klara jarolimovaux architect

how my interest in design started

Visual elements are one of the best ways for me to express my thoughts. I first noticed my interest in design and architecture during my childhood, when I kept building cityscapes between tree roots using sticks and stones or tree barks or played around with legos. My kindergarten teacher had a conversation with my parents about her concern that I may be deaf. She said that she kept calling my name, but I was too focused on my lego structures and completely ignored her. When I got a little older, I started writing a diary with sketches from all of our travels. I was inspired by Dances With Wolves. Traveling has played an essential part in my journey and brought a lot of inspiration to my work. It allowed me to gain an appreciation for numerous cultures and work with diverse personas. I don't think a trip is complete without spending quality time with locals and learning about their life. Local people are crucial during the discovery phase of the design process and the foundation in driving the efforts to identify and solve the right problems. Many times I prefer traveling solo and volunteering abroad because any new experiences give me a bit of cognizance of people from different backgrounds and types of knowledge. I believe that in today's world, it is important that sharing your culture and learning about others by engrossing in the music, art, cuisine, language, architecture, and life is the way to travel abroad, not by staying in luxury hotels and barely stepping into the life outside. We show off our experiences and skillset to maintain our competitive edge, but getting to know the lives outside of our own can be liberating.

I get excited about telling and listening to stories. Listening to stories lets me identify the uniqueness of each person and how I can make my designs intuitive by comprehending their psyche. A big part of being a UX designer is understanding that everyone has a story to tell, and everyone's story is worth hearing. Listening makes one ask the right questions that can lead to new opportunities and new ideas. I believe that humanity-centered design gained more recognition over the last decade because designers and tech enthusiasts have noticed the importance of user involvement throughout the product design process to solve the correct problems and needs of their ecosystems. I find it a way to connect to others and practice empathy. In my mind, we cannot always assume that we have been in others' shoes. People are more complex than that, and when I found the opportunity to combine design and psychology as a focus for my career, I immediately took it and never looked back. After completing my B.A. in Design with a Minor in Mass Media Communications at UNC Charlotte I wanted to expand my technical skills. I have collaborated with developers, project managers, marketers, and clients for the past 10 years. I held roles ranging from front-end developer and web producer to web designer, visual designer, service designer, UX/UI designer, UX researcher, UX manager, and UX strategist.

what I love about design

One of the main reasons I like design is that when it comes to making a positive impact on the world, connecting with others, and innovating, the possibilities are endless. I also love the humanity part of it, because UX designers help to give people voice. When I began networking with other tech enthusiasts at hackathons, their entrepreneurial spirit inspired me to pay attention to each encounter in my life and how it could be improved, from navigating through airports to finding the proper treatment for one's condition. I look for the same within a team or a culture I decide to join. Being able to work within a team that is thrilled about ideation is energizing. A critical aspect of design that makes it incredibly rewarding to me is that designers are humanity-focused. We don't just learn about systems that solve global issues; we look to the people on the ground, who drive their communities, who know and live within their cultures. We study them and their habitat to change their lives for the better by democratizing design and giving them the power of becoming a necessary part of the problem-solving process. We work through the combination and collaboration of people from diverse, relevant expertise and disciplines. What makes designers unique is that they are people of action, empathy, creativity, and synthesis.

Over the years I've developed appreciation for the scientific approach to design process that involves user research. I believe that a lack of research and testing is a way to kill an opportunity to improve your product through a more sustainable and transparent relationship with its users, or a chance that allows you to solve the right problems in a more integrated space. I think this can lead one to a waste of time and money for development efforts. Some causes I consider most important to support with my skillset are health, environment, marine biology and conservation, animal rights, women's rights, education and the eradication of human trafficking.

more on design experience

I am continuing to enjoy the notion of learning new things every day and the versatility of being a user advocate while holding diverse roles that constitute the world of user experience. I recently completed M.S. in Business Information Technology at Depaul University. I have also taken courses in Human-Computer Interaction to prepare me for new adventures in the realm of innovation. I chose to complete my capstone project within the Human-Computer Interaction program, building a prototype and UX process/execution plan for another cause I feel strongly about - a technical solution to help users live and track an environmentally friendly lifestyle. I learned a great deal about using design and technology to connect with users and change their world for the better. My solutions result from a combination of creative and analytical expertise, cognitive science, accessibility, usability evaluations, and the implementation of human-centric methodologies.

