7 skills of effective designers. Powerful development tools in the profession
There are more and more designers, but despite this, large companies are constantly looking for specialists.
Young designers dream of getting into Yandex, Mail.Ru, AIC, not realizing that they are waiting for them there. And separating them from the cherished dream is not the lack of specialized knowledge, but a lack of key skills that are inherent in any digital professional.
The young specialist does not need to be a cool designer to get a job in an interesting project. Cool designer will make it a practice and regular communication inside. When hiring new people, hr specialists and art directors look at other things that many people don’t even think about.
In this article, I will share the skills that helped me in the development of small startups and large services. Thanks to him, I managed to get offers from famous design teams and significantly increase my income.
In partners from the creator
Designer in isolation from the business - only a free creator, realizing their ambitions through a combination of pixels. When, as a designer, an understanding business, is a reliable partner that influences important decisions.
Every designer should know what indicators help a business to earn.
For media, this is the time on the site, for the store - conversion, and for the bank - the number and amount of transactions. Knowing these things, you will be able to select your design solutions for actual problems and test changes in the main metrics.
When I arrived in Moscow, I did not know anything about business, but thanks to reading I was able to understand the principles of the thinking of entrepreneurs and the logic of market relations.
If you feel a lack of this knowledge, pay attention to the following books:
- “Shoe seller. Nike's story told by its founder ”- Phil Knight
- “Rework. Business without prejudice ”- David Heinemeyer Hansson and Jason Fried
- “From zero to one. How to create a startup that will change the future ”- Peter Thiel
Everything is created by people
A designer is not a fairy-tale character who alone creates creations, hiding from the light of day and human gaze.
Of course, such people exist and among them there are even a few successful ones, but the overwhelming majority of designers built their careers in working with other people.
AIC would not be the best studios in the country without each other complementary partners. Artemy Lebedev would not have become a popular blogger and designer if it were not for his colleagues who took over the management of the studio. What can we say, even Apple began with a union of developer and designer-marketer.
Working on the previous project, our team initially had a conflict between design and development, which influenced the implementation of the solutions I proposed. Only after I decided to delve into the work of colleagues and find compromises in controversial points, we began to act more harmoniously, the product began to develop and the role of the designer became more significant.
Do not forget about communication with those. support, which is one of the most useful sources of information. Their job is to handle complaints and user problems. After analyzing these requests, you can learn a lot about the weak points of the service and make changes in a timely manner.
Break through the noise
In an ambitious team, new ideas come from everywhere: the director was inspired by a success story, a developer with a new technology, a designer with a beautiful solution. Having so many ideas, it is important not to get lost in them and focus on those things that most suit business objectives.
Each service has 1-3 basic scenarios that should work without failures.
Other ideas need to be added well thought, otherwise you risk to collect multifunctional Frankenstein, trying to please all users.
In this regard, I like the approach of the founders of Basecamp, whose book “Rework” taught me to focus on basic tasks and to completely ignore minor ones.
This logic is of great importance in startups, where the launch speed is much more important than the functionality.
The main designer tool
Error in the design is very expensive, so designers try to think through as many scenarios as possible before proceeding to the development. But the fact is that all scenarios are impossible to predict, especially if you are creating a new product.
Understanding this, I try to create the most adaptive structure that will be easily transformed into a new functionality. Due to this, making future changes does not oblige the team to go through the classic process: idea → design → development. Sometimes the developer will be enough words or a light draft interface to understand what changes need to be made.
The adaptive system allows me to work more with my head and less and less in a graphic editor.
A good adaptive system manifests itself when changing information in cards, a table or introducing new functionality does not force the designer to redraw the structure of the service and the main components.
Half the design success
However much we would like to focus on design, the designer’s work does not make sense without a proper presentation.
As Yuri Vetrov says:
“If you have strong ideas, but you cannot convey them to other people and bring them to realization - what is the use of them?”
Recently, I was invited to attend the final event of the AIC Academy, where designers presented their projects, which were the result of a two-month internship. I looked at about 10 reports and I remember not the most thoughtful, but those that were best presented.
The main mistake of designers was the lack of communication between analytics and the visual part, despite the fact that it is she who presents the designer not as a creator, but as a professional who did a great job before coming to a visual decision.
Many people think that customers are buying the result, when in fact they are interested in the process.
When you show that the design is justified by the results of analytical work and takes into account the goals of the business, it will be difficult to disagree with you.
The main source of ideas
At the start of a career is very useful to consider other people's work. It helps in finding the basic patterns and understanding the rules of visual design.
But at some point it comes time to turn on the brains and try to invent something of your own, on which many designers stumble, remaining passive imitators and trend investigators. Not because they are not capable of it, but because they simply are not used to thinking.
Each product is different, so the solution may work fine in one service and absolutely not work in another. The reason for this may be different audiences or usage scenarios.
When a new task appears, I often ask myself the question:
How would it work if it were easy?
This question helps me to abstract from existing solutions and come up with something relevant, and sometimes even unique.
Design should be at the front
Very often, designers argue with developers, arrogantly accusing the latter of incompetence, comparing layouts with implementation. But I believe that in any design artifact there is no point without a final implementation, which depends on the designer not less than on the manager or developer (of course, this applies more to product work than to studio work).
My design at the front.
It is with this thought that I work and that is how I want to make a difference in the product.
After all, the main goal of any design is not a project published in the portfolio, but a working product that solves users' problems helps the business to earn money and thus makes our world a better place.