Taking Isabella to coffee

Laptop screen showing the conversation with Isabella, an Emergn Product Designer

From a Metallica cover group back in her school years in Brazil, to the Product Design team in Emergn today. Meet Isabella Silva, our Product Designer in Portugal! She not only brings a different perspective and multidisciplinary approach to her work, but also to her gaming activities – always thirsty to explore and gain new knowledge.

What’s your role at Emergn, and how long have you been with the company?

I’m a Product Designer, and I’ve been working for Emergn since May 2021. As a Product Designer, my main objective is to help our clients to make successful products, by blending the user needs and business goals.

Our team reinforces a human-centered design approach to deliver seamless, meaningful, and delightful experiences. So, we often conduct strategic research, like interviews with users, to make sure we design the right thing, and evaluative research of our designs and prototypes, to make sure we design the things right.

I love the versatility this role offers, as you have to be very creative, but also need to understand the business context and requirements, as well as the technical side of the product.

Please tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

After finishing high school, I wasn’t 100% sure which way I wanted to go, as I was passionate about both psychology and design. Eventually, my creative side won, so I decided to apply for the Design course at the University of Brasilia in Brazil.

During my internship, I fell in love with digital design and technology. To my delight, I learned that Human-Centered Interaction is a multidisciplinary field and the intersection between psychology, technology, and design. So, in the following years, I started to study and learn more about it, and work on many projects that gave me invaluable experience.

To tell you the truth, it was an amazing coincidence, as it actually blended everything that I was interested in and led me to the career path that I’m now having.

What’s the most exciting challenge for you as a Product Designer? 

The process of creating products and solving problems in the field of design requires a multidisciplinary and humanized look. Since every user’s context and business needs are different, there isn’t a simple cake recipe (or any recipe, to be honest) to follow to accomplish the best possible result. It requires you to really dive deep into the client’s needs and be open-minded.

I often have to learn new things and explore areas I wasn’t familiar with before. For example, last year we had to focus more on accessibility assessment for websites, which was a great opportunity for me to learn more about accessibility and everything that comes along with it. I’m naturally a very curious person, so I think the continuous process of learning and exploring new areas is not only challenging but also happens to be the most rewarding part of my work.

Outside of work, what’s one thing people should know about you?

Outside of the work, I still enjoy learning more about digital technology and design. One thing I’m really passionate about is digital games and game design. So, sometimes I participate in game jams with friends, where we have to build a game from scratch during the weekend. It is a lot of fun; I learn a lot and get a chance to experiment with some concepts.

For example, one of my favorite games we’ve built in Women Game Jam was like a visual novel, helping individuals to break out from an abusive relationship. In our team, we didn’t have anyone who knew how to code, so I used a prototyping tool I was familiar with to build the game. And, to be honest, it was a success, as we’ve received lots of great feedback about the game and it served as another reminder for myself to always look broader to find the best possible solutions.

Outside of the digital world, I enjoyed playing the ukulele and guitar with my friends back in Brazil. While I was in high school, we had a band – a cover group of Metallica. We even had a number of shows and played in school festivals; it was a lot of fun.

How do you plan to feed your curiosity this year?

I’m currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Multimedia at the University of Porto, specializing in Interactive Technologies and Digital Games. It is a great way to deepen my knowledge and merge my interests in the HCI field, interactive technologies, and digital games. So far, I have had the chance to read many exciting books and papers on these topics, and I will continue to do so this year.

Last year I had the opportunity to learn a lot about accessibility and share this knowledge with my colleagues at Emergn. This year I intend to continue that journey and explore it more. I also plan to begin studying statistics to deepen my understanding of quantitative research and customer analytics, which might help me while working on customer research.

Having it all laid out, it seems like there’s an exciting year ahead.

What’s one way you live out The Emergn Way? What does it mean to you?

Since I joined Emergn, I think I’ve had the chance to live every aspect of The Emergn Way. I genuinely believe these principles make a great way of working and collaborating with colleagues and clients. However, one principle that stands out for me is “Bringing new perspectives to get better results.” It means a lot to me to get the chance to share knowledge with my colleagues, get feedback on my work, collaborate, and bring value by being proactive in finding new ways to contribute. This is the reason why Emergn stands out and undoubtedly positively impacts the quality of the work we deliver to our clients.

If a colleague were coming to visit Portugal, what’s the #1 thing you’d recommend they do or see?

I am originally from Brazil, and I arrived here in 2019. So, unfortunately, due to COVID-19, there are still many places I want to visit and get to know in Portugal. Here in Porto, I would recommend eating a Francesinha, the Portuguese version of the French croque-monsieur sandwich, and watching the sunset by the river. It’s something that I really like to do myself, and every time I have visitors here in Porto we enjoy it together.