Rick is a senior designer from Brazil who is currently based in Dubai. He has a decade of experience in design thinking, information architecture, user research, and UX/UI strategy and design. Rick has worked with startups and established companies in the retail, banking, fin-tech, telecommunications, SaaS, and hospitality sectors. Well-known brands include Santander and Speedo. As a passionate designer, Rick excels at optimizing connections between human behavior and technology.
A brief intro into who you are
I am Rick Freitas, 36 years old. I am Brazilian and I just completed a year living in Dubai. So far, despite the bad circumstances brought by COVID, I have had a unique and very rewarding experience. I am a designer by training, specialized in strategic business management, focusing on technology and working with the design and management of digital products since 2008. It has been a journey full of achievements and good learning.
How has the Digital Product and Design world changed due to covid-19?
After a severe drop in the job market, the Product Design space has recovered somewhat and more companies understand the importance of this discipline for the digital transformation that will accompany the new normal in several sectors. Nowadays, with a good part of the population still facing restrictions, it is possible to predict how the digital world will become increasingly part of people’s daily lives. Today, for example, we have replaced a simple paper restaurant menu with a QR code that can be scanned and provides much more efficient content, and creates new possibilities for interaction.
What key insights can you give to brands or companies in helping them adapt to the “new normal” ?
The investment in the relationship with the consumer is undoubtedly a big bet. Investing in research and interaction with customers will help companies understand new social behavior and new preferences for the consumption of products and services. Being aligned with sustainability and movements that aim at social equality will help companies to stand out in relation to those traditional players. Investing in new technology and simplifying processes is also an important step to be taken.
What has made you see the light at the end of the tunnel with all that’s happening so far in MENA in 2020?
Constant efforts and investments by local leaders, a large space for growth and development of new businesses, and flexibility in-laws and relations – because policies aimed at attracting expatriates, undoubtedly bring hope for MENA’s next great achievements.
What emerging technologies or trends should people be aware of within the digital space of design and product development?
I imagine that augmented reality and virtual reality technologies will grow significantly and will become more popular in the near future. Services focused on sustainability, which is connected with social changes will become increasingly competitive.
Which brands or businesses are using digital / technology to its full potential and how?
Big tech brands and companies focused on retail and logistics services are one step ahead. Zoom’s growth, Skype’s new investments, for example, demonstrate how companies focused on streaming, cloud services, SaaS and teleconferencing are increasingly connecting people and businesses.
What piece of advice can you give to juniors looking to either enter this space or to take the next steps in their careers?
Nowadays, junior designers have access to a lot of knowledge, learnings, and extensive material produced – which was not so long ago. The UX area has matured a lot in the last decade, and beginners have the opportunity to develop their careers consistently. So my advice would be: “Work hard, don’t be in a hurry to get over the steps, don’t be afraid to take risks. Fail fast to fail better and learn as much as you can from your mistakes. Always be guided by some people who inspire you and do your best. “