Successes, Challenges And Failures Of UX Designers

16th March 2021 |
9 min read
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Innovatika's UX Designers

We must remain on the user’s side and advocate their rights, such as the right to privacy or the right to be informed about what happens to our data that the product collects. Today is a Usability Day. We asked our Design Studio’s UX Designers to share a few thoughts about their daily work.

Who are UX Designers? What is your role in business, and why do you deal with it?

Radek

We can assume that there are three factors that come into play in the process of product development. It is Design, Technology, and Business. UX designer is the user’s advocate. They argue design choices and ‘negotiate’ with Business and Technology so that the final product meets the user’s needs. I enjoy these discussions with business very much. Design, Business, and Technology must work well together because there is no chance for the product to succeed without it.

UX Designer determines the formal aspects related to the product (functional and visual) and is also responsible for the whole process of the user’s contact with the product/service – i.e., their experience. At least that is the way it should work. Unfortunately, the designers are often only responsible for a given fragment of a larger whole or implement business objectives.

As I’m not particularly eager to do things that are unnecessary or out of context, I have chosen to develop in this direction. I am not an artist, even though I got to know UX at the Fine Arts Academy. What makes me even more into it is that this field is super universal. UX is usually dedicated to the IT industry. We associate it with designing with the interface of digital projects in mind. However, the tools themselves, the processes as well as the most critical assumptions are used in a much broader context, also known as ‘CX and Service Design’. I myself had the opportunity to start my adventure with UX by designing academic spaces for the University of Warsaw. Digital products came later.

Marta

It all began during my studies in industrial design – that is where I had my first contact with product design. What always puzzled me was why there is no system for testing a product’s usefulness (I mean a physical item) before it is launched on the market. When I was studying, I did not come across it, and it seemed illogical to me. Once I understood what UX Design is all about, I immediately felt that this area interests me very much. This is what provides methods and tools that allow me to check and test the elements of a product way before it is finally launched on the market. First concepts, even ones with great potential, almost always require changes, checking, testing. This is what I was missing when designing physical products.

Tell us about your successes, challenges you have faced, and failures in your career as a UX researcher so far?

Radek

Without actually operating in a particular industry, we help to develop products from various fields, and, at the same time, we must still develop ourselves. These are usually products with which we, as users, may have direct or indirect contact so the most difficult challenges are those related to specialist design. As with one of our recent assignments, we designed the diving computer interface and applications supporting its operation. The entry threshold into this project was very high. We had to learn a specialist language and understand the processes in order to be able to commence the research. During the design process, in theory, we were already technical divers. You should remember that diving computers are supposed to ensure the diver’s safety. We had a great responsibility in this respect.

Marta

One of the most critical moments in my career was when we found out about the first order on the www.replaceapp.com platform. It was an incredibly special moment because it made us feel like the work we had done on the startup made real sense over the last year. The project’s concept came into view at the beginning of 2018. We released the finished product after ten months of work.

The failure that taught me the most was a project from the old days, where I worked on the application, and no one dared to doubt its legitimacy, so it was released without previously doing market research. Even though we worked on it for over a year, and the app was operational, we failed to attract the users’ interest because it was not adapted to the target group’s requirements. This project has tangibly confirmed the validity and value of the current work I do at Innovatika.

Non-obvious test results that confirm the validity of the results – is it something common in UX Designers’ work? 

Radek

In the project carried out for Visa, we investigated aspects of using cash and debit cards for everyday payments. Our task was to propose a solution that would give cash users a concrete feel of the advantages of using debit cards. Of course, we started this project with an analysis of the customers’ needs executed across Poland. It turned out that both groups (cash users and card users) choose different payment methods for the same reasons. For example, for the ‘cash’ people, cash was a way to control expenses, and for the ‘card’ people, it was payment by card, etc. It was remarkably interesting to listen to the respondents saying exactly the same thing, arguing the opposite choice.

Marta:

Marta

At the bank’s request, we did research regarding a flyer with the necessary information, which was added to each debit card ordered by a client. The bank wished to investigate whether the new version is actually, as intended, better than the previous one. In the beginning, we asked the respondents how they use the product, what they do with it, what they think about it, etc. For the second stage of the research, we showed them both versions of the product and asked which version is more easier to use.

