Lynn Baxter
How does a science-loving book nerd end up a UX designer?
tl;dr

I’ve spent more than seven years in the startup space on the business side of the house at companies like Slack and Blend, but have always been enamored with product design. Recently, I found the gumption to finally go for it and pursue UX design full time.

My design philosophy

I am interested in people — I find each individual fascinating and complex. In design, my first step is to always find a person who is encountering a difficulty. When we search for a problem to solve, we are really searching for a person or people we want to help. What I’ve found is when you ask a group of people the right questions, you can single out a problem that each and every one of them is trying to solve, or has already solved in a different way. Using that information, a designer has a good base for the creation of a solution to test.

I believe that design must be inclusive to be called good design. It is part of my job as a designer to look at a problem from all possible perspectives, this includes a lens for people from all demographics and abilities.

My primary goal in life is to remain flexible. I would never feel comfortable being a person who is stuck within their own perspective. I use many different methods in my life to ensure that I am seeing the issue from as many angles as possible. It is my firm belief that you can’t learn anything if you think you already know everything.

What drives me are those moments when something I’ve created helps another person be their best selves. If I can help even one person accomplish a goal, I am satisfied. Multiply that to a large scale? Pure joy.

How I work in a team

I’ll be real with you, I married a software engineer. I am well-versed in collaborating with many different skill types in tech due to my background as a facilities manager in startups. I’ve worked well with designers, engineers, data science, customer support, C-level execs, marketing professionals, and so many more. These skills helped me during my time in Lambda’s UX track - each and every project I worked on was a true collaboration that I enjoyed immensely.

As a designer, I like to function as the person who is always asking questions to both clarify my understanding and learn as much as possible from others. Growing a career in tech without having a background in product gave me an education in how to function in a world I knew nothing about. I am so grateful for all my experiences because I’ve learned what questions to ask and who I could get answers from. These environments empowered me to never feel intimidated by any person or any task, but instead to feel endlessly curious.

My personal journey

I grew up in a small town in California.

When I was a kid, I had a lot of questions about the way the world worked — but I never felt comfortable asking the people around me for answers. So I fed my curiosity by reading about the world beyond my tiny town, and I learned that the world was way bigger than I had imagined. The first chance I had, I made the move to San Francisco to pursue a degree in biology at San Francisco State.

A tale of science and startups

Studying biology meant I could finally get answers to some of the questions that kept me up at night. I threw myself into biology coursework and derived an obscene amount of joy from planning research projects and experiments.

After college, my first job was at a small startup in San Francisco. At the time, it occurred to me that the world of startups wasn’t unlike the world of science: Everyone was building products that were, essentially, ongoing experiments. Product people, as I learned, were the scientists that conducted the experiments so that they could ultimately build a more valuable product offering. For more than seven years, the moving pieces of startups fascinated me, and fueled my career as a facilities professional at companies like Slack and Blend.

Discovering my love of product

I’ve always asked a lot of questions of the world. But after nearly a decade in facilities, I started asking questions of myself. And what I discovered was that it was time for a challenge. Instead of merely observing the product experiments I’d seen at startups over the years, I wanted to be a part of them — specifically, as a UX designer. So, much like I did when I left home to explore the broader world beyond my hometown many years ago, I’m beginning my journey into the world of product and UX design. I’m excited about what the future holds!

Additional tidbits...
  • The books I gravitate towards tend to be science fiction, fantasy, and mystery. I adore classics.
  • I was a drama kid in school but never got over my crippling stage fright. I still love theater.
  • I am a mom to 2 stepsons and 1 extremely adorable little girl named Beatriz.
  • I need nature like a cactus needs the sun, I recently started a patio garden that I’m moderately proud of.