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Maria Luísa Papathanasiadis Miguel
by Maria Luísa Papathanasiadis Miguel, Community Manager

What have I learned so far being on Adam Fard Studio’s Communications Team and how I can help you achieve more with it?

What have I learned so far being on Adam Fard Studio’s Communications Team and how I can help you achieve more with it?

As a new member of the team and someone who never worked with UX before, it has been a (exciting) challenge to navigate through a completely different industry, but here is everything I have been going through from the interview process till the work itself.

Some of you may know myself from my gaming username, MotherOfPigs1, and my content as both a Social Media Manager for the eSports industry and gaming industry but also my (small) streaming era.

Even having a huge baggage working with the gaming community (which is a very engaged community), I’ve always felt like my calling ran deeper than what I have been facing in this industry and I had a difficult time trying to figure out what was missing from my daily routine. This changed when I faced myself with a Community Manager role here at Adam Fard Studio and decided to try my luck on a UX Agency which is composed of full remote work with a truly diverse team (we have people from Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Brazil and more).

Through this introductory article, I will summarise my daily routine, what I’ve learned so far and how the bi-weekly posts I’ll create for the company may help you, my dear reader, ponder if you need a change of pace, how to communicate UX better for clients and what sort of resources you can use to build your knowledge around the subject if you are an enthusiast of both communications and UX design.

First steps into the unknown

I was terrified of changing industries as I had NO knowledge whatsoever on UX and UI and had a lot of knowledge working with games and gamers alike.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: Adam Fard Studio didn’t mind this fact because I was so eager to learn something new and develop my studies here as well as practice what I’ve learned on a daily basis. And this was clear from my interview with HR. I also came prepared with some basic knowledge on the subject but the baggage that I carry from my previous experiences, even if from a completely different industry, were valued and helped me a lot through all the selection process and my daily routine here.

It sounds a bit unusual, I know, but if you are thinking about making a change of industries and are scared, what you learned and studies are also applicable (even if you have to learn more about the product or service you are going to work with) on different industries and the reason I was terrified to change was that I thought each industry is your own bubble and all the baggage I had was going to be tossed in a bin and I had to restart my working experience from scratch.

On my interview I came prepared with some facts I had knowledge about UX design and a lot of cases to present from past experiences to the HR representative that was going to conduct the interview and to my surprise she was interested in getting to know me for me and didn’t focus so much on the technical part of the job which instantly made me relax and have a chat with her. As I felt more and more at home talking to her and more like myself during the interview, I could have a sense on how working here would look like and, if everyone was as friendly and kind as the interviewer, I would definitely find myself working here for the next 5 years easily and happily.

She proceeded to present a bit about the company, compensation, benefits and technical stuff that are necessary for the person being interviewed to know to figure out if this is the right call and, by the end of the interview, I actually found myself excited to start and be a part of the company. I don’t know how many of you actually felt this sensation during interviews, but it was definitely a first for me!

The next day she pinged me on LinkedIn and sent me a questionnaire to answer with more technical questions so I could present to the CEO and the Marketing Head on a second interview to be scheduled for next week and I didn’t hesitate to gather all my technical knowledge and dive into it as I was answering the questions. Funny thing about it: at the end, the document was about 7 pages long and I was scared to death no one would care about it and be more like some teachers and professors I faced during my learning years and just skip it altogether, sending me a standard email saying they were not going to me moving forward with my application or something along these lines. To my surprise, the second interview was still standing.

I was so nervous on that day I barely could keep a clear answer and line of thought. Even if my answers were right in front of me, it was like I never learned to read all of a sudden and the only thing I think that kept me going was their legit interest in what I had to share and they showered me with questions, encouraging me to continue and being comprehensive about my nervousness. I  wouldn’t say I aced that interview or anything, but I did share the document with my answers with them right after the interview ended and just hoped for the best, I guess.

Was the document flawless? Impeccable? A work of art? Far from it, but I strongly believe they could see I poured my heart and soul into it and that I had a strong knowledge and understanding on what the role actually needed the person to have, even if I lacked the UX previous knowledge and experience bit. Anyway, I do think I made an impact as I was hired the next day.

