networking_UX

12 tips that will help you understand the importance of networking as a UX designer

The demand for experienced UX designers has made jobs for junior UX designers even harder than ever before. You need a job to get the experience, but the experience to get a job.

Applying online is tough because it can take weeks to get a reply and in some instances, you never hear back. Whether you are studying UX design or looking for new opportunities it is so important to make networking the foundation of your career.

"You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you." – Dale Carnegie

Business is about people. Ask anyone in the industry where they get most of their new business requests from and it's from word-of-mouth referrals. The process of referral increases your chances of getting an interview, so start building relationships, connect with your favourite designers and attend networking events (Even you introverts out there– you cannot avoid people)

But how do you get the most of networking? How do you leave an honest impression? And most importantly how you get people to admire you? We have gathered 12 tips that will help you become a great networker.

 

1. Have an interest in what other people have to say

When you have the moment to chat with like-minded enthusiasts make sure you show interest in them (this isn't an opportunity to talk about yourself). Ask lots of questions, listen to what they say and react respectively.

People will love your enthusiasm towards them and will acknowledge how well you engage and want the learn.

Tip: Say their name! This is the utmost respect says Dale Carnegie, author of How to win friends and influence people.

 

2. Find your heroes and connect with them

We all inspire to be like someone, whether it's a designer, agency, or company you'd like to work with (perhaps it's us). Connect with them and start stalking – listen to their thoughts and engage in their work.

Don't be afraid, most people in the industry are quite approachable and happy to give advice. If you happen to be in the same area, build up some courage and ask to chat over a coffee. The worst thing that can happen is no reply but eventually, your name will ring a bell.

 

3. Go to meetups

There are no excuses for not attending at least one meetup, chances are you'll be able to find an event to suit you within travel distance. The majority of creatives are a social bunch so you will have no trouble if you're going alone – its good to be out your comfort zone.

Don't forget. Focus on the other person, ask lots of questions and be genuinely engaged in what they have to say – even if they're not your cup of tea (that might change in future).

 

4. Ask open-ended questions

The simplest way to keep the other person talking and relishing you is to ask the right kind of open-ended questions.

Open-ended questions demand more than a yes or no answer and show that you are engaged in the other person. These types of questions help to create and maintain rapport.

"What made you decide to go into UX?"
"How did you get your start in the UX world?"

People like to tell their story. Give them that opportunity while you listen attentively and they’ll love you.

 

5. Build friendships

While developing and maintaining friendships takes time and effort, good friends can:

Help you to reach your goals. Whether you're trying to build your career, looking to be more social, support from a friend can really boost your willpower and increase your chances of success.

Improve your mood. Filling time with like-minded and positive people can elevate your mood and boost your chances.

 

networking
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash 

 

6. Never expect anything in return

"The successful networkers I know, the ones receiving tonnes of referrals and feeling truly happy about themselves, continually put the other person’s needs ahead of their own." – Bob Burg

You should give without expecting anything in return, networking is about building relationships and not about what people owe you. Allow people to tell their story without feeling the need to share your own. Share some valuable information even if you're chatting with your competitor– generosity goes a long way.

 

7. Spot the differences

There will be UX designers out there who produce work in a different field to yours. (Interaction design, UX research, UI design or perhaps IOS Developer). Don't worry, it could be a great opportunity for collaboration in future projects. Build your relationship and connect with them on social channels.

 

8. Sell yourself without selling

You can only really sell yourself by becoming someone of value. What area of UX are you mad about? What valuable information can you share with people? How can you influence people with your knowledge?

If you are someone of value you can easily sell yourself at networking events without any mention of your business. People admire valuable, interesting people and will enjoy chatting with you.

 

9. Learn to listen

A good networker spends more time listening to a conversation and learning as much about their new contact as possible. Ask questions, listen, and engage, treat the experience as an opportunity to discover something new.

