Career Development

Is Becoming a Full-Stack Designer a Bless or a…

Many of today’s tech job specs are multi-disciplinary, meaning it’s increasingly difficult to pinpoint and define a clear scope of skillsets and job descriptions for a specific job role. This is especially common in the landscape of startups where the broadest possible spectrum of skills for an individual role is desired by the employers.

In the case of UX/UI designers, many will start off with a focus on the visual and aesthetic designs of the product being developed, but will soon receive requests to handle marketing related tasks such as social media promotion, landing page and edm design, and even print promotion.

Soon enough, these designers will realize the lack of competent in their project management, frontend coding, copywriting, and much more. They are then on the quest to plan their next step in acquiring new set of skills to boost their career development and advance in their career path.

If the above scenario is what you are currently facing, you might already be unwittingly on the path of becoming a full-stack designer.

What Defines a Full-Stack Designer?

Simply put, a full-stack designer is a designer that is involved at every stages of the product design process, from project planning, product positioning, market and user research, user experience design, to UI design implementation, and sometimes even coding. This might seem overwhelming, challenging and unrealistic, but definitely satisfying and rewarding down the road for being able to become this unicorn designer.

Full-stack designer is rare, and often can earn a thick paycheck. They typically have an understanding of the entire product development process, possess a broad inventory of skills including UX and UI design, frontend coding, project management, UX writing, creating design systems, prototype testing, and is familiar with a wide range of design software including Sketch, Figma, InVision, Zeplin, Adobe Suite, etc.

Figma is currently the most popular software for UX/UI design

Are Full-Stack Designers Desirable?

Full-Stack designers are most in demand by startups and SMEs alike. However, the size of the employing company and its business type can have a huge effect on the approach in hiring staff by the HR department.

First, let’s discuss the size of companies and their hiring approach. The larger the employing organization (e.g. more mature companies), more specialized roles (specialist) are hired whereas the smaller the employing organizations (e.g. less mature companies), more versatile roles (full-stack) are hired as employers would want to utilize as many skills from a single headcount to optimize the operation and cost.

Second, let’s discuss the type of companies and their hiring approach. The employing companies can be agencies, or startups, or in-house, or multinational consultancy firms which operates at a different pace and project scale. Projects from agencies or consultancies are typically larger in scale and would require a more structured workflow (more specialist required) whereas startups will typically have a less defined workflow and rapid working pace (more full-stack required).

Full-Stack Designer is able to handle projects from UX Research to UI Design

It is also a huge benefit as a team member that understands the entire process, full-stack designer is able to design with a real concept of the limitations and achievable goals from the business and development perspective and this makes the full-stack designer more desirable. They’re capable of communicating with the product owner and developers to propose solid solutions, making the hand-off process much smoother.

Is it a Bless or a Curse?

Perhaps you’re someone already seeking for new skills to challenge your comfort-zone. If you are determined to develop a long-term career path in the tech industry, then acquiring the skills of a full-stack designer would definitely be a blessing as this will enable you to familiarize the entire product development process and be more flexible in all types of working setting.

If you are a person who prefers a more focus in work and dislikes juggling between a diverse types of tasks, then the specialist pathway would be more appropriate for your career development.

Conclusion: Should You Become a Full-Stack Designer?

It is strongly recommended that you learn and invest in acquiring the wide array of skills that are highly demanded by startups and SMEs. Afterall, 98% of the economy is comprised of SMEs and the chances of being hired by these companies is high. Furthermore, learning the full-stack approach will serve as the springboard for you to land a managing role in the future, or perhaps even become a startup founder when the opportunity arises.

The skills of full-stack design are especially lucrative if you’re a freelancer or IT consultant. By being able to handle the entire design process, you can add more values to the project and provide a wider scope of service to your clients.

