All this week I have been publishing profiles of women who have built successful careers at Belatrix. You can read the other profiles of Silvana, Julieta, Rossana, and Yosit. Each of these women have built careers focusing on a different part of Belatrix’s business. And continuing in this theme, today, I’d like to introduce you to Bárbara Lipinski, Belatrix’s UX team technical leader.
Introducing Bárbara Lipinski, UX team technical leader
Bárbara Lipinski started her career at Belatrix 7 years ago, and was the only graphic designer (although not the first) in the company at the time. For several years she has worked for different projects and clients learning new skills, and has gradually switched from Graphic Design to User Experience (UX). In 2016 after working with other coworkers on the creation of a new specialized UX area inside the company, she started leading the User Experience Lab providing crucial services to several clients. Finally, with Belatrix´s help, she received a scholarship undergo training at an internationally recognized institution, and became the only Certified Usability Analyst (CUA) in Argentina, and join 7,000 others around the world.
Alex: Bárbara, many thanks for sharing your thoughts here. Can you tell me what is your background and how did you start in a tech company?
When I was in the second year of design school I got an offer to start working for a very small company that developed web pages. Despite the fact that at the time I was convinced I preferred to design more tangible products, I thought it was a good place to start and I gave it a try. After three years I changed my direction and started working for an ad agency. It didn’t take me along to realize that it wasn’t the right job for me either – although it was nice, I wasn’t solving any problems that people faced in their daily lives. So, a year and half later I joined Belatrix in a new attempt to discover my real passion. Here I finally came upon UX and I realized that this was it, it had enough complexity to be very interesting, it had a direct impact on people and how they use technology, and it helped make people’s lives easier.
How has your career progressed at Belatrix?
I started at Belatrix mainly as a graphic designer and knew nothing about UX at that time, I basically didn’t know that area existed. I was lucky to be part of some very good UX teams, on our clients’ side, and that started guiding me into it. Seven years ago Belatrix was more oriented to a being a traditional software factory, so my position wasn’t very common and there were very few projects that needed help with design. When my first project was over I started learning some basic front end coding, so I could find a way to still be part of the development teams. But Belatrix was already working on new way of thinking about developing software, looking for ways to add more value to our services, and deliver integrated solutions. In that context a lot of clients started to add some kind of design or UX to their projects. So together with two other co-workers, Javier Vargas and Nadya Lopez Zalba, we thought the time had come to create a specialized lab that could handle those kinds of needs, and this is when we took the big step into UX services.
What do you think about the integration between design and technology?
It is very common to think that design is an art and therefore it’s the polar opposite to science and technology. But, on the one hand design is not art, it is a methodology for problem solving regarding human needs and communication, and on the other hand, technology is now transversal to any field. Technology is increasingly taking over all areas of our lives, and design can contribute by placing people and technology on the same side, helping people solve their specific needs with technology, and letting them work with it as part of the solution and not as a new problem they need to face. Design can create digital solutions that can be used by anyone including people with disabilities, erasing generational barriers and integrating technology into their lives to make things better and easier. So design and technology are not opposites, they are complementary, and they need to work together to create a better world for the future.
What is it like working in a male-dominated industry? Have you faced any particular challenges?
I find it strange that, in general, design careers are more female-dominated. I noticed that at school and when I worked for an ad agency, most of us were women. However, when I started working in UX I realized that even in this area of technology that is related to design, it is more male-dominated (about 20% of designers at Belatrix are women). So if we think about the percentage of male designers, and the percentage of those who choose technology, there are even less woman as a proportion. That means there is still a trend towards men getting more into technology than women, no matter their background.
However it is great industry for women, we have a lot of flexibility and we can have a good balance between personal life and work. I haven’t find any particular challenges, people here are valued for their skills and attitude, regardless of their sex, age or any other difference. There are even almost as many women in leadership positions as men, and that shows that we all have the same possibilities.
Do you think Belatrix or the tech industry could do more to encourage more women in the tech industry? Do you have any advice to aspiring female designers?
I am not sure what is holding women back from embracing tech careers, but information always helps to revert these kinds of tendencies. In the case of UX, there are still a lot of designers and students that don’t know what UX is. Our schools in Argentina are very prestigious and have very high standards, but they need to open up new curriculums to face the needs of our changing world. To learn UX here you need to do it on your own, and research a lot in the web, perhaps that behavior is more common in men than in woman and that may be making the difference in the numbers. Maybe if universities offered more alternatives right there in their classrooms, so resources are more visible and available, it would encourage a lot more designers including woman to get into tech careers.
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