Viviana Romislova

Inspirational Woman: Viviana Romislova | Senior UX Designer, NBS

Viviana RomislovaAs a senior UX designer at NBS, Viviana works within a team of multi-skilled UX Designers and UX Researchers, contributing with exceptional attention to detail, ensuring her design work is always aesthetically pleasing and fully accessible for all NBS’s customers. 

Passionate about her work, she spends her free time working as a freelancer on different projects, ranging from web design and branding to packaging and print design. She also collaborates with design companies, giving her the opportunity to work with people all around the world.

Beyond championing technology and design, Viviana is a foodie, who loves the colour pink, enjoys taxidermy and never says no to a trip to a theme park.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

Before I started my role at NBS, I worked as a Graphic and Website Designer in agency environments. I joined NBS in 2019 as a UX Designer, a role that was very new to me. However, with training, help from colleagues and lots of hard work I have recently been promoted into a Senior UX role. I work mainly on a platform called NBS Chorus, which helps architects, engineers and specifiers to write specifications for construction projects. I can work on all aspects of our UX process, from research to design and user testing. My role is challenging but very rewarding.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

The journey to achieve my role as Senior UX designer was a very long process, but I must admit that I have never really set a specific plan for my career.

After graduating from an Art and Design school in Riga I was not sure about how to orientate my career, but I knew I needed to get into graphic design, as I am very aware that digital is the future. So I decided to study graphic design at the University of Latvia.

While I was at university, I started to work on some small, private design projects, and around that time I won my first logo contest. I realised that I could actually make money by designing and drawing on my old laptop.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

I moved to the UK because I wanted new adventures and challenges and once here I realised how far behind design trends were in Latvia, and how narrow-minded clients were at the time. In the UK everyone was following the latest design trends and the clients were more focused on individuality and less on the budget.

That said, from my experience, some aspects of the design industry in the UK can be like the “Wild West”! I ended up working in some agencies where it seemed that no rules apply; Backstabbing amongst colleagues was rife, and the job security was a constant worry. I was made redundant after one month of employment and then hired again by the same company two months later. Experiences like these can crush you, and I must admit that it affected my confidence in my work a lot. It is important to be able to identify what is healthy constructive criticism and what is just toxicity. I started to focus more on freelance work to build up my portfolio, so I could be ready to leave such an environment.

The journey at NBS has been very different. We are all encouraged to learn and develop and they champion mental health.

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What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

To evolve from a graphic designer into a UX designer and succeeding. Design is a field that is dominated by extroverts and I am an introvert, so at times I feel I just have to fight my way through it, but I know at NBS my hard work and persistence are getting acknowledged.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Having a good portfolio. I consider myself very lucky because I have met people throughout my career who believed in me and were ready to invest time and money, so I can learn and improve. I am very aware that having a good portfolio was my way to stand out from the crowd.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

My advice would be to follow the phrase “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” when she or he first starts to create a portfolio. Find a design they love, shamelessly copy the elements they like and use them in their designs. By redrawing and reusing them you can study and understand what aspects of these elements you like, add to them and gradually discover your own design style.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

A barrier that I had to overcome was cultural exclusion. Especially in a male-dominated field, it is sometimes difficult to find a social connection. Team bonding events need to be thought through, so no one is excluded because of their lack of knowledge or abilities.

Women can still fall behind because of child care or menopause. Having the opportunity to work from home and also overall flexible working hours would help support women with these issues.

What do you think companies can do to support to progress the careers of women working in technology?

I think a huge help would be if companies would work together with women’s organisations and have seminars, courses and quizzes that would help women to discover what opportunities are out there and how to progress in the tech field. A nice example is codefirstgirls.org.uk.

There are currently only 17 per cent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

I think it’d be fantastic progress to remove the salary pay gap and achieve salary equality between male and female employees, as this disparity can certainly hold women back. I’m confident that there are employers out there, such as NBS, tackling this issue.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I have learned a lot by attending workshops and webinars, I find them really helpful. Not only can you learn more about the industry, but you can also connect with other people who work or want to work in the tech field.