It was by far the fastest recruitment process I’ve ever taken part in and they were even thoughtful enough to let me know their thoughts on the document I shared later on (shout out to HR and all the people involved in this process) and they made sure I was comfortable throughout the entire process!

The onboarding process and my first contacts with the team

My first day here I was presented with some platforms I was going to use and read the whole onboarding document to be more familiar with the daily routine, our daily tools and Figma boards as well as how the company works in general and some flowcharts on processes. I also was able to be part of some meetings to start being a part of  what’s going on and the routes we wanna take for Communications.

One thing I particularly thought was cool about my first day was that I had a meeting with both Adam and Dima (the two people that interviewed me for my second interview) and they were very receptive regarding my ideas and some platform suggestions I made to automate or improve some processes Dima has been doing alone until I came in. Isn’t it funny how some companies say that they are open to innovations when they actually couldn’t care less about your ideas? Well, I’m glad to say this is something that doesn’t happen here and, if they think one idea is not that good, they will point out that it is either too difficult or challenging at the moment (which they will not disregard and will keep in mind for the future) or they will ask to schedule a meeting for us to brainstorm and lapidade this idea in the future. If they’ve tried one of the ideas you give, they’ll say so as well and will point out why it didn’t work in the first place and if, maybe, you have some knowledge they don’t or experience with it and can help them make it work now or in the future.

Did you ever walk into a meeting that you felt uncomfortable speaking up and for people to judge you based on the things you’ve said? I know I did, mostly when you are a junior and have to have a meeting with seniors.

One thing HR created and I hope it can help HR people anywhere is to schedule one-on-one meetings with everyone in the company to “break the ice” and for you to feel more comfortable talking to people during meetings and contributing to projects. I know this can be a tough thing to do in a big and structured company but, here’s what I thought might help implement this amazing idea: why not schedule these meetings with the whole team the person will interact the most? Or specific people they’ll interact with? One thing’s for sure, I’d be a less awkward and shy intern in the past if something like this happened in past companies I worked at and by far would make personal interactions less challenging, even outside work. These meetings facilitate discussions and, as you not only get to know each other on a professional level but as well on some personal level, you put your role into perspective and figure out how you can help each other regarding projects and you’ll also feel more comfortable asking questions and learning from each other.

I honestly can say I met some interesting people during these sessions and I figured I had at least one thing in common with everyone. How cool is that? I even got some documentaries, games and articles suggestions about UX and other stuff as well. 

I also learned a bit about cultural facts and politics from each different country our staff  are from and shared some of mine. This also added some perspective on how privileged I am for never having experienced war, for example, as we have some people that are based in Ukraine at the moment and also the similarities across cultures.

Writing all these experiences I went through last week, on my first date, also put in perspective how diverse our team is and how this diversity actually add up to our daily work as I think in a way and Dima (who’s Ukrainian, by the way) thinks another way and, because of this, the materials that we deliver are somehow richer than if I was working alone because we mix our ideas and concepts to create a unique thing to feed our community and make it eager to know more about it.

The UX challenge

You may ask me: “Maria, how exactly are all these beautiful things related to your daily work and UX?”. Well, my dear reader, I mentioned previously that we are a diverse team, on distinct time zones and basically focused on one goal to be reached, right? This is where the magic happens.

I take part in three main meetings during my week: Communications, Sales and Design and I shall point out that one thing leads to another and another. 

On the Communications side, I sort of point out what I’ve been working on and future things that I have mapped out so we can prioritise and discuss them, besides asking questions to have something clarified or to suggest something that can help on a task. We also share materials and past experiences that may help one another on our daily tasks.

For Sales, we discuss with our Sales team on their end (meetings, contracts signed etc) and how we can help them achieve better results or if they need anything on our end like materials they can share with prospects and so forth.

Design is basically where we are going to gather ideas for content to create and share with our community and get more familiar with the projects the company is currently working on and where the Design Team do what me, Dima and Adam do on the Communications meeting.

