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Vancouver
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604 618 9005

Hola, I'm Simon

I am an award winner designer, illustrator & entrepreneur. Co-founder & Design Director at WeeFeel.

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Why communication between developers and designers can be poor and how to fix it.

Simon Vieira

Big and small companies in the tech industry share one similarity. I can tell you this with confidence because I have worked for companies as big as EA and as small as being the first employee. This likeness I’m talking about comes from communication issues between developers and designers.

Before writing this piece I did some research to see what’s out there about the topic. I found little on why this happens, but a lot on “steps to improve it” or “ideas on how to communicate better”. But, to give you a good solution I must first introduce you to the problem. So let me tell you my perspective on why communication between designers and developers can be poor.

I want you to picture yourself studying Computer Science. Think about some of the classes that form the curriculum. You probably find yourself thinking about math and physics right now. Right? Below are some of the classes you can find in a Computer Science program:

Discrete Mathematics for Computer Science

Data Structures

Calculus

Modern Physics

To study these subjects you need to deal with rational thinking, X + Y = Z. Communication here is black or white, there is no in between.

In contrast, picture yourself now studying Interaction Design. Think about the classes that form the curriculum. You probably find yourself thinking about typography, color theory and interface design. Next are some classes that you can find in an Interactive Design curriculum:

Interface Principles

Brand Strategy

User Experience + UCD Innovation

Creative + Art Direction

In an Interactive Design program you talk about why a typeface evokes a novel feeling or how certain colors can change the mood of a design. Even though, there is math and science behind why these events happen, your communication tends to be more philosophical.

Basically, developers communicate more rationally, left brain and designers more philosophically, right brain. I think that we can find the main reason why issues exist when we look at the communication problem from the perspective of how we think inside each field. Let me show you a conversation I overheard between a designer and a programmer on a team I led so you can see what I mean:

A programmer requested a designer to remove some “extra” text and numbers on a screen for an app we were designing and coding. The designer asked why? and the developer said that they had no use for the user. The designer explained that they were created to stress the layout of the screen and to orientate the user; But, the programmer thought they were pointless if the users couldn’t do anything with them. Who’s right or wrong? How would you solve this issue?

After 10+ years in the industry I can tell you that they are both right and both wrong. They are both right because they are coming up from their own individual perspective about what’s good for the user. But, they are both wrong because they both didn’t back their point with user research.

You now know the main problem, left brain vs right brain. You also saw a real life example. Now, let me tell you 2 ways to fix this communication issue. Avoid anyone telling you anything differently, all you need are these 2 principles in place:

1. Users first.

You want everyone in your organization to think and start with users first. Avoid just saying it. Mean it and take action. Create a Human-centered design process that fits your organization — I’ll cover more about this in another post.

If you find yourself in an argument between a designer and a developer or if you are a designer arguing with a developer or the other way around, you want to finish the conversation by saying that the best way to move forward is to test it with users. Just talk to people around your office or at a coffee shop that meet the target audience of your project. Show them your wireframes, userflow, mockups, prototype, etc. and ask the question or show them both options and see what they prefer, A/B test.

All you need is 3–5 users. Don’t believe me? Read this article by Jakob Nielsen from Nielsen Norman Group — https://www.nngroup.com/articles/why-you-only-need-to-test-with-5-users — Life changer, I know. You’re welcome.

When you put users at the center of your products and services you remove subjectivity from the design and development process. Communication becomes objective and egos go out of the door.

2. Developers and designers must learn each other’s languages and rules.

You need designers that speak “engineering” and developers that talk “design”.

Hire designers that know how to code and developers that are passionate about user experience or interface design. At the very least, hire people with the will to get to know each others language and rules. Also, I suggest you have a Lunch and Learn process where designers and developers explain their craft to each other. If you are a developer or designer, push for these two suggestions to take place between your organization.

True magic happens when both designers and developers respect and encourage each other to create the best products and experiences for users. You’ll find designers and developers coming up with better and faster solutions when they know a little about each other’s craft. Also notice how there’ll be a bigger friendship and harmony between the two worlds. You can thank me later.

If you go to live in an other country, China, Brazil, London, etc. you need to learn their language and cultures to thrive. It’ll be selfish, and you’ll probably fail, if you try to force your own language and rules, the same happens if you are a developer or designer. You need to have at the very least the will to know each other’s languages and rules. Also, know that like Bob Dylan says “you gotta serve somebody”. Put your users first to remove subjectivity from the design and development process and to kick egos in the butt.

