Transforming Ideas into Platforms from the Perspective of Phase One Ventures' UI UX Designer

UI UX Designer working on user flows and wireframes

Transforming a business idea into a digital product is harder than it sounds.

It’s easy to have a business idea, but bringing it to life requires lots of research, trial-and-error, and a good eye.

One of the key players our venture studio offers is our talented, in-house UI UX designer.

If you’re unfamiliar with the roles and responsibilities of this kind of designer, our blog will walk you through the main differences including their various roles and responsibilities as well as the struggles they experience.

When you read on, you’ll hear about the design process our own UI UX designer goes through. This is a look into Phase One Venture’s process.

What does a UI UX Designer do?

What is the difference between a UI and UX designer?

One of the main questions related to UI UX designers is, what is the difference between them?

UX and UI design are distinct but interconnected elements of the consumer experience.

UX design focuses on the functionality and interaction flow of a product, while UI design is concerned with the visual aesthetics and layout. UX designers create a logical path for users, ensuring a product makes sense and flows smoothly.

UI designers communicate that path visually, designing each page to visually convey the user journey. UX is more about the overall user experience, while UI is more about the visual appearance.

UX designers typically come first in the process, conducting extensive user research, while UI designers bring the UX recommendations to life with visual designs. There is often collaboration and feedback between UX and UI designers throughout the design process.

UI is more visual and focuses on accessibility like color contrast whereas UX is more about the logic and flow.

UX Designer

A UX designer is responsible for creating products, services, and technology that are usable, enjoyable, and accessible to users.

They work as part of a product team, bridging the gap between users, the development team, and key stakeholders.

The UX designer advocates for the end user while also ensuring that the product meets the business's needs and goals.

They conduct user research, create user personas, determine the information architecture of a product, and design user flows and wireframes.

Their goal is to build simple and intuitive interaction experiences that solve user problems while considering user desires, motivations, and pain points. The design process follows an iterative approach rooted in design thinking.

UI Designer

A UI designer is primarily responsible for designing the graphical user interface of a digital product, such as an app, website, or device, with which users interact.

They focus on the visual styling and layout of elements, including icons, buttons, menus, fonts, colors, and interactive components.

UI designers work closely with UX designers. They strive to create intuitive interfaces that guide users through the experience and make actions clear and accessible.

UI designers also consider factors like inclusivity, responsiveness for multiple devices, accessibility and collaborate with development teams to implement designs accurately.

What Kinds of Challenges do UI UX Designers face?

UI/UX designers face various challenges throughout their projects, requiring a blend of creativity, problem-solving, and empathy. One common challenge is balancing user needs with business goals, aligning a delightful user experience with the organization's objectives.

Understanding user behavior and preferences while considering technical limitations is another hurdle. For example, an action on mobile might not work so well on the web browser. These are the kinds of issues that can cause setbacks and require communication between the developers.

Additionally, creating intuitive interfaces that accommodate diverse user demographics and accessibility requirements can be challenging.

Collaborating effectively with cross-functional teams, such as developers and stakeholders, is crucial for successful outcomes. As a UI UX designer, you are responsible for communicating to all parties involved. It may be impossible to satisfy all opinions but the most important aspect is focusing on the development of the product or platform.

Keeping up with evolving design trends and technological advancements demands continuous learning.

Finally, managing time constraints and project scope to deliver high-quality designs within deadlines can be a significant challenge.Overcoming these obstacles demands a combination of skills, adaptability, and a user-centric mindset.

Introducing Phase One Venture’s UI UX Designer, Zi Lin

Zi got her B.S. in game design and her M.S. in human computer interaction. She’s been working with Phase One Ventures for a year now. Zi is unique because she specializes in both UI and UX.

To view some of the work she has done, take a look at this case study just released featuring Phase One Ventures’ portfolio company, Cellyce.

Her favorite part about UI UX design is thinking about the logic for a feature. She enjoys the process of breaking a feature down into different screens, thinking about different use cases, and troubleshooting by working through the flow created.

How our UI UX Designer Transforms Ideas into Platforms

When given a business idea, Zi works closely with our product manager, Jose Meza, who will give her high level requirements on what features need to be added into the MVP. She then breaks those features down to screens and different user flows.

For example, if you need a notification system for an app, Zi’s job is to design the user's interaction for those notifications. She considers how they appear, how the users interact with them, how they affect the user's relationship with the product, and the results that occur.

When designing a user flow, Zi brainstorms answers to these questions.

  • Who is the user?
  • What problem(s) does this solve?
  • What are some edge cases that will break the flow?
  • When will users access this feature?
  • Where is the entry and exit point?
  • Why should users interact with this feature?
  • How do users walk through this feature?

Zi starts establishing priority. Unlike at large corporate enterprises, Phase One Venture’s designers have more creative control.She clarifies expectations, defines the scope and deadline, and communicates any other urgent requests.

When building the user flow from conceptualization to exit point, she turns it into a low to mid-fidelity wireframe. This captures the most basic features and highlights the user’s path.

Once this is approved, she works to turn it into a high fidelity prototype. This is where the project starts to take on more personality and life when colors, fonts, spacing, and illustrations are added.

From here, lots of communication takes place with the product manager, stakeholder, and developers. Typically at this stage, the prototype will become interactive and perfected until the MVP is ready for launch.

Concluding Thoughts

This overview of turning business ideas into SaaS platforms is just a glimpse into the UI UX design process. The amount of research that’s integrated into each feature and product is colossal. This is how Phase One Ventures is able to ensure user-centric designs and market-responsive products.

The roles and responsibilities of UI UX designers are very unique and critical to the success of SaaS platforms.

Everyone has experienced how painful and frustrating unnavigable sites are. They upset customers and lose traction ultimately hurting the business. UI UX designers understand and empathize with user’s pain points in order to optimize their time on the platform.

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