Today, I know I am a designer because I am able to switch out of my role as an artist and become a user advocate. I find great joy in creating experiences that are simple, yet powerful and loved by users.

I was going to create a standard About Me page but I'm often asked in interviews, "Arjun, tell me about your journey into product design."​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
In the beginning, I often confused artistic expression and designing for users.
Due to my passion for music, one of the first things I tried to showcase in my portfolio was a prototype I call the "contextual music visualizer". 
The contextual music visualizer displays your favourite songs in a UI reminiscent of the time period in which each song was originally released. The aim was to connect users with their favourite artists/music. 
Click here for the inspiration.
That was 2018. Fast forward to today, I am a lead product designer by profession. I can now fondly look back at the contextual music visualizer idea I had and identify this project as being more of an art piece and not a realistic design for users. Why?

1. Not enough research and testing was done to determine if a user would be compelled to consistently interact with this interface. There was no usage data to back my idea up to be worth developing.

2. If a user was to try interacting with this shape-shifting music player, there's a good chance they would get fed up due to the unconventional colour choices, fonts, buttons and overall inconsistency with other music players today.​​​​​​​
Indeed, the whole point of this experience was to transport the user to the time in which a song was released. This meant creating interfaces that were intentionally outdated to fit with the song's context (MP3 players representing the 90's, jukeboxes for the 80's). 
A fun idea, perhaps not something actual users would want to keep interacting with.

Design is how something works and adds value for users. Also a labour of love, the contextual music visualizer was primarily an art project.

Since 2018, I have reached out to many people in product, requested portfolio critiques, analyzed Dribbble projects for hours on end and tried to recreate gorgeous user interfaces. 
Along with the learnings from integral courses I took in UI/UX design, I present the following points which represent my design process.

1. Jakob's Law is very important to be aware of when building a digital product. Empathizing with conceptual models that users are already familiar with is key.

2. UI design decisions should be based on objective principles involving colour choices, fonts, spacing, alignment, user interface components and continuous rounds of usability testing. 

3. Launching a product and iterating on the design is an ongoing process and should always incorporate multiple streams of user feedback. 

4. Style guides and design systems can wait until after you have drawn out and prototyped many screens of the UI.

5. Including your team early in the design process and supporting ideas with logical reasoning and principles is key to having support when proposing a change.

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