Désirée Blanchard, Senior Product Designer — UX

Early years and where you came from?

I studied Industrial Product Design and I’ve been always fascinated by complex products. I was introduced to the tech environment when physical products started to sell on the internet, and that is how I got fascinated with hybrid and digital products. After this, I started to get more involved and study more. Today I have a certification in executive coach, body language, human interaction, behavior, and emotional intelligence. I also have a nanodegree as Front-end Developer and recently I finished two certifications Introduction to Artificial Intelligence with IBM-Watson and Legal Tech Start-up with IE.

How were you introduced to the world of the Portuguese tech industry?

I’ve always following very close the PWIT and recommending to all the women living in Portugal and also outside as a reference

Walk me through your work and what you are doing now in the tech industry.

Right now I’m helping to develop a whole new product in the legal tech that is connected with our SaaS Platform.
It does include new features and functionalities, and I’m responsible to guarantee that the requirements from the Product Team and the recommendations from the UX Team are connected and viable with the Devs Team.
Therefore, some of my tasks are to build the Information Architecture of the product, help to define the versions, adapt the design to the Design System already implemented, prepare the handover files and be part of the refinement to guarantee that we’re designing a product that can be implemented and released on time.
I also help to create prototypes to test with our users and all the UX deliverables that are necessary to be executed to make sure we’re on the right track and that we are aligned with our users.

What part of what you do, you love the most?

There are two things that I like the most. Interview users are something that excites me. As a designer, we need to be neutral, and the chance to interact with the user and to put ourselves in their shoes to see and learn how they see the product is an amazing opportunity. The second part that I like is to break the complexity of the product into small pieces, like a puzzle. I like to see the big scenario and also the small details and I do it until I’m sure there are no dead ends and we covered all the possible user scenarios.

How do you think that your background and knowledge impact the way you approach your work in the Portuguese tech industry?

I believe that my background helped me to work with a complex digital product.
In my early work experience, I used to create physical products and work with small and big industries. So it was a natural process to be responsible for the logistics and life cycle of the product( from the sketch, physical and 3D prototype, validation, international certifications, factories, packaging & distribution, pos-sales, maintenance and, recycle).
The process was complex, validations to the next steps were priority due to the high investment concerned with money and people. So my awareness of the product life cycle was very high and the precision and responsibility to advocate for the user was huge. I could not afford mistakes because from one version to another version of the product it could take at least 1 year or more.
Today I have a very conscious approach to the product and it helps me to make decisions with confidence and also to know when to change or adapt the design based on feedback and research.

What advice do you have for young women that want to get into tech and don’t know where to start?

Find a mentor, ask for help and guidance, and get yourself prepared for an amazing journey!
You will have to learn a lot, but you will discover another world and many other skills that you didn’t know. So, surround yourself with people who are committed to change and go to the next level. Also get connected with groups and meetups that involve tech, women, and all kinds of activities that will empower you and reinforce your goals and energy.

Walk me through a day in your life as a Portuguese women in tech.

It has not been easy to break the vicious cycle of seeing just men in the tech world, but we’re changing and this comes from us with our individual fights. I faced the word “no” many times, and also the lack of trust.
The things that helped me to keep fighting were the amazing circle of powerful friends, see other women out there going through the same, and also successful ones that inspired me a lot. Learn as much as I could, master, and develop new skills. Have the goal to deliver always an impeccable work, be present, and be heard. And the most important, share and help other women as much as I can.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Be humble, learn, learn again, validate, ask for help, be thankful, and share your knowledge with the world and, extend your hands to help others.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Confluence, Figma, Lucidchart but I can’t deny that I love Miro

Any links that you want to share? In what are you working on…

Yes! https://legartis.ai

Anything else you would like to share?

I’m honor to be part of the WIT and mentoring women as well as mentoring a group of amazing designers in Lisbon in partnership with Grow Remote. It’s my way to give it back to society and the more I do, the more I feel complete with the mission to help others.

👉Find Désirée on LinkedIn