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“Experiences are shaped even before the use of a particular product or service”

Pavia, July 17th, 2018

Founded in 2007 in Italy, glueglue is a passionate and highly motivated digital and print design team working in Pavia and other cities across Europe. The agency believes that to deliver successful products, it is crucial to always have in mind the needs of real people, having the mission of simplifying the lives of their clients and customers.

glueglue has a wide portfolio that includes projects for sectors varying from technology to food and beverage, expanding over the last few years. One of the reasons of that expansion has been the work by Matteo Lo Manto, UX designer and Co-founder. In an interview with TIA, Lo Manto describes the design process at glueglue and the overall functioning of the agency.

How do you define UX design?

When saying User Experience, I would like to think about all the emotions we as humans feel at every single moment of our life. User Experience design is both an art and a science that aims to shape them through all the channels and tools we have in the physical and digital world. It is fascinating to think about the fact that experiences are shaped even before the use of a particular product or service, from the word of mouth or the perception we have of a specific brand as an example. It’s like a big puzzle that defines the overall experience.

What is your design process?

During 10 years of glueglue’s activity, we tested and tried many different approaches, struggling to define a well-structured plan for our design process. We follow a six-step process during most kickoffs and found out that every step is fundamental if you want to be sure of the final output.

The first step is briefing in which we define goals and expectations with the client. The second one is research, something agencies overlook. The third step is wireframing, which seeks to define the features and functionalities of your digital product. The fourth one is the design phase, the fun part. Then you’ll come to the prototyping phase that makes things 100% clear concerning the user flow and interactions using for example tools like InVision. Last but not least you should always test your product even before going live to make sure people will use it as expected.

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

The question you have to answer always is: would this be an added value for the user? It is probably one of the most challenging things about our job, and it is many startups’ failure reason. Focusing on the few important things that really makes the difference is the biggest challenge to deal with. It is surprising how successful companies usually focus on just one simple feature.

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

The smart way to create usable digital products is often improving what’s already on the market, finding weaknesses and shifting frameworks and patterns from a market to another. It is impressive the way you can have an impact just by finding better ways to solve an existing problem.

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

The next big UX challenge is to understand how the Internet of things can really improve our daily lives with seamless experiences for the users. Companies are betting hard on the topic, but sometimes it remains unclear what is the real added value for the people and regarding UX design there’s a lot of work to be done.

We recently worked for Smeg to design the apps for the whole range of connected kitchen appliances and started this journey by developing little smart features – as suggesting wine pairing with the meal you are cooking – small things that improve our daily life.

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?

The answer is human interaction. We never get tired of meeting people and discussing with the goals and expectations. As per our design process, there is no proper kickoff until a well-structured briefing with decision makers is carried out. Most of the times you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation you have probably underrated this first little thing. Communication is what makes our projects successful, and we’ll never get tired of asking questions.

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

We usually work with small teams of designers and developers. While it is essential to follow a shared methodology like Agile as an example, what indeed guarantees the quality of delivery is being methodical and always check improvements and fixes before the go-live. Even if many processes can be automated at the end of the game, it’s still the human check that’s making the difference, so it is really important to work with people you love to work with.

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

Since I was a child, I have loved activities that ended with producing something you can touch and play with, so I guess that I would see myself into something where I would get my hands dirty – something the digital sometimes lacks – and producing physical products like silkscreen artworks or clothing.

Thanks Matteo!

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