My Happyporch experience so far...
Hey, I’m Em.
I’ve been working at Happyporch for what is coming up to eight months now. As my skill set is a bit different from the rest of the ‘porch, I thought I’d take the opportunity to write this little piece about my experience here.
I came across Happyporch while jobhunting after completing my degree in Game Art and Animation. Seeing as art/design has been my thing since as long as I could hold a brush/pencil/funky piece of tissue paper, a job in web design didn’t seem like too much of a leap. Most importantly, it was a change of pace from uni (read: struggling through two years of condensed absorbing of information during the midst of the pandemic). I started out with a six month Kickstarter placement, during which I felt very much part of team as I learned the basics of UX/web design.
My first project was lending my illustration skills to the refresh of the Happyporch website. You can see some of my work scattered around the site, in the form of the little illustrations on the homepage. It was lovely to find out that my skills as an artist would be so openly embraced and valued! The project was a great chance to use my existing skills within a new context, and it gave me a taste of things to come – especially as I got a chance to help design small parts of the site myself, and get well acquainted with the UX tools and workflow. Considering that the majority of my university experience was remote, this style of project-based work transferred pretty naturally for me into web design and UX (although I especially love the illustration/design projects that come my way).
Armed with a newfound excitement for web design, I was excited to find out I’d be taking on an entire redesign project for an app and website – Collegium Telemedicus (CT). CT is a telemedicine tool aimed at connecting medical professionals in low resource settings with specialists from all over the world to aid in diagnosis/treatment remotely. My role was to freshen up the look of both the app and web versions, while streamlining user flows and creating a shiny new pattern library for CT’s new look. I had a blast making full use of the new tools and skills I had picked up, and getting stuck into some pretty tricky wireframing. As someone who has studied animation, creating visual prototypes to mimic the real thing was really fun and a use for those skills that I had never imagined. Although I was driving most of the hands-on design work, I felt so supported by everyone I was working with, who provided lots of much needed feedback, encouragement and reassurance concerning my frequent bouts of imposter syndrome.
Something I didn’t expect in this job was the role that art would play. Coming into Happyporch, I was totally prepared to put my drawing tablet down and pick up the skills needed for what I thought beforehand to be a fairly creatively sterile industry. What I wasn’t prepared for (but more than excited to help do) was digitally painting all the assets for a children’s biodiversity tool aimed at teaching young people about the impact of farming methods on different types of wildlife. Since then I’ve also drawn the line art for the cover art on the Happyporch.com home page. It’s so nice to have my passion of art embraced and utilized, in an industry I thought would have no space and no use for it.
For this queer, neurodivergent human, I went into the jobhunting process with a sense of trepidation - especially considering this is my first ‘serious’ job since graduating. However, the empathy, transparency and respect of everyone at Happyporch during the application process and onwards has definitely made me feel like I’m in the right company. Not to mention, I had a blast at the May meetup (see Jana’s lovely post).
I feel good working for a company that takes responsibility for its environmental impact, and actively seeks to do good through the technology we build together. Working at Happyporch pushes me in the best ways - both through encouraging me to expand my current skills on a technical level, and to be mindful about my personal impact on climate. Happyporch challenges me to champion sustainability and positive climate action within my work and outside of it too. As an artist first and foremost, I often worry about my work not making a difference, but for the first time in quite a while, I feel like it does actually matter.