Alumni Profile: Emily Hoeke, Syracuse University College of Visual and Performing Arts

As a user experience (UX) designer at Amazon, Syracuse University graduate Emily Hoeke is able to combine two of her passions: problem-solving with design and shopping.

“As a self-proclaimed shopaholic, having the opportunity to design shopping experiences for Amazon customers has been a dream job come true,” she says. “I design experiences to help customers discover new products, movies, music and services. It’s that feeling you get when you discover the perfect pair of shoes or discover those headphones you’ve been saving for are on sale, and something just clicks. I love designing for that moment.”

Since joining Amazon two years ago, Hoeke has been dedicated to designing the home page, Amazon’s storefront window. She has led design for editorial partnerships with PureWow, the Wirecutter, the Oprah Winfrey Network and the Prime Day home page, Amazon’s largest global shopping event.

“My favorite part about being a UX designer at Amazon is getting to obsess over how people feel, act and think when interacting with my work,” she says. “I love that I’m encouraged to think big and brainstorm every single day. I get to solve problems with design thinking and technology for millions of people.”

At Syracuse, Hoeke majored in industrial and interaction design (IID) in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. One of the most valuable skills she learned from her IID professors was to “question everything.”

“I’m constantly asking myself how a system or process could be improved with design,” she explains. “They really instilled the value of rapid iteration, to work fast and always explore multiple solutions to the same problem, and how it’s so important to remember we’re always designing for the future — never limit yourself because the industry hasn’t caught up yet.”

As a designer, Hoeke sees the future of shopping — be it online or in stores — to be all about customers’ expectations of a “destination” experience.

“It’s not uncommon to find your favorite spot to pick up a hipster graphic t-shirt has opened a coffee bar in the back or the place you used to buy leggings started to offer free yoga classes,” she explains. “Retail environments are becoming more entertainment focused. From my perspective, this is a super-exciting time to be designing the future of online shopping.”

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