My Name Is Jessica Murray — This Is Why I Joined Aha!
Were you a kid who knew exactly what you wanted to be when you grew up? I was not sure. But I always knew what I wanted to do — create things. I loved many art forms — painting, sewing, molding clay. I was hungry to learn, often taking advanced fine art classes as the only kid in a room of adults. Early on, I discovered conceptual art and was motivated by the possibility of art as an idea, purpose, or story. My art became more than something to look at — it connected the viewer to a message or experience.
What makes an artist an artist? To me, it is the ability to tell a complex story in a visual way.
In high school, I was introduced to photography and digital art. I realized there was an opportunity to turn my love of art into a career. So I decided to pursue graphic design in college. Unlike a painting or photo, graphic designs had the ability to evolve. Digital design moved fast. I was excited to be at the forefront of telling stories in a new, digital world.
At the end of the program, I moved to Toronto and joined a prestigious branding and graphic design studio. Starting my career was thrilling, but I quickly felt out of place. The highly competitive agency environment was not for me. I wondered if I was cut out for graphic design jobs at all.
I reflected on what had made me a good artist — it was my adaptability. So I decided to try something new.
I researched UX jobs and joined a consultancy as a visual designer. I loved the opportunity to dive deeply into strategy, research, and design. One of my clients was a utility company — I led a small team of designers to help re-imagine their energy bills. We connected their digital and print experiences to make it easier for customers to find the information that they needed. It was gratifying to see the broad impact of our design work.
After making the transition to a full-stack designer and with nearly a decade at the company, I was ready for a new challenge. I wanted to stay close to a product as it grew and join a team that cared deeply about user and customer experience. I discovered the job posting for a Senior UX Designer at Aha! and knew I needed to apply.
I spoke with several teammates during the interview process, including Aha! VP of Product and UX, Ron Yang. Instead of a typical interrogation, Ron was super engaged in the design sample I had submitted. We talked about how we could bring my design to life. It gave me a real sense of the curiosity and collaboration that I would experience on the Aha! team.
Since joining, I have had many chances to make significant contributions. Most recently, I contributed to the new work request feature in Aha! Roadmaps and the user experience for Aha! Develop. I have also been an advocate for greater accessibility across our products. It is important to me that all customers can understand, view, and use our products with ease. As someone with learning disabilities, this work is especially meaningful and personal.
Storytelling plays a big role in UX design — it is rewarding to be on a team that cares about making each touchpoint accessible for all users.
Throughout my life, I have adapted — pushing myself to learn new mediums, try new career paths, and connect to work that is rich and purposeful. The best part of working at Aha! is that my teammates are equally motivated to dig deep and find the best solutions in order to support our customers.
That is why I joined Aha! — and why you should too.