Name: Taryn Krier / Age: 26 / Location: Eau Claire, WI / Current Title: Senior UX (User Experience)/UI (User Interface) Designer / Educational Background: BFA Graphic Design and Interaction Media, with a concentration in the latter – University of Wisconsin Stout; (In-progress) MS Information and Communications Technology, concentrating in Web Design and Development – University of Denver.
Let’s start from the beginning. How did your interest in web design come about?
In middle school, I was always passing notes to friends encrypted with the latest code I created. I could express my creativity by developing a secret code, all while thinking logically about the best way for my friends to decrypt it (nerd alert). When I took a website–building introductory class my junior year in high school, you can bet I was hooked. I could design what I wanted my webpage to look like, and then I got to code it for the browser to properly display it. It was a happy balance between creativity and logic. That class gave me a clear direction for what I wanted to study in college. I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with design itself. I have an eye for good design and can offer a solid critique for others’ work, but creating from scratch brings about a good, brain-stretching challenge for me. I was drawn into web design mostly for the frontâ€“end development opportunities. Throughout college, my dream job was to have someone hand me their polished web design, and I would code it for them.
What does a day in your life look like?
I’m usually up fairly late, as my husband and I are involved with many activities, which then results in a roll-out-of-bed-and-go routine in the mornings. I work a typical 40–hour–per–week job in a cubicle, but I love it. The people I work with are great and I like what I do at my job. The cubicle life is debatable, but I really can’t complain.
After work or on weekends, my husband and I have many things going on. We play soccer, baseball (I watch!), sand volleyball, board games, coach, attend church and our small group, hang out with friends and family, watch TV shows together, enjoy our own individual hobbies and cooking. We really have a lot going on, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.
How do you achieve work–life balance?
Fortunately, it is somewhat difficult to access anything work–related from home, so it makes that line pretty black–and–white for me. By the end of the work day, I’m ready to switch gears and focus my energy on my own creative endeavors. I really just try to be present with the task at hand; it helps keep work during work hours and motivates me to make the most of my time in the evenings (hence the later bedtime) and on weekends.
“Try everything, and remain open–minded. If you turn down ideas before you give them a shot, how will you ever find your passion?”
Any tips on how to manage your work day successfully?
This goes beyond just the work day: eliminate distractions. In today’s culture, they’re everywhere. Scrolling through social media has wired our brains to think with fleeting thoughts. Instead, we need to retrain our minds to think for a longer duration of time. This will help you remain focused and ultimately be more productive!
• Use Chrome’s plugin to hid ads
Does creativity come easily, or is it something you have to work at?
I think most people who know me would think it comes easily, but I really do feel like I have to work at it. It takes me a while to make a creative decision; I spend a lot of time processing all kinds of options. I’m my own worst critic, which just pushes me to create something I truly love. I’m also a fan of a craft that you can undo immediately and try again – web design, crocheting, weaving – it just takes the pressure off of being “stuck” with a direction, and gives me the opportunity to back up and try again if I want.
What advice would you give to those who are struggling to find their passion?
Try everything, and remain open–minded. If you turn down ideas before you give them a shot, how will you ever find your passion? I’m on this journey myself. I started a twelve-month creative challenge where I explore one new craft/art/niche during each month of 2017. I call it The Heartward Project. I blog about my experiences as a form of accountability, but also to encourage others to just start. Your time is not wasted trying; your time is wasted wondering.
Do you have any book recommendations?
I really enjoy the A Book Apart series. Their slogan is: brief books for people who make websites – and that’s exactly what they are! I have read a few of them and have found them quite enjoyable for being about coding a website, or whatever the topic. They’re written by people who have influenced the web design industry, and are typically fairly witty. They’re short books, making them a fast and easy read, all while soaking in so much information.
Do you have any app recommendations?
For being a UX/UI designer, you’d think I’d be on top of the latest apps, but I’m happy to spend less time on my phone. The app I really enjoy is Evernote and I use it mostly on a desktop! I love its simplicity and the design of it (go figure), and it is very easy to use for any thoughts I have on the fly.
I also love Todoist. I can create a list of whatever and then I can drag each item around into the order I want them to be. Both of these apps offer a premium feature, but I’m happy using the basics!
Oh man, this is supposed to be slightly embarrassing, right? People’s Court on TV. I like hearing the different scenarios, and I actually enjoy the judge on that show! She keeps the courtroom laughing and isn’t out to degrade anyone. (For the record, this is the only courtroom show I like!)
“Your time is not wasted trying; your time is wasted wondering.”
Favorite way to unwind after a long day at work?
My husband and I like to catch up on each other’s days over some chips and salsa when we get home from work – healthy habit, I know. What follows is always changing, depending on what day of the week it is. But I really enjoy spending time working on my latest creative hobby and hanging out with my husband. We will end the night by watching an episode of our latest TV show, or go for a walk around the neighborhood.