Tip: Don't spend the time talking about yourself– you already know it all. Instead, spend your time asking them questions. It's astonishing how much you'll discover

 

10. Set goals for your meetups

Networking can be a relatively time-consuming process especially if you don't know what you're looking to take away from it. Do your homework, write down what you would like to learn and think of some valuable questions to ask.

It would be great to chat with everyone who attends the network event but that's quite unrealistic so it's important to focus your efforts on the people most likely to help you.

 

11. Remember to follow up

Networking is where the conversation begins, not ends. Don't leave an event empty-handed, ask people you have engaged with to stay in touch. Some people prefer email or LinkedIn but it would be great to connect with them on social channels too. This supports on-going interaction and keeps you updated with what other people are up to.

Get in contact within 48 hours of the event to show you're interested and reference something you discussed, so your connection recognises you.

 

12. Smile

In a room full of new faces its quite normal for nerves to take over. However, as a rule of engagement smiling will not only put your nerves at ease but will help you come across as warm and inviting to others.

Being friendly will also help those others who are nervous and give you chance to start building relationships with like-minded individuals. After all were there to make a positive impression so keep in mind you want to be someone people like, remember and – most importantly – recommend to others.

 

Other related articles:

Beginners guide to a great UX portfolio

7 UX tips in a world of ever-changing screen sizes

The top 5 UX tips to consider


for_hire

Beginners guide to a great UX portfolio

In a world of creatives, talent and competition it is important to stand out from the crowd. Regardless of your education, the best way display your abilities is your portfolio – quality of your past work, and the way you present it.

A good UX portfolio is more than just a presentation of final mockups, employers want to see your approach and design-thinking for any given project, and more importantly, they want to see RESULTS.

There are plenty of tools out there that will allow you to showcase your work and make it look professional, however, the contents of the portfolio is what will help you stand out. Your portfolio goes on interviews without you– it represents you so, be sure to include your credibility (who you have worked for), experience (the work you have done) and accomplishments (the end results).

The most common problem that disqualifies most UX design portfolios is the fact they don't present the problem that was solved and the decisions that were made along the way.

There are 3 main topics that are evaluated in interviews:

1. Quality of execution
2. Clarity in decision-making
3. Results

Below, I go through a set of guidelines that will help you tell your story and hopefully land your dream job. The points below are gathered from the positive and negative feedback I received from job interviews and freelance pitches.

The design-thinking and research behind the solution are what employers want to know more about. It doesn't matter how incredible your UI skills are if the how and why you reached these deliverables is not apparent.

 

Portfolio Guidelines

When presenting yourself online – cut the clever intros. Employers want to see value from the offset and understand your ability to deliver business results. Employers and recruiters are scanning thousands of portfolio's each month, selling your value will be the difference between getting the call for an interview or being rejected.

For each individual project, employers would expect to see:

1. An Overview

This should come first, defining some basic information and limitations about the project. The viewer should be able to get an impression of what the product is about, what it looks like and how it functions.

  • Purpose of the project — why is it that you started this project
  • Group members —  who you worked collaboratively with
  • Your role — important when telling a story during an interview (how you contributed to the team)
  • Tools used —  what helped you achieve your goal
  • Links — download app, view prototype, data reference etc
  • Final product design— mockups, pictures/videos

Tip: Don't show designs that had no impact or positive results at the end. What is the point of good design if it doesn't solve any problems?

 

2. UX Process

This is key to a successful portfolio. If you followed a UX process, explain in more details the steps you took. I would advise these 5 steps:

  • Research — reviews, competitive analysis, interviews, surveys etc
  • Ideation — brainstorming, sharing ideas, user journey, persona etc
  • Wireframe — ideas, sketches, brainstorming, what worked and what didn’t, testing results, iterations
  • Prototype — user testing, iteration, towards development (if you did)

Tip: Include pictures of your workshops and team brainstorming ideas, this helps to give the employer a real insight into the way you work.

 

3. Results

This is a short description of what you have learnt from the project, the results it brought to the business and what you will be doing next. This shows your achievements and dedication to the project.

