21 October 2020

How design can turn a house into a home

W/ Kate Freebairn

It was an absolute pleasure to meet and chat with Kate earlier this year at Pausefest where we talked about UX Design, culture and Leadership.

Kate has followed her curiosity and passion and found herself the Director of Design at Nest, which is now a Google company. She studied industrial design here in Australia and had dreams of designing more human connections with computers. She started her career at Emu Design in Brisbane at a time when there were only a handful of serious product agencies here in Aus. Her career has taken her to Finland working with Nokia and to the heart of Silicon Valley with Twitter and Amazon. We spoke about some of the differences in culture across these companies and how they let their employees flourish at work.

“…be purposeful with everything we touch, and therefore make it better.”

I am really interested in the bridge between industrial design and interface design. I think back to 2000 in my final year of high school, in my design class we worked on designing mobile phones, looking at new form factors (mine looked like a slightly slimmer 5210 🙂 I can’t help but wish we had focussed on the interface design at that point in time. An industrial design ethos lends itself very well to UX/UI and Kate and I discuss these parallels and how they have helped shape her career across both hardware and software design.

Kate talks about the concept of ambient computing and how she imagines a world where we seamlessly glide between products and interfaces with little friction. Her experience at Amazon and Nest has given her some unique insights into this world and it was great to hear about how she sees the future of technology in the home!

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