We spoke to Mònica Castel, UX/UI Design Lead at Glovo. Her team devises, develops and tests digital solutions which enhance the user experience in their apps.
In your team you use complex digital logic to address customer needs and you dress it up with an easy-on-the-eye look. This is what we call UX (User Experience) and UI (User Interface). What does each one consist of?
UX defines the user experience (logic). UI shapes the visual and sensory design of the experience (creativity).
UX obviously is about the user experience while UI deals with interface design. In UX, researchers seek to work out why there is a problem by getting in touch with users to learn about their needs. Product designers then go into action and devise experiences which meet these needs. Once they have drawn up a proposal, it is tested to ensure that it really fulfils its purpose; basically, it is handed over to the UI experts who will shape the new experience by applying the style guides (colours, fonts, etc.) to it.
How have you tapped into the potential of Glovo’s UX/UI tools, for instance to interrelate your users?
UX/UI tools help to understand the user context to deliver efficient solutions.
UX/UI helps us to understand the digital context of our three kinds of users. For the customer, our app provides some entertaining downtime and accordingly a smart response might be for the interface to display smaller font sizes to engage the user’s attention. The courier uses the app as a work tool while moving around town. This user needs clear and fast messages to deliver the order on time, so our experience in UX/UI suggests showing them larger font sizes. Then finally for partners it manages a business in real time with orders coming in and going out. In this scenario, UX/UI ensures that they can quickly grasp what has been done since the order arrived and what is left to be done or any potential changes.
How do you model the digital process which simulates real world practicality using UX/UI?
The UX/UI expert thinks and thinks again until they find a digital solution which emulates the real world as naturally as possible. As part of this process, we keep in mind the user’s sensory signals in the real world. Our goal is to understand them before transferring them to the digital setting and, once assimilated, we create response patterns. Let’s imagine that we walk into our local supermarket. We stroll down the aisles, look for the items we want, put them in our trolley and pay at the checkout. When we want to transfer the routines of this physical venue to a digital environment, as UX/UI specialists we come across the first problem: we don’t have aisles as such but rather have to locate the items using clear and concise categories
What is the biggest professional challenge you face when imitating the real world on a digital platform?
One is simply rethinking the solutions over and over again. When it comes to evaluating a new solution, it may be an improvement on the previous version… but it might not be enough. By actively listening to user feedback, we redesign the interface screens to display only essential information which minimises negative customer service touchpoints. The second challenge is to avoid user information overload at this juncture.
How do you think UX/UI’s potential will evolve in the future?
More advanced technological devices will emerge which will narrow the gap between the real and digital environments. However, while they will pave the way for new, hitherto unseen interactions between a person and a machine, the UX/UI specialist will still have to grasp their potential in order to shape the “natural” digital solution.
What would you recommend to future professionals who are thinking about training and growing in UX/UI?
I would stress being curious, non-conformist and resilient so as not to jump at the first solution which might fix the problem. It is not easy to be the best specialist only in UX or only in UI, but you can be proficient in both at the same time by learning to combine logic and creativity, with a touch of visual style, to improve people’s lives.