 

Additional tips

  • Curate the work to your strongest projects – the ones with the best results
  • 3+ successful projects are enough
  • Presentation is everything
  • Include a short timelapse of your team working on the project
  • Be Concise —you can talk more in-depth in the interview
  • Be Honest

 

"Having too many things in your portfolio hurts more than it helps."

 

By explaining the story behind your projects and being confident in your process, your portfolio already communicates so much more to people interested in your work.

I have learnt that companies won't only hire you for the work you have done, but for what you're capable of. They are going to invest in you and need to be confident that you can bring value to their team.

UX design portfolio inspiration
Dan Birman
Rachel Schmitz
Vax Liu

 

Other related articles:

Design-Thinking: Designers have become too reliant on surface-level visuals

7 UX tips in a world of ever-changing screen sizes

The top 5 UX tips to consider


screens_devices

7 UX tips in a world of ever-changing screen sizes

Staying ahead of the curve

UX Design changed considerably in the last two decades when users began to focus on mobile and now we have so many devices of all sizes - desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones and wearables, all supporting multiple aspect ratios. It continues to keep designers on their toes as we have to be so reactive to hardware changes in our individual creative processes.

It still shocks me how many young designers focus on the desktop – Why? I know it is so easy to check desktop whilst in work at your desk – I know, I know! but the desktop has reached a level of maturity. Mobile devices are seeing the largest growth in screen sizes which has led to a high demand for UI design.

Do not neglect mobile design or your product will suffer. People are on their phones all day, even in front of their desktop/laptop.

I am going share with you 6 crucial steps as a UX designer which will help you develop a strategy to target a range of screen sizes and devices.

 

1. Distinguish device groups for your product/service

It is almost impossible to target individual devices so define device groups for your products based on what your audience is likely to focus on.

 

screens_devices_web

 

2. What is the focus of your user experience?

Every product or service has a focal user experience which solves a problem people have – this provides value. To find the focal point of your product ask yourself: "What is the common task a customer needs to achieve?" It is imperative to maintain these tasks on every channel you use for your product.

For example, Skyscanner's focal user experience is to compare and book cheap flights. This feature should work well on each device regardless of screen size.

 

skyscanner

3. Design for the smallest screen first

Focus on a mobile-first approach and design on the smallest screen that is relevant to your users. In the past, designers have been used to designing for desktop and having so much white space for extra (often irrelevant) features. Designing for mobile first helps prioritise the key features and stops stakeholders from adding more and more unnecessary junk.

4. Adaptive Design

Don't just expand your designs to fit large screens, the large screens need the same level of consideration. An adaptive design will warrant the best user experience based on whichever device the user is interacting with. Unlike responsive design, where a screen stacks from desktop design into a smaller device’s, the adaptive design offers customised solutions.

 

content_water_diagram

5. Support a consistent experience

At Together Incredible, we talk a lot about consistency as it is one of the most important factors in user experience. A consistent experience should be paramount across all screen sizes. It saves your company money, time and builds user confidence – winner!

Users don't want to try work out your product on every device they interact with. Rather than creating bespoke designs across all screen sizes (which is nearly impossible), you can treat them as aspects of the same experience.

6. Build a seamless experience

This is will help you differentiate your product or service from your competitors. Users want to be able to move freely back and forth between devices to complete a task without thinking about what device they are using. The expectation in functionality is crucial - there should be no reason for the user to think this could be better.

Spotify is a famous example: you can set up a playlist on your desktop and it will immediately be accessible on your iPhone.

7. Test

Like everything in UX, we should test our products and not based anything on assumptions. Carry out usability tests for your product with real users on a variety of different devices and this will reveal any UX problems before it gets launched.

 

Conclusion

As a designer, it is not an easy task to create a seamless experience across multiple screen and devices. Users expect a frictionless user experience regardless of the device. The best approach is to always have the end-user in mind and assess when, where and how the product will be used in order to evaluate the optimal experience.

