UX First, Aesthetics Second: Andrew Baygulov Shares His Advice for Creating Beautiful, Effective Designs
Andrew Baygulov is a self-taught designer and front-end developer who learned UX on the job. One look at his past work and you’re bound to be blown away by his ability to create visually-appealing designs that never sacrifice usability. We asked him to share his process and advice on how to balance beautiful visual design while creating effective user experiences.
What are the key considerations to balancing good aesthetics with good UX?
The backbone of every project is user experience. The first step to any site or app is really understanding the entire product, and that will influence your overall approach to it. You start a project by implementing functionality first and UI just compliments it. Both elements are essential to the product and work closely together.
What’s the best approach for using hero images effectively in your designs?
I would say text is one of the most important elements on the screen, and you want to make sure people can read it easily. If you can’t make the text readable on top of big images then try to place it outside of them. Another important thing is to make sure you adjust your image heights based on your screen sizes so people don’t have to scroll forever on smaller devices.
What is the biggest mistake designers make when attempting to create user experiences that are ‘beautiful’?
I think the biggest mistake that designers make today is when they try to hide their UX problems with beautiful visuals, but in reality, they’re just confusing the users. Attractive visuals won’t fix your poorly constructed website/app functionality.
What’s to gain from a perfect fusion of aesthetics and UX design?
Most people don’t know anything about design, but somehow we all can feel when something wasn’t done right. This is why us designers really have to view a product from the user’s perspective and try to understand how they would use it first. Because really, we’re designing the product for them and not us.
By doing UX correctly, you’re eliminating unnecessary steps and helping the user to achieve something faster without causing confusion or frustration.
What’s your best advice for UX designers who are just starting out and want to follow in your footsteps?
As we all know, no one becomes successful overnight. Learn as much as you can from everything you can find online, study other designers’ work and, most importantly, practice a lot.
Most companies are looking for people who are self-motivated and willing to put a lot of work into something they love. Always have high standards for yourself, try to do the best you can, and don’t take shortcuts. It’s a process that takes a lot of hard work and you can’t just bypass it.
What does the future hold for UX design?
Well, I can only guess. The web is changing almost on a daily basis, but I think user experience will always remain the main focus of every product. As designers, we’re constantly trying to reimagine ways to achieve simple tasks with fewer steps and hopefully, future devices will help us do so.
Learn more about Andrew Baygulov and his work on his website.