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“Design has to solve a specific need of its target audience”

Barcelona, February 14th, 2018

Based in Barcelona, BREU is an award winning digital design agency founded and headed by Alícia Gómez.

The agency creates and enhance brand identities, websites, apps, strategies and campaigns for companies and institutions, aiming to discover the values behind each project and their personality.

Ajuntament de Barcelona, Fundació puntCAT, Sinagoga Major de Barcelona, Nua Bikes, Coolmapp, Laura Ribas, Makers of Barcelona (MOB) and Invira have been some of the clients of the agency so far, leading to awards such as Awwwards, Laus Awards and Adobe News.

In an interview with TIA, Alícia Gómez gives us an inside peak on the daily work at the agency, focusing on User Experience Design.

How do you define UX/design?

It is the experience that an user has interacting with a digital product. This, apart from being conditioned by technical aspects such as usability, accessibility and functionality, takes into consideration other factors of vital importance, such as emotions, feelings and brand values.

What are the current challenges that you face as a UX designer?

We work on very diverse projects and each one has its own challenges. Now, we are working on a project for the Barcelona City Council, in which we are creating an interactive map of the digital Barcelona. It is a complex project, since we handle a lot of information that we display into digital infographics.

The challenge is to simplify the amount of information we have, turning something complex in a very easy to understand graphics for the mass audience. Besides, we are also playing with technology so that, apart from users can consume the information, the digital experience is rich and produce what we call the “Wow Effect”.

What is your design process? Describe what methods you follow

The first thing we do is get to know our client and his project thoroughly. We do what we call a “psychoanalysis session”, where we delve into the added values of the brand, its personality, how it is positioned in the market and how it relates to its audience. From there, we draw several conclusions that help us define a narrative for the project’s digital experience.

For us, a website is like a story: it has an introduction, a knot and an outcome. We define this history and from it we create the wireframes, which are the structure of what will later be the design of the UI and what we will eventually code. We validate with the client each one of the phases and we involve him as much as we can, to get the feeling that the website is a creation of both him and us.

How do you work design taking into account your target and users?

I understand that design has to solve a specific need of its target audience. It could sound obvious, but it is important to keep in mind what need we are solving and in what way. For that, we need to know the users very well, and then, each decision will be made based on their needs, objectives, expectations, motivations and capabilities.

What would you say will be the next big trend in the UX Design industry?

Humanizing digital experiences is something that will be essential in 2018. More and more, users want to know the personal history behind brands. They want to know who the founders are and understand why they do what they do.

In several fields, customers want to consume brands which they feel identified by their values and their way of doing, because those brands are able to make them feel specific emotions.

In addition, technological advances allow us to know better and better the users who visit our website and know things about them. This allows us to communicate with them in a closer and personal way, offer them what they like or even anticipate us.

The client is upset with a particular element of design that you have done. They believe that you have not created what they asked for. How would you handle this?

I think customer feedback is very important. He knows better than anyone else how his business and his market are, therefore, his opinion tends to enrich the design. It has never happened to us, at the moment, that the client is annoyed by something related to the design, since we talk enough with them and we get sure we understand what they need, before presenting a graphic solution.

How do you organize team and tasks to guarantee Quality assurance (QA)?

We are a small agency and that makes the organization very simple. We use tools like Trello to organize tasks and Slack to communicate.

The design team works closely with the programming team to ensure the implementation of the designs is pixel perfect and everything works correctly. I personally review all the projects that come out of the agency. I am extremely perfectionist and I make sure that all the details are well resolved before delivering the piece to the client.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Apart from working in my digital agency, I have two other passions that I am starting to work on. On the one hand, teaching at universities, which allows me to transmit everything I’ve been learning during my experience working in the field, and on the other hand, art, which allows me to enjoy my creativity as a game without any kind of conditioning.

Thanks Alícia!

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