My university background is in cognitive science, psychology and usability. I also studied UX design in London in General Assembly, which was a turning point for me and changed my identity from behavioural scientist into a designer. I have always had a problem of deciding whether I’m creative or analytical, but luckily as a designer you can do both.
In London I learned my iterative UX process and to always ask why – from users, clients and myself. My teachers and the school system hardcoded the cycle of testing, data analysis, iterations and even more testing to my processes. I notice myself referring back to my London studies every now and then.
Where have you earned your spurs?
Working in various design projects, from rental industry to culture app design, educational games and trade union services, has taught me that this is a field where you are never perfect. Pixel perfect perfectionism can even prevent you from focusing on the things that really matter. Through my projects I’ve learned the importance of always surrounding yourself with people who know things you do not in order to absorb new viewpoints and develop as a designer.
Working as a designer in a startup taught me that pushing a product to a market is a team effort and that communication is key. I also learned MVP thinking – to only build what is really necessary and the rest will come in version 2.0.
Why Columbia Road?
I had admired Columbia Road’s work culture for a long time based on what I heard from people working there and from social media. I wanted to work in a workplace with flat hierarchy and inspiring colleagues and community; in a place where everyone is excited to share knowledge and help others. And obviously I wanted to work with super nice people with a great sense of humour.
Sampo, what will make our clients love Nina?
“Nina is a very pragmatic designer who moves smoothly from data gathering and analysis to creating solutions to detected problems. She is talented in digging deep into meta levels of projects in order to find out what is the actual core problem. Without exception, Nina refers to the higher impact and goal of the project and does decisions based on the big picture. Her study background in behavioural sciences gives her a unique viewpoint to her design work and lets her integrate learnings about human functioning into UX and service design,” says Sampo Hämäläinen, Managing Partner at Columbia Road.
What makes your heart beat a little faster?
"I love cycling, gym and yoga. I’m very fond of nature, walking in the forest and just sitting by the sea. I’m very keen on continuously gaining new experiences. In the summer I volunteered in the Seychelles doing nature conservation work with giant tortoises and shark pups among other things. I was living in the jungle with very abnormal living conditions, but on the other hand we had the best neighbor: a super friendly giant tortoise called Obama. It was amazing!
I also like to get creative with just about anything and fixing things here and there; I fix vintage furniture, and sometimes I buy clothes from second hand shops and modify them a bit," says Nina.