Design battle - Design by learning
At ShellBeeHaken Ltd., we work in a culture where we support each other to grow as well as to overcome our shortcomings. Here, we value peer learning and learning from various source materials. Besides, working on multiple projects, we equally emphasize building innovative products and creating futuristic designs. Weekly learning sessions have become a common ritual that is routinely held. We have been collaboratively working with the Japanese team for a long time. Recently, an in-house design competition took place between the Bangladeshi and the Japanese design team. In this month-long competition, designers had the opportunity to showcase their unique design capabilities in order to create a world-class UI/UX website. Beyond typical design conventions and project-related design guidelines, they had the freedom to apply their own design styles. Four UI/UX designers from ShellBeeHaken Ltd., and three from Archeco Inc., joined the competition.
The competition focused on maintaining the widely followed UX design processes such as understanding customers, research, consecutively designing wireframes / low fidelity / high fidelity and finally implementation. By doing so, each designer got the chance to be accustomed to the processes and be able to follow them rigorously. Week one started with a discussion on the key purpose of making this design and defining the target users. As their first assignments, designers got the task to conduct R&D on competitors who are offering similar kinds of products. The purpose of doing this exercise was to identify common styles or elements widely used and to introduce completely different concepts. On contrary, the website content that can attract the target customers was also given equal emphasis. Keeping aligned with this content creation task, some designers were also assigned to investigate SEO and define SEO strategies.
In week two, designers were given instructions to make a website top page in 2.5 dimensions. Each designer came back with some amazing design ideas. But there was still a lot more room for improvement. The design director gave some very important feedback when it comes to creating unique design concepts. Here are some of the feedback explained. A design masterpiece needs to be verbally expressed. ‘Verbalization’ is a process by which a design’s uniqueness can be translated into words, allowing the design to be logically explained. This method can help designers in staying true to the original idea and create designs out of it. In order to translate a design into words, the director also suggested looking closely at the information, elements, and elements prioritization. To stand out from the crowd, adding unusual items to the design such as unusual fonts, shapes, or styles is important. The director mentioned the quote ‘Too perfect’ many times as an impression to comment on some designs. Whereas, being ‘Too perfect’ does not necessarily get along with making a unique design. Designers are allowed to try different styles randomly, styles that can hold users for more than 3 seconds time on their first visit to the website. Finally, working as a team is important. The design team is highly encouraged to have team discussions and share their work ideas. This will help them stick to the core purpose to build something amazing.
The third week mostly covered the graphical interface or grand design of the top page. As we came along to the end of the competition, designers were more focused on the application of color and animation. Some contestants brought designs with unique animation which blew away everyone’s mind completely. Some were focused on styles like brutalism, geometric, editorial, and typography. Nevertheless, a website must tell a story throughout its design, that was missing in some designs. Story connection among each section is a crucial factor, which helps user to interact with the design.
The competition left us with enormous design knowledge and learning opportunities. With the global market saturated by copy-cut ideas, design innovation is nothing but an essential factor that all designers must take into account.