“You I went with the tech giant Google. Dr.

“You can’t just give someone a creativity injection. You
have to create an environment for curiosity and a way to encourage people and
get the best out of them.”

Ken Robinson

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Boasting an impressive worth of £91.8 billion and accounting
for 14.2 per cent of the UK’s GVA (Gross value added) the creative industry is
one of the fastest growing sectors. (REFERENCE) London in particular is known to be
a major creative hub, with a rich and diverse heritage, including 3 top museums
and a total of 857 art galleries. With so much to be proud of, it would seem
like the industry is expected to grow even further, however there are great
challenges that lie ahead. Recent independent economic analysis showed that a
“no deal” or a “hard Brexit” scenario would equate to a loss of 27,000 jobs. (REFERNCE) With
a whole myriad of careers to choose from, I chose to report on UX/UI Design and
as for the company I went with the tech giant Google.   

Dr. Donald Norman was the person behind the term UX, he
first coined it in 1990’s while working as cognitive scientist for Apple.(reference) UX
Design commonly refers to User Experience Design, while UI design stands for
User Interface Design. Both of the practises are important to a product and
often work in conjunction. However the process and discipline behind them are quite
different. UI Design is somewhat closer to graphic design, while UX design is a
more technical and analytical field, encompassing psychology and research. As
Rahul Varshey from Foster.FM puts it : “…A UI without UX is like a painter
slapping paint onto canvas without thought; while UX without UI is like the
frame of a sculpture with no paper mache on it. A great product experience
starts with UX followed by UI. Both are essential for the product’s success.”

User experience is still a relatively new concept, there are
hundreds of different variations of what exactly UX is, only adding to the
confusion for the employers and the wannabe UX Designers. The International
Organization of Standardization defines User Experience as : “A person’s
perceptions and responses resulting from the use and/or anticipated use of a
product, system or service” (Reference) . I’ve concluded that as a UX
designer one has to be concerned with the whole design process, rather than
focusing on one part. It appears the term “UX Designer” is often used as a
blanket term, covering anything UX related, which is as previously mentioned, when
the confusion arises.

First days working at a firm would be spent explaining your
roles to the entire team, ensuring that your processes would be easier to
implement later on. Starting from development team, you’ll have to demonstrate
what they can expect from you, and when, as well as the importance of your role
to the product. Secondly, the management has to be aware about the data that
you’ll provide at each development stage. Finally, an explanation of how you’ll
use the data to enhance the product and how it will increase conversion and
ultimately customer satisfaction. It is important to note that whenever you’ll
be working as a part of a large team or as a lone wolf, the design process will remain the
same and generally will follow an order. At their core, all designer jobs are
coming up with solutions, this is just a different façade and a discipline.

The initial stage of any UX project will often start with research,
encompassing both User research and competitor analysis. User Research
typically involves conversing with real users about the product and the latter
is more concerned with researching existing competitive landscapes, while
making recommendations relating to functionality. Depending on the company, if
the product exists you’ll be asking questions in regards to the functionality,
ease of use, their success in reaching their goal as well as how they feel
navigating the current system. If the product doesn’t exist, its more about
reporting on the perceptions of similar products and their needs and wants of
the desired platform. In order to collect this data, methods such as
questionnaires, surveys, interviews and focus groups are usually adopted. In
addition, creating personas is an important practise, giving designers a true
and more importantly real insight into their customers. Consequently, this will
result in designing a much accurate and confident product. This entire stage
plays a pivotal part in discovering user needs, which will later influence the
design process, ultimately creating a great user experience.

After collecting and analysing the research, then comes the designing.
Learning from the data collected in the previous stage, the central point is on
how the product would be able to directly accommodate the users behaviour. It
is important to note that as an UX Designer, usability and functionality would
be the main focus, not colour schemes or pictures. While it might appear
straight forward, there are a lot of different techniques that comprise this
stage. The first and the most crucial stage of any design process, would be the
wireframing and prototyping. Not only they allow the designers to communicate
and test their ideas with the rest of the team but also with potential users
and stakeholders. Similarly to a house blueprint, it demonstrates all the
details clearly and specifically. With so many tools available online such as
Mockplus, Balsamiq, Uxpin and Axure, creating a wireframe is fast and cheap,
although to create low-fidelity mock ups, it’s even possible to use Post-IT
notes. Moreover, low-fidelity mock ups are often more important in gathering
feedback, due to the fact that users pay more attention to the functionality,
usability and information architecture, as oppose to thinking about the
aesthetic feel of the product. In conclusion, testing wireframes and prototypes
allow UX designers to receive valuable information and more importantly can
save a lot of cost and time.

