#18 - Andrea Monsalve - The Adventure of Hosting a UX podcast

19 min read • Dianne Eberhardt

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify,  Stitcher, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the interview on YouTube here.

Two podcasts are better than one! UX friends and Pixelated Perfect got together for this episode.
Andrea Monsalve was born in Venezuela and now she lives in Chile. Design was her passion from a young age and she made it through many different areas.
In episode 16 of Pixelated Perfect, Andrea will talk about the path that took her from being a symphony designer to hosting her own UX podcast.

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Dianne: Hello everyone. Welcome to the Pixelated Perfect podcast. I am super excited today. I have a guest, Andrea. She is a UX designer right now at a bank, and she also runs her own podcast called UX Friends Podcast. So I'm super excited to dive deeper into her career. Thank you so much for being here.

Andrea: No, thank you. You, you know, behind the things I I told you this is my first time in a interview in English, and so be nice with me,

Dianne: Well, we do have a lot of Spanish speakers that listen to the podcast, so feel free to every once in a while throw in something in Spanish. Maybe it'll make more sense to our listeners. So

Andrea: I would try to be my best

Dianne: I'm super excited. I'm excited that I get to be your first podcast in English. Okay, so, so let's dive in. So kind of the question I start off with is, when did design come into your life?

Andrea: Well, this is difficult but easy questions. My career in decide become in a very young age. When I study as a technical college to graduate in medium technician in graphic technology, it was like when I have 15 years And then I study a degree in graphic design at the university, Venezuela, my country. And there is a one class with some teacher who market me for life. And, and I made me fall in love with what design at that time, A spoiler alert now is my co-host and partner in us from podcast. Yeah. Oh

Dianne: My gosh, that's

Andrea: Amazing. Yeah, my teacher now is my co-host.

Dianne: Wow. So you really like built a strong relationship with

Andrea: Her. Yeah, and I think it's like kind of my best friend as large father, something like that. It it's awesome. You, you need to know it. Wow.

Dianne: So how, what was the class that she was teaching that kind of got you hooked

Andrea: In that it was web design in that time? Nobody say UX design, UI design. Just colleague. Web Design the class.

Dianne: Yes. So what was it about that class and your teacher slash best friend now? That got you so hooked?

Andrea: You know, when you are in college, you, you, so better little classes and always one class is the best for you because all the people making like books and flyers and things like print. And when I know can I lead with what design I say this is the future that is the right path for me. What design, what design. And when I start, I created what page in Photoshop. It was like now all using Figma XD or Stack Tools. And that time I use Photoshop.

Dianne: I started out in Photoshop too. And like I'm so thankful that there's so many better tools out there today because it was hard to design and Photoshop it. Yeah, it's too

Andrea: Dumb when for the, the, the icons, all the stuff when you make the hand for developer, it's so different now. But let's let's move on to my story. Well,

Dianne: Yes, but yes, I get it. I, whoever had to deal with Photoshop, I'm sorry and whoever never had to deal with it. You are so lucky. We'll leave it at that

Andrea: Or maybe you are too young.

Dianne: Yes. Right. You never had to deal with it. So like good for you.

Andrea: Eye designer. Website for symphony in my my country in Etal. It's a symphony, a classic symphony. And I made the first website for them. Well,

Dianne: Very, very

Andrea: Cool. It was nice. I learning too much about the instrument, the music, and it was pretty good. But during the course of working in several important design agency in my time in my country, and I also, for a while I organized events and concerts. It was a crazy moment in my life because I working like, like web designer, graphic designer. And at the night I organized concerts, it was pretty much excited.

Dianne: Yes. It sounds like there was no time to sleep, you were just busy working

Andrea: Sometime. Yes, it was like that. It was exciting and I learning so much in pr like in terms to social network and I think that's helped me today because in the past I organize events and now I do for myself for my podcast.

Dianne: Right, right. So you already had some of that skill sets. You knew how social media worked, you knew how to like get your out there.

Andrea: I always working in that stuff for other people and now it's for me,

Dianne: Yeah. That's exciting. Isn't that, doesn't that feel so good when it's like it's for you? It feel it's so much more meaning meaningful in a different way. There's just like more attachments. Okay, so you were a web designer and by

Andrea: Day was the Yeah, that was when I lived in Venezuela, but before I migrate I already have a good book design portfolio and that's helped me to find, my first job has designer here in Chile in 2016. That was my first like title UX designer.

