“It’s simple: having a beautiful and functional website or app is not enough anymore. In order to sell and work for end-customers, services need to deliver actual value.”
Wojtek Kutyla shares his view on why UX Design is the must-have skill of 2018.
Tell us about yourself.
Fifteen months ago I left a brilliant agency (where I was the UX lead) and started my career at CodeClan as a senior UX instructor.
Over the years I worked with many businesses and public sector bodies, in the UK and elsewhere. Things that I do are often called user experience design or service design.
What inspired you to become an instructor?
I wanted to make people think. I’ve seen brands across the world, small and large, build confusing services and failed products over the years. I put this down to not enough attention being spent understanding the ever-changing needs of their customers.
I thought one day:
“What would happen if we all started to think like designers? Would that make software and service development processes better and easier to work with? Would I and my colleagues struggle less? Surely if we all focus on outcomes instead of features the Internet would become more useful and a friendlier place?”.
So I offered CodeClan an option of bringing UX into their developer training programme. It worked. Now we have people leaving our door that not only can develop software, but that think about the end experiences whilst doing that. Pretty neat, if you ask me.
Today is going to be all about the user. It’s the last day of our #UX Fundamentals Course @CodeClanScot – mock-up user testing, recruitment planning and analysis. Teaching is so much fun. I am excited 😀 pic.twitter.com/9ZlQ5QZtHH
— Wojtek Kutyla (@wojtekkutyla) May 11, 2018
Why is UX Design a hot topic right now?
It’s simple: having a beautiful and functional website or an app is not enough anymore. In order to sell and work for end-customers, services need to deliver actual value. Large and small businesses are finally coming to this consideration, and even the public sector is catching up.
The notion of UX is carrying over from companies that were traditionally considered at the forefront of experience delivery to every software or service-producing organisation.
Are there any brands or products leading the way?
Apple and Tesla come to my mind first. Google, of course, but they have their weaker moments. Slack is pretty good, too. I also like MailChimp. Just things that work.
What are the worst mistakes you’ve seen brands make?
Taking things for granted and thinking that in the 21st century they can still use methods straight out of industrial manufacturing processes. It was easy to make pans, cars and cotton buds, but the current state of play requires fast adaptation. Brands that forget about their customers having needs outside of commerce also tend to fail miserably.
What is the biggest misconception about UX?
People think that it’s to do with building interfaces of websites and apps. It is, but that’s only a small part of it. The real challenge is in identifying business and user needs – and making sure that they meet.
— Wojtek Kutyla (@wojtekkutyla) May 10, 2018
What are your top 3 UX Design tips for creating digital products?
Engage your entire organisation in the process of ideation and delivery. Look at the world around you and apply common sense to your design work. Close the laptop lid from time to time, switch your phone off and go for a walk. Don’t get swallowed by the net and make your own way. Oh, that’s four.
Where will UX Design be 5 years from now?
It will hopefully merge with all activities related to service design – to form a seamless delivery method. We’ll forget how to work in silos, focusing on collaboration and knowledge exchange. At least I hope so, as it’s about time.
If you were speaking at a conference, what would you be speaking about?
As I am writing this I am just about to go to one. I will talk about developers and user experience designers working together. I am sincerely hoping that I will be given a chance to talk about ethics of digital design sometime in the future, as it’s an area that we should all become more interested in.
Where can people go to learn about UX Design?
The best is to learn the basics somewhere and then continue learning by doing. There’s the course I run at CodeClan and it gives the solid background to designing digital solutions. The Internet is full of resources but I learned all I know from my colleagues – and when working on actual projects. I think this is the best way. Get what you can from people, and then build on that. Having a mentor helps, as they can direct you when you’re lost.
— Wojtek Kutyla (@wojtekkutyla) April 30, 2018
What are some of the necessary qualities of a good UX designer?
They have to be open-minded and flexible, but they also need to stand their ground, often facing senior stakeholders. That’s not easy. Apart from that, they need to be able to communicate well, using visual, verbal and written language. Good UX designers are great talkers, but also good listeners. They aren’t afraid of people. They like challenging status quo.
Does UX Design help companies & their staff in different ways?
UX design only works if an entire company is engaged. Besides driving business benefits, design processes strengthen interpersonal relationships and lead to higher satisfaction from staff, who gain a sense of purpose. The best way to look at it is that UX design involves everyone — and there’s no one left without a benefit from engaging in it.