March 17, 2022
Do Not Read This Article
Explaining how UI/UX are part of your daily life
8 min read
You opened it, well done! You won't regret it - seriously!
This article is not meant to be another "What's the difference between UI/UX". There are already too many of those out there.
Rather, I want to make you think about how these two disciplines affect our daily lives.
First of all, why are you reading this article if the title explicitly says, "Do not read this article"?
Well maybe it’s because you are a curious person, and when you see or read something that warns you NOT to do something, you automatically want to do it. Trust me, there is nothing wrong with that, that's how we are, or at least most of us, and how the contemporary society behaves.
However, it is interesting to understand why our brain works like this and how we can take advantage of it. At the time we live in, we are surrounded by fake news, clickbait titles (like mine),"silly" things that attract us to perform an action even if we probably aren’t fully interested in it, however we still look at it, buy it, listen to it or we simply click on it.
Let me say that in this case you are lucky because I am not here to sell you anything, I am here to make you think about how the User Experience, and User Interface can be an Active and Passive part of your life.
I assume that you have been to a restaurant, right? And I also assume that you have been in a situation where you were very hungry but indecisive about what to eat. Then when you finally receive the menu, you are "ready" to order, but you notice that there are so many choices, unorganized and unexplained and you struggle to decide what to order. This is a simple example of a bad “User Interface" - UI / "User Experience" - UX.
To give you another example, in this case positive, I bet you have spent at least one of your weekends at Ikea... Plenty of furniture, plants, lamps, desks, etc., right?! However, everything is well organized (at least before other people start to mess stuff around...) They also provide a path to follow, they guide you! They want to make your experience simple and great at the same time [UX] offering you a different range of (mostly) cool products [UI]. Now think about each product, you can reflect the same concept, it is like a chain.
Well in my opinion, this whole concept is awesome. Not just because you can improve sales if you are a business, or because you can create a great people/user experience, BUT because you can control it in advance.
No, I'm not a se-er...
When I say control it in advance, I mean that we have the capability to design things using a specific and stable process. However, I am not saying that everything will be perfect - perfection doesn't exist, and I am grateful for that, otherwise we will cease to improve.
What I am trying to say is, follow a specific process to achieve your final goal:
Get an idea and shape it: I can’t help much with this, but what I can tell you is, once you have an idea, shape it in your mind, try to visualize it, try to think how it will work from "Start" to "End".
Research a similar/related topic: There is a high possibility that something similar is already out there, and data has already been collected, so you can take advantage of that, learning how it already works and what people think about it.
Define your key points: Once you have shaped your idea in your mind, it is time to write the key points down in a simple list. Don’t worry at this point what you are going to write, you will revisit them anyway.
Review your key points and organize them by priority: It is always important to review what you have done so far, as you might have had time to think deeper about it, and you figured out that things could be different.
Make a first draft: From mind to paper! This is an important step, as it will be the moment where your idea gets sharpened.
Take a break: It's time to stop, trust me, you'll need it and it will help you to have a much better view of what is going on.
Create a wireframe: Bring your draft to the next level. This is crucial in order to define your next steps, it's the "cleaning" process before the final one.
Create a layout: It's time to "dress it". What I recommend is to make things properly, but do not overdo it! You will always have time to add more - but try to get the best result with less.
Implement it: Good luck! Jokes apart, this process won't be easy. It is the moment things start to become alive, and it will really challenge you. What I suggest is to never give up, read, research and ask for help! There are plenty of people that are willing to help and support you.
Ask for feedback: You cannot always be the judge of yourself, you need others’ opinions to understand if you are going in the right direction. However, select your audience wisely!!
Improve it: Getting feedback doesn’t always mean good feedback, however it is something that you will need to "put on the plate", then you will know if you need to proceed with improvements or not, but try to classify them and organize them by importance/priority.
Maintain it: Once you’re done, you are not really done! I know this sounds frustrating, but hey that's your "baby" and you always want to "make it better" right? So, do it!
These are some of the main steps that I suggest you follow if you are stuck, or if you want to start something, it doesn't matter what, all projects should follow something like this, even if you are an Architect, Lawyer, Financial Advisor, YouTuber and so on.
I am ready to bet my own money!
Yes! You read it right! I challenge you to try the above workflow and then tell me how it goes - but don't cheat!! I want to make you aware that this is not a one-shot process, the steps I have provided are how to organize your potential project, you have to consider that during the journey you might fail, things won't work as expected, you will have the feeling to bring a fist down on your desk... Well, let me tell you that this is what I hope will happen, because this is the moment that you are learning, and progressing.
If you start today, you will see that in just 6 months (obviously you need to be consistent) you will get results and you would have grown - technically and mentally.
Why I am so sure about that?!
The answer is pretty simple. I am sure about this process because it is exactly what we are doing at GAT - Global Applied Technology Team. We are a group of talented people who love to get new ideas, but even more, we love to try and make them work.
For us it is not just about making money, our aim is to improve our users experience, offering them specific solutions for their specific problems. Our field is the wild data world, and I’m not sure if you are familiar with data, especially when there is so much of it, trust me, it’s not easy to deal with, and it’s not easy at all to render it to the final user in a way that is fully readable and usable, but that's what we are doing with 2 of our main products: Symphony and Digital Workforce.
As a team, we are following the above list, improving each day from each different scenario, providing digital solutions which help several businesses to organize and learn from their data. It's not easy, but who really likes easy stuff? Not us, what we like is to follow a few simple rules and apply them to our digital solutions:
In conclusion, I think you now have enough information to better understand how UI/UX works, but even more importantly to understand how your daily life can be affected by it. What I hope is that from now on, you will start to look at things from a different perspective, without just saying: ‘Yes, that's cool’ or ‘No, that's bad’. Try to understand how things have been made, what is making that particular "thing" good or bad, why you are saying that and how things could be improved.
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