Another role that a UX designer will have to uptake is being
an Information architect. This science assists designers in structuring and
organising content in a meaningful way for the users perception. (reference) Richard Saul Wurman,
American architect and a graphic designer is hailed as the founder of the IA
field. Through time, this field dramatically expanded and the Information
Architecture Institute was founded. According to the experts in the IAI,
“information architecture is the practice of deciding how to arrange the parts
of something to be understandable.”       
(reference)  Having a good information
architecture ensures that whenever a user navigating your site or app, they
know exactly where to go for the information they need. Tasks such as
organising navigational structures, implementing site maps and labelling
systems would ensure an effective IA.

Finally comes the testing and implementation. During the
testing, you’ll be able to see if the product will stand up to scrutiny, making
notes on any user difficulties and problems that might arise. Later on, the
product is being implemented, one the crucial roles is properly communicating
with web developers, so they can transform designs and wireframes into a real
website. As previously noted, this stage is important because depending on your
approach, this exchange will ultimately determine the success of the entire
project.

 

 

 

 

 

Company
report 

Google, one of the biggest names in the tech industry, is
known for offering multiple services such as enterprise, search, advertising as
well as software and hardware products. Notoriously initiating an entire online
revolution within the search engine paradigm, opening up access for individuals
to find information about anything, anywhere at any time. Although Google’s
brutal censoring approach to China’s internet sovereignty is questionable, I
believe the company can still be considered principled.

Strengths – Google has quite a few core strengths, one of
the more notable ones is their domination in the search engine business, it
processes nearly 80% of the worlds desktop queries and 95.37% mobile
(reference) In addition to that, Android controls 86.8% of smartphones
worldwide, its no surprise that Google comes out as the largest advertising
company in the world. In 2016, their advertising generated $78.383 billion or
88.7% of Google’s total revenue. (REFERNCE) Being a household name, their
ability to drive internet traffic is incredible. Averaging more then 1.2
billion unique hits a month, they have an unrivalled advantage over their
competitors.

Weakness – One of Google strengths, also turns out to be
their main weakness. As previously mentioned, 88,7% of Google revenues come
from advertising, leaving them vulnerable in case there’s a fall in demand for
their ads. Google needs to reshape their approach to advertising, creating a
more robust business model that embraces the current mobile commerce trends. An
increase in competition could also be detrimental, for instance Facebook’s ads
are starting to gain more demand, generating almost triple the amount of
revenue through mobile display ads, than Google.

Opportunities – Opportunities for google are vast. With almost
+120 acquisitions from last 3 years, Google has its hand in many cookie jars, which
could prove beneficial as those services soar. Notably, their expansion into Google
Play could bring across new revenue from subscription services as well as ads. However,
the biggest opportunity for Google is their strong effort in developing and providing
the operating system Android. According to statistics, Google shipments of
smartphones should reach 1.7 billion in 2018. (REFERENCE) In addition, Google
has a whole collection of “moonshot” ventures, such as Google Glass, driverless
cars, smart home, artificial intelligence and even medicine, with their $1,5
Billion Anti-Aging partnership with AbbVie. Although, its difficult to tell if
these will pay off, there are certainly some great hopes for some of them.

Threats – There are 3 rivals that currently have the possibility
of derailing Google’s plans : Amazon, Apple and Facebook. In terms of advertisements,
Facebook is becoming a number one choice for any companies wanting to advertise
on social media. (reference) Facebooks ability to create third party apps and famously
their single sign-ons will continue to take away traffic from Google. Furthermore,
new statistics revealed that more people go to shop on Amazon directly, which
means less queries that Google can process. Google Chairmain Eric Schmidt last
year said that “almost a third of people
looking to buy something started on Amazon … more than twice the number who went straight to Google.”
(REFERNECE) Last but not least, Apple is also proving to be a thorn in Google’s
backside. Only last year they replaced Bing as their default search for both
Spotlight and Siri, as well as blocking Google Maps in their CarPlay services.
This could prove very bad for Google, as they heavily rely on mobile ad
revenues.

 

 

In summary, it seems that the idea of an UX designer is
still very fresh to both CEOs and employees alike. However it doesn’t stop it
being an essential part in almost any digital product, its even more important
for things as : applications, retail and commerce field and start up sites. Having
done all the research for this job role, I’ve acquired copious amounts of
knowledge, starting from the interview process and ending with working on big
projects. This brought me to a realisation that this might be the job for me, ultimately
sparking a magnitude of drive to pursue this career further. Additionally, having
done research on Google and spoken to my old friend, it opened up new ways of
thinking for me, in terms of project, people and time management. It’s up to me
now, to work hard and look forward to the future.