Caitlyn Holland | Lunch & Learn

By // Rickie Le

For every designer, it is a constant goal to make a product look aesthetically pleasing for its users. However, what happens when a nice looking design ends up being entirely unusable? It ends up discouraging users from interacting with a design, ultimately pushing them away from one’s services and possibly losing a potential customer. The function of a design matters just as much as how it looks. In September, we invited Caitlyn to discuss UX, UI, and her experience as a graphic designer turned UX designer.

With so much information on a website, a user can be easily overwhelmed. Caitlyn expresses that it’s important to break information into chunks, making it easier to digest. The flow and hierarchy of a website is also something to be considered. Good flow will ease and guide your user to where they need to go, giving them a friendly user experience.

UX design focuses on the user experience, how a user interacts with something and how one can streamline an experience to be smoother, faster, and more enjoyable.

With technology being so rampant in the world, it’s important to think about various users. Some users may not be able to visually see your site, so having an accessible design is integral in order for them to be a part of the experience. Screen readers are popular for the blind to use, as it allows them to digest the same information. It’s also important to have colors that aren’t too close, as it makes it difficult for users to read what is on the screen.

UI design focuses on the user interface, or the visual aspect of a design.

For any business you need to know what your target audience is and how to cater to them. Using user profiles is a great way to be able to resonate with your audience. It’s integral to be able to emphasize with people and to create a positive experience for all groups.

user profiles help define who exactly your audience is, and helps fine tune things towards the right direction of design.

Caitlyn gave us an example of a user profile of a Hispanic high school student in California. Many Hispanic students in that area are first generation college students. This means that many will need to figure out how to apply for college, and how to register for classes on their own since. This is a stressful time for many first generation students.

UX Design can come into play to alleviate some stresses. Many useful factors can be implemented here, such as having a translating option right on the webpage in order to easily translate and clarify content. It also allows the users parents to be able to follow along, in case they can’t speak English well. This enhances the experience for all parties, providing good memorable experiences.

Having a great user experience can be life changing for some. It can allow you to be able to reach more audiences, enhancing potential business. It can provide a memorable experience, allowing customers to appreciate your brand. It can also make life so much easier for people, as streamlining a design can help a user quickly find what they need in seconds.

A big thank you to Caitlyn for joining us for a delicious Calypso Cafe lunch and sharing her insights with us.

resources

Contrast Checker | This site allows people to see if their colors are too contrasting. This means that if they are, users are not able to comfortably view your content.
D3 Gallery | The D3 gallery is a collection of different ways one can visualize their data. It’s a great resource to help one think outside of the box when it comes to designing with large amount of data.
The Nielsen Norman Group | Referred to as the Grandfather of UX Design. Nielsen Norman is one of the World Leaders in Research-Based User Experience.

About Lunch & Learn

At Circa, we have a bold understanding that education never just stops after college. This has been the motivation for our new series: Lunch & Learn. Every month we will have lunch with some of the brightest people in the creative field ranging from painters to SEO masters; and poke their brains to get a better understanding of the world and our role as visual communicators.

About Caitlyn Holland

Caitlyn is an Art Director and Graphic Designer with experience in branding, identity systems, web, packaging, environmental graphics and print collateral, from conceptual sketches to vendor communication and final execution. She is currently working, drinking coffee, and eating salmon in the Pacific NW.

About Lunch & Learn

At Circa, we have a bold understanding that education never just stops after college. This has been the motivation for our new series: Lunch & Learn. Every month we will have lunch with some of the brightest people in the creative field ranging from painters to SEO masters; and poke their brains to get a better understanding of the world and our role as visual communicators.

About Caitlyn Holland

Caitlyn is an Art Director and Graphic Designer with experience in branding, identity systems, web, packaging, environmental graphics and print collateral, from conceptual sketches to vendor communication and final execution. She is currently working, drinking coffee, and eating salmon in the Pacific NW.