other interests and hobbies that inspire creativity

We share this planet to inspire and teach each other, and I have been fortunate to meet many who were able to show me both; through their stories, work, passion, music, or art. I'm a bit of a hobby collector. It is one of the reasons I stayed with UX design as my profession because it is so versatile. As a kid I grew up in a very adventurous family environment and mindset, and developed this urge as if I wanted to experience everything, because I'd easily get inspired by dancers, artists, athletes etc. I always thought of it as an escape from negative experiences or events happening in the world that I couldn't do anything about, and that there were so many mysteries and miracles that have been or are yet to be found. I knew it could get me stuck in restlessness when deciding what to focus on first, therefore falling into the trap of not focusing on one hobby for long enough to learn it well, but I like new experiences. After seeing a few articles, TED talks, or books, I realize I can use this significant part of who I am for idea synthesis. The only thing to watch out for when youhave so many interests is not to burn the candle from both ends. That is a mistake I tend to repeat, now using meditation to learn how to recharge, preserve my energy and focus better.

As a child, I competed in cross-country skiing and running, continuing to compete as a runner until my days in the NCAA, but I also briefly enjoyed biking, rock climbing, martial arts, archery and tennis. Later in life, I began switching this form of cardio with various genres of dancing. I also enjoy reading, horseback riding, hiking/backpacking, sailing, art/design/architecture, improv, musical improv, music/music history, chess/Bagh-Chal, amateur astronomy, photography, psychology, wildlife conservation, and writing.

I've an appreciation of various genres of music and art. I've spent some time learning to play a couple of instruments as a form of meditation. Music and art are fascinating documentation of historical and cultural events in terms of the human mind and its connection to the rest of society as well as ourselves, immediately taking us to a different time or place or even universe. I also love movies as another form of telling stories. They are, just like art, a terrific way of connecting to the human spirit. One of my favorite books from my college years was Media Literacy. I enjoyed watching black-and-white movies and finding my interpretations of their influence on modern cinema. I've been a big fan of Italian Neorealism and French New Wave, but always enjoyed Czech, French, Italian, Indian, and American cinematography.

technological evolution that inspires creativity

Since I've always seen history from the perspective of artists, musicians, architects, and innovators, I always asked myself one question. How do we build democratized and integrated systems that inspire our appreciation of diverse forms of innovation and existence? Would these systems help us make the "total experience" human-focused yet aware of the need for biodiversity that makes nature and life sustainable? To enhance our evolution towards this experience of our growing relationship with machines, we need to continue understanding humanity as a part of nature. Yet, we want to be part of sustainable nature.

We are still working on adopting and understanding trees that grow without competing with the trees next to them. At the same time, we continue to have our human need to inspire each other to succeed through inclusivity and friendly, educational competition that pushes us past our limiting beliefs, reminding ourselves how the Olympic Games started and why. I recently began reading "Age of Invisible Machines" by Robb Wilson, which made my appreciation of technology intertwine with the same level of appreciation of the spiritual world through the ecosystems of conversational AI and hyperautomation. I wonder if this will eventually help humans to be able to communicate via telepathy, which may have always been there, but inaccessible due to it being a more significant challenge to humans as opposed to communication tactics and patterns of other species. It is likely not because of human lack of potential for telepathic communication but due to different human communication and innovation styles simultaneously evolving throughout history, making telepathic communication more complex for humans rather than other species on our planet from an emotional and psychological perspective. Conversational AI is different, effective mainly for informational purposes. As humans we are to be able to tell the difference, as much as telling the difference between our concious and subconcious minds, and HCI exist to maintain the human aspect in our interactions with technology. Since hearing is the last sense to go before we fall unconcious, I believe there is a lot to be found in the arena of sound therapy to treat conditions such as pseudo seizures.

It will be interesting to see what is yet to come, and I look forward to continuing to be part of UX as an ongoing iterative part of the collective undertaking to enhance our learning experiences and perception of ourselves, humanity, the world, and the universe.

architecture, interior design and fashion design side gigs

I have been exploring interior and fashion design as well as architecture on the side as a hobby, pursuing smaller projects to redesign people's homes or wardrobes. I have an account on taskrabbit, and some samples of my work on Klarko's misc part of portfolio. Feel free to reach out!

creative expression of Chicagoans

All interests aside, nothing compares to the sense of freedom when you sail onto the horizon, see nothing but vast waters, play your guitar at a sunset or take off riding on the back of a compassionate and graceful creature, enjoying the nature. I'm lucky I can pursue some of these endeavors in Chicago. Chicago is also a perfect place to find open minded people from all corners and walks of life, who share one's passion for various craft forms and have a spectacular sense of humor. I am always up for anything that involves arts and music, humor, adventure, or animals. I find them all therapeutic and restorative. We all need a way to relax from time to time, clear our minds, and reimagine our horizons. You can see snippets of some of my stories on Klarko's Blog.