Imagine this: your company makes the leap from a startup to a scale-up and starts expanding. If you are a designer in this company, this means one thing - it's time for you to upskill as well.
That's how Ivelina Pavlova's journey toward the UX/UI world begins. She started looking for a way to expand her design skills, and a recommendation from a colleague led her to the Upskill UX/UI Design program
Fast forward a few months later, Ivelina managed not only to advance her design career but to take the next step - to start sharing her knowledge with others.
"I believe knowledge sharing is a conversation, and I'm excited to actively participate in it," shared Ivelina Pavlova, Lead Graphic | UX/UI designer, NitroPack and lead trainer at Upskill UX/UI Design
The decision to apply for Upskill UX/UI Design
brought so many changes in her professional path. And her employer supported her from the start of it.
We were curious to learn more about Ivelina's journey with Upskill UX/UI Design
, how she pitched the program to her employer and how the newly gained skills impacted her career, so we reached out to her.
Let’s dive into Ivelina's inspirational story.
Just a quick note before we start - admission for the Upskill UX/UI Design program
is still open. So, if you want to break into the world of UX/UI Design, hurry up and apply by August 27.
Hi, Ivelina, can you tell us more about your background and what inspired you to pursue a career in the UX/UI design industry?
I can say it was a pretty long journey. From the early days of elementary school, I knew I wanted to be an artist. However, my fascination grew as technology and digital illustration took off during high school. This led me to pursue a bachelor's degree in digital art, where I honed my skills in both traditional and digital mediums. Along the way, I discovered graphic design and embraced the opportunity to explore various design branches. During my studies in Mass Media and Communications, I delved into marketing, PR, and advertising, all revolving around creating content for people. I'm deeply curious about human behavior and how it influences the content they consume and the products they use. That's why UX/UI design became the perfect fit for me. It combines my passion for understanding people with the power of visual triggers to enhance user experiences.
What motivated you to join the Upskill UX/UI Design program, and how did you approach your employer about supporting your participation?
As the company I work for transitioned from a startup to a scale-up, it became clear that we needed to adopt more UX practices in our daily workflow. With the other designer I worked with, we started looking for a way to master those skills. One of my colleagues had graduated from the Upskill UX/UI Design program
in a previous season and was impressed by its practical approach, which was directly applicable to her work. Inspired by her recommendation and our ambition to develop a more structured, user-centered approach, the design team shared our excitement to join the program. We pitched our proposal to our employer, emphasizing that as we upskill as designers, the quality of our work for the company will improve. After thorough research, our employer happily agreed to finance our participation in the program.
What are the most important lessons from the seasoned trainers in the course that you use most often in your work?
Test, test, test... Our design approach revolves around creating products and experiences tailored to specific target groups with unique needs and behaviors. To ensure functional designs and prototypes, it's essential to constantly evaluate and test them with the users we started with. I often say, "It's never too late to kill your own idea", meaning that nothing is final. Even if something looks and feels great to you, if users can't interact with it effectively, changes must be made. The three steps I always return to are research, creation, and testing - a circle that is content creation based on a problem. By constantly researching, adapting, and testing, I ensure that my ideas, experiences, and prototypes evolve in line with user needs. This dynamic process keeps me open to change and allows for continuous improvement, avoiding attachment to simplistic designs, layouts, or functions. Ultimately, it keeps my ideas fresh and primed for positive transformation.
Could you share a project or a challenge where you were able to apply your newly gained skills in your work?
Last month, we successfully executed a large campaign for our participation in a WordPress event as a company. Our team had a goal to reduce the environmental impact by eliminating traditional print materials such as flyers, brochures, and booklets. However, we still needed to provide all the necessary information to our audience. To achieve this, we created a targeted website specifically designed for the event attendees. I had the exciting opportunity to build the website from scratch, envisioning, testing, and implementing a solution that allowed people to interact with it during the event. This app-like website was tailored to the users' needs and behaviors, taking into account the event's unique environment filled with distractions, crowds, and real-life merchandise.
What impact has the Upskill UX/UI Design program had on your job performance and the overall design process?
I pay significantly more attention to user research and user testing in my design process. While I have a strong passion for UI and creating visually appealing designs, I've learned to prioritize functionality. I now ensure that my designs are not only visually pleasing but also thoroughly tested for usability. My daily tasks revolve around designing user flows and considering accessibility guidelines. By defining clear objectives and requirements, I can effectively prioritize and align my designs with the desired outcomes.
Honestly, I’m really excited to join the Upskill UX/UI Design team
as a lead trainer. Before that I was a mentor and program participant myself, so I understand the transformative power of the experience. My goal is to inspire participants to embrace bravery - to confidently make assumptions, build theories, and fearlessly test them. During my lectures, I will focus on understanding user behavior, uncovering their needs and goals, and designing user stories and flows that address those requirements. I also aim to teach participants how to create meaningful and satisfying experiences through the development of design systems and layouts. While I enjoy talking and debating, my priority this time is to listen. I want to encourage questions, foster curiosity, and create a space for knowledge exchange. One of my mentees recently shared that they still remember the examples I shared, and it was an incredible feeling. Knowing that I've made an impact and empowered others to build their own legacies is truly rewarding. I believe knowledge sharing is a conversation, and I'm excited to actively participate in it.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about becoming a UX/UI Designer?
As this discipline races ahead, evolving at lightning speed, users are growing, and their needs are becoming ever more complex. Don't get left behind - keep up the pace and stay ahead of the curve.
Great advice, if we may add! And with Telerik Academy Upskill UX/UI Design
you can supercharge your skills and fast-track your career in just 3 months.