Now, remember when I said we are open to new ideas? The magic happens when I gather all this information, build some content about it and share with the rest during our meeting and on our Notion board. I come from a fast-paced industry, as you know and the gaming technology changes on a daily basis, but the communication here respects the UX designers timeline and doesn't have such crazy schedules, which makes something I missed on previous experiences a more recurrent thing: creating, testing and adapting.

I create different content and materials on a daily basis for different platforms. This blog post is a great example of something I pitched during my interview process and early meetings that is currently being created and will (hopefully) develop into something awesome. It was originally created to tell you a bit about our Communications routines and how we are starting discussions around UX and UI through my experience. If you feel like this is an interesting material to gather some ideas of your own and apply on your Communications routines, feel free to read all posts I create here and let us know what your  thoughts are around the topics I’ll present to you or how you do it at your company.

For testing, we are always testing new platforms to execute different tasks and even this sort of a “diary of Communications” is being tested in two different ways: written and video (on YouTube). If you feel like one way is better than the other for you to follow this blog (or vlog), go check our videos out *wink wink*.

As far as adapting goes, I definitely have been adapting to the company with no major bumps in the road yet, but the whole team is also adapting as we are all using some new tools that we previously had no knowledge of or they are using something I suggest and I’m helping them navigate through it. Most and foremost, we are also adapting our Social Media Plan and calendar to some ideas we built together as well as the content we’ve been sharing with you all already.

The important thing here is that we are always studying a different topic on UX design to create solid content to share with our community in all sorts of shapes and sizes and the amazing designers we have on the team help us a lot regarding resources and materials to feed the Communication Team on the subject.

Here are the main resources I used for UX 101 if you have no previous experience:

Adam Fard Studio and my personal development

As crazy as it seems, I feel a better professional now than I was before. We have a freedom here I thought was never possible to have to create my own time and fit my job into my day and not my day into my job.

I’ve been bombarded with so many interesting things on UX design and have been talking to so many interesting people that I feel more well rested and even smarter as we are challenged daily to learn new things and new ways to do what we do.

We also receive a fixed at the beginning of each year to do courses and/or take part in workshops and events and if this not making an employee even more eager to learn new things I don’t know what else is.

Funny thing is that my Instagram profile ads are now being focused on UX and even TikTok has been showing me more content around the topic.

In case you are wondering, yes, I’m a HUGE academic fan and am even thinking about going to Design school in the future thanks to my (as for now, short experience here) and all the amazing and positive support I’ve been receiving from my teammates and colleagues. 

We have to be more conscious of how our jobs are such a huge part of our day and how it helps shape our interests on the product and service we work with. If you don’t like the environment you are in, it’s fairly hard to like what you work with and, even if you are not as young anymore, it’s never too late to go after what you like and want. I find it ironic how I had to change the career I’ve planned out for me to actually be happy and in an environment as accepting as the one I’m at now and to also instigate my curiosity about the very thing I’m working with.

The Maria from the past would probably be shocked to see where I am now and how much I’ve grown in such a short period of time. I can’t wait to share more of the Communication Team’s routine with you as I go on here, but I’ll leave you with an invitation to check out more of our blog content here and our Social Media as we are preparing amazing things to share!

Next steps

In case you are wondering, not all my postings will be about general things that happened to me. This was more like an introductory post so you get to know me better and all the process I’ve been through to get here.

The Communication Team is preparing amazing things for the next few months and I’m glad to share that I'm a part of every single post, content and idea that we’ve been developing and will develop.

For the next posts, I’ll make sure to include obstacles and how we overcame them as a team and to take you in an incredible journey on how Communications can help sell and educate people on UX design and its importance.

To be involved in the discussion around the subject and see everything we’ve been preparing, make sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter and follow us on Social Media.

Oh! Also, if you liked this content, make sure to follow me on my crazy journey here every two weeks and comment on your ideas, suggestions and how things work for you at your company so we can keep the discussion going and growing.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you on my next blog post!

Maria Luísa Papathanasiadis Miguel

Maria Luísa Papathanasiadis Miguel . Community Manager

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