Olha Bahaieva: Use Negative Feedback for Professional Growth

Lead UX/UI designer

by Elizabeth Lavis


30 Jan 2024

Gold Winner in Interactive Design 2023
“My best advice for aspiring designers is not to be upset when you hear negative feedback”

Ukranian-born Olha Bahaieva is a veritable Renaissance woman whose professional achievements include being a top Medium writer and speaker, author, Indigo Design award winner, and Lead UX/UI designer who has always forged her own path. “When I started my UX/UI design career, there were no UX/UI educators or mentors,” she says. “I decided to take action with online courses, communities, and English blogs.” This grit has served her well and propelled her to the top of her field. “I learned a lot from online courses, YouTube, and blogs,” she says. “I put in long days and weeks of practice, trained myself with design concepts, and even got a job when I wasn’t fully ready.”

It seems like the key to Bahaieva’s success is her ability to turn any challenge into an opportunity, even when it comes to harsh criticism. “My best advice for aspiring designers is not to be upset when you hear negative feedback,” she says. “No designer wants to hear these things, but instead of feeling upset, try to figure out the reasons behind the feedback. Negative feedback is your free mentor that will allow you to grow as a designer. If you research why you got this feedback, you can transform them into actionable steps to improve your design.”

Bahaieva also sees the sunny side of mistakes, viewing them as tools to gain more experience and knowledge. “The important thing is not to repeat your mistake,” she says. “Otherwise, you didn’t get your lesson.” She also emphasizes the importance of practice and learning design fundamentals to improve your final product. “Try to understand design principles and repeat them in your work,” she says. “The more you practice, the more techniques you will learn.”

"Creative Developer", Olha Bahaieva

The backbone of Bahaieva’s design approach is comprehensive research. “I need to know business goals, target audience, and competitors,” she says. “I can design many solutions, but which one would be best? I can only answer this question when I know my product in-depth.” She also relies heavily on strategy, at least in the beginning. “I need to answer several questions, including why I’m designing the product, what problems I’m solving, and how the users will benefit.” Once this foundational strategy is cemented, Bahaieva can focus on creating a visually pleasing and purposeful design.

Bahaieva also loves the creative freedom that comes hand-in-hand with her job. “No matter what I design, I will create something new and unique every time,” she says. “I can also collaborate with amazing minds and share creative solutions as we brainstorm.” She also values transparent and healthy communication with her clients, which is the ‘golden key’ of a harmonious relationship. “I set up daily/weekly stand-ups for us to discuss the design process and improvements,” she says. “When I design a product, I report daily on the process. Even if I didn’t complete the full task, I let my client know what was done. I want them to know how the work is going and that everything is fine.” She also cites these calls as an opportunity for clients to provide feedback, a valuable tool for ensuring the design is on track.

Bahaieva sees herself as a hybrid specialist working in both design and development, and she plans to hone these skills, working on writing and public speaking and continuing to influence in her field and on social media platforms. 

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