Dianne: And where, what was that company? Where did you get started there?

Andrea: The first, my first job here, it was short because I, I changed the work. I changed a lot of of work. It was in a better company. It's the network internet company here in Chile. It's very important, but I don't like the, the way to, to work there because you know, when you start a job, you know how our, it's your hour to stay and in that job you never knew when you can live. It was that kinda work express for you. And I changed the work because spoiler alert, my friend, the podcast has a agency, a little agency UX in Chile and they offer me a job in one month. And I say, okay, yes, let's do it

Andrea: That's great. But you was like one year working there. I learned so much about ui, like how function the country, because when you immigra you need to, to understand things like how to, to speak with your client. It's not the same way to speak to Venezuelan people that chi persons or the way like functions stuff like you know, taking a bus, taking Subway and Right. It was like a moment to, okay, I need to understand several things to move on. And when I understand like whole stuff, like one year later I changed my, my work to Samsung night. You know the brand of the luggage night?

Dianne: Yes, yes. Samsonite. Yeah.

Andrea: I work in like almost four year there. I wow. At the beginning I start line what designer? Ecommerce designer. I was to escalate, escalate and then I'm make in chart to all the what page here in Latin America. Sanai to me lepo in Mexico, extreme secret. The whole brands for Sanai in Latin America, it, it was very exciting. I learned so much, but I need to focus more in UX because you, in e you know, in eCommerce, it not like ui sales goals. And I needed to understand more like ux and that's when 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, I start creating content about eCommerce, UX and UI in a Spanish because I saw very little information in our language in Spanish. And with the lockdown I finally have time, like all the people with the lockdown finally have time.

Dianne: That's great. Okay. I have, I have some questions cause this is all super interesting. So just to go back a little bit, and then I definitely wanna ask about this content. So when you, I my question to you, and this is kind of like maybe you have advice for other people in similar positions, especially like designers. So changing countries cultures is culture shock. It's, it's difficult and like, it's such, I think that's really interesting in some of those challenges that you face kind of learning about culture and how to communicate differently, especially in a design way. Do you have any advice for people that are moving around, changing cultures and working in a design field in a different country?

Andrea: Yeah. Okay. First trying to get out with people, the country. Not just your friends, your just your friends that your country. Just try to get things with people, local people knowing the culture. Gold sides Sundays visit the, the museum. I always visit museum at that time. Museums reading about the history and try the food, try different food, not just your food, right? Because when you understand how they eat, how they rest what kind of music they like, you can like under your skin trying to absorb all the culture of the country. It's different till it's so different in Venezuela in too many ways. Like the food, like music, the history the politic history is very different.

Dianne: Right, right. I, and you need to

Andrea: Understand that for respect because when you mom and you have your own talk about politic and behavior, you need to understand and respect that story.

Dianne: Yes. Yeah. I think that the respect is huge. That's really great advice. Okay, my next question is about taking a job at Sams night. And you worked there for four years and kind of worked your way up. You and you were in charge of all of like Latin webpages. Yeah. That's really exciting. So what was that?

Andrea: It was tired

Dianne: Yes. And that also is kind of like that cultural difference. So how were you able to make sure that you were communicating in the right way to these different Latin?

Andrea: It was a shock for me, but it was the first time. I always have meetings with people in other countries because I work here in Chile, but we have, or I have meetings with people in Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, and all the country. The speak is different when you design a website like science. So you need to know like in Mexico the backpacks is mochis, but if you go to colo, backpack is moral and you need to understand that for design correct architecture in your website and ruining the campaigns. How is the catalog ex It was excited, it was tired, but it was so grateful to understand difference cultures to make the best decision in your website and making the best, the best the best experience for your users in that time.

Dianne: Right. So did you, do you feel like you kind of did user testing in a way by talking, you were like, I was, you were talking to so many different people from all these different countries. Yeah, that was probably a way to understand.

Andrea: And when I need to prove like usability test, I need to prove it with different countries with people Mexico, with people, Columbia, Peru. It's not just, oh, its function here in Chile. Maybe it's function in Mexico. No, it's, you know. Right. It not was like that. Right, right. Because Mexico is a big country and the cultural and eCommerce, it's different. They have more money to spend like people in Peru, it's not the the same offer for that people.

