Practising human centered design for 12+ years now, Manisha Bhalekar considers herself both a design as well as a people leader.
Her expertise is to build and scale the user experience design competency at big and small organizations. More importantly, she actively works to position UX as a core business competency, much like product, engineering and other pillars within an organization.
Manisha leads teams and empowers them to excel at what they do and build products and services people love.
How are you planning to celebrate Women’s Day this year?
I will be volunteering time to mentor early entrants into the UX design field. This is important part of giving back to the community and help students and early professionals build a successful career in UXD.
Would you say there is an under-representation of women in UI/UX design?
This would depend upon geography. I’ve lived in the United States since 1999. I do believe there is an under-representation of woman in senior UX leadership. I’m looking forward to changing that.
What are some personality traits of women that make them better (or worse) UX designers?
I will answer this question differently because in my experience I have seen both women and men who are great (and not so great) UX Designers.
Instead, I will say that women are less likely to ask for or negotiate leadership positions within UX as well as compensation. This is not specific to UX only, I have observed this across other professions as well.
Again, this is something that my peers, fellow leaders, and I am actively working to improve.
Who are some design leaders (male or female) you look up to?
Indi Young (user researcher), Julie Zhuo (UX leader at Facebook), Lizzie Dyson (Ladies that UX).
As a woman, what’s the greatest challenge you’ve had to face as a designer?
Getting executive leadership to invest in UX as a business; getting stakeholders to understand how UX is different from graphic design.
Your message to young women looking to make their careers in UI/UX?
Be self-aware, know what you can and cannot do and go after it. Be fearless.
This article was last updated on December 3, 2023; Originally published on March 8, 2021