From Web Developer to UI Designer: My Design Journey

Meet Alba Silvente, a recent graduate from Dribbble’s UI design course and get inspired by her career journey.

Hi everyone, I’m Alba Silvente, also known as @dawntraoz on social media. I’m a Senior Front-End Developer working as a Developer Relation Engineer at Storyblok. I’m also a content creator who loves to write about #WebDevelopment, #Jamstack, and #WebPerformance. I also speak at conferences and host my Spanish tech podcast No me da la vida with my co-partner @miriamgonp.

From web development to UI design

I’ve always worked as a web developer collaborating with designers and bringing their visual creations to life. Throughout my career, I’ve been surrounded by mentors who started off as designers and became self-taught front-end developers. I’ve practically “grown up” with design, but I’ve never been able to translate my ideas into something tangible.

Luckily, that never stopped me. In my free time, I began working on personal projects and playing around with tools like Adobe Illustrator and Figma in hopes of improving my skills and finding my own style.

I’ve been a big fan of Dribbble for years and would often look for design inspiration on the platform. I subscribed to the Dribbble newsletter a few years ago where I learned about their Introduction to UI Design Course, and I decided to ask my company if I could spend my personal growth budget on it. They saw it as a good asset to my work as a developer, and I signed up. I’m actually already seeing the value in my day-to-day life and work!

Learning the UI design process

The course was divided into four lessons that together formed the natural process of a UI designer. Starting from basic UI design concepts to the research process, moodboarding, locking in visual aesthetics, and finally creating a UI library and a scalable design system.

Each lesson contained an assignment that helped us apply what we learned and share it with the rest of our classmates. On top of that, each week we were offered an optional activity to explore other topics surrounding UI design — and that was certainly one of the most fun parts.

One of the bonus assignments was to come up with a travel app concept and design a splash screen for it. In just a few hours, I ended up designing the splash screen of a food and travel app that I would love to exist. I was very happy that I was able to design something from scratch in only the second week of the course!

“I was very happy that I was able to design something from scratch in only the second week of the course!”

From concept to final prototype

The final capstone project of the course was to follow the UI design process to create a mobile app prototype for an NFT marketplace.

I’m a bit familiar with the crypto world with references like CryptoKitties, and I wanted to move away from the futuristic look and feel of a lot of NFT marketplaces we see nowadays. I decided to go for a fresh look and feel, using minimalism to not make it loaded, transmit order, and avoid gambling.

I had never spent so much time in a research phase and clearly defining what line I wanted to go for. The course taught me to dedicate the necessary time to research and appreciate the whole process. I also really enjoyed creating my own iconography to fit the style of my app design. I had a blast like a little girl with her new toy!

I was fortunate to be a part of a diverse group mentorship session, with students coming from all different backgrounds and skills. This made our weekly mentorship sessions much more fruitful.

I was lucky to have Natalia as a mentor. She was a sweetheart and worked very hard in each mentoring session. She made us collaborate with each other and present our exercises, taking away the fear of sharing and receiving feedback from others in a friendly environment. It was an absolute pleasure to connect and get feedback weekly!

Advice for new designers

As I learned in the course, never fall in love with the first versions of your designs. Also be open to change and experiment a lot— but only to a certain extent, without getting lost down the rabbit hole. Research and inspiration are essential, but meeting deadlines is also crucial.

Want to keep up with Alba? Follow her on DribbbleTwitter, and at