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“If you don’t base your design on user research, you are doing it wrong”

Cape Town, February 28th, 2018

Speed, collaboration and agility are the core principles to how South African digital agency Platinum Seed structures and organizes its work. The agency creates digital products, platforms and brand experiences to connect consumers and brands in a completely entire new way.

A key part of that process is User Experience Design, in order for clients to connect with their consumers and draw a revenue. Ally Behr is Platinum Seed’s Design Director and in an interview with TIA she provides details on how the agency works its design, also giving tips on how to achieve a great design.

What does it mean and what does it take to be a great UX designer?

Be comfortable with trial and error and enjoy the process of testing multiple solutions. Understand that it’s never finished. Actively put user needs before your own, and design to solve problems.

Question everything, especially your own assumptions. Keep organized. Exercise extreme attention to detail, without losing sight of the bigger picture. Get away from your desk and speak to the humans using your product.

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

With so many stakeholders in the mix, the user voice often gets lost. A real challenge is that the industry can often have different notions of what UX actually is – User Experience. It’s not just a buzzword and some wireframe creation. If you aren’t basing your design on user research, you’re doing it wrong.

What is your design process?

It fluctuates for every project based on requirements. We work in an agile environment, so things move pretty quickly, hand-in-hand with developers and clients.

How do you prioritize which product features to keep or discard?

The answer is in your data and User Research. Is it useful, relevant, or differentiated?

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

Tools like Invision Studio, Webflow and Haiku which allows pure-play designers to create animations, transitions and interactions without code.

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’d re-read my emails, make sure I understood the brief properly and unpack how I arrived at the current decision. If I still strongly believed my solution fits the bill, I’d fight for it – or try and come to a compromise. If you’ve built great client relationships based on trust and transparency, and co-create briefs together, this situation rarely occurs.

What are some apps or websites that you love?

My daily bread-and-butter for inspiration is Muzli by Invision – and aggregator that collates the best from all my favorite blogs. I’m a huge fan of Noisly: a site with a super simple interface that allows you to customize background noise and aids concentration. (Ask me what I’m listening to, and it’s usually the rain).

What makes the city where you live and work special?

The natural beauty, and the great food.

Thanks Ally!

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