Should designers design? An interview with Kristof Orts, from delivery.com

We keep hearing questions such as: Should designers code? Should designers prototype? Should designers write copy? Let’s unpack what these really mean.

State of UX 201 7, Illustration by Pablo Stanley
Following up our report on the State of UX in 2017, we are interviewing designers who are big thought leaders on important themes for the design community in 2017. Let’s keep the conversation going!

Kristof Orts is a Senior Product Designer at delivery.com and has written some really interesting pieces on design, psychology and design leadership.

Should designers design?

The questions we’ve been hearing all year: Should designers code? Should designers prototype? Should designers write copy? After dozens of articles trying to answer these questions, we are now probably closer to a definitive answer: it doesn’t matter.

Our field is about to change again.

Many UX designers started their careers as Information Architects, Visual Designers, Writers, Strategists. We are used to seeing job titles change from time to time, as companies start to understand the depth of our work, and to accommodate trends and market needs.

Today, UX Designers wear several hats under the same job description.

While everything was happening on a computer screen, it was still manageable for a single person to be responsible for research, strategy, and visual design. With the emerging plurality of interfaces, contexts, data and devices, it’s time to get more specialized professionals. And generalists as well.

More specialized professionals

We expect to see narrower job descriptions in the near future. Less “UX Designers” and more “Artificial Intelligence Designers”, “Experiential Designers”, “Verbal Designers” — and all the other ramifications that will arise from the technologies we are playing with, every day.

For example, a Data Designer could work with a VR Screenwriter and a Motion Designer to define how a certain VR experience should work.

A new type of generalist

Generalists will help tie specialists together, looking at the big picture. They could be a manager, but also a Design Ops, Strategist or the one responsible for the company’s Design System.

Being a generalist will be less about “doing all sorts of work”, and more about “connecting everything”.

Which hat do you want to wear?

In order to evolve our field, our design process needs to be even more iterative and collaborative. Specialists and generalists need to work together, mixing different skills and backgrounds, to deliver great work.

We daydream we can solve all problems ourselves, from research to code.

In reality, design is a team effort, and UX is way more than just a job title.

After all, we can only wear one hat a time.

Kristof Orts is a Senior Product Designer at delivery.com and has written some really interesting pieces on design, psychology and design leadership.

One of the questions we have seen many times in 2016 was “Should designers learn to code?”. What’s your take on this?

Kristof: I think it’s a personal choice that we designers must make. I’ve always been interested in learning how things work and what the possibilities are, so I picked up some html/css so I could experiment with my own website and build out my own ideas.

It’s an exciting time to be a designer, because of all these great tools we now have at our fingertips.

In the past it was challenging to communicate our ideas with engineers, so one solution was coding it ourselves. With all these new prototyping tools we’re bridging that gap and finding ways to bring our designs to life and even more importantly test and validate our ideas before anyone has to write a single line of code.

How do you see the role of the designer evolving in the near future? Why?

Kristof: This is a very good question, I briefly mentioned in the previous question that all these new tools are helping us communicate and validate our ideas more effectively and I personally think they are also changing the role of the designer.

We’re starting to make design decisions with the business strategy and growth in the back of our minds.

It’s seems that the role of the designer is also becoming more involved in how the business works. We’re starting to make design decisions with the business strategy and growth in the back of our minds. Especially for product designers, it’s important to have an understanding of these things, as is taking a more holistic approach to the experience.

It’s important for designers to keep wanting to learn new things. The way we’re designing and building things is evolving, so designers will have to evolve with it.

In an era where collaboration is key for bringing designs to life, what are some of the things to watch out for?

Kristof: Being creative is a team sport. Not only can we collaborate with other designers, we can also involve engineers to our process early. Instead of tossing things back and forth over a wall, we can find solutions together. Eliminating the idea of a design hand off.

The key here is communicating often and in person. With all these ways to communicate virtually, we sometimes lose the human element.

Actually talking face to face has a lot of value, even if it is just through video. It creates more empathy and you’ll lose less details in the process.

The engineers are the ones that can bring your designs to life. By sharing our designs early and often we can build and iterate together to make great products.

Thank you Kristof Orts for your participation. See you in the next interview.

Author: Fabricio Teixeira

Collect by: uxfree.com

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