Portrait of a Headache – UI Design Finals
Parachuting, quitting food, raising a child, reproducing my grandma’s beans recipe. Those are items that belong to my list of the most difficult things to do, things that could give me a headache. I have a new item that definitely made it to the list, reviewing world class designs from the Topcoder Studio finals.
The face you can see above is not Adam [adroc] reading my blog posts, it’s a face focused on details and appreciating talent. Along with Ryan (GE representative aka client) and Trevor [tgerring], they integrate the ultimate judge panel for the designs. They have the difficult and compromising task of scoring and ranking the submissions on these finals.
While talking to Trevor and analyzing the latest design in progress today, we noticed a couple of designers who totally changed their approach from the first round, approaches that captured the most important insights of the workshops. And there is a reason why they did that.
“Oh boy, this is going to be tough”.
This is key to understand why the design review process is going to be difficult. The design process this year had a particular and interesting approach with communications. The client is in the arena briefing the designers and providing feedback in several workshops, but not only that. They were revealing submissions and pointing out the items that were going in the good direction, sharing ideas and expressing themselves with live sketches. This means designers can take this ideas as baseline and put their own thoughts to it to keep improving a systematic and collaborative design path.
Personally, this is one of the most promising outputs I’ve ever seen in a TCO Design final, as a group, all designers are seriously NAILING it, thanks for the collaborative process. It’s something to think about, to see how can this approach be added to regular competitions. Maybe live meetings with customers in some phase of the challenge? I’m really looking forward to discuss this.
ADVIL OR EXCEDRIN?
Design finals are over now, designers delivered their works, time to be judged! It’s very easy to stand and view monitors to comment about the approaches of designers, stating things you like, you don’t like, but judging world class talent submissions is not as easy as it looks like. There are several parameters to consider, it’s not just “the one that looks the prettiest”. For a start, as mentioned before, designers needed to focus about solving a real life problem, meaning that they way how they solve this problem has an important value in the score. As well as intuitiveness, layout, information hierarchy, color usage and branding.
I usually say good luck to my fellow community partners. This time I have to add good luck to the judges and give them a pill for the headache they will have in the next two hours to pick a winner. Yes, that’s all the time they have now! So judges, would you like Advil or Excedrin for that headache?