In this blog series, we shine a light on women trailblazers in the design industry – women who have earned a Wikipedia page (or are likely to very soon). You might not know them by name, but definitely by their work and influence on the design world as a whole.
This month, we’re highlighting Yesenia Perez-Cruz, an accomplished designer, speaker, and author. Yesenia Perez-Cruz is a great role model for women and people of color who are interested in design and technology. Her drive towards innovation and passion for inclusivity make her a strong leader in this traditionally male, white industry.
Initially Perez-Cruz, who came to the US when she was 5 years old, thought she would grow up to be a writer. Her time was spent at this early age reading books as a way to teach herself English. Reading and writing became the foundation for her creative curiosity and that self-motivated drive can be attributed to her success today. A graphic design course in her senior year of high school changed all that and led to her acceptance to the design program at Drexel University.
It was here that Perez-Cruz first became interested in web and user interface design and, eventually, more specifically, UX design.
UX design, simply put, “refers to any interaction a user has with a product or service”. Her work in UX puts her on the forefront of innovations which consumers experience first-hand and in real time. Her inclusive mindset ensures that technology is designed responsibly with all humans in mind, creating a seamless, positive interaction for all end users.
In her current role as Senior UX Manager at Shopify, she’s noted that her love of writing now plays a bigger role in her career than she expected with UX design presenting an opportunity to tell an interactive story. Her work, visually stunning as well as highly functional, has earned her street-cred awards like Rad Girl’s 2015 Designer of the Year and a Webby.
She is especially passionate about the relationship between technology and design, providing audiences with applicable inspiration for their own work. In her book, “Expressive Design Systems” she explores the ways in which design systems can elevate design and innovation, and how to avoid becoming stifled by processes.
Perez-Cruz, a self described introvert, travels the world as a speaker at conferences and events, sharing her expertise and passion but also as a way to advocate for inclusivity and for women of color in the highly competitive design/tech world.
In an interview with The Great Discontent, she explained “When I was going to conferences for the first time, I never saw people on stage who looked like me—there weren’t a lot of women or Latinas. I realized that if I wanted to see more Latinas on stage, I’d have to push myself to get up there. I hope that others will be inspired by that.”
Yesenia Perez-Cruz’s viewpoint is one we should all pay attention to. Through her own self advocacy and inclusive approach, she hopes to encourage others to pursue a similar path.
To learn more about Yesenia Perez-Cruz and to see her work, visit her website https://www.yeseniaperezcruz.com/.