Van UE Design Awards Gala

(guest post by Jordan Barber)

I’ve heard it said that designers should be loved, not understood. I can’t say if that’s true, but I’ll wholeheartedly admit we’re a strange breed. We obsess over form, font, color, and composition. Some of us communicate ideas through storytelling, and others spend countless hours unraveling complex systems to build better experiences.

When I entered my undergraduate design program, a professor told me that I would never see the world the same again—later another instructor called it a curse. I never knew how true these statements were until I entered the world of user experience design. In the Digital Design program at VFS we learned the tools to transform our obsessions into a problem-solving skillset by letting the problem dictate the solution; not the other way around.

For our graduate projects, we drew inspiration from our lives and the world around us. We learned to observe, hypothesize, validate, and examine our ideas while always keeping the user at the center of our designs.

From this methodology projects like Flint, Shuttle (Finalists, Vancouver User Experience Awards), and Kinform (Winner, Vancouver User Experience Awards) are born.

As students, we’re encouraged to shoot for the blue sky, which is something we should do throughout our careers as designers. But in the ‘real world,’ it’s easy to get lost in the daily grind—it’s easy to lose sight of why we chose this profession.

The Vancouver User Experience Awards stands to remind us of the joy, elegance, simplicity, and innovation in the interactions we create.

Though the designers showcasing their work have varying levels of experience, the bar they set and range of topics covered is astounding. From music sampling (BeatsGuru, Kuan Lee) to AIDS relief (PEPFAR Dashboard, DesignStamp), the solutions from Van UE Design Awards demonstrate the beautiful synergy that happens when business needs and design-thinking combine under the umbrella of intentional design.

These designs are changing how we interact with the world around us; they simplify tasks, connect us to our families and add joy to our everyday lives.

The curse of the user experience designer may be to never see the world the same, but in a world full of cynicism, maybe that’s a good thing.


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