This week we interviewed Gemma Fernández Redondo, Interaction Designer at Stylight. What makes her job stimulating is that she can never rest for too long; once she achieves a goal, a constant rethinking of her ideas is essential to reach the ultimate objective of making users’ journey as smooth and pleasurable as possible.
Read the full interview below, to learn Gemma’s recommendations on how to thrive in her profession.
Can you explain what your role as Interaction Designer is about?
As Interaction Designer working for Stylight, I design and shape the interaction between our e-commerce platform and its 10M users/a month. And what does this mean? My job is a mix between UX -what makes the interfaces useful- and UI -what makes the interfaces beautiful.
My ultimate goal is to create the best possible journey for our users, deciding what they see, what they experience, and how they use the site. As broad as it sounds, it involves a deep understanding of your users, a constant process of improving the usability of our features, and a love for details and aesthetics.
What led you to become an Interaction Designer?
Curiosity. During the years that I have worked as Graphic Designer, I had the opportunity to experiment in many different playgrounds: data visualization, branding, design for events, illustrations, infographics… In the field of pure graphic design, you have two goals as designer: to communicate certain message, and to make it in a beautiful way. In UX/UI, besides these two, there is one more goal that should drive all designer’s decisions: usability. For me, the idea that people uses the product that you design is fascinating and challenging. So when Stylight trusted me and gave me the opportunity to switch roles within the company, I took it without any doubt.
What do you like the most from your job? What do you like the least? What are the main challenges?
It might sound a bit contradictory, but what I like the most and what I like the least is the same: interaction design is working on something that is never finished. Designing a poster might take more or less time, but once it’s sent to print, it’s done. However, the design features for a website is a long process that never really ends: through research you try to understand what the user needs, and through tests you try to make sure that the user understands what you have designed, and then the process starts over. The market, the design patterns, and the whole landscape evolve very fast. What works today, will not work tomorrow. I love it because all your choices are constantly challenged, but at the same time, you can never be satisfied – at least not for long.
Which advice would you give to any Interaction Designer that wants to distinguish?
To always keep in mind that you design for the people. Designers tend to fall in love with their designs, but the most beautiful interface is useless if the user doesn’t know how to interact with it. As Interaction Designer you have to evaluate the possibilities and the potential of different layouts and understand the tradeoffs, and yet make visually the best out of it.
Which kind of skills would you need to train to make a difference in your profession?
Apart from having a good eye for pixel-perfect designs, and the ability to quickly adapt elements into a responsive design, interaction designers also need to empathise with the users and understand their behaviour. And of course, you need to try, try, and try again.
How do you think your role will evolve in the future? Which skills will you need? How do you say abreast?
I think we are living in a moment in which companies finally recognize the value that design brings to their products and the user has become the central focus in their strategies. This together with the fact that technology is more and more integrated into our daily lives, will move us into the direction of designing full experiences, making use of any medium available. So, I think that the tools that we will use to design in the future will probably change, but our main goal of understanding human needs and behaviour will remain the same.