Meet Morgan: From Film Editor to Interactive Designer At Square

Morgan Riles shares how she learned UX design and got hired as an Interactive Designer at Square.

Maria Myre
Maria Myre
Jan 19, 2022
Min Read

Morgan was a film editor for 12 years, crafting stories for short-form narrative and documentary projects. One of the highlights of her work was editing for Art21, the longest-running broadcast series on PBS about contemporary artists and their work. 

“I really loved film editing, but I just felt ready for a change to something more challenging, where I could work more collaboratively within a team,” Morgan shares. 

A few years ago, she was asked to help test out an app that she was using a lot at the time, and she really enjoyed the experience. 

“My opinion and thoughts in using the product really mattered to the team and I really felt valued, plus user testing was really engaging and fun for me. I was already thinking about shifting my career and that's how I was influenced to explore UX design.”

Why Morgan Chose UX Academy

When one of Morgan’s friends in UX recommended that she look into Designlab’s UX course offerings to help her shift into a new career, she was willing to try it out. 

“I wanted to ‘try before I buy,’ and the intro to design course seemed like a good low-barrier way for me to explore if UX design would be a good fit,” Morgan says. 

UX Academy Foundations was all it was cracked up to be, and she then decided to go all in and enroll with UX Academy.

Morgan’s UX Academy Experience

“The full-time program was pretty intense at times,” Morgan admits, “but I completed it with the help of great mentors, students, and friends/family who were willing to be a part of my research and testing.”
Morgan particularly reflected on how much her mentors influenced her overall experience. 

“I was so thankful to have been paired with people that loved UX and mentoring; it really made my learning so much more enjoyable.” 

Symptom tracking made simple, by Morgan Riles
Symptom tracking made simple, by Morgan Riles

After Months of Interviews, Virtual Networking Unlocks the Right Opportunity

After three months of interviewing with many different organizations, Morgan still struggled to get a foot in the door.

It ended up being her time spent virtual networking that finally paid off.  

“Nicole Locklair, head of recruiting and career services at Designlab, connected me to a local recruiter with P&G (Proctor and Gamble), and around the same time, I got a LinkedIn message from Darren Jackson, a partner with All Black Creatives, about a potential design opening with Square,” Morgan says. “Darrel found my portfolio somehow, he loved what I had designed, and referred me for a design opening through their partnership with Square.”

She interviewed with both Square and P&G simultaneously.

“I really connected with the team and mission of Square and felt more excited about accepting an offer should one come, and it did! It was a tough call because both organizations are top-notch, but Square was the better fit with their team and in what I wanted to do in UX design.”

OHNY app design by Morgan Riles
Effortless access to a city wide design festival

Life as a UX Designer at Square   

Since starting her new position at Square, Morgan has enjoyed collaborating with her new team of creatives, dedicated to helping restaurants grow and be economically empowered with the Square ecosystem of tools.
And in a big organization like Square, collaboration is required on many different fronts. Morgan shares that, “I work with our creative director, product managers, production designers, and a design technologist. We all have a passion for food, hospitality, and community!”

A Lifelong Commitment to Learning

“I feel like I've unlocked a part of me that's been there all along through working in product design,” Morgan says. “Filmmaking is kind of like one big diary study, and I still love hearing other people's stories, what makes them think the way that they do, and designing products to fit narratives in a frictionless, enjoyable way.”

Her love for UX brings a few new goals on the horizon:

“Learning doesn’t end after UX Academy,” says Morgan. “I'm still growing and fine-tuning UX skills, cultivating a climate designer network in Cincinnati, plus I hope to restart tutorials in html/css/.js that I had to pause last year.”

Apart from growing in her new career, Morgan is committed to creating a balanced life for herself. She takes a break from staring at screens as much as possible when she can, and finds time to read, catch up on indoor gardening, hang out with her husband, and explore the dining options in Cincinnati.

See Morgan’s work on her portfolio and connect with her on LinkedIn

If you’re inspired by Morgan’s story and are ready to make your own career switch into UI/UX design, take a look at our UX Academy program.

Launch a career in ux design with our top-rated program

Top Designers Use Data.

Gain confidence using product data to design better, justify design decisions, and win stakeholders. 6-week course for experienced UX designers.

Launch a career in ux design with our top-rated program

Top Designers Use Data.

Gain confidence using product data to design better, justify design decisions, and win stakeholders. 6-week course for experienced UX designers.