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Story of One Product Design Trial that Started Messily but Still Succeeded

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How do you cope when a project doesn’t go as planned? Unexpected situations can set you off. Yet there are always ways how to turn them into positives. 

"In the midst of a three-day trial with my first-ever client, I suddenly realized that I was doing something completely wrong."

That’s a quote from Anastasiia, Eleken’s UI/UX designer. From the comment, it may seem that her first project resulted in a failure. But the thing is that it was nothing but a success after that episode happened. 

So we could not miss the opportunity to ask her for more details. Here is what Nastia told us.

UI/UX designer at Eleken

The situation you faced is quite stressful. How did you handle it? 

Our client, ClearPoint Strategy, was looking to design an MVP. But when I was presenting them the first screens and collecting feedback, it turned out that they misinterpreted the word MVP. What they really needed was a product extension design. 

The situation was indeed stressful, but thanks to an iterative process we follow at Eleken and timely feedback from the client, the failure turned into success.

Design Process

Within less than two days after the presentation, I created completely new screens. I managed to meet deadlines and successfully ended the trial. 

We appreciate you sharing your insights and would love to hear more. What are you working on now?

As of now, I’m designing a new in-product feature for ClearPoint Strategy. It will help users create dashboards easier. At its core, the feature is similar to a mini-site builder with a few visual customization options. I’ve already created some variants to choose from. 

Together with the team, we’re checking the product’s usability to ensure the elements are not too complicated for users. I'm also trying to define potential challenges or identify elements that can affect the final solution.

While working on your trial, you successfully adapted to sudden changes and adjusted to unexpected challenges. What can you advise UX designers who will have their first trial?

Looking back, these three approaches have worked for me and I'd like to share them with you:

  • Develop communication skills. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions to both the client and your design manager. If you don’t understand something, it is better to ask, instead of trying to guess. 
  • Don’t be nervous, just do your job. What I liked the most about the trial with the Eleken team is that while having the freedom to create, you get support from an expert manager as well. You’re not alone. Your supervisor is always there for you. 
  • Do a lot of research. Look for similar solutions on the market and determine direct and indirect competitors. It’s OK if you don’t know how a product should work at first. Focus on interfaces instead. Additionally, ask the client to send references and evaluate how they work.

Great! Let’s talk about your work process. Can you please describe it?

Everything starts with good well-established communication with a kick-off call where I collect information, clarify project details, and try to understand the client’s pain points and expectations. 

Next, I draft my ideas. It can be done in any form, even a sketch on a piece of paper. This is what I often do. Then, I switch to searching for references to find similar patterns. Primarily, I focus on logic, not visual looks. 

As a result, I create three screens and present them to the client. During the research and development process, I collaborate with my design manager and collect feedback.

3-day Trial Process at Eleken

If you don’t mind, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself? 

Sure! By education, I’m a translator of the Indonesian language. My first job was as an embassy employee. I spent some time working there but then understood that it wasn’t my career path. 

Your education is non-technical. How did your journey in UX design begin then? 

During my university years, I got interested in front-end development. But for me, it lacks creativity. Yes, in terms of how the work results look visually, it is interesting. But the design needs a greater degree of creativity. And it was what I wanted. So I enrolled in a course to get the essential skills.

What or who inspired you to pursue a career? 

Perhaps it's Darina Silchenko, Eleken’s leading UI/UX designer. Darina was my teacher in the design course. I enjoyed her lessons and looked forward to them. So I believe she was the person who inspired me to pursue a career in the field.

How do you stay motivated and inspired in your work?

There are several factors that motivate me. First, I actually found my dream job that I’m passionate about and that doesn't feel like work at all. I don’t think like, “Tomorrow is Monday, I have to go to work again”. 

Secondly, I like that everyone on my team is trying to keep their finger on the pulse. Every Friday, we have design sessions where the team shares some cool resources, courses, books, and more. It's so energizing and empowering. 

What's more, there are so many various activities at Eleken like lectures from senior designers, workshops, or UI Mini School. They help me find out what I don’t know and self-motivate to get more things done. 

Finally, I try to surround myself with a "designer" environment outside of working hours.  As of now, my social media bubble is mostly about design. 

How do you continue to learn and grow as a UX designer, and what resources do you rely on to stay current in the field?

This is an interesting question. I usually read articles on Medium, as this resource provides a wide selection of expert stories. Sometimes, I visit the Nielsen Norman Group (NNG) website or just browse the Internet.

If I’m looking for a UX solution, I don’t try to re-invent the wheel. Instead, I look for product samples where the solution I need is already implemented. Resources like Mobbin help here. 

mobbin.com

There is also a classic method where you test the product yourself and analyze how the elements are arranged, click on it, register for the demo version, look at the patterns, and so on. 

By the way, we at Eleken developed our own "Mobbin". It is organized into a SaaS book where we analyzed various SaaS products in a flow. It helps me a lot. 

A "fresh look" from a supervisor or a teammate can assist with UX problems that may arise. This is what we do every two weeks on Thursdays. During these meetings, we discuss problems, think together, generate ideas, and offer our own options.

What is the most interesting part of the working process of a UX designer?

The most interesting part for me is dealing with and overcoming the challenges that may arise while working on the project. These questions always help me to find the right solution:

  • How to make my design both convenient and easy to use?
  • How to make it visually appealing?
  • How to please the customer and keep the user in mind? 

I also use several checklists to ensure I haven't missed any necessary steps as well.

Can you share some tips for anyone looking for a UX designer?

To get started, I’d advise turning to the platforms where designers showcase their portfolios, such as Behance and Dribbble. While looking for a designer, I also recommend visiting several reference websites like Clutch. Once you've found designers that caught your attention, reach out to them and schedule an interview.

By the way, Eleken’s 3-day trial period is a great way to see in advance how your future product may look and function. At the same time, it gives designers plenty of great opportunities to express themselves. 

Each Eleken client has a responsible designer and a design manager that are working hard to offer the best option for their specific business needs.

Thank you Nastia for the interesting conversation!

Thanks for the talk! Good luck to you! I hope your readers will find some helpful insight from my story.

Curious about Eleken's trial? Drop us a line and we’ll contact you shortly to see how we can help.

Natalia Yanchiy

Author

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