Fusing Research and Creativity to Design Memorable User Experiences

Written by: Nicole Hunt

With a background in advertising and a knack for holistic thinking, Dana Lebed brings a fresh and balanced perspective to Urban Emu’s UX Design Projects. She’s a natural researcher who’s as comfortable drafting competitive analysis reports as she is planning elaborate day trips for herself and her family. We’re so fortunate to have Dana’s keen intellect on our team.

Q. You’re a Senior UX/UI designer at Urban Emu. What does a typical day look like for you?

A. Every day varies, but I always check to see my top priorities, along with whom I can assist or provide guidance, depending on the day. I primarily work in Figma and Miro, along with Sketch and the Adobe Suite of tools. Working in UX/UI requires a wide range of skills, from writing competitive audits and user journeys to creating user flows and site maps, designing lo-fis and hi-fis, prototyping, and more. At Urban Emu, I get to branch into all types of creative work, including logo design, creating social media content, and developing videos. Working with a wide range of clients and projects is always exciting, and I enjoy presenting and interacting with all departments of Urban Emu and external partners, as well.

Q. Before joining the Urban Emu team, you were involved in a lot of advertising work, including several nationwide campaigns. What would you say are some of the differences between advertising work and UX/UI work?

A. In advertising, it was great to constantly be involved in integrated campaigns, but the end deliverable didn’t feel long-lasting to me, as we were always moving into the next big idea. While digital design infuses a lot of what I’ve learned in advertising, I’ve found that I’m more interested in problem-solving, storytelling, and deep thought about how a user interacts with a product. It’s exciting to walk users through a tangible experience. In some ways, it feels like I’m helping create something more substantial like we’re building the strategic identity of a brand for years to come.

Q. Do you have a consistent strategy for approaching new projects?

A. At my core, I truly am a researcher. At the start of projects, I proactively research the client, competitive landscape, and other details. This also sort of bleeds into my non-work life since I’m the person others call to help plan events, trips, and other things like that. Overall, I take a 360-holistic approach to clients and their needs on every project and think about the impact across their brand ecosystem. Collaboration and listening to clients, team members, and audiences also help to drive all steps in the creative process.

Q. Urban Emu is exceptionally collaborative, so I’m sure you get to do a lot of that. What about the collaborative process do you find so beneficial?

A. I love having working sessions with team members, discovery sessions with clients, and really all types of meetings that bring in diverse opinions, thoughts, and feedback. Working with the client to understand their needs and the problems that we’re solving helps to produce more aligned, stronger, and impactful end results, as all key points have been considered.

Q. What standout projects have you worked on, and what did you enjoy about them?

A. I enjoy any type of project where I can flex my creativity and implement big ideas to bring to the table. Being on a project from onset to completion with involvement in every step of our multifaceted process is also exciting, and it’s always satisfying to interact with a final, developed product. You know it took teamwork and collaboration to make it happen, and I love hearing from clients about the success, details, and results of brand and product launches.

Q. How did you get interested in UX design?

A. I have a very diverse design background, but naturally, over time, I gravitated towards digital design and projects that required deep thought and an integrated approach. I like that UX/UI touches on so many different skill sets, such as design, writing, presenting, strategizing, collaborating, and more, so that every project always feels exciting and different. The industry is always evolving, and as a lifelong learner, it helps me to grow as well.

Q. You mentioned that you take a lot of day trips. What are some other things you like to do in your free time? 

A. I love being outdoors in nature. In the summer, I participate in water activities as much as I can, like kayaking and SUP. I also enjoy reading, cooking, and getting back into ‘good’ photography with my Olympus E-M10.

Q. What’s your favorite thing about working at Urban Emu?

A. Besides the people, I love Urban Emu’s purpose-driven mission. So many of the clients I’ve worked with strive to make a positive impact in the world, and I’m grateful to be a small part of that.

We’re so grateful to have Dana on our team to bring a holistic perspective to every project. Stay tuned for more teammate spotlights.

Contact Us

Urban Emu is an experience agency with a fast growing team of experience designers, facilitators, strategists, researchers, UX/UI designers, and software engineers that create innovative experiences to improve and transform businesses.

We love to hear about ideas big or small. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us regarding your project.

Email: hello@urbanemu.com