Eventually, it turned out that customers much better received the older version of the flyer compared to the new one; it was more straightforward, clearer to them… The bank that commissioned the survey was very much surprised once they learned about the results of the survey and read the respondents’ quotes. Before the survey, they were convinced that the new version of the information sheet is better than the previous one. This case shows that it is sometimes worthwhile to examine whether our new ideas create the desired effect, or perhaps it is the opposite.

Why is it worth investing in UX now?

Marta

In the current market situation, we have many products that meet the same needs. The only difference basically being the brand. In order to compete in such market, it’s worth investing in continuous enhancement and improvement of the customer’s experience. Not only on the most apparent level but actually from the moment they show a willingness to purchase the product until they throw it away or start using it in another context.

Today’s customer is aware of and assesses how they pay for the item, the item’s packaging, promotion, customer service. And also what can they do with the product after it wears out. Maybe the manufacturer thought of using it in a context different than the standard or predicted how to dispose of it, at the same time caring for the environment. A good UX design can gain a competitive advantage at every stage of the customer’s journey, and as a result of their actions, the product will find many new buyers.

Radek

When a product does not exist yet, it is the UX Designer who examines the environment, the target group, and the context for which the product is dedicated. The researcher checks the initial assumptions and solutions already at an early stage, using his specialized tools, without implementing them. This results in a conscious reduction of business risks associated with a new product. As a result of the initial research, we discover problems related to implementing the product and the first hypotheses. UX design allows us to prioritize the tasks, so we know what we need to bet on at the beginning for the product to have a chance to be noticed on the market. UX designers are particularly good at doing this because they work with the user all the time. It is easier for them to look at the product from the user’s perspective.

The future of the industry for UX Designers in the face of the coronavirus?

Radek

I think that we, designers, will have more and more work. The pandemic situation has changed the user’s ‘journeys’. Some of them changed forever. We were able to predict some of these changes. But what we were not able to predict was how quickly they would happen. Trust and care for ones’ safety will become increasingly important. Let us take a trivial thing like shopping, for example. Suddenly, we had to change the way we shop. And although multi-business shops have their own online platforms, for the time being they have logistical problems. But after they will deal with those, they will come across issues related to customer experience with the product. And this is where the fight for the customer on the web will take place. 

Customers will stay online, but they will buy from places where they have a better experience. Related to, among other things, shop appearance, the shop’s sales process, advertising, etc. We have already talked about the fact that the product is the same, the service is the same, but it is the UX that will determine success gained online. And it will be so with many different businesses.

Marta

I spoke about will undoubtedly happen, but I think it will be only one of the dimensions of these changes. Now, after subsequent government actions, the restrictions implemented due to the coronavirus have been drastically reduced. People are more willing to go back to their old habits, go to brick-and-mortar stores, and meet with friends. However, there are many security concerns within the digital sphere. I would like our industry to be responsible for this safety so that there are no activities aimed at extracting data from us. For example data about our health, as part of new products related to the effects of the coronavirus. We must remain on the user’s side and advocate their rights, such as the right to privacy or the right to be informed about what happens to our data.

Marta, Radek – thank you! 

Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Radek Rejsel, Marta Jakubowska and Kamil Zieliński
Radek Rejsel Lead Designer
Marta Jakubowska UX Designer
Kamil ZielińskiJunior Visual Designer,
Marcin supports companies in making strategic decisions through in-depth analysis of the markets and competition, as well as conducting qualitative interviews with potential clients and business partners. Moderating workshops and designing processes of creating innovative products with usage of Design Thinking and Lean methodologies are also an essential part of his work. Marcin has an experience in project management in such areas as banking and finances, education, commerce, and new technologies. Radek is a UX designer. Since 2017, he has been running the design studio at Innovatika. He designed products and user experience for companies like Visa, Bonduelle, Orange, UW. He focuses on designing experiences as beautiful as functional and combining business and technology aspects.

How technology could improve your business?

Keep reading