Your User Experience and the Creative Process

A few years ago, the painter in the studio across the hall from mine moved out, and Pinterest installed an office in her place. As they spent six weeks doing loud construction setting up their new office space, I fumed. I wished that another female small business would have moved into the space rather than what I perceived as a giant, faceless company.

However, I have gotten to know the small team of people who work at the Pinterest office over time. We chat on our way to and from our workspaces, and we’ve come to feel like coworkers of sorts, even though we work in very different industries. Now I have an understanding that the yummy visuals you dive into on Pinterest when you’re searching, discovering, and pinning are brought to you by a creative team of people sitting around a table, solving the puzzle of how best to serve you.

The team at Pinterest is a good example of how everything is creative, and how the creative process applies to so much more than just art. Of course my focus is on fine art, but I believe that working on your creativity and spending a year with it can pay off in ways that we can’t even imagine right now. Einstein used to say, “Problems can’t be solved at the same level of thinking at which they were created.” And I think that the artists, designers, creators, contributors—all the people in the world who are making stuff instead of just consume it—are actually contributing to an evolving collective consciousness that’s going to allow us to find solutions to many of our problems.

The question at the core of my Let’s Go Deep program is “How do I look internally and find out who I am, and make a series of work that really reflects my innermost desires and aesthetic?” Once you have that sense of yourself, you never know where that will take you. You could find yourself relevant in whole new ways.

I’ve been using MailChimp as my email newsletter provider service for about five years. On Monday, a team from MailChimp will visit me to interview me and observe me as I create a newsletter. They want to observe the user experience and learn more about how the users create with their product. I’m happy to participate with MailChimp on this research, and I already love the way they creatively weave the user experience into their interface: As I get ready to send a newsletter, the chimp icon is sweating, reflecting my sweat—of hard work over the newsletter’s content and anxiety about how it’ll be received. I click send and WHOOSH—it is off into the send queue! The chimp icon changes, and now it’s giving me a high five; I did it!


It’s things like that that have kept me using MailChimp all these years, because in every detail of their interface they have thought about the end user. I also think about my “end user” when writing every newsletter. I don’t have a very big list, and I sincerely appreciate it when you open and read my Wonderletters, like you’re reading right now. Every time I send out a newsletter, I feel a sense of nervous excitement and hope and possible rejection and risk and gratitude and connection—and when you write me back, I really appreciate it.

If you’d like to geek out with me for a year and really dig into the creative process with an amazing amount of support from me as well as a creative community, I’d love to have you in my cohort for Let’s Go Deep, which is starting up in October. I’ll be back in your inbox again later this week with a story from someone whose artwork and life has been impacted by their experience in the course.

Annamieka Davidson