 

Other related articles:

Design-Thinking: Designers have become too reliant on surface-level visuals

4 tips to help build customer trust

The top 5 UX tips to consider


yesi_ux_designer

Yesi on creating better experiences and collaborating with amazing people

Argentina-born Yesi Danderfer is an inspirational designer, Spanish editor and judge at CSS Design Awards. Known for her user-centred approach she loves to collaborate with like-minded enthusiasts to get the best possible outcome.

Yesi has some incredible experience running her own agency and being a part of Kollectin, a fashion social app that connects influencers and users to share their style purchase of designer jewellery.

All of the above keeps her busy but we had the chance to catch up with Yesi to ask about her career so far, her approach to design and how she has become a better professional.

 

yesi_ux_designer

 

1. Hey Yesi! Can you talk a little bit about yourself?

Absolutely! It’s so nice to meet all of you, my name is Yesi and I’m a UX/UI and Product Designer from Mar Plata, Argentina. I try to create better experiences one pixel at a time, collaborating with amazing people.

 

2. We’re curious, What made you get in touch with us?

I found you by chance when I was looking for new and fresh content about UX and Design to read, and you happened to appear on my Twitter feed!

 

3. Wow! We believe you’re a judge at @cssdesignawards?– Tell us more…

That’s correct! I became a Judge for the CSS Design Awards back in April 2017 after a good colleague of mine suggested I applied as it would provide more experience and knowledge because you learn and get to know more about the designers and developers who work behind the masterpieces that feature in CSSDA, and by objectively judging their work you also become a better professional. So far, it has been a great experience.

 

css awards

 

4. Ok, what is your definition of UX?

To me, User Experience is everything that affects a user’s interaction with a product, the sweet spot between business needs and user needs. But if I can get more poetic about it, I see it as the skeleton and soul of a product, because without UX, a notebook would be just a notebook to write things on but due to the user experience of how that notebook is designed, for example, a person can experience certain sensations when their fingertips touch the sheets or when the pen’s ink dries on the paper. I could go on and on, but I think that’s a good summary.

 

5. What is your design process?

Keywords for my design process are exploration and iteration. I like to explore as much as I can either on user research or visual inspiration, and it’s very important for me to iterate with my team and client because if I can’t communicate properly with either of them then we won’t move forward.

So basically, everything begins with an introductory talk or kickoff call, then it’s mostly many kinds of research, old school sketches on my notebook, wireframes, iteration with my team/client, mockups, rapid prototypes, testing.

Of course, my process is very flexible because every client is different and every project is different, so it’s important to be adaptable for every case scenario.

 

6. You specialise in UI/UX and product design. How would you decide which features to add to your product?

I focus on my user first and foremost, so I would definitely keep my users in mind to know what kind of features they would need and I believe by doing research on what my audience is, how they are and what their needs are—that would be a good start. Then, that information would be good enough for a simple prototype that I can put together based on my experience of previous research (what item works where and why) to later test it with real users.

So I would say it’s a combination of my own experience as a Designer working on the same kind of products over a certain period of time, research and testing with real users because at the end of the day those are the people that will be using the product I’m designing.

 

7. How do you test your ideas, do you use the Lean UX methodology?

This is a bit tricky because when I was younger than now and I gave my first steps as a digital designer, the agencies and software development companies I worked for trained me in the Agile Methodology, but I think the more I read, researched and met other colleagues, I was able to start including everything I learnt and found useful into my own testing process.

What I use the most whenever I work is an Expert Review, especially with new clients and products that already exist, are big and when my client doesn’t really know exactly what’s wrong with it but they just know that there is something not right. It’s quick, offers a lot of input and a lot of starter points.

Whenever possible, I try to perform Usability Test with real users because there is honestly no better way for me to get real, raw feedback. Clients can also be part of it, and can also be done remotely.

Last but not least, because there are many out there but this is another I use quite often, are user personas. More than once I’ve worked on Startups or products that have yet to be created and there is not an audience yet set, so creating a set of personas is a must to understand what kind of user we are dealing with.

