Meet the Team: Kevin Crepin

I’m Kevin and I’m part of the digital toolbox/service design team. Our job is to figure out how to create a tool or service that would make life easier for people who want to use the Estonian brand as an added value to what they’re doing (for example product export).

There were numerous reasons to join EDM. To be part of a team consisting of so many talented people. To be part of the process of how a country will present itself and how it will be eventually perceived. To be able to help an entire country brand itself, which will not only benefit higher institutions, but every Estonian. No designer could say “no” to something like that.

How to define UX (user experience) design

I think it’s time for UX to become an “invisible” principle again. I say “again” because design has always been about the user, their needs and wishes, how they actually use or experience the product, but somehow this concept got lost at one point. We were designing for a screen like we were designing for print: one way to view the design, one way to experience it. However since then our technology has grown a lot and as a designer you can’t just rely on the fact that you can push a pixel perfectly. Because that pixel will push itself.

The system is bigger than that, the audience is bigger, the amount of ways to access your design is bigger. You no longer have one user, you have a buttload of them and you need to take them into account. The only way to do that is to know the user. So the emphasis on user experience is growing.

You can’t rely on the fact that you can push a pixel perfectly. Because that pixel will push itself.

But for all the visibility it has been getting, a lot of people are still confused about what UX really means. So what I mean with “becoming an invisible principle again” is that it should become a common practice. Compare it to responsive web design, which is a default practice for any new website. I think the same goes for UX design, encompassing the research, strategy and so on together with the product design. It’s basically all design: the solving of a problem.

Treating all the design stages as equal

I believe in order to do a proper job, you have to be involved from the early stages of a project until the moment when it is launched and even beyond that. Designers have to be concerned about more than just the look of the product. They have to be able to ask the correct questions so that they know why a product functions and looks like it does.

So it’s hard for me to prefer one step in the design process over the other since they inherently influence each other. With that said, I do like the part when some form of interface exists in any fidelity and it can be discussed by everyone involved. These are moments when something tangible is laid out for inspection and analysis and it often creates some interesting new discussions.

My least favourite design myth: “Design = visualisation”

Design starts with the asking of questions, defining problems and finding solutions to those problems. The visualisation of the solutions is only a small part of the entire design process, but since it is the easiest to show, it often gets credited a higher importance. It is the first contact point for a lot of people, but the underlying mechanics are often overlooked. People usually only see the final result, not the hours of research, work and iteration that lead to that result.

A highlight from my portfolio: CitizenOS

One project that has launched in a beta-form is CitizenOS, an online decision making platform: It enables participative discussion and voting for groups, where getting everyone together into the same room or online at the same time is not an option. For example an old lady who is not so quick on her feet anymore, can still have her voice heard on citizenOS.

It’s a project I’ve had the pleasure of being involved with for 2 years already now, so we can really iterate and improve on it as we get more user feedback on experiences. It’s also a platform that hopefully at one point can improve a lot of existing bureaucratic processes. Designers should help make the world a better place. Obviously this is a very idealistic viewpoint, but with CitizenOS I feel that we’re kind of heading in that direction.