I am happy to present yet another fantastic professional as part of our expert-interview series!
This week, we feature talented User Experience Designer Rita Feldman. Rita is a skilled UX Architect focused on Web and Visual Design, and Front End Web Development. With experience in freelance design, Rita’s passion for creativity and detail shine through in this insightful interview.
Q: In your opinion, what are the most common mistakes designers make? What are some steps designers can take to avoid making these mistakes in the future?
A: Making a mistake is okay, we are all human, however it’s not okay to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Document your failures and mistakes, and next to them document your solutions. That way you will always have a record for the future.
Here are the top 3 mistakes I myself have encountered and observed other designers struggle with over the years:
- Too involved in little details without stepping back to view the big picture
- Interpreting criticism as a personal attack
- Not saving digital files correctly/not proofreading work
Steps to avoid these mistakes:
- It’s easy to get lost in the woods of your own design when you live it and breathe it. Not getting out of the woods can cause a designer’s block or even worse, missing the entire goal of the project. Step back and create a process flow! It will force you to look at the project from a bird’s eye view instead of an ant’s. Process flows can and will benefit other team members, if you are working within an organization and team structure.
- Not taking criticism well is a trap many designers fall into, and it can be quite a sad place. Prepare for your presentations and be ready to back up every pixel and element in your design. Take every kind of feedback, even negative, as a chance to learn and improve.
- Submitting any type of digital files requires a designer to save the files in a format acceptable to the receiver of the files (file size, bleed size, file type, etc.). Presenting files saved not up to specs cause significant delays with the final output, which can be an issue if there are deadlines involved. Before designing, always obtain file specs from whoever is receiving your digital files and… follow them! Don’t forget to proofread your work!
Q: What are a few ground-breaking trends you’ve encountered recently?
A: There is a great deal of design trends being utilized across all devices, and they change from year to year. I will name a few memorable trends from 2016:
- Prominent call to action buttons on the home page, clearly visible on any device (examples: peddle.com, wix.com, turbotax.com).
- “Sticky” non-scrolling navigation menus and content (examples: shoebuy.com, trulia.com).
Making a statement with use of bold colors, oversized typography and background imagery/videos (examples: cocacola.com, target.com).
Q: How do you make sure your design stands out from your competition? What are some personal touches you like to include?
A: Adapting all the latest trends in one’s design will cause frequent redesign, as trends die out fast. I tend to be picky about the trendiness, making sure my layouts are clean and legible first, with crucial content pushed up into users’ view, regardless of desktop or mobile device. I like to support my designs with simple typography and images.
Q: We are always hearing various buzzwords thrown out, what do you make of them?
A: Buzzwords are all over the place, and are used widely across IT teams in many organizations. Being thrown out there with various purposes, some sound convincing and tend to keep team members on the same page. It’s my hope and dream that we are headed towards building a collection of universal UX/UI patterns, and … buzzwords.
Similar to World Wide Web Consortium (W3C – w3.org), there will hopefully be a community to work together to develop User Experience standards. I would volunteer myself to be one of its contributors and collaborators.
Q: Where (or who) do you look to for inspiration? For innovative and revolutionary ideas?
A: I subscribe and browse through a few dozen design blogs and visit design conferences as much as time and finances allow. I appreciate all the knowledgeable individuals sharing their experiences, mishaps and success stories, they’ve been enormously inspiring.
One of my latest hobbies is exploring new mobile applications and evaluating each one’s design and usability. Tons of tips and tricks and trend insights, the key is not to get lost in your device for too long.
I’m inspired by finding similarities between the world of fashion and digital design, where following the latest trends and undergoing constant transformations are a must. Websites like chanel.com, prada.com and dior.com provide a solid example of how design can stand a traditional ground through the years, being very selective about the use of latest trends.
Follow Rita on Twitter for more User Experience Advice @ritasky