Questions

Where do you look for good designers? How do you vet them? What are some important things I should ask a designer before hiring them?

As an HR in my company, I used to hire a lot of people with UX and UI knowledge. We were a IT company situated in western India. We preferred UX designers. User experience (UX) design can be a complicated and overwhelming field for newcomers, as it encompasses a wide range of topics (from accessibility to wireframing). Some of these topics overlap, while some of them complement one another. Therefore, it’s important to come to a common and basic understanding of what the term “user experience” means in a design context. User experience design, as its name suggests, is about designing the ideal experience of using a service or product. As such, it can involve all types of products and services—think, for instance, about the design involved in a museum exhibition. However, in the main, the term user experience design is used in relation to websites, web applications and other software applications. Since the second half of this century’s first decade, technologies have become increasingly complex, and the functionality of applications and websites has become far broader and far more intricate. Early websites were simple static pages that served up information to feed curious searchers; however, a few decades later, what we can find a wealth of online are sites that are interactive and offer a much richer feel for users.
A UX designer is someone who investigates and analyses how users feel about the products he or she offers them. UX designers then apply this knowledge to product development in order to ensure that the user has the best possible experience with a product. UX designers conduct research, analyse their findings, inform other members of the development team of their findings, monitor development projects to ensure those findings are implemented, and do much more.
In my company before I hired a UX designer, I used to look at his past works with other companies, I used to look at these 7 factors in his work:
1. Useful: If a product is not useful to someone, why would you want to bring it to market? If it has no purpose, it is unlikely to be able to compete for attention alongside a market full of purposeful and useful products. It is worth noting that ‘useful’ is in the eye of the beholder, and things can be deemed ‘useful’ if they deliver non-practical benefits such as fun or aesthetic appeal. Thus, a computer game or sculpture may be deemed useful even if neither enables a user to accomplish a goal that others find meaningful. In the former case, a teenager may be using the game to vent angst after a hard exam at college; in the latter, an art gallery visitor may ‘use’ the sculpture to educate herself on the artist’s technique or tradition, gaining spiritual pleasure at the same time from viewing it.
2. Usable: Usability is concerned with enabling users to achieve their end objective with a product effectively and efficiently. A computer game which requires three sets of control pads is unlikely to be usable as people, for the time being at least, only tend to have two hands. Products can succeed if they are not usable, but they are less likely to do so. Poor usability is often associated with the very first generation of a product—think the first generation of MP3 players, which have since lost their market share to the more usable iPod. The iPod was not the first MP3 player, but it was the first—in a UX sense, at least—truly usable MP3 player.
3. Findable: Findable refers to the idea that the product must be easy to find, and in the instance of digital and information products, the content within them must be easy to find, too. The reason is quite simple: if you cannot find the content you want in a website, you are going to stop browsing it. If you picked up a newspaper and all the stories within it were allocated page space at random, rather than being organized into sections such as Sport, Entertainment, Business, etc., you would probably find reading the newspaper a very frustrating experience. The same is true of hunting down LPs in a vintage music store—while some may find rifling through randomly stocked racks of assorted artists’ offerings part of the fun and ritual, many of us would rather scan through alphabetically arranged sections, buy what we want, get out and get on with our day. Time tends to be precious for most humans, thanks largely to a little factor called a ‘limited lifespan’. Findability is thus vital to the user experience of many products.
4. Credible: Twenty-first-century users are not going to give you a second chance to fool them—there are plenty of alternatives in nearly every field for them to choose a credible product provider. They can and will leave in a matter of seconds and clicks unless you give them reason to stay. Credibility relates to the ability of the user to trust in the product that you’ve provided—not just that it does the job it is supposed to do, but also that it will last for a reasonable amount of time and that the information provided with it is accurate and fit-for-purpose. It is nearly impossible to deliver a user experience if the users think the product creator is a lying clown with bad intentions—they’ll take their business elsewhere instead, very quickly and with very clear memories of the impression that creator left in them. Incidentally, they may well tell others, either in passing or more intentionally, in the form of feedback, to warn would-be customers, or ‘victims’ as they would view them.
5. Desirable: Skoda and Porsche both make cars. Both brands are, to some extent, useful, usable, findable, accessible, credible, and valuable—but Porsche is much more desirable than Skoda. This is not to say that Skoda is undesirable; they have sold a lot of cars. However, given a choice of a new Porsche or Skoda for free, most people will opt for the Porsche. Desirability is conveyed in design through branding, image, identity, aesthetics, and emotional design. The more desirable a product is, the more likely it is that the user who has it will brag about it and create desire in other users. Yes, we are talking about envy here; whilst we can salute Skoda’s indomitable spirit—not least for having made very innovative strides and made the most of resources behind the Iron Curtain.
