No Time for Downtime: Interview with UX Designer Kamila Winnicka
A User Experience (UX) Designer shoulders many roles in digital product development. They can be responsible for everything from visual aesthetic, usability, branding, marketing and overall performance. Their role intersects the entire customer journey, integrating all stakeholders in business to make sure their needs are met—while ensuring that end-users are satisfied with their experience.
If you want to really get to know user experience design, there’s no better option than to simply ask what they do in their day-to-day work. Kamila Winnicka, UX Designer at Polcode, introduces us to the nuances of designing websites and apps with great user experiences.
Hi Kamila! What made you decide to become a UX Designer?
K: UX Design is multi-faceted work and I love it for that! It allows me to develop a product on every level, including research, interface design, market knowledge and cognitive psychology.
How would you describe your daily professional duties at Polcode?
Kamila: What I like the most about Polcode is the relaxed atmosphere that has been around since the very beginning. I joined the team when the whole company was already working 100% remotely, so my onboarding was also quite a new experience. Nevertheless, from the very beginning I felt taken care of and I became a part of the team very quickly. When it comes to my responsibilities, right now they’re focused around utility design tasks. It includes designing interfaces, building a logical information architecture, deciding on user-solution interactions, as well as meetings with clients and getting to the bottom of what they need.
What are some good professional qualities to have as a UX Designer?
K: The most important in UX are: fast learning, high emotional intelligence, analytical skills and the ability to adapt quickly to different circumstances. What I consider to be an extremely important feature of this profession is creativity, you can’t be the type to get bored easily—new ideas are flowing here all the time!
Do you think UI and UX are often confused? How are they completely different fields?
K: This is probably due to the perceived overlap of UX and UI Designer tasks. When browsing job offers, you can see that companies that are looking for a UX Designer really need a person who can design a product from A to Z. In practice, however, it looks a bit different:
- UX is about creating an overall great user experience from the end-to-end journey. Our role is really directing the process that the user has to go through when using the product.
- UI design is more about selecting components, tools and methods that will make what the user sees attractive and intuitive, and then load fast and responsively on whichever screen it’s displayed.
I’d say that UX Design is more about how the product operates as a whole, and UI design is focused on the form and elements that determine the appearance of a product. They often work hand-in-hand.
What does Usability really mean? What do you do to create Usability?
The usability of the website or app comes down to ensuring user satisfaction, and that can take on many real-world outcomes. Ultimately, you want the user to have a sense of agency, remove any friction, and create a ‘journey’ that doesn’t feel awkward or broken along the way.
For one small example, when a user can intuitively navigate any given page (without instructions), or understand how to perform their desired action, we consider this a UX success.
Designing any website or app begins by identifying the potential user and defining their persona—what they want to achieve. The next important step is information architecture design. Here I will reveal a little secret — I always spend a good amount of time rethinking and perfecting the structure and navigation of an app. This provides the foundation for all other UX changes down the line, leading to quick delivery times and less mistakes along the way.
How does good UX translate to website effectiveness and optimal conversion paths?
K: The effectiveness of a website or application is measured by indicators which vary from business to business. For an ecommerce site, good indicators are more completed purchases, more time spent on page, greater average order values, and so on. For a community-focused website, new registered users and premium subscriptions might be the optimal outcome. In all of these cases, there are a few important rules to remember:
- Get to know each user segment, and their specific needs
- Create a site map that addresses each need
- Design strong Call to Action elements (encouraging users to act)
- Create an intuitive navigation that allows the user to easily move around
- Make it easy to contact, ask questions and interact.
What is the purpose of an UX audit and why is it worth conducting?
K: The UX audit at Polcode offers an analysis of every aspect of the website or application using proven methods. Heuristic analysis lists (lists of issues analyzed one after another) are extremely popular. The result of this analysis is to identify potential problems that the user may encounter.
A UX audit allows you to quickly and in a relatively cheap way find elements of a website or application that should be improved and improved. These can be deployed at any stage of a product’s lifecycle, and should regularly be conducted to ensure that UX is maintained over time.
What tools are used to test the usability of websites? Are there any that you recommend?
K: When we need to check the impact of decisions on efficiency and conversion, analytics tools come to the rescue 🙂 Collecting and analyzing data can multiply the results of our digital solution. There are still new usability analysis tools, but I would point to Google Analytics as a must-have in this type of research.
Can you think of examples of the most common UX-related errors in websites?
K: The most serious is the ill-considered information architecture. It may not be the most common mistake, but it does have serious consequences. More time should be devoted to the stage of building a digital solution. If the content structure, related grouping of information and navigation are not well thought out, the user will have trouble finding the information, it will take too long, and as a result, the frustrated user will simply abandon the page.
Last but not least, what UX trends do you anticipate will make it big this year?
K: I can already tell that in 2021, UX Writing is growing rapidly. The nature of the product can be changed dramatically with text. Ensuring brand inclusiveness and originality is often becoming a challenge, and UX writers have a major role to play in how customers feel, interact and understand a brand’s identity.
Thank you very much Kamila!