Natalia Fedorova, Regional Coordinator

6 July 2020

40 Minutes During Lunch Is All It Takes to Start Your Amazing Graphic Design Journey

Lunch breaks were a very exciting part of the day, where you could share nice food with colleagues you like and talk about fun things. Nowadays, such breaks are often rushed, require more effort on your side, and are certainly less social. As sending borscht to everyone has its logistical challenges, we started distributing food for thought with afternoon webinars.

The Setting

My personal gripe with webinars has always been timing. Sticking me to the desk for another hour after work would be fine, but staying at home on Saturday evening was a no-no. Now that our lives are getting more social again, we decided against cutting in people’s personal time. Our lunch webinars run at noon CET, so you can have food and learn while working remotely.

We also use a communication service in Zoom instead of running the webinar on a video streaming platform like YouTube. We like it better for Q&A sessions and have also been experimenting with interactive webinars, although they suit evenings better.

Graphic Design Thinking

Our first Design Lunch on April 7 was hosted by Anton Håkanson. He is a UX Designer & Accessibility Specialist at Useit and the founder of DayCape. The company helps children on the autism spectrum tackle the challenge of performing everyday tasks with a fun calendar. His work landed him a spot on the 2007 Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Europe. 

During the webinar, Anton emphasized how practices for designing accessibility-driven apps make for a better user experience elsewhere. Everyone appreciates a faster path to reaching their goal with minimum experience and maximum transparency.

For people with lower motor function in their hands, using a water tap can be a real challenge. It started a new design choice for such taps. Instead of a stick that you grab and move up, you now have an open handle. You can put your thumb up there, which makes it easier to grab and pull. It just creates a better grip for everyone using the water tap.
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The main takeaway, however, is always challenging things with one question: Why was it designed this way? You should definitely have that question when dealing with a frustrating sign-up form, but critical design thinking doesn’t end here. Do we really need a perpendicular piece of smoother pavement in the middle of a stone walkway? Did they actually have to split elevator buttons into uneven blocks? The answers for those are different, but the lesson is the same. You should always scrutinize the most established designs and give the weirdest implementations another chance. 

Check out the webinar recording, including a 20-minute Q&A session:

Product Graphic Design

After kicking off with a User Experience designer, the only sensible next step was inviting a User Interface designer. We went for a long-time Beetroot alumnus Sergey Tolmachov. He worked with Beetroot as a designer, started teaching at Beetroot Academy Ukraine and ultimately accepted an in-house offer from a Beetroot partner in Gothenburg.

Sergey reiterates that a UI designer does not get to simply make things pretty. It still takes research and communication with other colleagues, not just fellow designers, to make an app out of a prototype.

User interface design has a lot to do with different styles and concept ideas. You mainly work with them but it doesn’t mean that you abstain from user research and ignore user needs. They all need to be taken into consideration, even if your main job is creating stylish UI elements.

Sergey’s daily schedule reflects why giving icons shapes and colors won’t be enough. Working as a user interface designer takes decent analytical and interpersonal skills on top of that. Good caffeine tolerance apparently comes in handy as well.

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In the second half of the webinar, Sergey worked with a wireframe of an app screen for the iPhone 11 Pro. Sergey used Figma as the primary tool for prototyping and web design. Here's a recording of the webinar, including the detailed walkthrough and the Q&A session.

Next Graphic Design Steps

Both Anton and Sergey are will be the instructors for our online UX/UI design course. The 4-month Junior Designer programme starts on August 17. Get the full course program and sign up here.