After stints with emerging startup Materiall and General Assembly’s 10-week UX Design Immersive, Samelia Brooks is ready to take on your company’s wireframing. With a background in sociology and psychology, Brooks has a unique look into user experience and how it can benefit your company. User testing and research truly make her heart sing.
Her team won first place at the Women Who Code Hackathon with their project Pairsona — a platform that connects refugees and newcomers to the U.S. and helps ease their transition into a new country. This recent graduate is already looking to expand her skills past UX into coding. Add this UX designer to your collaborative team and see her shine in no time.
What program are you graduating from?
General Assembly’s (GA) UX Design Immersive. It was a 10-week full-time course with over 600 hours of professional experience in user research, heuristic evaluations, and user flows to information architecture, wireframing, prototyping, and ideations.
What startup/tech projects have you worked on?
While at GA, I got the opportunity to work with an awesome startup called Materiall. Materiall currently has an app that makes finding furniture as easy as a swipe. I was so fortunate to help improve consumer experiences within the app through research and interviews with Materiall app users. Best of all, I had the opportunity to work along some of the most hard working and amazing people at Materiall.
Also, I’m currently working with my team on a new project called Pairsona. Pairsona is a platform that connects refugees and newcomers to the United States with locals who can help ease the transition into the country. Pairsona was dreamed, crafted, and created within a weekend at a Women Who Code hackathon. After taking first place, our team received so much positive feedback from peers and industry professionals. We figured we must be on to something and haven’t stopped since!
What are your favorite aspects about UX design?
I have a background in sociology, psychology, and dance. People, experiences, studied behaviors, and creativity has always been a passion of mine. It’s amazing that I could find a field that combines all of my passions into one description.
What tech/tools are essential to you?
As a UXe designer, I have been trained on multiple platforms. I love a variety of tools such as Adobe, Axure and Sketch. But there is nothing I enjoy better than some good ole fashion pen and paper to sketch my thoughts and reorganize my ideas. Documenting is everything. Screenshots, videos, and pictures are indispensable for storytelling and drive home the point more effectively.
How do you stay informed & on top of emerging trends?
Since Atlanta has a really diverse and cultured city, I have found mixing with industry professionals and creatives at events at General Assembly, Meetups, and Creative Mornings lectures are a great way to be informational.
I also love reading! Books are always great, especially coming from different voices and backgrounds to try and understand the community but also reading weekly/daily articles to stay on new trends and try different methods out. I have also found a profound list of podcasts by fellow designers, tech stars, and creative to be extremely helpful while I’m driving around to keep up with emerging trends.
What are your best technical or creative skills?
I was trained as a UX generalist and each aspect of UX has a special place in my heart, but I love information architecture. Nothing brings me more joy than doing user testing and research, competitive and comparative analysis, creating personas and wireframing.
What’s next on your list to learn?
I’m taking some classes on edx.org for other tech skills such as dare I say it — coding. I say this because 6 months ago I would have never imagined such a thing. But in midst of the course discovering some next steps with taking my UX skills to another level I asked myself why not? I am on the quest of becoming one with the unicorn.
Why the interest in the technology field?
The technology field was always majestic to me. Something that I used in every capacity but never something anyone told me I could do, or even consider. So after I graduated from the University of West Georgia, I began my journey to figure this adulthood thing out. I was interested in doing things I’d never thought I’d do such as founding a non-profit, starting grad school, implementing passion projects, exploring new territories of different fields until it hit me. Well not literally, but then I came across this article about this field I had never heard before called “user experience design.” I explored more at General Assembly, and the rest is history.
Are you interested in working for a startup, mid-sized company, or a corporate giant?
I am open to anywhere that has an open and collaborative environment, so startups to corporate giants with great people who love what they do.