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It's good that you are doing some user research before jumping in and not just focusing on making the prettiest product possible. Consider doing some reading into the product design process (this guy's guide is really well written), it can help you build a good foundational knowledge if you ever want to move towards UX/Product Design.
Diving into your work and trying to answer your question, I'll say two things:
I tried quite a few RSS readers and didn't like any of them, partly because I dislike most news sources in general and I prefer getting the news from reddit where I won't be getting 20-30 articles a day from each publisher, but rather what a particular sub-reddit considered important, and partly because I didn't feel like RSS readers provided a good enough experience - most felt too simple, just a congregated list of all the articles I would read otherwise, with no way to cut through the noise or all that many features to manage articles.
I think if your goal is to create something beautiful (which should be as a graphic designer), then you've done that - your app looks great. But since you are asking these questions, I suppose you are also interested in the actual problem you are trying to solve, and in that regard your work so far does absolutely nothing. You are just showing the visuals with no info about what your app can bring to the table (features, solutions to problems other apps are not addressing). Also, speaking from experience, again assuming you ever want to move into UX or product, you will be grilled on your process, so it would be good to get into the habit of explaining what problems you identified, what solutions you tried, what your thinking behind them is, what worked and what didn't when testing the interface, etc. It's a little abstract but I liked Julie Zhuo's article on this.
I hope this helps.
Thanks for calling it beautiful!
As I'm designing the mockup, I'm taking notes separately on what problems I want to solve and how this would differ from other readers that exist now or that have changed from a good experience to a less good experience.
My main goal is to move into a product design/UX role, so this is helpful feedback. Are you saying that my work does nothing in that regard because I haven't explained myself yet, or because the mockup has something wrong with it?
Thanks for the advice!
It's the first one. The design is good, but that's just the visual part, so if you wanted to handle the entire product side, you'd also need: - an introduction to the problem you are trying to solve, info about the existing landscape (competitors, problems users are facing, etc.), and information about the research you've done to back this up. It's important to be able to justify your ideas and decisions. - the structure & interaction of the product. You are only showing the core parts of it, but, as the title implies, UX is about considering the entire experience a user will have with your product so it would be good for you to document all the paths users can take and show more designs for the sections that are important. For example, looking at searching, how will it work? Will it search all my feeds? Can I search just one specific feed from the main search bar? Will it search my favourites? How will results be sorted? How will results be displayed (do you show images, do you show an icon for the source, do you show text?), will the user get to customise any of this in settings? (a lot of third party apps for Reddit or Twitter appeal to power users with a ton of customisability). All of these things will be for you to figure out if you move to product. And the good part is that once you figure out what solution will work best for the users a product is designed for, you can use your visual skills to make it shine. - that will probably not apply here but you would be expected to validate all your ideas, to confirm their usability (i.e. is the way I've done searching easy for our users to use), and their validity (does this actually solve the problem we wanted it to solve). Quintin's site is a good intro to user research and I can also recommend this LinkedIn course that gives you a bit of info about each of the methods you'll have at your disposal (it is still up to you to decide which ones make the most sense for a particular project). - lastly, if this was a real business, you would also be expected to understand the company's goals and justify how your decisions can help them get there. To get better at this, I'd recommend Mike Monteiro. He has two short books that I found very helpful when I first read them and several talks on Vimeo, of which I'd recommend this one and this one.
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