UX/UI Design: What Five of the Best Ukrainian Designers Think about Its Future

Fantasizing about the future is always exciting, especially when it comes to information technologies. The IT world is in flux. Over the last few decades, we’ve witnessed the emergence of devices and technologies people could only dream about at the beginning of the last century.

Being a part of the ever-changing IT field, we never stop asking ourselves the same questions: “What does the future hold for our community?” “What’s the next big thing in our industry?” “How will this next big thing change our lives?”

We figured that digital designers might have the best answers to these questions. So we started our hunt for the best designers who live and create here, in Ukraine. And we found them! Young and successful entrepreneurs, public speakers, UI/UX design gurus, and simply nice guys – we met with them and asked them to predict the future of design and information technologies in general. Here’s what they said.


best ukrainian designersValik Boyev

Co-Founder and Creative Director at Halo Lab

What do you think is the next big thing in web and mobile design? Where are web and mobile platforms heading?

Valik Boyev: People no longer install loads of new apps on their mobile devices. There’s a certain number of apps, the so-called “daily set,” that they use on an everyday basis – that’s it! Of course, users can try one or another application, but it doesn’t guarantee that this new app won’t be removed after a cursory examination.

I guess a great majority of native apps will migrate to the mobile web soon, just because their constant presence on our mobile phones would be redundant. You don’t need a mobile app to read the latest post on Medium or add a movie to IMDb – your mobile browser can do it in seconds. So it’s high time to build cool mobile web interfaces that will entirely eliminate the need for native apps.

One may say: “What about icons? They’re so cute and clicking on them can get us directly to an app!” That’s easy: app icons will be replaced with tabs that will get you to an appropriate website right from a mobile browser.

What challenges in UI/UX design will we need to respond to in the next couple of years?

VB: As far as we’re fantasizing about the future, I guess current approaches to UI/UX may change very soon. Now, UX and UI designers are considered as two different professions. But these are stages, actually. First you come up with the structure of your product, then you work on its shape and appearance.

When working on a huge project, it’s commonplace to engage several independent specialists each having expertise either in UX or UI design – this way, you can distribute the workload. But it would be more effective to have a few guys on your team who are equally good at both UX and UI design, specialists who are able to perform several tasks at the same time.

What is ‘great’ design, in your opinion?

VB: To my mind, good design provides a practical solution to an existing problem. Great design provides an innovative solution to the same problem.

Of course, good design can’t be measured in a finite way. So how can you know that design is really ‘good’? Do you use any KPIs for design?

VB: At Halo Lab, we’ve created a sort of checklist for our newbies to check their design work. There are checkpoints like source file structuring, grid, typography, styles, colors, and others. But these all are to merely assess your quality. The most important thing is to be able to justify your design. In my way of thinking, this is what separates professionals from amateurs.

Being a CSS Design Awards juror and constantly reviewing works submitted to the contest, I’ve also come up with, I think, a very interesting methodology. To be honest, I borrowed it from the HumanKind Scale methodology used by the Global Product Committee to assess creative products on a scale from 1 (destructive) to 10 (changes the world). It’s used to grade advertising, but can be easily applied to anything including design. I’ve adjusted it to my own needs:

1 - Disgusting

2 - Bad for the brand

3 - Second-rate

4 - Cliche

5 - Rather interesting

6 - Fresh idea

7 - Excellent implementation

8 - Outstanding

9 - Groundbreaking

10 - Can’t-find-words-to-express-how-cool-it-is

As you might have already guessed, I’m quite strict with contest participants ;)

best ukrainian designersYar Birzool

Chief Platform Officer at TemplateMonster.com

What do you think is the next big thing in web and mobile design?

Yar Birzool: I think it’s artificial intelligence and bots; these can help you cut the ‘noise’ and get access to really useful information, goods, and services. As a result, we may see many designers turning into engineers who build natural interactions between humans and bots.

What challenges in UI/UX design will we need to respond to in the next couple of years?

YB: In the nearest future, many interfaces and in-app stuff will be adapted to a certain user. So the designer’s work will be centered mostly around creating a system that will make this possible, instead of building “perfect-scenario” visual designs like we’re used to seeing on Dribbble or Behance.

What is ‘great’ design, in your opinion?

YB: As for me, I think design is merely a tool. As with any other tool, design is only great when its presence is barely noticed; but while being invisible to a certain extent, this tool should still fully satisfy users’ needs.

Of course, it’s a utopian idea for now, but it’s certainly worth considering what we can do to get closer to it.

What is your personal challenge? Is there any technology you would like to master/focus on in the upcoming years?

YB: My personal challenge is interfaces adapting to a certain user behavior, for sure! Being adapted to your own needs and preferences, such interfaces can create deep and gratifying experiences that are different for each user. This idea can’t be carried out without gathering and analyzing big data.  

best designers in ukraine Oleg Gasioshyn

Co-Founder & Creative Director at The Gradient

What do you think will be the next developments and trends in web and mobile design? Where are web and mobile platforms heading?

Oleg Gasioshyn: I like how the modern web is evolving. Websites have become smarter and more interactive but remain simple at the same time.

Mobile is also getting simpler. I like the total Complexity Reduction trend. It seems like we’re entering the future of the monochromatic UI with a central focus on content and users.

Where are web and mobile platforms heading? Well, they are merging. Mobile patterns are penetrating into the web area. Infinite scroll, hamburger menus, and other mobile patterns – these all have become a standard for the web. Devices are powerful enough to run complex tasks in a browser, so you can have equally great web experiences on your mobile, as if it’s a standalone native application, but without spending time to download and remove it afterwards.  

What challenges in UI/UX design will we need to respond to in the next couple of years?

