Alena Nikolaeva

Alena Nikolaeva

Product Designer @GitHub Copilot in Valencia, Spain, She / her

About

Software Engineer and Product Designer focused on accessible and inclusive experiences on the web and B2C2B SaaS platforms.

My role begins with user research, understanding the business requirements, and collaborating with the Product to develop effective accessible solutions. However, my interest goes beyond that.

I have extensive experience in cross-functional collaboration with various teams, where I create and design visual components, implement layouts and features, and ensure a seamless visual perspective. If the project requires it, I could be spending time on transforming designs into scalable sets of accessible components with CSS, JavaScript, React, Vue, or Nuxt to isolate functionality, manage complexity, and enable reusability.

What I love doing the most:

  • Providing accessibility trainings for teams and speaking about tools, testing, and different approaches to building products that are useful, inclusive, and available for all, regardless of users' ability, technology, or the situation they are experiencing.
  • Raising awareness and introducing testing, evaluation, users with diverse abilities interviews, and reporting.
  • Ensuring that the WCAG standards are met in the product, alerts system implementation, tracking, and e2e accessibility testing.
  • Prepare scripts, and conduct user interviews.
  • Ensuring strong partnership with research and Growth teams.
  • Passion for functional programming, reusable, modular UI code, and scalable design systems.
  • End-to-end design system solutions: from design to implementation with unit testing.
  • Do light QA or plan heavily for e2e testing strategies with the engineering team.
  • Thinking about both frontend and backend architecture to help quick integration of UI elements to the application.
  • Make use of my experience of componentization, CSS, and modular systems based on component (styling and behaviour) libraries when improving product's UI.

In my free time, I travel, write, working on my illustration commissions, discover coffee places, or spend time with loved ones.

I opened a coffee shop once, should I do it again? 💭

Obsidian
Twitter
LinkedIn
GitHub
Codepen

Work Experience

2023 — Now
Remote

Working on licences and admin experience for GitHub Copilot: the world's most widely adopted AI developer tool.

2022 — 2023
Remote

Xata is a serverless database service that combines the
power of a traditional database with the usability of a
SaaS spreadsheet-like app.

In the fast-growing startup environment, I've worked on
meeting business goals, technical contains, and users'
needs and combining them into a beautiful online
experience. That included a design system for Xata
based on accessible semantic tokens in light and dark
modes on top of Chakra UI. The system also supported
marketing materials, public website and blogs,
and the application itself: all within one design system.

I also worked on organising internal design process, feature requests and automations for customers feedback.

2021 — 2022
Barcelona, Spain

Typeform is a Spanish online software as a service
company that specializes in online form building and
online surveys.

My role included the following:

  • Translating designs and business and accessibility
    requirements into useful, useable, and clean and tested UI
    code solutions that help users globally to use the feature
  • Collaborate with design to perform QA, user interviews,
    and documentation, and fix incoming incidents on
    accessibility (AA)
  • Participation in the team's (core product) workshops, ideations, discussions, and internal processes to help build the best possible solutions for the customers
  • A/B Testing, experiments implementation within the team,
    and iteration
2019 — 2021
Remote

Front-end development for project such as Adcon 2020,
Navigate 2021 (digital platform EventDotSpace), re:Shape
2021, Amazon Business Exchange 2021 for Amazon, Melia,
ADQneobank, Year of Culture 2021.

Technology: Vue.js, React, Nuxt, Flutter web, SCSS,
Stencil (Web Components), Storybook, unit and e2e
testing, accessibility evaluation, and Cypress.
Reports and technical documentation: accessibility,
cypress testing, defining and estimating tasks, and
project documentation

  • Amazon Business Exchange. A virtual event hosted by Amazon Business.
    I participated in 3 projects for Amazon Business and build
    a reusable platform that was able to support 3 different
    online events and led the last one as project lead.

  • Melia Hotels Design System at Melia
    The project includes hundreds of reusable and tested
    components with the solid architecture of design tokens
    behind it. The challenge of the project was to collaborate
    with several designers over some years and adapt to
    project requirements while working together with the
    engineering team and engineering leads to ensure the
    quality, accessibility, and visual aspects of the project.

  • Years Of Culture
    Frontend development of the website and leading accessibility evaluations and compliance.

2021 — 2021
Dusseldorf, Renania Septentrional-Westfalia, Alemania

My role covered cross-functionally collaboration with
other teams, creating visual components and
implementing layouts and features from a visual
perspective, transforming a design into React
components, and isolating functionality to manage
complexity and enable reusability.

