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You can swap the edges of these 3D printed sunglasses to fit your mood

While you may recognize and appreciate the work of graphic designers, fashion designers, and architects in your daily life, you may not think twice about experienced designers. But user experience (UX) designers have a big impact on the products that most of us use every day, especially digital products like smartphone apps and websites. A UX designer is responsible for how you interact with a product and the overall experience: what features does it provide? If you click on a button in an app or on a website, where will you go? Can you find this button? How many clicks should it take to enter your credit card information or sign up for a new account? How easy is it to find out how to share a link or invite a friend? It's the job of a UX designer to figure that out.

Mental Floss interviewed four people who work as UX designers to learn more about their job. Jonny Mack, a Seattle-based freelance designer, previously worked at Google where he designed products such as Chrome OS. Since then he has worked on projects such as Coinbase Wallet, a crypto currency app. Rob Hamblen is Design Director at the Berlin design agency AJ & Smart and has worked with clients such as Adidas, Twitter and Mercedes-Benz. Talin Wadsworth is the lead UX design manager for Adobe XD ̵

1; the user experience design software that UX designers use to create prototypes – and Nina Boesch is Senior Interaction Designer at Local Projects, a New York-based studio that designs (among others) museum experiences for Institutions like the American Museum of Natural History

Here are 10 secrets that you may not know about the job, from the user features that UX designers hate to the reason they hope you never notice their work , THE DEFINITION OF A UX DESIGNER MANY MANY …

Not everyone who works as a UX designer has a similar job description. Some take care of a wide range of tasks, from product features to prototyping, designing user tests, and writing code. Others may be more specialized and oversee other designers, researchers, and engineers when working on individual aspects of the design process. Some also participate in the design of user interfaces called UI. This creates the visual appearance of a product. "The range of capabilities of UX designers varies greatly," explains Mack. "Some people call themselves UX designers and they're extremely technical, they're actually doing a lot of engineering and front-end development, and there are other people who call themselves UX designers who do not write code and do not even design much that much research – and doing usability stuff. "

" At a startup I would define a UX designer as a generalist, "says Mack." You would work with a product manager and an engineer to define what the product is "They help figure out what features a product will have and what features it will not have. You'll create a prototype and conduct interviews with potential users and challenge them to test the prototype to see if users actually designate it can use. You could even write the code and design the user interface of the website or app. 19659002] "In a big company like Google, you had specialists for each of the things I mentioned." There would be a dedicated usability researcher who would conduct these interviews and user tests, as well as a team of prototypes and visual designers who would actually make the product under different roles. In this environment, the UX designer acts more as a manager, helping to determine the product and guide the project through the build process.

. 2 There are many meetings.

Designers do not spend all day at their desks sketching ideas. It's an intense collaborative job – sometimes a mistake. "When I worked at Google," says Mack, "I spend very little time designing – probably four to six hours a week at the most, and that time was either early in the morning, late at night, or weekend because of it all Day was full of meetings. "

Wadsworth also spends a lot of time meeting other people instead of working alone. His team usually has daily check-ins or review sessions together. "The perception of the individual designer is not true," he says. He's trying to spend an hour here or an hour working on ideas for himself, but he says the rest of his time is spent discussing ideas in meetings or on slack or during formal research sessions. That's not a bad thing for him. "Some of my favorite moments are when someone passes by and I just snap them and make them give me something – that's where many of the 'Aha's' moments come from."


The role of the UX designer is almost entirely behind the scenes. While you may admire how beautiful a surface looks, you probably do not think too much about the process that will help you get from point A to point B in an app. And that's a good thing.

As Hamblen puts it, "If you've done your job right, you can design an interface that does not cause friction for the user, and if the UX designer did his job, [users] can achieve his goal, without thinking. "This goal could be to buy something on a website, check and find your account balance in your bank app," "or otherwise understand how to navigate the product you want to use.

"In a way, we're working on the results that nobody but our team or the client will ever see," says Boesch. "We provide charts and storyboards to our customers, we provide wireframes and sitemaps to our developers," but the end user will not see this work. Unless, of course, if they do their job badly and their product or experience is hard to use, then a user might wonder what's going on behind the scenes and why the product is not easier to navigate. [19659004] 4. YOU HATE TUTORIALS.

Mack hates seeing multi-level user tutorials when opening a consumer app, called "aggressive hand-holding." Ideally, users should be able to navigate and explore the features in an app or on a website without special instructions, only through intuition and context. "I get the impetus to teach people," hey, here's what it is, "but you can teach people through use," he says. "If you have to train people, that's probably a design failure."