6. Accessible: Sadly, accessibility often gets lost in the mix when creating user experiences. Accessibility is about providing an experience which can be accessed by users with a full range of abilities—this includes those who are disabled in some respect, such as the hearing, vision, motion, or learning impaired. Designing for accessibility is often seen by companies as a waste of money—the reason being the enduring misconception that people with disabilities make up a small segment of the population. In fact, according to the census data in the United States, at least 19% of people had a disability in 2010, and it is likely that this number is higher in less developed nations. It’s also worth remembering that when you design for accessibility, you will often find that you create products that are easier for everyone to use, not just those with disabilities. Do not neglect accessibility in the user experience; it is not just about showing courtesy and decency—it’s about heeding common sense, too.
7. Valuable: Finally, the product must deliver value. It must deliver value to the business which creates it and to the user who buys or uses it. Without value, it is likely that any initial success of a product will eventually corrode as the realities of natural economics start to undermine it.
Once this was done, I used to ask them to link me to their mobile app. They used to send me a link on WhatsApp message and I used to test the 5 qualities of the usable product:
1. Effectiveness: Effectiveness is about whether users can complete their goals with a high degree of accuracy. Much of the effectiveness of a product comes from the support provided to users when they work with the product; for example, fixing a credit card field so that it only accepts a valid credit card number entry can reduce data entry errors and help users perform their task correctly. There are many ways to provide support—the key is to be as informative as possible in a meaningful way to the user. You might also want to examine the language used in your product—the clearer and simpler that language is (ideally 6th-grade level), the more likely that your information will have the right impact on the user. This does not mean dumbing down your language gratuitously so as to patronize your users; it just means keeping an appropriate style that errs on the simpler side for clarity’s sake. Using the right level of technicality—for example, reducing the number of technical coding terms for a design-focused website—also helps make your messages clearer and meaningful to users. Redundancy in navigation can sometimes be beneficial; if users have multiple paths to their objective, they are more likely to get there. This may reduce the overall efficiency of the process, however. So, always consider the frustration of a user who can’t find the way forward and strike a balance between that and the ‘overkill’ of several alternatives.
2. Efficiency: Effectiveness and efficiency have come to be blurred in the mind. They are, however, quite different from a usability perspective. Efficiency is all about speed. How fast can the user get the job done? You will want to examine the number of steps (or indeed clicks/keystrokes) needed to achieve the objective; can they be reduced? This will help develop efficient processes. Clearly labelled navigation buttons with obvious uses will also help, as will the development of meaningful shortcuts. So as to maximize efficiency, you need to examine how your users prefer to work—are they interacting via a smartphone.
3. Engagement: Engagement is a bit of a buzzword, but if you cut through the fluff, you’ll find that engagement occurs when the user finds the product pleasant and gratifying to use. Aesthetics matter here, and its why many companies invest a small fortune in graphic design elements—but they are not the only factors in engagement. Engagement is not only about looking nice but also about looking right. Proper layouts, readable typography and ease of navigation all come together to deliver the right interaction for the user and make it engage. Looking nice isn’t everything, as Wikipedia (famous for its ultra-basic design) proves.
4. Error Tolerance: It seems unlikely that, given the need to gain any degree of sophistication or complexity, you can completely eliminate errors in products; in particular, digital products may be error prone because of the ecosystem in which they dwell—an ecosystem which is beyond the designer’s control.
However, the next best thing is to minimize errors from occurring and to ensure that your users can easily recover from an error and get back to what they are doing. This is what we call ‘error tolerance’.
Promoting error tolerance, according to Whitney Quesenberry, requires:
1. Restricting opportunities to do the wrong thing. Make links/buttons clear and distinct; keep language clear and simple; do not use jargon unless absolutely necessary and keep dependencies in forms or actions together. Also, limit options to correct choices if you can, and give examples and support when asking people to provide data.
2. Offering the opportunity to ‘redo’. Give users a way to reset what they’ve just done and go back and start again. Similarly, provide a clearly visible ‘undo’ function. Consider the amount of data a user stands to lose by inadvertently deleting items. That ‘railing’ or ‘safety ledge’ will keep users from panicking.
3. Assuming everyone is going to do things, you don’t expect them to do. Then, either facilitate that or offer advice/support to get back on the right path. This sort of recovery measure also makes your site appear more human and trustworthy in that it shows you appreciate the human tendency to make mistakes and empathize with your users.
5. Ease of Learning: If you want a product to be used regularly, then you want users to be able to learn their way around that product easily—to the extent that it comes as second nature when they use it again. You also need to accommodate ease of learning when releasing new functionality and features; otherwise, a familiar and happy user may quickly become frustrated with your latest release. This is something that tends to happen a lot on social networks; whenever a new set of features is released, they tend to be greeted with howls of outrage from comfortable users. And this is true even when the new features are easy to learn. A classic case occurred in early 2012, when Facebook’s Timeline format became the new standard for user profiles. Although hordes of users bemoaned the change—which to many of them seemed needless—Facebook wisely phased in the introduction so that users had plenty of time to switch over. The best way to support ease of learning is to design systems that match a user’s existing mental models. A mental model is simply a representation of something in the real world and how it is done from the user’s perspective. It’s why virtual buttons look a lot like real buttons – we know that we push buttons; therefore, we tap virtual ones on touchscreens or mouse-click them. The form elicits the appropriate action in the user, hence making it easy to learn.
