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“UX designers must be a bridge between future users and developers”

Lausanne, February 13th, 2019

With headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, Coteries Lab is a web-design agency operating from more than six years.

They design, develop and market digital products for corporates and startups. From the brainstorming phase to clickable prototypes to web or mobile apps, they bring their knowledge to develop great user experiences.

Sébastien Von Roth is one of the Founders and Head of Design at Coteries Lab. He has more than 20 years of experience in UX/UI Design, developing a solid experience in designing web and mobile applications, websites and deep knowledge about social networks.

In an interview with TIA, Sébastien looks at the most recent developments at the agency and reflects on what it means to be a great UX designer. At the same time, he described his design process and the future outlooks for the industry.

Could you describe your agency in a few words?

At Coteries Lab, our goal is to deliver highly qualitative projects and we work in an agile way. We strive to work in a dynamic and fun environment where honesty, proactivity, and creativity are celebrated. We are not afraid to fail as long as we seize these opportunities to grow as a company and as humans.

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

The work of a UX designer must be a collective effort of all the team collaborating in the project. The UX designer must be the bridge between the future users and the developers. He must constantly test and question his intuitions through different user tests.

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

As a UX designer, we must never think that we hold the solution all by ourselves. The design is a collective process based on trials and errors and feedbacks from users.

What is your design process? Describe what methods you follow.

My design process is mainly based on best-practices and most common UX design methods and technics. The order may vary, but I usually start with defining to UX Value Proposition to map out the key aspect of the product, then defining the product strategy, and perform a competitive audit.

If needed, I can also perform cultural probes, to get more insights and inspiration from the customer’s environment. The following steps are the customer interviews and the user interviews to correct and modify any features of the design.

Finally, I may organize a kickoff meeting with the clients to define all the stages and key features of the design or perform a heuristic evaluation. That would help me visualize the current state of the product in terms of usability, accessibility, and effectiveness of the experience.

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

The rise of AI and robots will bring a new kind of interactive approach with the user. Maybe less based on screens but more on the communication. The concepts of click, image button, etc. will no longer have the same importance.

Future interactions with machines of all types (Robot, AI) will come closer to the type of interaction we have between humans. The studies in cognitive science will teach us and help us to move on. This will also go through a necessary education of the users that the designers will have to lead and ease thanks to their work.

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?

In the development process, we always do some user testing to get feedback from people external to the project or the client’s company. And most of the time, if the majority of the testers have the same opinion, I will follow it. Then, I use these users’ feedback to demonstrate to the customer that it is a better choice. We, as designers or even as customer, do not have the truth: users decide!

What piece of advice would you give a recent grad looking to work in the digital industry?

To work on a maximum of projects, of different types and try to learn new things, whether web development, app development or learning how to code. And not only at the office.

To become a good UX designer, you need to invest yourself, to confront yourself to constraints imposed by other people. It’s also important to keep yourself up-to-date on new trends in the market. Finally, you should definitely try to forget the rules, play by yours and test your own assumptions.

Thanks Sébastien!

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