Victoria Nikonenko and Design Best Practices
How did you decide to pursue a design career?
I have been drawing since childhood, and I always knew that at some point my work would be related to visuals. I started learning graphic design after my studies at the University.
Following graduation, I received an offer from an advertising agency and I’ve been doing graphic design and art direction ever since.
In an effort to continuously grow, I decided to try product design and I took professional courses to educate myself. In just three months, my tutor turned my previous approach to design completely upside down. After finishing product design courses, I understood the concept of design-thinking and human-centered design approach.
What are the first steps when you start a new project?
It all starts with understanding the end user for whom I am designing and from there, I mix in inspiration.
For animation inspiration I use Dribbble and Instagram subscription to hashtags and groups related to motion design.
When I’m ready to create something new, I research what already exists in the market to gain an understanding. Then I take a piece of paper – I put everything on paper first – and think over the UX / UI schematically. After that I sit down to do everything in dedicated software: Figma, After Effects, Adobe, Flow, and other applications.
What is your design process? Describe the design methods that you follow.
The main goal of every design is to solve a problem statement. It all starts with finding inspiration, drawing, and when I get down to work, I ask myself a question “Why?”. If one needs to make an application – then you should ask yourself which problem it should solve.
Then the question “Why” is decomposed into small tasks of creating each screen which has to answer the question what user should learn from here, what are their benefits? And these pieces should have one common answer. In this way you lead the user in order to satisfy their main need.
Do you use any psychological principles to your design?
For me, the most important thing is to have a hierarchy. The answer to the “why” question is that you structure all the elements to highlight the most important things.
Both in my personal life and in my work, I stick to the principle ‘Less is more’. Once I found a Marie Kondo book about cleaning, and I donated almost all of my possessions. I only kept 20-30% of my stuff. When there is no excess, you fill your space with only necessary things. How you organize your life is reflected in your work. I aim for a clean, minimalist design.
I’m a huge fan of Bauhaus, Swiss and Danish design schools. I was astonished to see that in Copenhagen the trash bins are leaning a bit to roads so that cyclists can dispose of their garbage on the go. For me, this is a perfect example of how you can take only the most important things and create them simple and user-friendly.
What’s your process for working with other designers, developers, or product managers?
One of the advantages of being a designer is that you communicate with all the stakeholders in the process. For me being an extrovert, this is very important.
Management support is also very important. For me, as a creative person, routine moments are more difficult to organize than for a person who is more left brained. Therefore, there is close work with project managers who help to set controls and process, especially in the initial stages.
Tell us about a project that you’re most proud of.
It was my first educational project, but then I realized that it could be implemented and used in real life. I created an application for blood donors.
This application, in a playful way, reminds a person when they can donate blood, provides recommendations, and sets achievements which can be earned.
How do you improve your technical skills?
At least once a year I attend some courses – they can be about design or not. The latest one is a course about animation. This year I also attended courses for the academy drawing.
Before joining Transcenda, you were a freelance designer for a long time. What makes Transcenda so unique you wanted to become a part of it?
I really enjoy it – professionally I can evolve in my favorite things like UX/UI or animation, and personally I also love my team. We work as one team, and we all are interested in getting the best result out of it.
Among the Transcenda values, I like ‘Putting People First’ and ‘Keep it Fun’ values.
What are your hobbies and how did they shape you?
I surf primarily. Trips to the ocean do not happen so often, so at home I ride on other boards – skate and wake surfing. I also have many visual hobbies such as telephone photography, videography, and drawing.