Interview with User Experience Superstar Sara Salevati – Part 2 of 3

Function Point recently interviewed User Experience Designer and SFU Ph.D. candidate, Sara Salevati, regarding her approach to design and the projects she is working on with fp.

This is part 2 of a 3 part interview. For part 1, click here.


Fraser Health project by Sara Salevati. Findings revealed that emotion and personal narratives in design of health technologies can effect lasting behavioral change.

What do you look for in a project to excite and challenge you?

The ambiguity! Design to me, is less about the outcome and more about the process. The non-linearity and complexity is what makes it so exciting.  The most challenging is advocating this process within a result-oriented environment that expects answers right away. 

When you start a design project, what is your personal goal? What are you striving for? 

My goal in any design project is first to engage and understand the various points of views involved through forming relationships. I strive for magic in all my work and by that I mean the poetic aspect of user experience, what evokes reflection through interaction.

You refer to “magic” and poetic aspect of user experience that evokes reflection through interaction. Do you mean that users think about their interactions? We’re used to hearing that users react rather impulsively, or respond rather than reflect. Can you describe this poetry a bit more?

What I mean by poetic experience is one that resonates immediately but allows for reflection and continues to inform later. It has an essence; it is meaningful yet not trying too hard – it is intuitive and transparent. 

What do you think clients (the people that hire you) contribute most to the design process? How involved do you like them to be in the process?

I see design as bringing people together in conversations. These are conversations among everyone involved, the business, the technologist and the people that are experiencing the service. It is ultimately the client’s vision that gets translated to the product – the internal culture and structure. That message needs to be cohesive and communicated in the product experience. Therefore, participation is a critical factor throughout my design process; from the customer to the employees.

Designers have a lot of challenges balancing user expectations, client needs, and technical limitations, how do you meet all these criteria and still produce something that delights? 

It is about balancing various perspectives and coming up with creative solutions. This evolves through mitigation, engagement, communication, iteration and reflection and not in that particular order! 

Check out Part 3Download your free creative brief template

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