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We asked Shannon Glenn, Practice Lead: UI at Immersion Group what it means to be a designer in today’s ever-changing landscape.

What keeps you challenged in UI?

We live in a world where technology is changing so rapidly. As a UI or Visual Designer, we’re front-and-centre of exposure to new technologies and/or integrations; think AI and VR. It’s important to stay informed and use this to our advantage in order to create future-fit solutions which withstand the advancements in the environments or projects we’re working in. 

As in all design areas, trends re-emerge too. 20 years ago, we got excited about gradients. Then flat design came back with a bang and now gradients are back.

What was your last biggest challenge, how did Immersion react and what did you learn?

When you are working with a team who has been on a project together for a long period of time, the team dynamics become so fluid. Each designer knows their teams’ strengths and weaknesses and collaborates and integrates accordingly. A challenge as a Practice Lead is being able to replicate those same team dynamics into newly formed project teams. We discourage designers from taking a siloed approach to work. Collaboration, empathy and authenticity are some of our core values which we use as guiding principles to ensure the team is working towards the same goal, and ultimately enhancing an experience.

How do you judge when someone is ready for that next level role within UI?

When you get better at the things that were difficult or challenging for you when you started, you know you’re going in the right direction. As the saying goes, “It doesn’t get easier, you just get better.” At Immersion, we’ve created a skills matrix which we call our Competency Model. This defines the hard and soft skills required at different levels within the organisation. We use this to help guide each designer on what skills they need to work on in order to reach their career goals. The process doesn’t have to be linear either. We support cross-capability career aspirations and encourage our designers to broaden their M-Shape skills. This promotes a culture of learning and discovery and allows for diversification in an ever-changing digital industry.

What have you done to create an environment where innovation can thrive through UI?

Creativity and innovation are synonymous in my mind. As UI designers, we get to paint the picture of the ‘art of the possible’. Ask anyone in our team which kind of projects they enjoy the most and the answer will be the same: The ones where they get to explore and conceptualise creative solutions.

We encourage the team to challenge the status-quo by following and executing on the brief, but then also trying something different, adding a ‘little spice to the mix’ (as we like to call it) to strike up a conversation that might not have been previously considered. Inspiration can come from anywhere. Just because you’re designing a mobile app doesn’t mean you can only be inspired by other mobile apps. Real world interactions and gestures often prompt us to experiment in the digital world.

How does the Immersion measure UI success?

At the end of the day, the design of the product we produce needs to be functional, accessible and give an exceptional User Experience. Our success metrics don’t differ from those of any other capability (UX, CX, Service Design, etc) within the team because we work hand-in-hand together. It’s a difficult question to answer from only a UI perspective because it’s a team effort. But if I had to say what success looks like to a UI designer I would say it’s linked closely to metrics like ease of use, time on task, intuitive interfaces and probably aesthetic-usability effect.

What is the structure of cross-functional teams? How does UI influence multi-disciplined teams?

A truly successful design team is one that’s diverse and adaptable. Gone are the days of designers saying, “I can’t do Y because I don’t have X yet.” We focus on what we can do with what we have. As the saying goes, teamwork makes the dream work. We prefer to work closely with the engineers, scrum masters, product owners and key stakeholders to ensure that the product the team has collaboratively designed goes to market in the way it was designed. Communication is of critical importance. It’s more than just explaining what you’re working on or what you have completed. It’s about educating the entire team of what’s involved in the work and also the WHY. When a team understands how each other contributes to the success of the project, it becomes much easier to work collaboratively and achieve the objectives set out for the project.

How does UI contribute strategically to the Immersion’s success?

If each team member is succeeding, there is a direct ripple effect on the  company succeeding and by extension our clients success.

1% better every day is something I personally aim for. This can be something as small as getting through and checking off a daily task list, presenting a slide deck with a clear narrative and receiving great engagement from the audience or even learning a new feature of a tool to help speed up the design process. By having a growth mindset and continuously learning, we aim to get better and better.

How do companies currently view the role of a “UI Designer”? Should this change, how should we be viewing UI designers within organisations?

Most companies don’t know what a UI designer is. We get confused with UX designers a lot, which is currently the industry norm. I’m not going down that rabbit hole here.
If you think of landscaping a garden, the UX researchers and designers would be the landscapers, the planners, the architects, the deciders of where the plants will go, where the path needs to be, where the irrigation lines are. UI designers are the actual plants, lawn, trees, water feature designs, stones and pebbles and colour harmonies they create in the garden. We bring the experience to life.


Shannon started her career in the fast-paced world of traditional advertising, working with a variety of clients on diverse platforms – print, digital, out-of-home, and radio. 
Her expertise lies in Visual Communication and Creative Direction. Experience Design was the natural next step in her career and UX and UI became her craft. 
Her strength lies in building and managing design teams of all skill levels; from graduate designers to design directors.

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