Once this was done, I used to conduct the interviews for the candidates who did apply for the UX developer position from the online portal. The basic questions that I used to ask to the UX developers ranged form their personal life to professional life, about their previous jobs, about their ambition. prospect for growth and development in new company and so on and so forth. When employers hire UX designers based solely on their resumes and portfolios, they are taking a gamble. In an environment that is as collaborative as UX, it is imperative that you bring on employees with temperaments and personalities that will not clash with the rest of their prospective team. Likability goes a long way in a job interview, and any candidate who forgoes this notion may not be the right fit for your organization.
Apart from this I used to make sure of the following points:
1. Make your interviewees comfortable – dress in a manner similar to them (your being in a suit while they’ve dressed in tracksuits is going to make it feel like a job interview rather than a user test); make sure they understand you are testing a product or an idea and not them as users (apart from anything else, people tend to act differently if they feel they’re under a microscope); offer them a drink (non-alcoholic), conduct a little small talk (but only a little) before you start, etc.
2. Try to keep the interview on time and heading in the right direction – the reason scripts are useful is because you can reference them for this. Remember, though, that while they provide a good framework or conduit, many key points can still come up spontaneously; so, keep an eye on how you ration your time, especially because users tend to get irritated if they’re kept longer than you had agreed.
3. Try to focus on the interviewee and not on making notes – it is just plain rude to bury your head in your notes. Maintain eye contact, keep a conversation flowing, and record the interview instead of getting lost in notetaking. Keep the users engaged in a living process; if they feel they are giving descriptions to a clerk at a lost property office, they will almost certainly switch off.
4. Thank the interviewees at the end of the process – not only is this polite, but you can offer a chance for the interviewees to ask any questions of their own at this point, too.
The questions you can ask to a UX designer are as follows:
1. Walk me through your work process.
2. What is your experience working with a team of developers and other designers? How do you accept feedback and criticism?
3. What has been your most successful UX design project?
4. Where do you go for UX design inspiration?
5. What are some challenges you have faced in UX design?
6. How would you improve the UX of our products or services?
With such a varied range of tasks, UX designers need to have a remarkably diverse skill set. Besides technical and design skills like wireframing, prototyping and interpreting data and feedback, UX designers also need certain “soft” skills. Adaptability, communication, empathy, problem-solving and teamwork are all essential soft skills. As a UX designer, it is important that you can collaborate effectively with those around you—from clients and stakeholders to developers and fellow designers, all the way through to the end user. Business knowledge also goes a long way in the UX design industry. It is important to understand both the goals of the company and the needs of the target audience, and to align these when coming up with design solutions.
The 5 Dimensions of Interaction Design that you must investigate the apps developed by UX developer are as follows:
1. Words: Words—especially those used in interactions, such as button labels—should be meaningful and simple to understand. They should communicate information to users, but not so much information that they end up overwhelming users or slowing them down.
2. Visual Representations: This concerns graphical elements such as images, typography, and icons that users interact with. These usually supplement the words we use to communicate information to users. As an extremely visual-oriented species, humans value images immensely: not only because well thought-out, picture-rich designs make for more pleasing, calming user experience, but also because an image carries many words—a story, in fact—and that’s precious, given users’ tendency to lack patience.
3. Physical Objects or Space: Through what physical objects do users interact with the product: is it a laptop, with a mouse or touchpad? Or is it a smartphone, with the user’s fingers? Also, within what kind of physical space does the user do so? For instance, is the user standing in a crowded train while using the app on a smartphone, or sitting at a desk in the office while surfing the website? These all affect the interaction between the user and the product. Space is all about context and goes an exceptionally long way to deciding what a product must look like, in much the same way as the average size of a human hand will.
4. Time: While this dimension sounds a little abstract, it mostly refers to media that changes with time (animation, videos, sounds). Motion and sounds play a crucial role in giving visual and audio feedback to users’ interactions. Also, of concern is the amount of time a user spends interacting with the product: can users track their progress, or resume their interaction sometime later? In an era saturated with information and where users can feel as time-starved as they can data-drowned, understanding how much time they spend in their user experiences is vital.
5. Behaviour: This includes the mechanism of a product and involves two pivotal questions—namely, “How do users perform actions on the website?” and “How do users operate the product?”. In other words, this dimension is all about how the previous dimensions define the interactions a user should be having with a product. It also includes the reactions—for instance, emotional responses or feedback—of users and the product. While the first four dimensions are vital, the fifth sheds light on a deeper aspect of the human realm in UX and can expose serious strengths as well as any flaws.
This is the way you can hire best UX designers to create your mobile app. Besides if you do have any questions give me a call: https://clarity.fm/joy-brotonath


Answered 9 months ago

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