 

8. Tell us about a project that you’re most proud of.

I think in a way I’m proud of all of the projects I was able to collaborate in, even the ones that ended up being a complete disaster for one reason or another (we have all been there!). But right now and for some time I have been collaborating in Kollectin, a fashion social app that connects influencers and users to share their style through the purchase of designer jewellery. There is a lot of work still to be done and so much more to explore, so I’m definitely excited to see where it will take me as a designer.

 

kollectin

 

Thank you Yesi for sharing your story with our audience at Together Incredible. Follow Yesi Danderfer on Twitter to keep up to date with her journey.

 

Below are Yesi's go-to products for design

 

pen

Lamy Al-Star black 0.7mm Mechanical Pencil

Buy on Amazon

 

ux_guide

The User Experience Team of One: A Research and Design Survival Guide

Buy on Amazon

 

backpack

Samsonite Luggage Tectonic Backpack

Buy on Amazon

 

You may also like to read:

6 UX principles that will guide you to create killer content 

10 Books that will boost your creative knowledge


UX focused approach to modern web photography

Photography in UX is often underestimated when it comes to web/mobile design. Yet, it is another brilliant form of captivating and engaging users.

Recently, photography has played a more significant role on the internet, furthering web design as a visual medium. Minimal and bold coloured studio photography advances into 2018 as a timeless technique, particularly as HD screens become more affordable.

 

minimal photography
Behance – Creative Studio Akatre

 

UX focused approach to photography

As UXer's we should be looking at photography as a powerful tool to help communicate and differentiate a product or service from competitors – vision is the greatest human sense and is the quickest way to grab users' attention.

To do this, we need to first understand the distinctions between photography and UX Design. Photography is subjective whereas UX Design is focused on the needs of others (not yourself).

Tip: When it comes to the web it is crucial to understand photography is self-focused, while the design is outward-focused.

Does the minimal photography trend really share the correct brand message? I want to share with you how to follow the latest trends of photography but with the user at the forefront of your mind.

 

Eye-Catching Hero Images

Full-width hero images have been trending for a while now due to the value of creating an immersive experience straight away. You have 7 seconds to grab a customers attention as they enter your website. In that time they should be able to figure out what the website is about or alternatively curious to find out more.

Tip: Choose high-quality visuals that stimulate the imagination. A study by Dr Jakob Nielsen suggests that "irrelevant, unnatural and low-quality images don't contribute to making your message clear and attractive, as users regularly ignore them"

 

minimal_typography
3D Type by ILOVEDUST

 

Images that complement your text

Use predictive visuals to enrich the user experience. The images you use should help customers thoroughly understand what you are communicating and help reinforce your ideas.

Tip: Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images.

 

neymar_nike
Leo Natsume – Nike Free Design

 

Iconic point of focus

It is important that a clear concept is communicated to the user in a significant way. Colour and composition is a great way to give visuals a definite focus.

Tip: The most influential images consist of a few significant elements, with minimal distractions.

 

pressure_image
Pressure – Magdiel Lopez

 

Storytelling

Visual storytelling helps to clarify the mood and instantly brings the image to life– 46% of marketers say photography is critical to their marketing strategy. If you fail to create a story you also lose the tone, stigma and connection with the users.

 

Swoosh by ILOVEDUST

 

Consistency

I can only advise you take some time to think about what your pictures should say to your customers. What style best promotes your brand? What is the demographic? Will colour palette help propel a bold message? What photographer has the aesthetics you need? Choose your style before you start, this will empower you to create a cohesive look through the whole website.

 

Bottom line

Pictures are faster than words. When selecting images or collaborating with a photographer, ask yourself the following questions:

1. What are the benefits of using the particular image?
2. Does it help the user understand the message you're trying to communicate?
3. Does it showcase your product or service well?
4. Does it add value?
5. What impact will this have on the campaign?

