Essential UX Design Tips from Mockplus’s CEO Song Lau
In UX design there are a handful of talents and abilities critical to the success of a designer’s work. I had the pleasure of discussing some of these key concepts within UX design with Mockplus’s CEO and Product Designer, Song Lau.
I was curious to find out just how this prototyping design expert has used his various skills and knowledge to help increase the success of his company. Mockplus is a start-up that develops prototyping tools for user experience and user interface designers, developers and project managers. Their goal is to simplify the complex within UX design at a low cost. According to Song Lau,
“There is only one thing that matters in the world of UX, and that is how to help users get what they want at minimum cost… for me, this is a major principle of designing.”
Song Lau has been in software design for 15 years, and in 2007 he founded Mockplus, a product of Jongde software. Song Lau strives to find a simple and elegant method for solving complex issues.
Lau shares his insights on various topics within the world of UX, his unique perspective is fascinating to read about. During our discussion we focused on three major themes that we felt were important for other designers, young and old, to read about.
According to Lau,“UI/UX designers should learn some programming knowledge and even be capable of writing code. A design will be turned into reality by coding. If you don’t know anything about the next step of the work flow, it would be very hard to make a good design. It would also be difficult to communicate with developers, and there would be a lot of disagreement” said Song Lau. “No matter how great the design is, it should always meet the basic rules of designing. They are: Alignment, Repetition, Comparison, and Proximity.
A major issue within the UX design world is the lack of regard for mistakes. There are many common mistakes made by designers, and the consequences that follow suit can harm the product’s success rate for good. I asked Song Lau to list a few of the most detrimental mistakes he’d come across throughout his career.
“Neglecting the basic rules of designing. A lack of confidence or over-confidence. A lack of basic coding knowledge. There is no universal standard to differentiate between bad or good design…”
Compared with normal art, UI/UX design is the art based on usability, and eventually, it will become a product. UI/UX design is more about usability, without which the design would amount to nothing. Obeying these basic rules will guarantee the usability and art of a design.”
One of my favorite things is to hear from other designers and creatives where and how they derive inspiration. As a UX designer, creativity is very abstract and unique, as it is for every individual. It interests me to hear about different perspectives on the whole concept of inspiration, as it differs for everyone.
Song Lau shared his thoughts on this concept:
“…Actually, there are no real secrets to inspiration. In my opinion, there is no such thing as “inspiration.” I don’t think inspiration will come to you when you are lying on the couch on a sunny afternoon with a cup of coffee in your hand. Usually, during this process, I don’t like to discuss with others… I think a great idea should come from divergent, multidimensional thinking, not by the way of linear pattern. It requires you to have an accumulation of cross-field knowledge. That cross-field knowledge which always seems irrelevant, such as art and technology, literature and development, music and programming, are in fact highly relevant to each other.”
Every designer has a unique style they develop throughout their years of work. This style grows and changes as the individual evolves both creatively and professionally. Song Lau defines his methods in preparing for a new design launch by “holding on to every single detail, because details determine success or failure.” I couldn’t agree more! Details are key to the success of the product, from the technicalities to the overall design.
Popular trends have a major effect on new design. From elegant and simple, to flashy and complicated, every product has its own unique design. Song Lau focused on simplicity as a key trend.
“The flat design and simplicity were not created by Apple, but since iOS 7 started the trend, it became ‘the fashion’ in the world of design… Let’s look at a review of a UI design, taking a button as an example: From the simplicity in the early years, to materialization, and now, back to the flat design and simplicity”
He stated that design trends gain their popularity almost by chance, and that each trend does a full circle at some point in its lifespan. “This process happened involving the improvements of each hardware’s performance and aesthetics. Trends are always like this. The hair style which is popular now might be the one which was popular in the 1930’s.”
Song Lau concluded by stressing that “The nature of user experience is to ensure users get what they want with the minimum cost. I believe in this deeply, this is the meaning of user experience for eternity. If you can do this, you are creating the best user experience.”