This month, we are thrilled to invite Yuwei to join on our blog session to share his experiences as a UX designer. Yuwei is an User Experience Design Lead based in New York and has led several UX projects that won awards such as an Emmy Award, a Cannes Lion, FWA Awards and more. His work varies from research, to brainstorming, design, prototyping, and user testing. He is both passionate and interested in using creativity to solve people’s unmet needs.
1. Can you tell us a bit about how you became a UX designer in your early days?
I studied Interactive Design and Game Development for my masters, where I also learned Human Centered Behaviors. Until I went to an IxDA event and found that there is a job called Interaction Designer. At that time, an interaction designer was a bridge connecting a visual designer and a developer. The job requires both knowledge of digital design and programming. In addition, an interaction designer requires conceptual thinking and needs to define strategies and frameworks of projects in the early phase. I was fascinated by these things and decided to become an interaction designer. Then I continued on this career path and became a UX designer.
2. Can you share a story about the most challenging problem that you face in your work?
I have done many challenging projects in my career. If I need to pick the most challenging project and problem that I faced, it would be the Nickelodeon app. The first challenge was to create an always fun, playful, and fresh app for kids aged 6-12. The second challenge was to push the capabilities of a tablet to the edge including touch gestures, gyroscope, multimedia capabilities, and personalization.
The solution to these challenges was to understand our target audiences by running multiple rounds of user testing to validate ideas. Through the user’s feedback, we were able to create the fun and playful experience. The end results of the app were
- #1 free entertainment app on the iPad.
- New York Times describes “a noisy, colorful smorgasbord of animated clips, irreverent music videos and the occasional deluge of the network’s trademark green slime.”
- The Nick app won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement in the interactive Media –User Experience and Visual Design.
(Image 1: The Nick app)
3. What are your opinions toward UX testing tools and services in the market? And what might be the dream UX tools that can help your work greatly look like?
Most UX testing tools and services are expensive. Some of them require equipment setup and lab environment. The whole process from recruiting participants to receiving user feedback reports can take months. It can take too slow to develop a new product, especially for a startup. In addition, it’s difficult to verify if the participant is really a target audience. Some of them are full-time testers, who pretend to be normal customers. The invalid user feedback could also happen when participants’ reactions don’t represent their emotion. These are problems hard to solve with the UX testing tools and services available in the current market.
My dream UX testing tool should be quick and easy to use. The tool recruits the ideal target audiences and allows them to do remote testing. My dream tool would be able to read the user’s mind and measure testing results to provide valuable suggestions. Meanwhile, the testing report including prioritization of the product improvement is generated automatically after the testing.
(Image 2: The day-to-day life as a UX designer)
4. Since UX has become a prevalent topic and many people are considering jumping in this field. What might be the biggest misconception about UX design for people who are new to it and maybe some suggestions for people who are interested in starting?
UX thinking is required for people who surround a products development including clients, strategists, researchers, business developers, project managers, UX designers, visual designers, engineers, front/back-end developers, prototypers, QA, testers, and customers.
People who are new to UX design pay too much attention to learning the newest design and prototyping tools as well as following the industrial trends. They forget the basic principle of UX design, user centered experience. Users care more about if products solve their problems and improve their lives; they care less about microinteraction and trendy designs.
Every design element and product feature should have a reason and data to support it. I suggest that people, who are interested in UX design, read human centered and UX research related books. Try to run a focus group or interview target audiences before designing UI and moving pixels. Collecting data and user feedback helps to design a product matched to the user’s needs.
Thanks Yuwei so much for the share. You can find more about Yuwei’s work through the link here: http://www.fuinteractive.com/ Let us know if you are interested in knowing more perspectives about the topic of UX in the comment section below. And expect the next time we invite other UX profession joining our blog session.