Home Interview Promising Professional Person: Samira Ahsan

Promising Professional Person: Samira Ahsan

Promising Professional Person: Samira Ahsan

Samira Ahsan
Independent Architectural Journalist and UX Designer
Inked Studios

Ms. Samira Ahsan is a dynamic and multifaceted professional who seamlessly bridges the realms of architectural journalism and user experience design. With a robust portfolio of accomplishments, she serves as the creative force behind Inked Studios, where her exceptional talents converge. Her career is a testament to her unwavering commitment to these two diverse but interrelated disciplines. As an Independent Architectural Journalist, she possesses a remarkable ability to distill the complexities of architectural design into accessible and compelling narratives. Her words breathe life into structures, conveying their history, significance, and the emotions they evoke. Complementing her writing prowess is Samira’s role as a UX Designer, where she crafts digital experiences that captivate and engage. Her user-centric approach and keen attention to detail ensure that every interaction with her designs is intuitive and enjoyable.

Let’s learn about her journey.

The InCAP: Ms. Samira Ahsan, please share your professional and academic peregrination for our readers!

Ms. Samira Ahsan: My five years of academic experience as a graduating architecture student from BRAC University in Dhaka, Bangladesh has allowed me to gain knowledge in the fundamentals of Architecture and Design. I dedicated significant effort throughout my academic journey, mainly as architecture proved to be a challenging major. However, the covid-19 took a toll on my plans, my family, and my health. It was not easy for me in the final years but I managed to complete it successfully.

During my final years, I also started to gain skills in the areas of Visual Design and Architecture Journalism through online platforms. After graduation, I secured an architectural internship and later worked as an Architect and contributed to many projects including Exterior design and interior design, and even participated in international design competitions.

After working as an architect for a year, I wanted to explore my other areas of interest in graphics and visual design. To enhance my skills, I enrolled in Userhub, to obtain a diploma in UX Design on User Interface (UI) Techniques and Human-Centered Approaches.  At Userhub, I had the privilege to dive deep into the concept of UX design. From what I learned here, the knowledge has not only refined my ability to craft visually stunning interfaces but also considered the overall user experience. The practical exercises and real-world projects allowed me to gather more experience. I gained a deep appreciation for UX design and was delighted to write a research paper for a real problem. It makes me extremely thankful to share that my research paper on “Improving Adolescent Girls’ Well-Being Through Gender-Sensitive Sanitation in Suburban Bangladeshi Schools” has been officially published recently.

I am currently working in Inked Studios as a UX Designer/copywriter in a human-centered design agency in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where, I am able to contribute to architectural and interior designs, graphics and visual designs, handle documentation, engage in problem-solving, and manage social brandings. Additionally, my work encompasses marketing tasks such as social media scheduling, designing campaigns and promotional materials, and implementing analytical strategies, among others. To conclude, as a User Experience Designer, my responsibilities include creating and enhancing the overall user experience of digital products or services and making the brands functional and visually appealing, meeting the needs and expectations of users.

Share your experiences in switching your career from Architect to UX Designer.

My journey of transitioning from an Architect to a UX Designer has been a significant experience. Stepping away from my expected career path as an architect was indeed a tough decision. However, it stands as one of the best decisions I’ve made. The process of switching careers was incredibly challenging, especially while managing a full-time job. Balancing my architectural responsibilities with the demands of studying and writing a research paper was not easy at all. It made me wonder how some people manage to excel in their academic and professional lives at the same time, equally!

Conducting fieldwork in suburban areas, attending site visits, and conducting both on-site and online interviews added to the complication. However, I have come to appreciate how this demanding period prepared my determination and resilience. I’ve discovered that I can continue contributing to the field of architecture independently while thriving as a UX designer.

Starting from scratch post-graduation presented its own set of challenges. The unwavering support of my family and friends provided the courage and motivation needed to embark on this new and exciting chapter in my professional life.

What tools and methodologies do you use to conduct user research and gather feedback?

It’s important to determine the actual problem before conducting user research. In my experience, I took a qualitative approach as it enables an in-depth exploration of social, physical, and psychological dimensions of the issue, gathering insights that might not be captured by quantitative methods. That includes conducting interviews with open-ended questions, and qualitative content analysis using ATLAS.ti software. Coding was initiated to categorize relevant data, followed by the identification of central themes. After the project’s completion, testing, iteration, and feedback were done essentially for the analysis and improvement from a neutral perspective as well.

Ms. Samira, How do you prioritize features and design elements when working on a tight deadline?

To be honest, I have always been efficient with time management. I precisely divide my tasks and adhere to my predefined schedule, ensuring there are no last-minute emergencies. However, creative projects don’t always conclude within the established timeframe, and as a creative individual, I am never completely satisfied with my work. There’s always the thought that there’s room for improvement, or that I could improve my output. The key lies in recognizing the appropriate moment to stop the search for perfection. In these scenarios, having a supportive peer or mentor for guidance and moral support proves immensely helpful. Moreover, it’s always a good idea to sketch out initial ideas, create a prototype, and develop a structured wireframe. This approach allows for easy accessibility to make minor edits, promoting progress and refinement. So, while working on a tight deadline, it’s better to plan ahead and work accordingly and, keep it simple!

How do you pursue your passion for Architectural Journalism?

Pushing myself as a writer has always been important to me which is why I also focused on developing my writing skills over the years. My enrollments in various online courses and cooperative freelance work with online magazines have allowed me to gain familiarity within my area of interest – Writing and Architectural Journalism. I previously completed a 4-month remote program as an Editorial Intern from Rethinking the Future (RTF), a global platform located in New Delhi, India.  

Since then, I have continued my journey as a writer and now I work with several architects, brand creators, and entrepreneurs to enhance their professional works and social branding. Writing, in other words, is a de-stressing hobby to me. It started as an escape from the pressures of daily life back then. Right now, I am also actively working as a part-time feature writer in different magazines and newspaper publications in Bangladesh, namely SHOWCASE Magazine, Ceramic Bangladesh, and The Business Standard (Habitat Segment).

Ms. Samira Ahsan, please say something to the readers!

Thank you for considering me among your professional icons; it truly means a lot. My hope is to inspire those around me through my roles as an architect, a designer, and a writer, aiming to make meaningful contributions to the design community. I aspire to travel, constantly learn, evolve with time, and shed light on my journey and experiences through journaling. Wishing the best of luck to everyone in their search for passion and purpose.

Quick Chat With Samira Ahsan

The most outstanding achievement of your life as of now:
Graduating with a Bachelor of Architecture with distinction, being able to publish my first research paper that I extensively worked for, and continuing to write on various topics in the field of architecture.   

Your Icon:
Every responsible, independent, and hard-working woman in the world.

Your greatest fear:
Not being able to live up to my potential and being unable to make my parents proud.

An influential book you have read:
Enough as You Are by Scott Stabile.

Best piece of words you’ve received:  
Surely, Allah is the Best of planners. The Quran 08:30 (Surah al-Anfal).

You in only three words:
Aesthete, Ambivert and Ambitious.

Skill Set

  • Hard Skills: Adaptability, Time Management, Responsibility and Efficiency.
  • Soft Skills: Resilience, Honesty, Integrity

Prayer for The Human Civilization:
Live and let live, we are here for a short time. While you do, pay attention to nature and landscape, and take effective steps to prevent pollution.

The InCAP: Thank you, Ms. Samira Ahsan! It’s a glittering conversation with you!

Ms. Samira Ahsan: My pleasure! Wish you all the best! Thank you.

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