LibraryblogMeet Olha Halytska - A conversation with our Senior UX/UI Designer

Meet Olha Halytska - A conversation with our Senior UX/UI Designer

Olha Halytska is Senior UX/UI Designer at Veriff. Originally from Ukraine, Olha moved to Estonia four years ago to expand her knowledge in Software Development and Web Design. Read on to discover Olha’s insights on her career, moving to Estonia, and working at Veriff.

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November 28, 2022
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Olha Halytska is Senior UX/UI Designer at Veriff. Originally from Ukraine, Olha moved to Estonia four years ago to expand her knowledge in Software Development and Web Design. 

She joined Veriff’s Design team in 2021, and during her first year, she went through a thorough analysis of Veriff’s website as a part of our brand upgrade project. Outside of work, Olha enjoys socializing with the international community in Tallinn and organizing gaming events with them. Read on to discover Olha’s insights on her career, moving to Estonia, and working at Veriff.

Thank you, Olha, for joining this interview. Let’s kick this off by talking about your professional life. How did you decide to follow the designer career path?

My interaction with the whole design world started in an interesting way. In my teenage years, I was a huge fan of the American rock band Linkin Park. I liked them so much that I wanted to create a picture where I would put myself next to their group members. 

After a couple of attempts, I managed to crop myself from an image and insert it next to them digitally. I liked it so much that I started playing around with Photoshop and other design tools a lot. I would create lots of interesting designs and practice my skills through that. 

So, I had a passion for digital design from early on. I just didn’t know that I could choose this as a career path and get paid for being a designer. It seemed like a dream job back then.

Many years later, during my university time, I decided for sure that I wanted to be a designer. I started working on creating my portfolio and searching for gigs. 

How did you find your first job as a designer?

Finding my first job in this field was not easy at all. I was also trying to do a lot of outreach at that time to understand if anyone needed a designer to offer my help. 

I was actively pinging people on social media and offering my services as a designer, even voluntarily, if anyone would be interested. Finally, this approach worked, and I found some interesting projects that I could work on. 

I remember one Ukrainian science magazine was looking for a designer, but they didn’t have a budget for that. I took the job anyway, and my reward for that work was a very delicious chocolate cake. 

After that, I managed to find a full-time job as a designer at a marketing agency. I started out as a Junior Graphic Designer and then advanced to different levels. 

How did you decide to move to Estonia?

When I was working as a Graphic Designer, I discovered that there are more interesting areas in design to explore other than graphic design. My interest leaned more towards UX/UI Design. 

However, in order to be good at Web Design, I realized that I needed a little bit of coding knowledge. I wanted to have an understanding of both coding and designing in the process. 

So, I decided to move to Estonia to study programming. I still kept my job at the marketing agency because they agreed that I could work remotely for them from Tallinn. 

What can you tell us about your international life in Tallinn?

My international life in Estonia is full of interesting people and experiences. This is mainly thanks to the non-profit tabletop and video games hobby club, Yo Mana. 

I have been part of this group from the beginning, and it is incredible to see what we have achieved so far. We have been organizing fun gaming-oriented events for international people living in Tallinn as well as for locals for the past three years.

People from all over the world come together to play games and connect with each other. I’m happy to build and be part of that community.

How did you find your way to Veriff?

Veriff's marketing team did an amazing job of building a very strong brand in Estonia that is attractive for everyone to work at. I saw information about Veriff everywhere – Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, and elsewhere. 

Due to this, working at Veriff sounded really exciting to me. So, I decided to apply for the job when I saw the right opportunity for my profile.

For me, it was important to work in an environment where I would learn and improve as a professional in my field. At the same time, I was very interested in Artificial Intelligence. 

I went through challenging but worthwhile interview rounds after applying, and finally, I started working at Veriff.  

You worked on an analysis and research project as part of Veriff’s brand upgrade. What were the biggest findings for you from this experience?

For me, it was a very complex and exciting project to work on. I got a chance to think from the user’s perspective and look at our brand from that point of view. It was valuable to go through the buyer’s journey and understand their pain points. 

Overall, this project gave me an opportunity to learn how to communicate with businesses and do proper research on brand pillars and messaging. I had interviews with our sales team and people outside of Veriff who were involved in the buying process, which gave me great insight into our product and the improvements that were needed. 

My goal was to create a seamless user experience to enable our customers to instantly understand what Veriff offers, and drive them to reach out to our sales team eventually. At the same time, it is important to build trust and offer value to them. So, I had to make it clear and easy for them to navigate through the process. 

All in all, it was a fantastic project to work on.

Which of Veriff’s values resonates with you the most?

I would name two values here. The first one would be “We are a force for good,” because, for me, it is really important to work in a company that has a clear mission to make people’s lives better and create something meaningful.

Another one would be, “We have each other’s backs.” It is always great to know that we, as a team, will always be there for each other and offer our help in any way we can. It makes the collaboration process easier and more effective. 

Veriff Design Team

Veriff Design Team

Thanks for the answers! Let’s move on to the rapid fire questions now. 

Tell us about your hobbies.

In my free time, I enjoy playing board games with my friends. I also like video games. It comes a lot from the club I mentioned before. It is crazy to think that we took our hobby and created a vibrant community that people love. So, organizing activities with that club is definitely one of my favorite hobbies. 

Other than that, I’m currently in the process of learning more about skating; it really helps me to relax after working and be totally present, which is really good for both mental and physical health. It's all about balance, and I would like to get better at this. In the beginning, it looked very scary, but now I’m getting used to it more and more. 

What is a must read book for you?

I would like to mention two books here. The first one would be “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman, which talks about two main modes of the human thought process. One is fast and emotional, and the second one is more thoughtful and rational. This book helped me understand how our brain works, learn about human nature, how irrational our decisions can be, and, most importantly, how to overcome cognitive biases.

The second book I’d like to point out is my childhood favorite – “Harry Potter”. I have always loved reading these stories, and it’s definitely one of my top choices. 

Olha's favorite books are "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman and "Harry Potter"

What is your favorite podcast?

I find it very insightful and interesting to listen to one Ukrainian podcast that talks about our emotions and feelings as our defense mechanisms. They give a very good overview of how to accept your emotions, empathize with other people's feelings, and how cope with difficulties in your life

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?

I would probably choose a job that would require me to have an analytical approach and plan things. Something in the areas of Product Management, Engineering, or Data Analysis. 

Mac or PC?

I would say 100% Mac. I have been using it for the past eight years, and I don’t want to switch. It’s comfortable, and it has everything I need. 

What would be your advice to everyone who wants to kick start their career in a UX/UI design field?

Learn by practice and be consistent with what you’re doing. Try to explore your interests and just do it. If something doesn’t work, you can quickly switch and try another approach. I highly recommend finding a mentor who can give constructive feedback and help you to improve. 

This attitude will help you gain new skills and level up in your career in ways that you could never imagine. I know that it is easier said than done, but this approach helped me with developing my career and achieving new goals in life.