In this article am not gonna talk about how hard it is to choose primary color or how to choose between light UI & Dark UI or anything related to UI design. I will be talking about the hardship you will likely gonna be facing while leading the design in your company.
I am currently working as a UX Designer for a product company in India. I graduated from my college with a Computer Science degree. As a guy who had very interest art and graphic form, I started traversing all the design experience when I less than two years into the program. By the time I graduate from my college I was pretty sure I wanted to be a designer only.Second
Soon after I joined, I got to know what it's to be a designer and how hard a designer has to work towards to solve a problem. It was much more putting a beautiful UI for every interface we ship as I initially assumed it was when I was starting out.
A design process defines every designer's mission to solve hard problems. The process is a fancy word for every newbie designer which got into design because of the sheer pleasure of making something pleasing to the eye from scratch.
We want to see your design process.
Said every interviewer, their voices echoing into the depth.
By the time you wrap your head around why the process is essential. The next phase to set out, to find the perfect design process. After lots of hours understanding the other team's process by going through tonnes of the article, you will be most likely not able to see a process that works for the team by copying other team's process.
When it comes to process, there is no one process which matches for every company. Which process to choose depends upon tones of factors. Few of them includes:
- Type of companies B2B or B2C,
- Team Structure ,
- What is the state of the project yours in?
- What are the companies target customers?
- What is the business model company have they chosen?
Understand the context then adapts your process to companies goals.
I have seen a lot of designer complaining their company don't have user research, design sprint, user testing, etc. Instead of spending your all day complaining, find a way to fix it. Don't expect people to change to this remarkable new process with a snap of fingers (we are not Thanos).
Most of the times you have to show a set of people who run the game that this new process is adding value to product building. To do this, you need to start asking right questions, what is the goal of the company, identify what motivates each of team, what is crucial to the company, who are our targets customer, etc.
Once you got the answers, you need, and you come up with a process which you believe will improve the vital part of the company. Find a way to test your process, instead of attempting to execute full process take a small part of the process for example, for directing user research do the minimum thing to get value out of it.
Go out to the nearest cafe and find few people to conduct user interview. Make a report and show to stakeholders the benefits we could get by doing these process. They would be stupid to not see the actual numbers in front of them.
If you have come across all the cooling process that have read or seen upon in google, facebook, Airbnb, etc. it's because someone or group of people believed there is the better way of doing the things than what they were doing already. All those people would have their share of struggle implementing the new process.
02. Bussiness In design
For someone who started the career because to see beautiful things seeing the role of design in business was very something hard for me to understand. I found it as an excuse for not creating the beautiful product.
It doesn't matter if your product is having state of the art user experience or it supports black and white UI, or it has consistent UI patterns or not. If you can't make a user to a customer, then design not adding any value to the business. Good business means you have money to finance the design, no money means design becomes absolute.
Humans in a business context are the customer. The design is about the customers, not just users. Design always has been about selling things.
As a designer, we may not always be lucky to be in the place where the company recognizes the value of design in business. The first hardest part of being a designer is they itself need to understand design can add value to the business.
Second hardest part is for the designer to show the company the importance of design we can prove this by showing the numbers. If design helps to improve the number that the business people hold very near, the design is adding value to the business. This requires us to talk to business people and tell what we actually do concerning design to improve the business.
If you zoom out and see how design jobs are being shaped in the last few years, you found all these new jobs like UX design, interaction design, product design, graphic design, etc. This is an indication business people understanding how design can help to grow their business. A product can be successful if it has a good customer, not just excellent user experience. You know you're doing good design when people start buying which in turns add value to the business.
“Design is functionality. Beauty is the last order of what design is.” — Bobby Ghoshal
Our job is to give functionality if that is beautiful then it's perfect. Business wins because of the utility of the product.
Your Building a product which likely to be used by thousands or millions of user, it's most likely you would need a team for building that. It's essential for a designer to understand his side. Designers are not creative super people who shoved into one room and produce designs just like that. They need work with product manager, developer, sales, marketing, etc.
Don't hire for desire, hire to eliminate the pain. When you hire more people than you need your next goal becomes how to make them busy. Artifical tasks and feature will just keep on increasing expense and complexity of the product. There nothing like small design changes, each new design brings it's on complexity to the product.
Empthy for your team members
Don't start blaming your squad immediately when things didn't go the way you wanted to be. Understand why it went wrong and how can we make sure this won't happen in future.
The designers also need to be empathic to developers also, understand how they work, understand how to make their work simpler without affecting the user experience for the user. If that fancy animation is not gonna add any value to the end users, remove it.
Work with your team during the early stages of a product or feature build. Instead of putting yourself in the box and coming up with the solution let the team be also part of the ideation some problem can be solved better if you involve them.
Your customer support team may know more about the pain points of the user than you so make them part of the discussion. It will also make the team feel good that they are part of building a product from the start. It will also make them understand why are doing this and this may help them do their job better. And if you ask them to work late at office give them a reason to be there instead of giving them stupid reasons.
- Strive for a process that works for your company not pick one process which worked for others in a different context.
- The design is only successful if it can be sold. It was always about selling. Start thinking of customers not just users.
- Hire when it's painful. Hire the right people who have the right motivation to be in the company.
- The design is a team effort. So start designing with your team. Don't go solo.
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