Hi everyone! I'm new here, and wanted to drop a line to say hello. Here's my stab at answering the five q's:
Where in the world am I?
Proudly representing Colorado here. If you have the means, I highly recommend it.
What stage of my career am I at?
I'd say early-to-mid career, at least as far as UX is concerned. I've worked as a professional web developer and designer for the past four years. Most recently, I worked for two years creating interactive digital sign designs before jumping ship to take a role as the only UX Engineer for a midsized company providing software to investment advisors. I'm not a spring chicken, but I recognize that I still have a lot to learn.
What are my current challenges?
My biggest challenge is coming into a company with an already well-established, complex product that was created without any emphasis on usability. Prior to coming on, there was no UX/UI designer on-board, and what had been done previously was outsourced. They workflows required to provide a great UX are not in place, and I'm currently working to get those pieces on-track.
What aspects of UX am I passionate about?
I enjoy making complex processes easy. My pragmatism and empathy is what drives me to make the best product I can. In the past, I've worked with products in industries I can identify with. Although I can identify with wanting to manage my money responsibly, my lack of experience in the financial professional field is a limiting factor. Right now I'm working both on bolstering my UX skills, while also trying to learn as much as I possibly can about the financial world to help gain that empathy and problem anticipation that has made me good at what I did in the past.
Cats or Dogs?
Cats and dogs are great for different things.
Cats are wonderful for when you want to feel in-touch with another intelligent creature. The way I feel when my cat gets up from across the room, wanders over the couch and plops herself down on my lap for belly rubs is indescribable. Humans really don't choose the cat; the cat chooses you.
Dogs are great for when you want to feel loved unconditionally. It's tremendously comforting to know, at the end of every bad day, no matter how much money I have, no matter what terrible things I've done in life, no matter what harsh words I've said to my friends or had for myself, my dog is always there to love me. Completely, totally, unconditionally, without thought or question.
Right now I only have a cat, but I'm going to get a dog this summer. I'm tremendously excited.