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Cracking the Code: UX Design w/ Maiane Gabriele

Cracking the Code: UX Design w/ Maiane Gabriele

User Experience (UX) Design plays a pivotal role in ensuring that users have a seamless and enjoyable interaction with products. To shed light on this complex yet vital field, we interviewed Maiane Gabriele, a seasoned UX/UI designer with a decade of experience in the field. Let's delve into her insights on UX design, user-centered design, key components, user research, wireframing, common mistakes, and valuable advice for beginners.

What is UX design?

‌‌UX Design is a niche inside design and stands for User Experience. In theory, this is a separated design field and its main purpose is to understand users, their needs and assure that they will be able to get a great experience in a determined situation, like when using a product. In practice, it is really hard to treat User Experience as a isolated field, once to guarantee a good experience you need to involve other design fields.

‌‌What does it mean to design with the user in mind?

It means that the decisions you make on a design are meant to provide a great experience for your users.For instance, you need to design a new social media app. When you have the user in mind, one of your first tasks is to hear the users, to learn about what are their pains, their needs. With that, you start to think and truly understand what the user's expectations are.

I think there are several modern design tools doing a great job in this sense. For instance, Figma frequently runs some updates they call "little big updates", in practice, they focus on developing several minor updates that users were requesting for a long time. This is a great way to show respect to your users.Apart from it, most big companies do great jobs in the sense of conducting research and developing tools with the user in mind, otherwise, they wouldn't stand so long. In this sense, companies like Adobe, Google, Airbnb, Apple and others are frequently launching user-centered products.        ‌

What are the fundamental elements or components that make up a good user experience?

It's impossible to set rules for that. Each product has its own challenges. Overall, a good user experience happens when the company truly knows their users, for this I believe user research and talking to users is a fundamental step.After that, what will make a good experience will depend on your research, on your audience, on the capacities of the team and so on.

‌Why is user research an essential step in the UX design process?

Because... How can you improve user experience if you don't know the user?     ‌

What are some practical and easy methods for conducting user research for beginners?

  1. Most importantly, just start and don't be afraid of talking to people.
  2. For every research, have a clear goal about what you want to learn from it.
  3. Prepare beforehand.
  4. You can ask and guide the conversation, but most of the time you are there to listen.
  5. Be confident.
  6. Learn about the product, the users, the context, before talking to users.
  7. Highlight key points from each conversation and, by the end, highlight the key finds of the entire research, as a way to guide you to the next steps.

What is wireframing?

‌‌Wireframes are low fidelity prototypes. For instance, instead of drawing a table with all the columns, filters, texts and everything it needs you can just indicate "there will be a table here". Wireframes may be really helpful for projects in early phases and to validade ideas, especially when you are dealing with multiple users and stakeholders.

What are some common mistakes that beginners make in UX design, and how can they be avoided?‌‌

  1. To be afraid of talking to users: you can avoid it by exposing yourself. The more you do it, the better you get.
  2. Do not focus on the most important: you can avoid it by having clear objectives on your research and by creating clear and concise outputs by the end of each process.
  3. Do not tell a story:  you can avoid it by starting to think that every design process is a story. If you can't tell how you went from one step to another you are not telling a story, you are just reading standalone pages.
  4. Blindly follow all the methods and frameworks: you can avoid it by thinking about the process before the start. What do you imagine that are the logical steps you need in order to solve this problem?

What advice do you have for someone who is just starting their journey in UX design?

  • Start your portfolio as soon as possible.
  • Do good projects, like if they were real life projects.
  • Study some marketing and improve your presentation skills.
  • When presenting your project, don't forget: you are telling a story.

Are there any particular skills or mindsets that are crucial for success in this field?

The most crucial mindset is the critical one.There are thousands of pieces of content about the subject, but you are entering a field that requires research. How can you become a good researcher if you can't even be critical about the content you are consuming?

What are some useful resources that you would recommend?

Conteúdos gratuitos de design, blog, portfólio e muito mais! | Maiane Gabriele – UI/UX Designer
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