When we login to our favorite app, most of us don’t give it much thought. We scroll down, swipe left or right, and click on whatever catches our interest. Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) alum Dominique Elkind (’07 Painting) looks at it differently, with a creative and critical eye, analyzing if it looks good, flows right, and provides a great user experience. It’s all part of her job as an Interaction Designer at Google.
Since 2018, she has been working on the Google Cloud Platform Security and Data Privacy team in Seattle. Her day-to-day responsibilities include deep-diving into interaction flow, building wireframes, or fully mocking up screens for an app. She might design an interactive prototype and put together slides to show how someone interacts with the product. She collaborates with product managers, engineers, writers, designers, and others in the creative sphere. It seems like a big leap from her days in Painting, but according to Dominique, there is one thing painting and interaction design have in common — there is no right or wrong.
“In painting, you have to understand the pattern across. It’s more about figuring out where you can draw the pattern and find the best possible solution. There are pros and cons to every decision just like in my job,” said Elkind.
Another invaluable KCAI experience for Dominique was the critique process. “I have to collaborate with a lot of people and a big part of my job now is getting critical feedback. I didn’t realize when I was in the studio at school how important it was to learn to defend my work, take in feedback, and make things better based on what I heard,” she said.
Before joining Google, Dominique spent 11 years as a creative consultant working on a variety of high-profile projects including the Today Show mobile app. One of her favorite memories is seeing her product on the big screen in Times Square as Carson Daly told viewers to download it. She watched in real-time as the downloads went up exponentially.
Elkind credits her time at KCAI to her success. “There are so many jobs that require creativity and you can apply what you learn at KCAI to anything. What’s more important than what you study is the foundation you get to build upon to become a well-rounded person — someone who is open and has creative problem-solving capabilities,” she said.