2020 — 2020
Bielefeld, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

A white label software that creates a customer-centric
rental experience along the entire value chain of the
rental model. Starting with the conclusion of a rental
contract, the setup of recurring payments, self-
administration by the end consumer, and ending with the
management and tracking of all products by the provider.

2018 — 2020
Madrid, Spain

Product design Roombox family (desktop, website, and
VR experience app): developing a concept, design system, UX, UI, and brand identity for product-rendering platform based on Next Limit’s Maxwell engine (ground-truth photorealistic
renderer).

  • Developing a Design System and UI design for Roombox
    product - rendering platform based on Next Limit’s
    Maxwell engine (ground-truth photorealistic renderer).
    Improve the desdev communication and workflow.
  • Work through the UX process (user experience research,
    problem statement, user interviews, pain points,
    customer journey mapping, storyboards, prototyping, and
    design solution).
  • Design and develop a front-end of a web application with
    React.
  • UI Design and Design System for Anyverse project anyverse.ai/
    (physics-based synthetic data AI simulator for training
    autonomous vehicles and perception-based robotics)
2017 — 2018
Brand and Visual Content at Waycup Specialty Coffee
Madrid, Spain
2016 — 2017
Web Designer at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
Madrid, Spain
2014 — 2015
Marketing graphic designer at Freelance
Valencia, Spain

Speaking

2024
Bilbao, Spain

WCAG continues to evolve, and since the first version was published in 1999, we have the latest update :partying_face:. Let's explore the updates in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), focusing on version 2.2, released on October 5, 2023. The additions and modifications aim to improve web accessibility, levels A, AA, when and how to apply them, and all the good stuff. By the end of this talk, I hope you have a deeper understanding of the updates in WCAG 2.2 and how they contribute to making the web more inclusive and accessible for everyone.

Documentation, resources and my drawings illustrating updates in the WCAG focusing on version 2.2, released on October 5, 2023. The additions and modifications, levels A, AA, when and how to apply them, and all the good stuff: <tinyurl.com/chuleta-de-ale…>

2023
Proven ways to make your website accessible in 2023 at JS Heroes
Cluj-Napoca, Romania
2023
Madrid, Spain

Slides: noti.st/alenanikspeaks…

Cuando hablamos de productos y servicios en las startups, tenemos que asegurarnos de que los cimientos de nuestros productos nos ayudan a escalar y a crear un producto que funcione para todos los usuarios en los años posteriores. Creo que es una idea muy poderosa la de que no sabemos dónde acabará nuestro producto, como no sabemos quién va a pisar el puente que está construyendo una arquitecta.

2022
Online

Tech podcast with @miriamgonp y @dawntraoz where we spoke about CSS, accessibility and CSS animations with @gerig_thamara.

2022
Online

Talking accessibility and personal career growth

2021
Online

Talking about accessible CSS techniques and tricks.

Side Projects

2023

I've teached young developers on how to understand, talk about, and implement accessibility during their Advanced Frontend Bootcamp 2023

2023

I've worked with Kaleidos to help them with Taiga taiga.io/ free and open-source project management tool to make it more accessible and trained their design team.

2023
"You, Me, Accessibility" book

It's my book and an educational project about accessibility, ethics, collaboration, security, design, and content: everything that comes with building an inclusive user-centered product that also solves business problems.

Writing

2023

Personal projects, inspiration, and working daily routine with Cris

2022

Tupu.io is a non-profit initiative to offer free mentorship to women, people of color, and other underrepresented groups in the tech industry. I shared my journey in tech in this interview.

2022

Talent Hackers interviewed me alongside amazing women in technology.

Volunteering

2019 — Now

Tupu.io is a non-profit initiative to offer free mentorship to women, people of color, and other underrepresented groups in the tech industry.

2019 — 2020
Volunteer at Mozilla Support (for Support Forum) at Mozilla

Education

2019 — Now
Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science and Engineering at VIU - Universidad Internacional de Valencia
Valencia, Spain

Full scholarship granted

2021 — 2022
IAAP CPACC Certification Preparation at Deque University

Preparation for accessibility certification exams offered by the International Association of Accessibility Professionals.

2020 — 2020
Product Manager Nanodegree Program at Udacity
Remote
2018 — 2018
Full-Stack Web Development Bootcamp (MERN Stack) at Wild Code School
Madrid, Spain

Women-in-Technology Scholarship granted

2017 — 2018
Master Degree in Communication and Social Media at Inesdi Digital Business School

• Plan de Marketing Digital
• Branding Corporativo y Diseño Gráfico Digital.
• SEO y SEM. Google AdWords y Google Analytics