Catarina Ribeiro: The power of UX design to shape great product

Catarina Ribeiro: The power of UX design to shape great product

There is a big focus on making an outstanding first impression or providing the audience with the best experience. And, at the same time to achieve a synergy between the business goals and user needs.

🎯 Elon Musk once said: “Any product that needs a manual is broken.” 

It is important to consider UX design as a critical part of the development process, as one of the processes, you can not afford to downplay. A great UX design is the core of the product, and that’s what makes market leaders.

Catarina Ribeiro, a product designer and Brainster instructor will give you a bitter truth about the world of the UX Designer.

Take a look 👇

Brainster: Can you tell us why UX design is important in the discovery phase, and should never be skipped?

Catarina: UX is crucial to researching the problem space and finding improvement opportunities. Talking to users and looking at data helps you to define the right problems to solve, which is the first step to start building the right thing.

You first need to know why you are designing something. After you’ve done that you can start thinking about what you need to design, how it’s gonna work and what it will look like. 

What happens is that quite often UX is involved when teams have already decided to build a certain product and are convinced that it’s the right solution. In that scenario, UX is not really involved in the discovery phase, but rather in the requirements gathering phase or validation phase, which isn’t really the same thing.

Sometimes this leads to misguided products with no vision being rolled out, which is costly for the company.

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Catarina Ribeiro: The power of UX design to shape great product

Brainster: When redesigning a product, what steps are necessary for the redesign to be successful?

Catarina: The most important thing about a product redesign is knowing why you are redesigning it.

That means you need to talk to your users and get answers to a few questions: Is the current product meeting their needs? And where do they struggle? If you repeatedly hear things like: “The product is more complex than it has to be”, “I don’t use half of these features” or you just notice that users take a long time to accomplish important tasks, maybe you need to re-think the whole user experience and how people navigate through your product.

However, if you hear: “The interface and its colours feel outdated” or you notice that you have 10 different types of buttons across the product, then maybe inconsistencies have crept into your UI and you just need to design a more consistent experience.

It’s also important to align the redesign with the product’s vision and company goals. Sometimes redesigning a product means disrupting the work of a few teams and diverting some resources away from creating new experiences so that you can fix existing ones.

Customers and support teams will have to adapt to ongoing product changes during the rollout, so make sure everyone understands why the redesign is necessary and is supporting it from the beginning.

Brainster: What is the most important lesson you learned from the redesigning process? 

Catarina: Make gradual changes. Users hate change because it means they have to learn how to use the interface all over again. You need to find a sweet spot between rolling out the design gradually and not making them feel like they are experiencing something new every day, which can also be frustrating.

Customer communication is key to this. Users need to be informed that they will see changes in the product and they need to know when these are going to happen.

Brainster: What product have you recently seen that made you think, this is a great design and why?

Catarina: You probably have heard this a lot, but I’m in love with Miro.

It has affected my work in a really positive way, especially since they added the new Sketch plug-in, which made it so much more valuable for designers. I can now instantly import my screens to Miro and build entire user flows with notes, which allows me to collaborate better with other teams when gathering feedback.

Catarina Ribeiro: The power of UX design to shape great product

Brainster: What problems designers are solving with UX designers? Do you agree that the role of UX design has a lot of power?

Catarina: Of course, I agree. We are designing every experience that people have with their computers, phones, tablets, smartwatches, car dashboards, ATM screens, etc. We live in a digital era where new technologies keep emerging and we touch every aspect of that.

Think about how many apps you use in a single day. How many websites do you visit? How many software tools did you have to learn about your work? All of these products and digital interactions brought us great things but they can also be a bit overwhelming. How many products out there do the exact same thing?

I think our main goal as designers is to try to keep things simple to use and to understand. That’s our power.

Brainster: How can UX designers ensure that the product design answers the user’s key needs?

Catarina: One word: Research. It’s not possible to create a product if you don’t know what problem it aims to solve. You need to discover people that have this problem or need so that they can give you valuable feedback on your idea. This is something that should happen before you design or develop anything.

Companies often have this idea that UX research costs a lot of time and money, but this isn’t necessarily true. A few informal interviews at the beginning of the process with your target audience can provide you with a lot of insights. It’s the same with usability testing.

Don’t go to prospect users with a few beautiful screens and ask them if they like the idea. Test the idea! Give them context and tasks to accomplish. Seeing where they struggle will tell you a lot more than simply asking them what they want or what they like. 

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Brainster: How do you see the future of UX design?

Catarina: UX is a fast-growing area at the moment. Especially if you think about the evolution of design roles. What started as Web-design is now broken down to User experience design, user interface design, interaction design, service design, etc.

UX is a really vast field and its future is always depending on how fast technology evolves. Virtual reality, voice interfaces, AI and other things are already changing the landscape of human-computer interaction. However, no matter how advanced our hardware and software becomes, we can’t remove the human element.

We’re creatures of habit, so although I think the design might become a bit more screen-less in the future, I expect the robots won’t take over just yet.

Brainster: What will the students learn from your experience, and what’s your teaching style?

Catarina: They can expect to see some real-life design examples. Personally, I don’t see much advantage in reading about UX laws and best practices without seeing how those can be applied to a specific product or site. The best way of learning is by doing, so we’re going to work on quite a few projects throughout the unit.

Brainster: What is your best advice you can share with anyone interested in pursuing a career in UX Design?

Catarina: Be curious about people and technology. Don’t stop learning, read articles, books, listen to podcasts, there is great free content out there.

And, if possible, find a mentor. Someone who can show you the ropes in the beginning and with whom you can have discussions about UX and ask tons of questions. Catarina Ribeiro: The power of UX design to shape great product

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