Dianne: Right. So it wasn't just like the design or the words, it was also like how you communicated the whole

Andrea: And when in that time, I need to adapt the design, the Europe design, the Samsung Europe design in my web page. And I say, okay, tax function for you for Europe. But here the bottom, it's not in the left Right or in the left in the right or that kind of technology like VR in that time, it's not so cheaper here in, in Chile to to implement it and interesting. And you need to make decisions. Okay, I can do that. No, I can do that. And trying to to the, the plan need to, to see like and other country like to see the same but no have the same project that in Europe.

Dianne: Right, right. Oh my gosh, that's fascinating. That's, that's really interesting. I feel like that skill I'm sure is going we'll get to that part how that's kind of like, yeah,

Andrea: You, I work in bank in other different area two years ago, which is,

Dianne: It's exciting. Okay. So before we move forward, I also, I wanna hear more about this content that you started creating. And I love that you were like, you felt like there wasn't enough content about ui ux design in Spanish.

Andrea: Okay. You know, when I finally had the time in the lockdown I start to create content about ux, UI and eCommerce, but it was also afraid for losing my job because I selling luggage and nobody, it was trouble. /p>

Dianne: Great, you

Andrea: Know, when I was in eCommerce just can sell it in e-commerce because in Chile, all the store lockdown, but the only store you can sell, it was my store e-commerce. And that's why I, I concerned my job. And yes, when I have too many store in all the countries, I have job. But at the beginning of the pandemic, I was afraid of losing my job. That's not happened. Thanks Scott. And for being an immigrant, because it's difficult, I immigrant, I goodbye. Right,

Dianne: Definitely.

Andrea: And I saw as a way to make myself know and attract clients just in case like a freelance. But after two months I realized that what I really like was helping other people who were just starting in UX experience, not selling watch page. And that's why I I'm change the kind of content and create my podcast. This is how us Front podcast become as a space to chart experience, connect with others experts in different areas of design and with the purpose of promotion, helping teaching people who want to mentor into the world of technology from the perspective opioids. That's mostly, and this changed my life. This changed my life. After my regular nine to six job, my second job begins, and now I give mentoring. You know, I was in the top up list of 80 like mentor this year. Yesterday. Yeah.

Dianne: Wow. Oh my gosh. Congrats. That's amazing.

Andrea: Yeah. Yeah. It was shocking. It was, oh my god, really? Me. Yeah.

Dianne: Oh, of course. I can totally see that. So you, how long have you been mentoring on ADP list?

Andrea: It was too sharp, just two months and I, it was winning like most globally mentor. And I say what really? Maybe it's for my work in other areas, no, just adb maybe for that. That's and conference maybe for that. That's become, I receive comments, I know for mentoring and comments. Like I found a job and so your advice, I change my lightings to your podcast. And that is what feel me the most satisfaction now really. I can imagine my life without doing what I do. My mantra and I say always the mantra, dreams don't come true. They work like you need to work for your dreams, not just, I I wanna change my job. No, you need to working for that. It's not my phrase, it's not my phrase, it's me. Astra phrase is a mantra, but

Dianne: It's a beautiful mantra and I love that mantra. I think that's a great way to look at it. I think you have to put that work in and that's when, when magic happens. So I I love that. So you, so you started this podcast and it's changed your life. So what, what is the, what kind of people are you talking to on your podcast? What does that structure look

Andrea: Like? All, all the people you know since UX designer, you designer, marketing people. The, the last one was Emmy winner illustrated, Emmy winner. Wow. The username is super and other people like reference in the UX war or marketing people, like all the kind of people like psychology fashion style, different people who have the perspective to helping you in your career because the stylist was so fun because she say me how I need to address for interview and all the people say, oh no, if I were in black I'm good. But no, no first everybody is the right color. Your skin, your tongue, your hair, all that function when you have an interview. And that's why I interview different kind of background people for all the people, me or all the people have something in nursing to say like a greater balance. I dunno when in the pandemic we interview psychology to say how to manage your time in your house to work in work with live balance. Live balance. And that kinda not only just talking about your writing ux like research different topics.

Dianne: Wow. That's really,

Andrea: It's a lot of work because you know, you need to made the interview. You need to may the correct audio or put in in social network or old everybody listen the podcast we, we have a sponsors now for that's, yeah, we had a sponsor. We have a nuclear school in Barcelona and Color House in Argentina.