For example, spending a lot of time figuring out how to buy a train ticket from a machine in the station is the designer's fault, not yours. "Most public kiosks, such as ticket machines at subway and train stations, hurt my eyes and my trust in the authorities," explains Boesch. "If I needed more than a minute to understand the interface and get my ticket, the UX / UI design failed, and most of the ATMs are pretty awful – in a perfect world, it would not take more than 20 seconds Getting cash from an ATM. "

An app that Mack says does a great job: Todoist, the To-Do List, and the Task Manager App. "It's so easy at first sight, but it's like an iceberg of complexity." You could open it because you think you'll just write down a to-do list, but then you can prioritize, share, annotate, merge tasks with other tasks, assign deadlines, and slumber You then and more. "If I were to write all these functions into a document, you would read it and you would say," This is the most complicated task application ever. "But when you look at it, it just looks so simple and easy."


For Wadsworth, creating a new prototype for Adobe XD typically takes between three and six months, but that does not mean that the team works leisurely. "The pace at which we work is pretty hectic," he says. While design school students have the luxury of developing concepts and ideas for projects for a long time, professional designers have to make those decisions much faster. "Every month, we're committed to developing features with Adobe XD," he explains.

Hamblens work at AJ & Smart is particularly fast-paced. The company specializes in "Design Sprints", a five-day, intensive prototyping process designed to help companies solve a specific problem or develop a product. In this environment, the original UX design may need to be completed in just one day so that the design can be prototyped and tested by users by the end of the week.

. 6 You could not have as many user tests as you think.

User testing is an important part of the design process. Designers could create something they consider ingenious, but if a normal user can not figure it out, it's worthless. But while you can imagine a new product being tested with dozens of potential users, it's probably much less. The default size of a test group is only five people.

"It does not seem that enough people are, but there is a lot of field research that went into [that number]," says Hamblen. A group of five people is big enough to generate useful feedback, but small enough to support tight budgets and fast turnarounds. After two or three user reviews, you'll start seeing patterns in the feedback, but the fifth user sees Not Something Obvious for Others Not all technically savvy, for example: These test reviewers are typically recruited based on the expected user base of a product, which may be something like "parents of small children" or "20 to 30 years old". Old, "or" people who use online banks, "or any other type of demographics or demographics the company is targeting.


UX designers often work very close with developers, so they need to know at least and the basics of writing code. "A designer must understand the core concepts of code for every platform for which he develops," Wadsworth says, to get an idea of ​​the limitations and capabilities of a given one "I myself have taken a Boot Camp for iOS development," he explains, "I do not do that as my daily job, but it helps me to be a better designer."

"You have to Things that a developer would have to do to understand, "says Hamblen. Create the most beautiful interfaces in the world, but if your engineers can not translate it into code, it will not happen." I've seen designers; He creates things that are impossible to build or that make life much harder for developers. USERS MAY BE VERY PASSIONATE.

If you're working on updating a design that's part of something people use every day, even small improvements can be a big deal if Wadsworth and Changing His Team Adobe XD affects how creative professionals do their jobs. "People have very strong opinions," says Wadsworth. "More than just" you've changed this button from green to blue, "they say," You have changed something that was an integral part of my process and now I have to relearn something. "There is a lot of pressure."

"Whenever I talk about my job, I show a picture of a woman who he has tattooed the Photoshop toolbar on their arm, "he explains." That's the power of creatives their tools. "


Good UX design may be subtle, but that does not mean that UX designers are completely invisible in their work. "I'm in the [Adobe] XD tutorial file," says Wadsworth. If you open the example file that will help you to use the software, follow his work. "I'm the designer you can jump into and design with," he explains, and the app you look at him has a personal connection for him. "I'm originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, and so the app we developed to be the app that you learn together with is based on my formative years in XD National Parks have grown up in the west. "

10. Your work is not too late.

"My life's work will be gone when I'm old," says Mack. "I will look back on all the work I have done as a UX designer, and I will not be able to handle or use anything – everything will be redone." Regular product updates, aesthetic trends and technological changes mean that if you create something for the web or mobile devices, it will not stay the same for a long time. If you create a website now, you probably will not be able to see your work in 10 years. However, this transience is not necessarily a bad thing. "There's something I like about it," he says. "It's like theater."

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