Joe Taylor: Design for the User
Designer And Developer of L+R
by Elizabeth Lavis|
24 Oct 2023
Designer Joe Taylor of L+R understands one of design's primary and most essential tenants: thinking about the end user’s experience. “Design needs to be for the user, not for yourself,” he says. For Taylor, striking the right delicate balance between creativity and strategy is vital, especially regarding the functionality and aesthetics of design.
“Strategy is always on the forefront of my mind,” he says. “Without good UX or strategy, the UI is pointless because if you aren’t designing with that in mind, your design serves no purpose other than being pretty.” Taylor believes every design decision must be made in tandem and supporting the strategy and UX needs. “Once you get your head around that, your creative freedom is endless,” he says.
Taylor’s deliberate and effective balance of strategy and design serves him well when it comes to gaining client trust and establishing rapport. “I talk to clients about my experiences, how long I’ve been doing what I do, and my goals for the given project. I show them how excited I am to be working on their project,” he says.
Variety is also the key to warding off team burnout and keeping things interesting. “We communicate as a team to help each other understand the difficulties we face, and we balance work via different types of projects,” he says. “That way, not everything will be design or UI specific. One day could be development, the next day branding, and another day UI. We range our work.”
"Newfest - Ensuring LGBTQ+ stories are seen, heard & celebrated since 1988" ,Joe Taylor
A new project starts with an intensive client workshop, and then the team gets to work. “We jump straight into lo-fi wireframes, or sketches, to ensure that we cover everything that needs to be there. We also figure out our users’ journeys and what story we’re trying to convey,” Taylor says. The next step is visual research, using tools like Awwwards, Behance, and Dribble to get a feel for the brand they’re working with. “Then we go straight into the design, go crazy and try multiple ideas out in Figma until something clicks,” he says.
Taylor balances bouts of intense work with frequent breaks and five-minute collaboration calls. Although the comprehensive research and deep dive into brand identity generally yield on-point results, there are times when Taylor has to face harsh criticism. “I take it on the chin and ask questions to get to the root cause. Then, I ask for any positives to understand what is going right and what isn’t,” he says.
Occasionally, he must tell clients that their ideas aren’t feasible diplomatically. “I use UX/UI principles and statistics and try to communicate to them that they need to think about the design from a user’s perspective, not their own,” he says. Clients are involved moderately in the day-to-day work, and Taylor and his team check in frequently to ensure that the project stays on track and that the client is looped into any changes or developments.
Taylor relies heavily on Figma to help bring his designs into reality and derives inspiration from various sources, including gaming. “Gaming UI is made to be simple and effective, and it shows me that usually, the simplest solution is the best,” he says.
The delicate balance of strategy and creativity might be an effective framework for Taylor’s designs, but it is his dedication to his work and ongoing learning that seem to make it so special. “The work isn’t simply a job for me; it’s my hobby, a passion, and every day is something different with new challenges and different ways to shift my perspective,” he says. “It makes me feel driven to become better.”
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