience, prototyping, visual design, and supporting the Dev and QA Team with releases.
Ellena’s skill set is incredibly broad—some coding, much hands-on technology experience, a creative eye, frontline health knowledge and a passion for psychology and empathic design. Just because she has not done something previously doesn’t hold her back from studying the problem, researching potential solutions and then learning what she needs to get things done.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve while at Ayogo?
I want to create something that makes a noticeable positive impact on people’s lives in a large population of users.”
Q: In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge in designing for health?
Balancing designs that are usable, easy to understand, and fun to use for a broad audience.”
Q: What advice do you have for those who are looking to start their career in design?
Your career path is never going to take you where you expect, you’re going to have to make hard decisions about what projects to work on and jobs to take.
There will be unique and challenging situations, but that’s the point of being a designer. Your job, no matter what form the final product takes, is to solve the problem at hand. Take every opportunity that excites you and keep growing and learning. If you’re not progressing you need to take a step back and reassess.”