Dianne: That's really, really exciting. I'm excited for you. And so how can people find your podcast? I'm assuming it's everywhere that you can use

Andrea: The podcast. Oh, it's easily, you only put in Google UX Friend podcast and you say in Google podcasts, Spotify breakout Apple podcast on YouTube and on Instagram the hand is the same UX friend podcast. It's the same. I love it.

Dianne: Okay, so all of the Spanish speakers out there, definitely go and check it out. And maybe anyone that doesn't see Spanish but wants to learn Spanish and is passionate about UX can, can take a listen.

Andrea: Yeah. We interview people different countries. Mexico, Colombia, usa that the fashion style wasn't from USA and from Europe, like Spain, Portugal different. That's

Dianne: Exciting. S Yes, yes. I love that. Yes, I, I'm, I mean that's amazing. I think that your podcast, I wish that I could listen. I need to learn Spanish. I know, that's, I know. That'll motivate

Andrea: Me to learn this. This is my brand, the smiley face.

Dianne: Yay. That's so cute. I love it. Okay, so, so kinda picking up you and you kind of started this podcast in the pandemic you also had your fulltime job. So what, what happened next?

Andrea: What happened next? Well, I am in a blue blueray, like a diff difficult moment now because this is the end of the year and my friends, like, it is my family here, they move on to USA and that's I y a U d. Difficult moment to me is Christmas and my friends just move on and yeah. And I, now I'm separated I broke up with my boy, with my boyfriend and, and I make him for the next year. My owns about usability task with Edison is about a platform in Argentina. And I make my anchors and I'm moving on because I, I bought a house an apartment and I hope to take my nationality here in Chile for travel. Like Franco, you know, Franco, I want to travel like he him, but not so, so time so many times. But I want to travel for the war like Noma, digital Noma. Yes, I want to travel. That's amazing. It's the next step. And, and I want to make more events in person, not just online event, like invite other people, other podcasts like sharing comments, not just putting online just more events with different like schools, university. We want to do that in the future. And I'm That's amazing. We want I will to do that.

Dianne: That's exciting. I feel like now we all can get back together and do events in person and I, I love that mission for you. And it sounds like 2023 is gonna be like a fresh start for you. You have all of these things you wanna do and accomplish and I

Andrea: Need to basic my friends and in Europe, in Spain, in usa that's

Dianne: Why. Yeah, you gotta, you gotta get ready to start traveling. That's exciting. That's the next step,

Andrea: You know, and I will travel in February. I will go to Argentina and maybe visit some friends there and then I love that. Maybe, maybe organize some events. I

Dianne: Don't know. I love that. I love that. So yes, we have quite a few designers in Argentina and BU air, so we should definitely talk about putting on some kind of event or they can hop onto your event because I know they would love to be a part of that. As designers themselves, I need to

Andrea: Know all the people I I all the friends I met in next social networks.

Dianne: Yes. I love that. I love that. So one thing we didn't touch on, which I wanted to bring up is, is the switch from these jobs you had in e-commerce and now you're in banking. So I wanted to make sure we touched on that because I wanna know how that kind of came about.

Andrea: Working in a bank is so different than working in e-commerce. It's different work and more because I work for Majors Bank, like Enterprise Bank, it's no personal bank. All the people using the app. No, my my area ex week companies that use the platform to pay their salaries to today, they'll, they'll the employees and it's different to reach out that kind of user like making an interview, it's so low because it's high level profile. You need to make it like you need to make, okay, if we have making an interview, I need to talk with your, your like, let me, let me say the word. Your executing, you have personals who honor your account and that's the people I need to speak first. Like not, not speaking with the client first with that people and that people making the, the bridge with the client and it's difficult, it's bureaucratic and it's so heavy, but it's the work. Not right now. We have or we trying to standardize our standardize sort like how to make the handoff with the developer people, how to make the interview, how to, to stack the, the metrics X are d feel difficult and, but it's like you don't have to too many space to, to innovate. You need to try and to do the best, but you can innovate so much. Like you can innovate in eCommerce.

Dianne: Right. But I, I feel like there's probably a lot of like interesting UX challenges to solve.

