Design with heart: Q&A with UX Designer Isabella Düe

Q&A with Isabella Düe R1hbapm

Meet Isabella Düe, our talented UX Designer at Star. Only at the age of 27, Isabella is already playing an integral role in our Design team in Munich and leading global projects both internally at Star and for clients. In celebration of this year’s International Women's Day, Isabella designed a special edition of our monthly Star Radar newsletter. We sat down with her and chatted about her design philosophy and why she believes embracing the complexity of human experiences can help create more inclusive designs. 

How did you get into design?

My entire family is in design, including my grandmother who worked in graphic design before we even had computers. You can imagine their deep influence on me growing up and how it helped me to perceive the world around me from a design perspective.

I debated about being the black sheep in the family and not pursuing design as a profession, but I was really drawn to visual storytelling growing up. I studied communication design in college and worked for a software company as an intern, and that experience sparked my interest in human-centric design and product interface.

What’s your favorite thing as a UX designer?

What truly captivates me is the emotional resonance people have with designs. While UX often equates with user experience and functionality, to me, it’s more about stepping into the users’ world and feeling how they feel when they interact with a product or service. I find this process very fulfilling, and knowing that my design can help make people happy is just a cherry on top! 

I value the ability to create something meaningful and impactful, which aligns with my personal belief that a job should be emotionally and mentally fulfilling.

Part of your role is managing different stakeholders, both internally and on the client side. Can you walk us through your process of interpreting client briefs, how you align different perspectives internally and how you present ideas back to clients?

My process begins with the principle that "form follows function." I first hold alignment meetings to understand different perspectives and gather insights. This meeting is a safe environment where all opinions and ideas are welcomed; I then synthesize them into actionable concepts. 

When I present ideas to clients, I often offer a few different options – each option is strong in its own right so that both the clients and I are confident that the choice is made because it corresponds best to the brief,  not because one idea was inherently stronger than the other.

What influences your design decisions, intuition or user insights?

A combination of both. Understanding the target audience forms the foundation, but intuition plays a significant role for me, especially when creating new and innovative products. Of course, understanding their behaviors is essential in designing experiences that resonate with users.

But sometimes, I do rely on intuition when I design something new and have no data or use to know exactly how users will interact with the product. But there are patterns that we can study which give me an indication of how the users would behave and feel.

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is ‘Inspiring Inclusion’. Tell us what inclusion means to you and how you interpret this theme in your design for this special newsletter edition?

Star Radar newsletter

To me, inclusion means embracing and celebrating a diversity of perspectives, experiences, and personalities that make up the beautiful and complex world we live in. It's about creating designs that are accessible and relevant to everyone, beyond the confines of gender, cultural backgrounds, and all the traditional ways society puts people into boxes. We need to integrate rich, diverse, and complex human experiences into design. 

When I was designing this special edition of Star Radar, I wanted to put my fellow female experts at Star at the forefront of our design and highlight their unique personalities and essence that make them who they are. 

I do want to add that I feel very fortunate to live in Germany, a fairly equal and equitable society. I’m acutely aware that’s not the reality for many women in other parts of the world. I hope that as we move forward, International Women's Day can evolve into a pure celebration of women's achievements and contributions worldwide, rather than a reminder of the disparities we still need to overcome.

Reflecting on traditional communication methods, how do you envision evolving more inclusive and diverse ways of communicating through design?

I think we can reimagine the role of design and focus more on possibilities and accessibilities, rather than just function and user experience, to really push the boundaries to create new solutions or altering existing products and services that can be catered to a wide range of needs and preferences. 

In my opinion, it’s really important to acknowledge that each individual interacts with the world in unique ways and designing with this consciousness, rather than boxing people into existing categories, can make society more inclusive.

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