Guest Lecture: 5 Questions to Greta Anderson, UX Designer

Greta Anderson is a freelance designer in London. Her work focuses on UI and UX design – among other things, she accompanied the beginnings of the podcast app Entale and laid the foundations for the app’s design.

In the interview, she shares the highlights from her guest lecture with Entale co-founder Hannah Blake.

Brand University: Hello Greta! As a freelancer, you specialise in UI and UX design. What do you consider to be a good user experience?

Greta Anderson: When something is easy to use, even if you are using the product for the first time. That can be an app, but it’s just as true for a smoothie maker. If you can’t find the booking button on a hotel website, for example, then the provider doesn’t deserve my money. The most important aspect must always be obvious. The competition is big and users don’t want to make an effort – that’s why you quickly lose them to your rival.

BU: You accompanied the Entale podcast app as a designer during the first 90 days of its development. What was your task?

Anderson: I was the girl for everything. This included classic UX tasks, such as the first scribbles and finished wireframe designs, and organising, executing and analysing user tests. But then there were also topics that don’t normally belong to the job of a UX designer. For example, I edited videos, designed flyers for print and created the branding. Ultimately, everything that belongs to a finished product. Often it was learning by doing, because many start-ups don’t have much money and only hire one designer for everything.

BU: What role does user feedback play in your work?

Anderson: User feedback is the most important thing. That’s where everything starts, to give the rough direction. Jobs can be very different – sometimes it’s a vet app, sometimes it’s a home security camera – and a designer can’t intuitively be familiar with all the topics. That’s why it’s important to use regular user testing to check whether the design process is going in the right direction, in order to avoid major disappointments later on. However, there are still many companies that do not take this seriously and think that they know their customers and their needs.

BU: In start-ups, not everything ever goes according to plan. How do you deal with that as a designer?

Anderson: Take a deep breath. Every day is different! I have learned that there are days when the universe is against you. On such days, I try not to force anything. The next day you usually have new ideas and everything goes back to normal. Basically, it’s important not to become rigid. In the beginning, it’s better to work quick and dirty in order to learn fast. You can always refine the details in the end, but first you have to get the direction right. There’s no point in working on the perfect design for a long time if everything keeps getting turned upside down. The important thing is to work as a team, be open and share everything. If you are no longer embarrassed to show a design, then you have shared it too late. It’s better to learn from mistakes early on!

BU: What advice would you give our students if they are interested in UI and UX design?

Anderson: Keep an open mind and try a lot of different things. There are now so many areas in UX and UI design. In order to earn money regularly as a freelancer, you shouldn’t be stuck on one area right from the start. It’s okay to do only UX for one client and only UI for another. Then there are also the bread and butter jobs. They are not always super exciting, but they bring in enough money to do another totally experimental project that is fun but doesn’t bring in much money. I also enjoy being a researcher or just a designer from time to time. It never gets boring and you always learn something new. You should try out a lot of different areas during your studies to be prepared for everything later on. Start-ups in particular often need designers who offer a bit of everything.

Many thanks to Greta Anderson for the insight into the world of UX design and the work in the early stages of a start-up.