Every good designer tends to follow the latest trends in design and merge them with his/her personal creativity, but the challenge always remains: Where do you draw that fine line between the real needs of end users (or if you wish, customers) we provide design solution for and the space each designer needs in order to bring in his/her creativity, talents and create an award winning design?
What can usually be “wow” for many designer stars and creative art directors, may not necessarily end up being appropriate for the targeted end users or that business.
“Wow” and award winning feeling of the final design VS business design solution for the needs of end users
In the design world, that “wow” effect of the final design solution is something I (with my business and corporate background) often hear from my team. It is defined as almost a prerogative in order to win various design awards and is a highly competitive criterion on platforms such as Awwwards or The FWA. Everybody wants to create his/her own design masterpiece and unique amazing experience for end users. Different designer market platforms are full of really fantastic pieces of work and designers produce a lot of free and concept work in order to be competitive in the labour market. However, the question which I always like to ask whenever we talk about requirements: “Required for what exactly?”. It is the key approach to address any kind of requirements. If they do not match the purpose, then every shown design talent proves to be useless.
How deep you have to dig in UX?
I’ve heard numerous arguments from the interface designers, claiming that: “UX gives us direction for the future design. We must take into consideration end users from the client’s research and guidelines, and then we use our creativity to create a design.” This statement is completely correct, but why do I feel there is a dilemma here?
There is a famous saying “the devil is in the detail”. Therefore this dilemma originates from the level of the output details needed for the amazing UX? And, what is the level of details an interface designer needs in order to follow the outcomes the UX research but not lose the space for his/her creativity?
In the same way, UX designers sometimes cannot fully accommodate outbursts of creativity & “wow” trends because their mindset is focused on addressing the real needs, real pains, frustrations and motivations of end users. They are very dedicated to understanding these and finding the right solution. In order to be able to emotionally connect with the customers on their user journey, they need to conduct a thorough research. Many hours of hard work and energy are spent brainstorming, thinking, analysing, and synthesising various types of information. This makes them quite cautious yet passionate about the very purpose of the design. Sometimes they even end up arguing with the interface designers trying to bridge their large amount of freedom and creativity, with the design that both engages end users and provides a solution for that particular type of business.
The challenge of Aligning
We, at Saturized, have invested a great deal of time and resources into building a highly competent UX team which now has a substantial experience in analytics, strong critical thinking, conceptualising our partners’ business goals, always constructively and proactively contesting every step leading to the final solution.
On the other side, our company’s core value is a pixel perfect and GO BEYOND interface design. That’s something our interface design team has been cherishing and using during our 10-year long history. We are very proud of that. It’s how we managed to grow from just two people working from home to an award-winning creative agency with a team of the outstandingly creative and highly motivated designers designing success stories with our valuable partners.
On almost each project, we are potentially facing the challenge of aligning and balancing the natures of these two teams, who both strive for excellence and superior quality in what they do. We must ensure that we are all on the same page and make no compromise when defining the purpose of UX and supporting the creativity of UI design.
It’s all about Purpose
For the UX team, the purpose is end users with their needs and how to help them solve their problems through our partner’s business solution. For the UI, the focus lies on creativity which leads to the “wow” experience where you catch their attention and positive affiliation with the business. As these two are generally not aligned by default, we must seek the right way to find the mutual purpose these two teams can share. You would think that this solution is some sort of a compromise. But it’s not! Because, if we were to compromise end users’ needs and not take into consideration all of the UX team findings, on behalf of a fantastic design, we would not be able to solve our partner’s business problem.
On the other hand, we simply cannot compromise our strive for excellence and quality of design. It is our core value, and it is fueled by creative thinking outside the box. While the UX team wants to put the UI team in the box framed by users’ needs, frustrations and their journeys which are proven by relevant tests, UI team tends to think outside the box.
The synergy effect outcome
Well, it actually leads us BEYOND the box. By bringing and merging the inside and outside the box thinking, we are adding value, because the boundaries of our box do not affect the creativity of our UI team, but they rather give them a new perspective, the business solution one. In this way, they are able to understand both sides of the “the must have” but also “nice to have” of the product/service we design for. Having this in mind, our team can create a completely cutting-edge design which is different to any of our competitors’ and at the same time not compromise any of the UX guidelines and findings.
Remember, the details matter! The more of them you collect in your UX research, especially about personas and their journeys, the more creativity space it leaves for UI design creativity. Broader perspective full of relevant details and systematic research turns initial limits into a business solution synergy. Give it a go!