Learning By Doing

Joining a Scrappy Team and Learning about Digital Product Development

Client: Fasax Travel Services

The Challenge

Quickly and efficiently produce UI designs for an MVP prototype of a flight purchasing platform

The Outcome

I produced initial designs and remained involved with the project to learn about the larger ecosystem of product development


>1 year

Fasax is an independent digital travel agency focused on serving the Horn of Africa region and the Somali diaspora.

There is currently no way to buy plane tickets digitally in the Somali airline industry, so the purpose of Fasax is to build a solution to serve that market.

I was originally hired on a short-term basis to create UI designs for the MVP launch, but I continued to stay involved in the project to learn more about the process of creating digital products and to help out with additional development and design tasks.

Competitive Analysis + Taking an Inventory

I was still pretty green as a UX designer when I took on this job, but I figured, no better way to learn!

To give myself a foundation to stand on, I started by conducting a competitive analysis of various flight purchasing platforms and took an inventory of their patterns and functions.

Passing My First Test

Once I had created my inventory, I did a first round of designs over the course of a few days.

After the first week, I had a feedback session with Hassan and Jason, made some more improvements over the next week, and then presented my designs.

Looking back at my work now, I can find plenty of things that I’d like to improve, but the important thing was, Hassan and Jason were happy with my work and enjoyed working with me.

I felt like I had one tiny victory under my belt, and I was even happier when they asked if I’d be interested in continuing to work with them.

Hungry to learn more about digital product development, I of course accepted their offer and over the next year or so have learned a lot about digital product development in a super scrappy environment.

Learning About the Larger Product Development Ecosystem

One of the best things about working with Hassan and Jason and been the opportunity to extend my skills and do some hands-on learning.

I have some foundational programming knowledge (I’ve taken Intro to CS and Data Structures + Algorithms at Rutgers and loved them both), but I had yet to work on an actual full-scale project that wasn’t just writing some Java to pass a barrage of tests.

Jason was kind enough to show me the ropes of working with Docker and Git and shepherd me along as a junior developer.

Measuring Success

It is still the early days for Fasax as a product, but one informal metric of success in this situation has been that Hassan and Jason were willing to work with me more and continue to reach out to me for additional design work.

Now that we are starting to get our first few customers, we are turning our attention to SEO and hearing from users about what could use improvement.

Lessons Learned + Moving Forward

  • You have to work through the Bad to get Better
  • The importance of working with structure and systems in design
  • My desire to work on a slightly larger design team so I can learn from others more directly
  • The need to focus, for now — I am interested in programming, but I want to focus on my research and design skills for now and put coding on the back burner for the time being