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Senior UI/UX Designer Joined over 9 years ago
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I'm 38 and coming up on 19 years in the industry. It's been a wild ride. I started with the belief that I wanted to be a jack of all trades and slowly became more and more specialized in UI and front-end. It was a natural progression and a great learning experience. I've had my own business, been a part of startups and currently work for a product in the renewable energy space.
What I found as you get older is that you start to move away from needing to be the person who always executes the vision into a role where you can help other be successful at executing. Although design is in my blood and I don't see a day where I'm not contributing in that way. You start to collect enough experience to see the road ahead better than someone with less experience. And that can be more valuable than making pixels.
I do worry that as I get older maybe I start to lose touch and become what my brother calls a "designasaur" but I think that is more a result of a general attitude and lack of involvement in the process.
I try not to beat down the young guns in our industry. Sometimes they have loud misguided opinions but I know it's born out of passion and desire to better themselves and our industry. I just have a strong distaste for those that want to tear other people down publicly. This has become a lot more prevalent as we've been given more of a platform to voice our opinions.
I've also really moved away from wanting to work on things that "don't matter". I've worked on enough peoples crazy social networking ideas for a lifetime. This is totally subjective and just personal tendency I have now.
What's cool about our industry is that you can still create a place for yourself. Your choices may become more slim for jobs but that is because you've made yourself so valuable with all that knowledge and experience.
I can tell you how avoid a lot of these issues where I work. There is never a completely full proof way and I know not everyone has the same flexibility to work in different ways but this works for us. We try to always be tweaking and refining this process.
We wireframe together. - we discuss features and requirements in detail with the client, the development team, designer and project manager in the room. The wireframes are created as discussion happens to help keep everyone on the same page.
Design doesn't happen in a vacuum - With those wireframes design will be created based on the requirements. There will be a time for changes and even the development team is asked to be involved. Not every screen will need to be designed in PS or Sketch or whatever. Once look and feel and ui patterns are established the need for those tools becomes less.
Designers write frontend code - This is key for us for a lot of reasons. Since we are responsible for the interface from wireframe through implementation you have to worry a lot less about someone else making design concessions in the interface. Also that understanding of how things are made helps inform better design decisions in the early stages. We are fans of bourbon and have some of our own internal tools. We don't feel like grid systems or things like bootstrap or foundation work well for the custom software that we're building. This is just speaking for our workflow.
4.We keep an area of the app with a representation of all the ui in static form. These are screens that are used as our sandbox before things are "wired up". They represent the layout and styles and serve as an example for interactions before they are implemented. We have some process and internal tools around this that have become invaluable.
5.Development happens - the dev team will pull in our ui that was sliced. This just continues the dialog. Were there any issues? Does something turn out to feel less than ideal once it was starting to be implemented. Nothing here is written in stone and we encourage any member of the team be part of the discussion when it comes to UX.
Pushing to staging - after features are finished they get pushed to staging for testing and verification. It's still the designers responsibility to make sure the ui works in an optimal capacity and the client is going to verify and test the interactions.
Push to production - once things are verified, tested and certified as ready for production then they are pushed. Still always needs regular testing and checking from design.
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