OG: We are moving towards design automation. There are tons of frameworks, tools, and kits that take complexity out of the designer’s work. For example, Readymag, Semplice, Slides, and Unbounce eliminate the necessity to build landing pages. Thanks to these tools, you don’t have to think about responsive design. There are also tons of off-the-shelf UI kits so there’s no need to spend your time pushing pixels. There is material design with a set of simple instructions to follow to build a good UI for your app. In other words, there are loads of bulletproof tools and patterns that solve most UI design tasks.

However, designers need to solve more complex tasks these days. Not only do we need to work on user experience but also on customer experience. We should create and optimize not only the digital part of the service but also think about the effect this service may have on the end user. You need to work with messaging. You need to work with data. Create systems of data streams that will enhance the customer experience and automate more tasks for the user.

The IoT industry is getting bigger day by day. Soon you will have a WiFi module and sensors connected to your toothbrush. These will automatically detect the condition of your teeth, provide you with some recommendations on how to brush them and automatically book a visit to the dentist. And you know what, such toothbrushes already exist, so just imagine what may happen in the next couple of years. We should be ready to take on the challenge to design such experiences.

Do you see any promising technologies that you would personally like to focus on this year?

OG: I like storytelling! That’s why I’m interested in designing for VR and AR. We’ve also started working with venture capital projects focusing on blockchain technology. It’s not a “design” technology, but it’s about a decentralization of the transactions and changing the world economy, which seems quite interesting to me.

I also have some ideas about WebGL and e-commerce, so I hope to implement them in the next year.

best design experts in ukraineIvan Pashko

Senior User Experience Designer at ELEKS

What do you think is the next big thing in web and mobile design? Where are web and mobile platforms heading?

Ivan Pashko: We’re now moving toward platform integration. It’s already possible to hail an Uber taxi from Google Maps or book a table in a restaurant using Facebook Messenger. Apps are transforming into atomic services integrated into bigger platforms. As designers, we have to think not only about how our product will perform one or another task, but also consider the platform environment and its use cases.

How big of an impact do recent technologies such as VR, AR, and chatbots have on modern digital design?

IP: The impact is dramatic. Those technologies will undoubtedly hold a significant place in our everyday lives very soon. Virtual reality technology has been used for professional training and the healthcare industry for years (take, for example, Mindmaze that develop VR experiences to help patients recover for brain damage and treat different mental disorders), and now VR is gradually leaking into the entertainment industry: we already see VR cinemas, and soon tickets would be sold for remote live events too, such as sporting events and pop concerts.

There’s also a strong trend for AR technology in web and mobile. We’re gradually moving towards simple but cool AR solutions. The recent success of Pokémon Go, which has drastically altered the whole game, and the acquisition of Cimagine by Snapchat are proving this.

One more trend is chatbots are becoming ubiquitous. Conversational interfaces can be a great supplement to the traditional UI; they can be good helpers for our routine tasks. When designing bots, we should precisely develop all possible conversation scenarios to provide the highest quality.

Do you see any promising technologies that you would personally like to focus on in the upcoming year?

IP: Besides exploring possibilities of Design for VR, I want to try working on voice interfaces. Amazon Alexa and Google Home are turning voice interactions into an everyday thing. I’m sure we can work on defining new possibilities for solving people’s problems with screenless devices. One more interesting trend is autonomous cars. After they become an ordinary thing, drivers won’t need to control the vehicle anymore. That means we will see a new boom of automotive interfaces for different purposes, from in-car entertainment systems to fully productive workplaces.

best designers from UkraineVitaly Rubtsov

UI/UX Designer at Yalantis

How has digital design changed over the years?

Vitaliy Rubtsov: First we dealt with skeuomorphic UI design, then it was this tendency for radically flat interfaces. Today, flat design is trying to add a little skeuomorphism back to look more natural. It seems that design is evolving and adopting the best practices from previous years. Handiness and simplicity are still of primary importance but we now lay more stress on visual elements such as shapes and layers.

What do you think is the next big thing in web and mobile design? Where are web and mobile platforms heading?

VR: The next big thing in mobile is probably AR. Ever-improving processing capabilities, sensors, internet connections, GPS, and, soon, 3D cameras make mobile devices a perfect platform for all kinds of AR applications. What excites me the most is the fact that building for AR implies the emergence of new types of interactions that haven’t existed before.

Another promising thing is personal assistants and chatbots. Unfortunately, many of the existing solutions in this field are not mature enough and fail to deliver a pure user experience, which scares away the end user. One exception is Zuckerberg’s Jarvis. What it does is really impressive. So I hope we’ll see some improvements to voice assistants very soon.

Y: What is ‘great’ design, in your opinion?

VR: “Good design is as little design as possible.” [Dieter Rams] I couldn’t have said it better. There is one thing I’d like to add, however. Many people think that design (and designers) ought to be creative. It’s nonsense. Great design is about simple, practical, sometimes boring and trivial, but working solutions which have nothing to do with creativity.

Do you see any promising technologies you would personally like to focus on this year? Do you have any plan for how to grow and develop as a UI/UX designer?

VR: In the first place, I’d like to try designing for VR and AR. Just imagine how cool it is: You’re about to rent or buy an apartment, but instead of staring at boring (and sometimes poor-quality) 2D images of your future home, you can have a virtual journey through it, feel and touch housewares as if you’re actually here. Who knows, maybe Airbnb has already started working to integrate something like this.

Of course, designing for VR implies having a background in 3D modeling, motion design, building interfaces, prototyping, and whatnot. There’s a number of programs to become a master  – Unity3d, Cinema4D, Blender, 3DS Max, Maya, After Effects, and others. I’ve started with Cinema4D. Consider it my first step to a career as a VR designer.

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