Design trends keep on changing with time but provided an excellent user experience remains the same. The photography should be high-quality, interesting and work in conjunction with your content.

I cannot put emphasis on this enough –your photography maybe stunning in your eyes, however, if this does not engage the user it is completely pointless, we need that human connection. For this, you need to remember the following ideas:

1. Avoid irrelevant and non-realistic shots unless the messaging supports this clearly (stock images).
2. Use one or two large impressive pictures instead of lots of little ones
3. High-quality only!
4. Choose images that stimulate the user and instil a memory
5. Choose strong images that compliment your story.

I hope this post helps you generate the best content for your brand. Feel free to share your ideas for some feedback and I would love to share your work on our social channels.


Neil Westwood created a dream UX workshop product – Magic Whiteboard®

User experience design is a visual craft and for every project, we need the wall space for sketches, diagrams & brainstorming notes.

Some offices are fortunate to have the space to stick whatever they want on the walls. However, for many, this isn't an option which can make running workshops and 'stand–up' meetings very difficult. In these circumstances, Magic Whiteboard® is a great solution, allowing you to create whiteboard-like surfaces without leaving any marks behind.

I first came across the Magic Whiteboard® at a UX Training course in Manchester and since then I have never found anything better. The whiteboards were great for collaboration, boosting conversations, and operating at speed – perhaps this was because we didn't spend 10 minutes picking up post-it notes off the floor.

 

 

 

The Story behind the Magic Whiteboard®

The Magic Whiteboard® was created by NHS Worker Neil Westwood as he was fed up of carrying his flip-chart stand around the hospital wards and needed to find a portable solution. As a result, the Magic Whiteboard® was born.

In 2008, Neil took his product onto the famous series Dragon's Den where Theo Paphitis and Deborah Meaden invested £100,000 into the development of this incredible product.

Since then, the company is back in the hands of its original founders, and the company is on target to turn over £1.5m this year with profits of £400,000.

This is only the second time in the history of Dragons’ Den that an investee business has bought back their equity. This is just a representation of how great the Magic Whiteboard® is.

 

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Here is a link to the product:

UK: http://amzn.to/2oed8EE
US: http://amzn.to/2okXarz

 

magic_whiteboard_sheets

 

Let us know what you think! It is such a great resource to have in the workplace.

 

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Navigation UI – 5 common mistakes designers need to avoid

10 Books that will help boost your creative knowledge


6 UX principles that will guide you to create killer content

UX writer, product copywriter or a content designer (whichever you prefer) is one of the most in-demand skills in the world today. In a sea of competition, brands are beginning to realise just how important content is – if you create valuable content, more people will engage with your brand and in return, make you more money.

Business’ are turning to content in their digital strategy – Social media, blogs, videos and email campaigns – to differentiate themselves from their competitors. The phrase “Killer Content” is being used more in workplaces, but what is content without an audience?

Writing exceptional content with the reader (user) in mind will help you build an audience. I am going to share with you 6 principles that will guide you to create killer content.

 

1. Add value to your content

People want to feel good about themselves, if you can do this you have added value to them. There are 3 key ways to add value to your audience;

  • Entertain –Can you make the reader smile, laugh, be excited or even cry (with happiness of course)? Changing the emotional behaviour will have an impact on the reader and this will add value to your content.
  • Teach or Inspire – It’s a true fact, humans seek to learn new things whether it is news, trending fashion or the latest space rocket launch. By making the user more knowledgeable will add value to their everyday life.
  • Solve a problem – Everyone needs answers at some point. Does your product or service solve a problem? Share this with your audience, you never know what answers people are looking for. It could be product or service that adds value to their lives.

 

2. 80/20 Rule

The title of the blog post, campaign or collection is the most important section of your whole post. Why?

The 80/20 rule suggests that 80% of your results come from 20% your actions. David Ogilvy in 'Confessions of an Advertising Man' states:

  • 80% of people will read your headlines.
  • 20% of those people will read the rest of your content

"On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar." David Ogilvy

You may be wondering why? Well, the title is the most read element of your post, campaign or collection, if people aren’t intrigued by the title they aren’t going to read anything else.

