I’ve had a lot of fun in the past few months connecting to some really cool people in the field of user experience; and today is one of those days that really opened my eyes to how exciting and entertaining this endeavor really is. I got in touch with Shai Wininger, Co-Founder and CTO of Fiverr.com, “The place for people to share things they’re willing to do for $5,” to get a sense of what UX means to him. I was pleasantly surprised and super excited when I got a sense of his passions and advice surrounding UX. I invite you to take a look at the interview and enjoy!
Shai is Co-Founder and CTO of Fiverr.com. He loves executing complex ideas and bringing them to life as desirable products which sell. Shai has a true passion for elite coding, hacking, product, branding, UI/UX and design> You may check out his blog Hacking, Shmacking and follow him @shai_wininger.
Who is one of your role models that got you into the field of UX?
My first encounter with UX was as a kid, about 25 years ago. It all started the day I met Lisa - my one and only role model. It was the first time I’ve seen anything like it. Lisa’s magical GUI amazed me. It had windows, calculators, word processors – all implemented in a beautiful monochrom design. In my mind, Lisa was the beginning of everything we love today about design and UX. It was the first desktop metaphor in mass production, the beginning of digital skeuomorphism and the Mac’s biological mother. Lisa’s software was all about usability, layout and typography in a world where word processing was done in green ASCII terminals. A time where you had to replace a physical chip in your computer to get a new font installed (seriously!)
After laying my eyes on Lisa for the first time, I was hooked.
If you could tell a UX designer one piece of advice, what would it be?
Work hard on making things simple. Fight that urge to have your personal touch noticed in the end-product. To me, UX is all about focus and simplicity. Take drag-and-drop in websites for example. It’s just not natural for people to drag stuff and drop it where you want them to. It’s like forcing someone to play a game by your awkward rules. I always look for a way to make my work unnoticed and work with the natural flow of the product and the medium.
What practices do you engage in, so that you are on top of your game in your field?
Staying on top of the game is not something I concern myself with. I do think, product designers should consume products on a daily basis. I for one, am a web applications addict. I love paying for premium web apps for music, communications, collaboration, analytics, travel etc. I can’t imagine my life offline. I learn a lot by experiencing products from the users’ perspective, learning what works and what doesn’t. It’s a way of life and a personal passion.
What is one UX issue or topic that you, yourself, would love to learn more about?
I have a real fetish for a/b and usability testing and love reading about these topics. Eye tracking usability testing is a very interesting emerging field and is something we plan to incorporate in our workflows at some point.
What UX practices do you think drive a more social experience for users?
I would say rewards and badges are great drivers of social engagement. People love to brag about stuff they got or earned. The more exclusive it is, the more they’ll want to share it with their friends. This does not mean that every product should have these elements build into them. In fact, I recently encounter more and more cases where the game factor was not a natural fit to the product – what led to me not caring about the game or its rewards.
Do you think that social features and design elements get people to make better purchasing decisions? Or do these design elements steer users away from buying due to possible lower-levels of trust?
There is no simple answer to this question. Incorporating social assets within your site could work both ways. If you do not have a broad reach and a massive amount of users, some types of social assets (like comments, facepile etc.) will be mostly empty and might diminish trust. If you do however have good liquidity in a specific group, this could be a good conversion driver.
Is there a huge difference in product design and user experience design? If so, do you believe that user experience design will eventually be considered as product design, due to the growing importance of the field? Or vice versa?
It’s interesting to see how in the past 10 years so many new roles have emerged. The once generic graphic designer now has to choose between being a web, print, brand, ui, ux and product designer (and i’m sure i missed a few). At Fiver we look for people who feel comfortable with the idea of total ownership. Product designers are responsible for more then just wireframes. I think that for startups and small companies, having a UX designer and a product designer is a bit too much.