Lauren Thompson; UI & UX


Lauren was a previous student on the Digital Media course here at college and then she moved onto the well-known Hedgehog Lab for a while before coming back to Newcastle College to work for the NCG team. This morning, she came into college to talk to us about her processes when it comes to designing.

The presentation was all about her way of going about things but there was one thing which she said that stood out for me; and that was that “there is no one best way” when it comes to designing and we should stick with what works for us as individuals. Seeing as I’m a student, I think it’s always valuable when someone comes in and talks about there processes as it can give me an indication of what direction to go in.

I took some notes about Lauren’s process from the presentation and you can see them below…

Research, Inform & Ask
  • Research your audience.
  • Check out your competition
  • Talk to your team.
  • Focus.

Step one of Lauren’s process and this was all about finding out what your actually doing and who you’re going to be doing it for. There’s nothing worse than starting a project and always asking yourself questions you cannot answer. After creating use personas, what Lauren normally does is build up what you call a ‘Content Schema'; she said it was a bit like a site map in which you put down everything you think will be part of the project.

Sketch, scribble & throw away
  • Get away from your screen.
  • Start on paper.
  • Don’t restrict yourself.
  • It doesn’t have to be ‘pretty’.
  • Get creative.

Lauren then went onto talk about the ideas stage of the design. When Ray Clarke form Hedgehog came into college he touched on this as well; and it is all about removing yourself from Photoshop/Illustrator and get out there to find inspiration and ideas. If we all, as designers, get our ideas down on paper quickly, we can focus more on how the project will work etc instead of making it look all fantastic.

Polish the pixels
  • You’ve got solid foundations, now make it ‘shine’.
  • Choose colours wisely.
  • Get inspired.
  • Don’t overcompensate for rubbish UX with overdone design.
  • Be intuitive – do what feels and looks good.

Finally, the end part of Lauren’s UI design process was about ‘polishing the pixels’. When you’re in the design stage, it’s all about doing what feels good and what you think looks good. Yes, you would have held meeting with the client etc and got there thoughts, but once you’re in Photoshop, you are the one with experience so be confident. This was a very impacting statement from Lauren as it’s true in so many ways!

As well as the presentation about her UI Design Process, Lauren gave us a whole load of resources with many design components for us to look at / download! I am very grateful for Lauren coming in this morning, I always enjoy listening to someone else and seeing how they work :)