Building our design community
In the historic mining town of Labin, an important fact has been dug up: Design matters!
This year’s third edition of the Digital Labin Conference has given design its own track. The ICT conference brought together 600 interface designers and developers.
We spent two days at different venues learning and sharing experiences with professional speakers in the field. Labin is situated on an Istrian hill with the most beautiful view of the Adriatic Sea. And, more notably, a view of the digital future. No better reason for Aida, Josipa, and myself, the Notch design team, to pack up our bags and end a sunny September week meeting people, learning, and relaxing.
Digital Labin from the view of the design community
Out of five workshops that took place on the first day, two were dedicated to designing. Iva Planinić and Igor Plac from Bornfight discussed ‘Choose the right design pattern’. At the same time, William Kolmačka and Milan Seitler from Kiwi.com elaborated on ‘How to build a large-scale design system’. They shared an interesting step-by-step explanation of their creative design process and how important it is to communicate well with one’s team and the stakeholder.
On the second official day, as many as eight lectures discussed the latest groundbreaking principles in design, and seven dealt with Dev and Data issues. The design topics covered the business value of design, UX, how to work successfully in design teams…
Despite the examples of great designs communicated to us at the Conference, it is generally very difficult to apply another designer’s experience to the product we are creating. Each product is truly a world of its own, but what are the important concepts designers refer to in their work? Take a look at the main ideas from three lectures that best reflect these concepts.
The eye of the beholder
We all see beauty in different things, pointed out Pelle Martin, creative director at Spring/Summer.
Inspiration should be taken from the environment; if we use the minimal approach in design, we can get a successful, long-lasting product. In trends, we can find ideas, but we should not become slaves to them. Sticking to a clear idea and a good digital experience makes a product successful.
Breaking conventions: yes or no?
In contrast, Irene Pereyra’s vibrant talk from Anton and Irene’s design studio revealed that a product’s beauty makes it usable for the user (aesthetic usability effect). Experimentation and challenging conventions are the paths a designer should take, meaning that the unfamiliar is better than the familiar.
This contradicts UX specialist Jacob Nielson’s conventional standards of user interface familiarity. What makes a product unique is context, e.g., the design of a new museum website should indicate its distinctive sense of place, so if a city is chaotic, colorful, and bilingual, this should be reflected in the website.
Pereyra concluded that ‘we shouldn’t only focus on making things beautiful while ignoring usability, we should focus on both.’
‘Jamming’ with the design community
Design considerably improves the success of a business, and successful design depends on efficient teamwork. Vladimir Končar, VP of Design and Research at Kiwi.com says that a practice promoting quality teamwork is ‘jamming‘. This brainstorming process resembles the improvisation of jazz musicians working together. People with different ideas and backgrounds searching for solutions make creativity happen, which does not occur when people work alone.
Decision-making is important for quality outcomes, and it should also rely on feedback from the world. For efficient communication, which includes not only words, but music, sound, and body language, it’s worth finding ways to remove noise and add clarity.
Končar adds that we need to ‘communicate to express, not to impress’.
Now is the time
Designers should take risks and be bold wherever possible to create something new and different.
Existing patterns need to be broken, although we first have to get to know them in order to break them.
Design processes have a significant impact on business values and that’s why it’s important to support and involve your designer teams to achieve companies’ success.
Thank you, Digital Labin, for building our design community and putting us on the map!