I had a conversation with a client the other day that caught me a little off guard. He was interested in a brand new app for his company, and we got around to talking about what he could expect from me during the first week of the design phase. His first question for me was, “I can see some awesome designs by the end of the week, right?”
Understandably, he was concerned with what the app would look like, what colors would be used, and how big the logo would be. Now keep in mind, this was a completely new app that didn’t exist yet. I sat him down and explained that visual design is only one part of the app design process, and I’d need to do a lot of work before I could think about what it would look like. I explained that the other part of the process is behind-the-scenes work that ultimately informs every aspect of the app’s visual aesthetic. And that this part of the process is why we are called user experience (UX) designers, and not just designers at WillowTree.
To him, design was all about the visual aspect of the app. Is this a misconception? Absolutely. Can I blame him for thinking this way? Not for a second. To almost everyone, design is what makes something look good and not much more than that. It’s all about the pretty colors and fancy photography that help make a product look attractive. That’s what we’ve all been taught since we were young.
But outward-facing design is only one side of the coin. The other side of design is in-depth research, user interviews, creating user personas, and wireframes. It’s all about understanding the product, who it’s for, and what problems you are trying to solve for the product’s users. Without exploring and learning about all of this, there’s no way to know if the final product will be successful or not.
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