I look forward to hearing your stories and your approach to solve this problem.

Cool Organic Tees for sale! Design by Moi.

Simon Vieira

WeeFeel has crafted an amazing collection of 100% eco-friendly tees. All their t-shirts are 100% GOTS certified, which is the highest standard certification for organic cotton, and sweatshop free. Their printing is all done with the most advanced sustainable practices, free of chemicals and on the finest water based inks.  WeeFeel has an amazing, and pretty big mission, to create awareness about feelings and art. They have thoughtfully selected every message on their t-shirts to showcase and capture a specific feeling. This allows parents to open up the conversation about the importance of emotions at home and for kids to identify and recognize them. Take a look WeeFeel website for more info: https://www.weefeel.ca/shop/

WeeFeel has crafted an amazing collection of 100% eco-friendly tees. All their t-shirts are 100% GOTS certified, which is the highest standard certification for organic cotton, and sweatshop free. Their printing is all done with the most advanced sustainable practices, free of chemicals and on the finest water based inks. 


WeeFeel has an amazing, and pretty big mission, to create awareness about feelings and art. They have thoughtfully selected every message on their t-shirts to showcase and capture a specific feeling. This allows parents to open up the conversation about the importance of emotions at home and for kids to identify and recognize them.

Take a look WeeFeel website for more info:


https://www.weefeel.ca/shop/

SUMMARY FOR THE ELEMENTS OF USER EXPERIENCE: USER-CENTERED DESIGN FOR THE WEB

Simon Vieira

Hi all, 

I found this old summary for the great book The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web and wanted to share it with you. 

It will give you a good idea on the steps to take when designing experiences. It is also a good reminder of some basic terms.

Let me know what your favorite UX book is and if you have any additions to the steps. Also, I am looking for cool freelance design gigs as of September 22, 2014. Here is a link to check my work.

 

THE ELEMENTS OF USER EXPERIENCE: USER-CENTERED DESIGN FOR THE WEB

1. Strategy plane

Product objectives

Biz goals – what are our metrics for success?

User needs – who are our users and what problem are we solving?

Market research

Create personas

Ideation

User testing – validate

 

2. Scope plane

Create Scenarios – user stories

Competitors research

Functional spec – be positive, be specific.

Content Spec – for content feature identify how it will be updated.

Prioritize ideas

 

3. Structure plane

Define options presented to the user

Describe how the user responds to the product

Conceptual modules – find consistency and conventions

Error handling – design for avoiding errors. E.G. automatic cars.

Categorize and group information – bottom down(strategy) or bottom up(Scope).

Create User flow

 

4. Skeleton plane

Create metaphors

Define navigation

Define and organize the information

Sketch how the product works – interface, navigation, information

Iterate

 

5. Surface plane

Involve senses

Design principles – contrast, colour, grids, consistency, type, style guides

 

Notes

What problem are we trying to solve?

What are the consequences of our solution?

Ask the right questions

Our app is free!

Simon Vieira

We want to kick off this summer right, so we are offering our new app, The Bubble Bomps, for free until July 6th!! This will keep the kids busy giggling away so you can have a moment of peace :) And the best part? The app is educational!! Enjoy! 

It’s Finally Here!

Simon Vieira

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We are so excited to finally announce that our first app The Bubble Bomps is now available on iTunes!

We started WeeFeel over 2 years ago in the hopes to teach Jacob, our 5 year old, about his emotions in a fun, simple and engaging way. The more research we did on emotional intelligence and child development, and the more we talked to parents and teachers in our community about how they taught their children/students about emotional intelligence, the more we realized there was a real need for what we were doing.

From the beginning we have worked very closely with a team of teachers to make sure all of our products are educational. A lot of love has gone into our apps and we hope it shines through as you read it to your child!

The Bubble Bomps is a fantastic conversation-starter about what happens when children get the giggles and can’t calm down. Explore emotions in a fun, engaging way.

Giggles guaranteed!

YAY!! It’s here you guys! Check it out! Let me know what you think. 

 

New app coming soon

Simon Vieira

Here is a sneak peek for an app that I am working on for WeeFeel. The app is to open up the conversation between kids and parents about emotional intelligence. The book is the first one from a series called Hello Elo. Also, below is a gif to get a bit of my process. Check WeeFeel for more information on the release date.

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