 

Never heard of the 80/20 rule? Learn 50 terms you should know as a UX Designer

 

3. Create content that is clear & concise

It is really important your user is not left confused after reading your content – it is crucial to be clear and concise. I have a perfect example for you; Don’t use ‘discover’ when you mean ‘find’

Take out the words which are not necessary and avoid ambiguity if possible. Being clear is the guide to users receiving a good experience.

 

4. Consistency is Key

This is a key principle in UX design, without it, we can’t get far. Consistency is intuitive design, users will learn fast how to interact with your content and eliminate confusion. Content that has been predefined saves time and money.

 

5. Trust your instincts 

Believe in yourself! You never know, someone may fall in love with your style of writing, brand or campaign. Go by the rule of thumb, if it doesn’t sound right, it’s likely your users will feel the same way. 

 

6. Leave readers with questions

By this, I don’t mean write an unfinished post – quite the opposite. What I mean is, include questions that make readers reflect on what they have learnt. An engaged audience hangs on to every word and takes in all you write.

 

"Content informs design: design without content is decoration" Jeffery Zeldman

 

 

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The word 're-design' – If something isn’t broke, why fix it?

The word 're-design'

Recently, I have been looking into visual communication and the role of hierarchy in screen layouts. This stemmed from hearing the word ‘re-design’ far too much over the past few months.

 

I found myself saying – what actually is a re-design?

Coming from a UX background, 're-design' would relate to an element on a site which has been underperforming and needs looking at in-depth. By this I mean understand the analytics, carry out customer-focused research and collaborate with the wider team to work towards the desired goal.

I was struck by how wrong I was in this situation. In fact, for many organisations, a 're-design' means to start from scratch (yes, really!) – new navigation structure, page layouts, typography, and colour palette.

 

I couldn't help but think why?

  • Why redesign the whole website when you have no evidence to back anything up? How do you know what you're designing?
  • Why create extra work, set unrealistic deadlines and potentially lose customers?
  • Why redesign something just because you feel like it, it will waste so much time and money?

I have so many questions, all starting with, why? I could guarantee that none of the questions above could be backed up with evidence.

[ Blank Stare ].

If you find yourself in a similar situation be sure to ask agnate questions about the reasons behind such a rational decision.

 

redesign_why

 

How would I deal with a 're-design' brief?

Well, to be honest, I would potentially walk away from the project unless I could shadow users for 2 weeks. I would try to analyse what is actually happening and determine what is the real underlying cause of the problem?

From there I would take a UX focused approach:

  1. Define the Problem(s)
  2. Background Research
  3. Brainstorm, evaluate and choose a solution
  4. Prototype the solution (low fidelity)
  5. Specify requirements (based on the research found from testing the prototype)
  6. Develop/prototype the solutions
  7. Test (Does it meet the requirements?)
  8. Build and test the solution

 

If you have got this far, you're probably thinking 'thank the lord, I'm not going crazy'. Below I have a great example of how you can follow trends and work on your website without starting from scratch.

Apple.com have shown years of consistency without making radical changes.

 

 

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Each iteration displayed (over 17 years) has the same site structure; a navigation, main promo image, 4 secondary promos and a footer navigation but the visual style has followed the brand development.

 

In Conclusion

If (I hope never) you are given a brief that is to 're-design' the whole website, please ask the most important question:

"What evidence do you have that these requirements will solve the problems?"

[ Blank Stare]

 

There is no need to re-design a full website, so much will be missed and the website will make no progression - ok, it might look better but the UI without key features is pointless. Take a moment to do some background research and define the problem(s) – work into these first and see how your metrics change. The resource is always limited at the best of times, this will save the organization time, money and stress.

If in doubt, show the example of apple.com above. Their site structure isn't broke, so why fix it?

 

Let me know how you handled the brief, I would love to hear the approach you took.

 

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