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UX Designer at Ve Interactive Joined almost 3 years ago
I never used to see the point but am definitely coming round.
When I've found them most useful is when working with frontend frameworks on products where we're designing quickly and don't need something heavily customised. Eg: A company admin system that's in no way customer facing.
The developer is using Semantic-UI frontend framework for example, with only minor styling tweaks to bring it on brand. But the thing still needs designing in terms of putting all the components together in a logical way. Having a well set up Sketch file with all the elements of Semantic-UI helps me speed up my workflow while also ensuring I stick within the constraints.
I can also see the use outside of that context when creating a big design system, but only really for the sake of smaller components. Having all buttons, fields, dropdowns, calendar pickers, etc all ready to go in well constructed symbols saves a tonne of time, and by editing just a few colours they can be full customised to the large majority of brands.
As a slight side note: they can be really useful to learn Sketch techniques, particularly in terms of how to best nest symbols and create components that are very responsive and customisable. They're largely created by people who are in the nuts and bolts of UI every single day, so as someone who's spread across UI/UX/Strategy I'm delighted to be able to work off their deeper expertise.
Completely agree - I just don't feel doing hands on design work should be thought of as a pre-requisite to being a valuable critic.
Even if it didn't exist, do you not think it's valuable to have critiques/thinkers on designers who aren't designers? Every other industry seems to welcome their opinion ;)
Sure! We did it in pairs to encourage teamwork and bonding, you try and pick pairs who don't normally work together. The format is essentially that one pair starts and has 2 weeks. They then present back their work in the meeting for feedback/general chat, and then nominate another pair for the next 2 weeks.
So the one that was most memorable to me was a project called 'Yesterday'. My memory's a bit hazy but I'll try to walk through how it went:
The first pair to go was a print designer who wanted to do more iconography/illustration, and a web designer who decided that off the back of that she wanted to learn how to animate. They picked a loose theme of 'time' and made some illustrations around it which were then animated. The one that stood out most to the group was their depiction of 'Yesterday'.
The next person to go was a UI designer who wanted to do more visual and brand work, and a UX designer who had an aim to start companies and play a more strategic role. Between them, they came up with an idea for an app called Yesterday, which is essentially 'Social media once the dust settles'. It's a report of yesterday's news, scraped from social media, for people that want to keep in the loop without being glued to their phones. They simplified the illustration of Yesterday into a logo and created the concept and brand.
The next group to go was a UX designer who wanted to do more UI, and a UI designer who wanted to do more prototyping. They designed and prototyped the app.
The next group to go was a print designer who wanted to code basic websites, and a UX designer who wanted to learn the basics of app code. You can guess what they did: a landing page and the beginnings of a developed app.
This could go on, but I'm sure you get the idea by this point. The beauty of this particular example was that it all lined up so that we had a very cohesive 'thing' by the end of it that everyone had contributed to. But the reality of that is that it was less fate, and more that the framework forces people to go with the flow and take on things they wouldn't normally, for the good of the project.
Hope that makes sense!
Appreciated this! Really informative and interesting to know.
We used to do a 'Snowball' project as part of a monthly meeting which was good fun. Basically, one person starts and has to do a small piece of work that enables them to learn something new outside of their day to day work. They then present it and nominate someone else. That someone has to do the same but it must follow on from the person before them in some way. By the end you either have loosely related work where everyone has learnt something new, or you can make a decision to direct it in a more cohesive way so that you end up with an app (for example) where everyone's done a small piece of the work.
Really good stuff mate. When I see a portfolio claiming work that wide I tend to think 'jack of all trades' ( my Inner Shithead ;) ) but looking around you're a very versatile creative.
Particularly enjoyed the slug piece and the Cyrene piece, something Bukowski-esque about that latter one.
Incredible article! There's a seriously impressive amount of work in that.
Really interesting on the cartography front, but as someone working in the mobility space, it's also very insightful as to how these enhances could be applied to driving and mobility futures.
I liked this to be honest. Agree with all of Jamie's comments, but it's still fun and engaging.
Not to mention my new favourite sentence:
"the Great Fuckening from which we are still waiting to recover"
Sounds like something from a Bukowski poem.
In short they slate it, but for the right reasons rather than the usual 'the designers really fucked up here'.
After getting the unavoidable jokes out the way, they go in depth on the politics that bring about things like this, the different type of designers and stakeholders that will be part of the decision, the relationships between in house and agency, product and marketing etc. Then talk about what's next and how it effects things a bit.
Really interesting discussion.
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