Maria Rodrigues
Maria Rodrigues

Design • Jun 21, 2024
5 min read

Design Through History and the Rise of User Experience Through Technology | Nearsoft Blog

Design Through History and the Rise of User Experience Through Technology | Nearsoft Blog
Fb Post 020321 06Taken from doodle DESIGN website.

It’s important to be aware of design’s origins and history. As a subject, it was created in the 20th century with the foundation of its first schools, the Bauhaus as one of its biggest progressors in Germany. Due to its, evolvingly, crucial role, during conflicts in the 20th century, and uses for engineering, propaganda and communication, production of military uniforms, it started to be interpreted as more than just as an aesthetic thing but, also, as something useful.

During World War I, a very memorable and timeless example, of design’s impact on social and political matters, is the “I want you for U.S. Army” poster used for recruiting soldiers at that time. Graphic design and illustration had a major impact on society in World War II as it was, once again, used to create posters and other materials to promote patriotism, demonize enemies and encourage enlistment and support for the war effort.

During the conflicts of Russia, it, also, impacted the production of military uniforms since they were designed for functionality, durability and harsh weather conditions. Excuse me for the dark examples, but, if you see the news today, and compare it to history, you associate the similar patterns, used through time, as a very effective way of communication and awareness.

J. M. Flagg, I Want You for U.s. Army Poster (1917)
“I want you for U.S. Army” poster by James Montgomery Flagg, 1917

I hope that, by now, you have a slight understanding of how impactful and important design can be (it doesn’t save lives, I know, but it can create awareness to different social, political and economic matters). With this, you can understand how frustrating it can be when we hear something like “make it prettier”, as if it’s only about a superficial point of view.

Design is not just about aesthetics, although they’re also important and contribute to the effectiveness of the design, it must be functional and transmit a message. In the design industry, you have many types of designers specialized in different areas like interior designers, communication designers, graphic designers, user experience designers, user interface designers, product designers, motion designers and many, many more. These roles are often confused and understood as “It’s the same thing! If you can do one, you can do it all” but that isn’t, necessarily, the reality of it.

I can’t speak for all designers, but I want, with this article, to educate whoever reads this and has been, so far, reading, what the role of a designer is, in whatever they specialize on. To give my unique perspective, as a UX/UI Designer, here are the main responsibilities of a User Experience Designer and a User Interface Designer.

A User Experience Designer is responsible for understanding the product and user’s needs, expectations and frustrations. How users interact with the product and how we can improve their experience ensuring durability of the product lifecycle, this according to team limitations, urgency and client’s wishes. Some of the tasks that a UX Designer is responsible for is user research (user interviews, surveys, create user personas, understand user needs, behaviors and pain points), information architecture (sitemaps, userflows, user journeys, lo-fi wireframes creating the overall structure of the product) and usability testing and interaction.

A User Interface Designer, on the other hand, is responsible for defining the look and feel of the interface respecting brand guidelines and creating interface guidelines to maintain a coherent visual throughout the product. Their tasks are creating layouts, selecting color palettes, choosing the right icons and illustrations, designing interactive elements, usability testing and organizing design systems with the team.

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
Steve Jobs.

To close this article, the creator of one of the biggest and highly acclaimed brands that we know, Steve Jobs, used a strong design philosophy that is the essence of the success of Apple and its products. The key aspect of his philosophy lies on his commitment to user experience, simplicity and creating beautiful and functional products. And this is why the knowledge and voice of a designer is so important on making decisions about how a product is going to work and behave.