Andrea: Yeah. Because you have all the stuff like you, you need to, to help your user and say to to business hey we need to improve the accessibility. Hey we need to hear the user because in bank they never, never hear the user just check in numbers.

Dianne: Right,

Andrea: Right. And that is a different and you need to be strong to fight with that you need to be strong.

Dianne: I'm sure. So do you feel like a lot of what you do is like kind of defending or trying to suggest Yeah, best practices,

Andrea: Bests best practices and all the time you have so many, I have so many meetings and I say, okay, when I work I need to work. I can living in a meeting all the time. Right. And that's the thing you need to manage. Like okay, what kind of time or how many hours I put it in that project and I need to talk with that client or I need to talk with that project management to helping me. It's too much about negotiate, how can I say negoti young or

Dianne: Yeah, negoti. Yeah.

Andrea: Manage management your time manage with the people Cratic.

Dianne: Right, right. Yeah. I feel like a lot of, I'm sure you spend a lot of time probably mentoring is a lot of jobs in ui, ux, there are some of those soft skills like how to communicate and

Andrea: Yeah, how

Dianne: Communicate, how to voice your opinions. Yeah.

Andrea: How you're encouraged and manage all the stuff and how to know not feeling like work. Now that is big problem when you always working remotely in areas or in business like bank you feel overwhelming and you feel burned out and always, or maybe in this time when m of the year you feel it like, oh I need a rest. And you know, here in Latin America, especially in event we don't have vacations like oh, all vacations. Holiday season. No we don't have And you feel it tired

Dianne: Yeah. Yes. Well I hope you are still taking a couple days to relax. Just the,

Andrea: Just the normal and regular days. Like 25 like Christmas day, just Christmas day and New Year's

Dianne: Eve and then back to back to the grind and back to the work. I hear you. I hear you. It's hard to find that balance and I think that's great that you're kind of like talking about that in mentorship too cuz I think it's really important to recognize or

Andrea: Or maybe it's because I work too much because I work in a bank and I work creating content and then I I do mentoring. Maybe it is for that, but I recommend my advice for advice. Yes. Advice for the people. Yes. Trying to do what can really want to do. Like taking not or exercise, maybe cooking or work with your job. You need to have time for yourself. All the stuff. It's not all, it's not the work. Right. You are not just a working person. You need to balance and it's my goal for the future, I need to get out more because here in Chile is summer and we need to to, I can say take our take a holiday or take a spring here because you need to balance your like the work work. It's not just in life.

Dianne: Yes. I love that. I think it kind kinda to summarize our conversations and like where we've gone is I think we talked a lot about how if you want something you have to work for it, right? And like work

Andrea: Hard, do everything but not at the same time. Yeah. That is important.

Dianne: Yes, exactly.

Andrea: No, at the same time. I love that you putting goals actually that is, that is the right moment to put in goals, to write your goals for the next year. How is your goal for the next year? Like how, how is your goal?

Dianne: I need to be thinking of my goal for 20, 20 years. I dunno what my goal they're, right.

Andrea: Yeah.

Dianne: That's, that is, this is the perfect

Andrea: Time to talk about your goals. Yes. You, you can write it, you can burning like this is my three goals and I'm burning. Or you can make your notion and putting goals and KPIs and nps to know if you reaching out at the end of the next year.

Dianne: That's great advice. So everyone listening at the end of the year approaches, this is the perfect time to be thinking about what you wanna accomplish next year. Make them actionable. Definitely put them in somewhere, whether it's notion or trying

Andrea: To to apply UX to your life. Yes.

Dianne: Oh, beautiful. I love that. Yes. So that should be everyone's to do when they, when they finish this listening to this podcast. Well awesome. Andrea, thank you so much for being on the podcast. It was really great to kind of hear your story where you came from, like immigrating and all of these amazing side hustles you've done and turned into a career and a thriving career and something you're really passionate about. So I appreciate you sharing all that with me.

Andrea: Thank you. You, it's, it was a challenge for me. you did interview in English. No, no. It was a challenge and I put it a, a story of say you like I will try no. Out up the interview with my English I

Dianne: Was, you nailed it. It was perfect. I can't wait until we get to share it with the world and everyone gets to hear your first podcast in, in English.

Andrea: Yeah. Thank

Dianne: You. So awesome. Thank nice you so much. Well chat soon.

Andrea: Bye. Bye.

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