DebugMe Interviews: Kiwani Dolean, Digital Designer
This is a repost of my recent interview with DebugMe.
In our new series, we are going to interview digital professionals from front-end developer or UX designer to product owner. This entry is an interview with Kiwani Dolean, a Digital Designer from London, United Kingdom about life in abroad, creativity, design and more.
- Thanks so much for your time, Kiwani! Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?
- Thank you for having me! I am an Italian Digital Designer based in London and I work for the startup Network Locum, an online platform for GP locums to connect and find work with practices. Before that, I worked for The Sandpit, a business builder focused on B2B digital marketing.
- What does a typical day in the life of Kiwani look like?
- My role as Digital Designer allows me to work on lots of differents projects, from designing marketing material to creating landing pages — no two days are the same and that keeps me inspired and creative, able to switch between projects in a fast paced environment.
- Could you give us some insights on the structure of your organization and your development teams?
- We work in small and cross-functional product squads in order to streamline the processes; squads are composed of a product owner, a design lead and a tech lead, with one or more developers involved. In this structure, I am a shared resource, because I work with the Marketing and the Commercial teams as well. We recently adopted the product squad concept and it’s been very exciting!
- Could you share some insights on how you ended up in digital design?
- When I was in high school I started a blog and from the beginning, I wanted to customize its layout — so I taught myself HTML and CSS and watched countless Photoshop tutorials. It became a real passion, so I pursued an education in Graphic and Web Design and then started working in the field as a freelance designer. Then I came to London and fell in love with the startup world!
- Would you recommend other people interested in digital design to study or to get practical experience first?
- Ha, this is a tough one! I think that no amount of education will compare to real experience on the job — some things can’t be taught until you find yourself in certain situations, while other things will only come from intuition and past experience. At the same time, I think that studying allows you to grasp some key principles of design that will accompany a designer for the rest of their career and it can’t be underestimated.
- DebugMe is also about tracking bugs. Could you give us some insights on how you or your team handle the topic of user testing & bug tracking related to design?
- At Network Locum, user testing and bug tracking are certainly part of our priorities. We follow a simple but effective approach, using Trello and a few Chrome extensions that work in a similar way to DebugMe. We like the visual approach. As for user testing, we make sure everyone in the company is included in this important step of the process. We have a very strong UX approach.
- What do you think will be the next major trends in digital design in the next 12 months?
- An H2H (“human to human”) approach, so the design that is more and more humanized and personalized with the support of data; more mobile and less desktop; the return of intelligently designed email newsletters; motion and animation; conversational and voice UI; simplicity and minimalism.
- How do you think the role of a digital designer has evolved over the past few years?
- It’s been very interesting — with the changes that we’ve seen on the web and the advancement of technology and digital media, it has become a much more inclusive role that spans a wider field. It’s not just Web and Graphic Design anymore; now UX is important, as well as UI, coding (or at least the basics!), print design, video, and photography. The Digital Designer is more and more well rounded and will continue to be.
- Can you share some tools you are using on a daily basis in your role as the digital designer?
- Sketch, Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign are the main tools I use on a daily basis. InVision plays a big part in our work as a Design team, and it’s great for prototyping. As for hardware, I work on a Macbook Pro with a secondary monitor, an external touchpad, and a graphic tablet.
- Isn’t design like football? Everyone claims they have an expert opinion? One likes it red, the other blue. How do you make sure that the HIPPO rule is not followed?
- Yes, everyone has an opinion on design — design has the ability to make people feel in a certain way and gives them a lot to argue about. At Network Locum we have a tight and collaborative Design Team and the HIPPO rule does not apply because we take decisions with what is best for the company and our goals in mind. We’re also great believers in the idea of data winning arguments. we all have strong opinions but we test, measure and learn. Having a great Design Director (Gideon Bullock) helps in making the right design decisions for the business.
- What serves as a source of inspiration for you? How do you remain creative?
- I love to read design blogs and books, and Pinterest is a continuous source of inspiration. Creativity for me is a constant flow: I am inspired by films, songs that I hear, or simply things that I see when I’m walking around London. Having time outside of work to focus on my passions, such as art and photography, is also great! I am volunteering for Sofar Sounds as a photographer, and every time that I come home after a gig I feel incredibly inspired.
Originally published at blog.debugme.eu on February 21, 2017.