F.A.Q.Random questions. Answered.
Q What pieces of work are you proud of?
PocketSocial App, Quote Hanger App w/ Mister Bumbles Interactive. And the best thing about all these projects, I lived the life, researched the life of my ideal audience.
For PocketSocial App I went to all kinds of meet ups, events in Downtown Vancouver. Met organizers and participants asked pain problems, sent them questionnaires, did some follow up, presented them prototypes. I contacted a few dozen random people who organized events via Craigslist ads.
Funny story about QuoteHanger App is, that me and my friends(at small meetings we like to call Finer Things Club)came up with this over a coffee, at Starbucks. This app kinda made our meeting consequent meeting all about apps less about friendship haha..
Q Where do you go to get inspired, either in real world or online?
I can answer this in many ways, but a simpler answer would be I mix and match things, connect multiple disjointed ideas, keep an open mind, be more receptive to contrasting or opposing ideas. I don’t do anything different any creative does. To learning more about my process read Austin Kleon’s book “Steal like an Artist.”
As for inspiration when I sit down and work on UI or designing I look at my Dribbble and Behance network. I read a lot of blogs, graphic novels follow industry sites. I have a few close friends who are killin’ it on Dribbble, they keep me on my toes.
Q How do you keep improving yourself as a designer?
As I said before my network of friends in local Vancouver design communities in Vancouver Dribbble and Behance are doing amazing work. And at this stage in life, most of my friends have a good positions in different types of companies all around the globe, which motivates me to work harder.
Q What do you listen to when you are designing?
Electronic, Trance, Lounge, ASMR(sometimes), Old–school hip hop.
Q How do you create design experiences keeping users first?
Keeping users first has always been instinctive to me when designing application, mobile or web. I think it is the case because I plan information architecture, and copy inside app as if interface was a window and I was talking to the users of that product.
I try to bring my target users along as early as possible in the process. This is after the research phase, when I am fully immersed in the product concept and have rough idea of the features, audience and problem that I will be solving. I do card sorting to figure out IA with internal stakeholders. Sometimes due to common interface practices I start with the current standards, there is no reason to reinvent the wheel. ‘Profile setting’ is always on the top right corner and notifications next to it on the left, recognition is better than recall.
I do like to do paper prototyping with a few users early on, where I like to button copy, and test the concept in general. Paper prototype brings a lot of value especially when you re designing something that only existed at an abstract concept. As things get hammered out I proceed to high fidelity interactive prototypes. Back in 2012, I used to love a tool called Indigo Studio for interactive prototypes, (functionality like Proto.io, UXPin) just a little faster. Plus being among its founding users I had free access to it. Unfortunately they didn’t update their UI elements when Apple switched over to flat design and I had to switch over to other apps. Now its mostly InVisionApp, Adobe XD, Sketch Mirror.
Q What design challenges have you faced in the past?
With KnowledgeBox I faced a lot of design challenges as it was a documentation centric version of Google Drive. What that means its supposed to be a living guide which employees use on day to day system for documentations.
On KnowldgeBox we had made a nice granular permissions setting control for documentations, a new interaction design for users to see revision history. KnowledgeBox was designed and developed when Medium and Ghost CMS had just started so it was a system like Atlassian Confluence but simplified enough that any Gmail user can use it.
Q What product(s) blew you away?
It might sound like a cliche but I like Airbnb’s UI and UX. And when they added ‘Experiences’ that was just amazing. I have seen that launch keynote at least 4-5 times. To be honest I haven’t used Airbnb a lot, but I think if I had regular Californian money and I travelled a lot that’d be something I’d use a lot. As for my poor existence I use Meetup and PocketSocial App.
Q Do you have a cool design tricks?
Yes, mucho design tricks, two things grids and typography. I think over 90% visual design can be fixed by fixing readability, legibility, and looking at the context of the design.
I’d suggest buying Basic Design 01 Layout, Basic Design Format and Basic Design 03 Typography all written by Gavin Ambrose.
Q How do you explain the role of design to a business?
Explaining role of design is really easy when you have a direct competitor or when you are in B2C trying to take a mindshare from the top 3-4 apps. And extremely difficult when you have first mover advantage and surrounded by too analytical people.
In cases of smaller examples, designing something better solves the argument. For larger products where time isn’t a luxury, I prepare presentations, slides with high level strategies like
• Discovery and easy content access
• Increase app engagement
• Reduce number of steps to a certain task completion.
UX mature organizations are the gold spot IMO, but not very common in Canada, I’d love to work in one in the future, but right now I am happy dealing with stress and difficult situations that will help me grow.
Q What tools do you use(both in analog and digital)?
My analog tools of choice are
- Pentel Graph 1000
- Everyman Grafton 3
- Macbook Pro + Audio Engine DAC + Audio Technica M50x
- Wacom Intuos4
- Moleskine (dotted for wireframing and layout designs)
- Sharpies, post–its, for design sprints
Digital tools that I use
- Illustrator + Photoshop + Typekit + AdobeXD
- Sketch App
- Adobe Premiere + Adobe After Effects
- InVision App
- Github Atom and Sublime(not a power user)
Q What is your favourite brand of notepad?