Acquire the Skills of a Full-Stack UX/UI Designer

At the core of the digital transformation process, user experience (UX) design is undoubtedly one of the most important aspect for developing desirable digital products or services. Learning from a reputable academy will enable you to acquire a wide range of skills highly demanded of a UX designer. With these skills, you will have the confidence to plan, manage and implement UX/UI design project from scratch to design proposal.

What you can do next:

  1. Talk to our program advisor via WhatsApp to discuss career change and find out if UX is right for you.
  2. Join our Mobile App UX Design Workshop
  3. Visit our Certificate in Full-Stack UX/UI Design course page for more details
Career Development

Hero Plus Exclusive Interest Free Installment Plan

GreenTomato Academy (GTA) has teamed up with e-payment service provider Hero Plus to help you achieve your study goal. Now you can use our new 0% interest rate, $0 handling fee Tuition Installment Plan to reduce your financial stress on professional development. Hero Plus users can have the choice of paying the tuition in 2, 3 or 4 installments.

Example: If you apply for our 15-class Certificate in Full-Stack UX/UI Design course, the fee of $18,000 (after deducing $2,000 of the 10% Early Bird special from $20,000) can be divided into 4 installments, the payment is shown below:

Payment DatePayment Amount
1st installment (Course enrollment)$4,500
2nd installment (1 month after course enrollment)$4,500
3rd installment (2 month after course enrollment)$4,500
4th installment (3 month after course enrollment)$4,500

Instructions:

  1. Download the Hero Plus mobile app
  2. Register your account and login
  3. Scan the payment QR Code provided by GreenTomato Academy
  4. Input the payable amount and select the number of installments (2/3/4 installments)
  5. Select the credit card you wish to use
  6. Confirm payment
  7. After completion, confirm your payment via WhatsApp  or email

Download Hero Plus payment mobile app Now and Kickstart Your Tech Career!

ux writing Career Development

The Essential of UX Writing, and Should I Become…

ux writing ux writer

UX writing is the practice of crafting UI copy (aka microcopy) that guides users throughout a digital product (website, mobile app, digital screen menu, etc.). The primary aim of UX writing is to create a pleasant experience for the users while they interact with the UI to accomplish a specific user task. With the increasing complexity of functions and features of digital products, there is a large and growing demand for quality UX writing and writers.

Examples of UI Copy 

UI Copy are text that appears in the UI design. Their mission is to provide instructional info that explains the purposes or goals of the UI. They include but not limited to:

  • instructional text (e.g. placeholder text)
  • menu labels
  • buttons/CTA
  • links
  • error messages
  • security notes

Keep in mind that not all copies shown on the screen are considered UI Copy. For example, the description or specifications of a product from an e-commerce platform is not considered part of the UI copy. These content are usually provided by the product owner and does not fall into the responsibility of a UX writer unless specified otherwise.

Tips for Writing Better UI Copy 

Here are a few tips you can take into consideration to improve the user experience when writing UI copy:

  1. Be Concise – avoid long paragraphs and use fewer words to convey the same meaning
    Don’t: You must log in before you can write a comment
    Do: Log in to comment
  1. Be Consistent – when describing a task or action, be consistent and use the same wordings
    Don’t: “Schedule your consultation now” on one page, and “Book your consultation now” on another page
    Do: Use the word “schedule” throughout the product when describing the same task
  1. Be Current – avoid using the future tense to describe an action
    Don’t: Your bank statement has been downloaded
    Do: Bank statement downloaded
  1. Be Numeric – numbers in figure format are easier to grasp than in word format
    Don’t: You have two messages
    Do: You have 2 messages

Current Demand for UX Writer 

The role is relatively new and not a whole lot of designated jobs are available. However, the demand is definitely on the rise since people’s lives are increasingly intertwined with digital products and the demands are unlikely to decline any soon.

Ideally, a professional UX writer should be employed for the copy write-up and this role should be part of the scrum team in an agile project. The UX writer should be an integral part of the UX design process and collaborate closely with other team members such as business designer/business analysis, designers and developers. It is highly recommended that a UX writer is recruited to a project at an early stage of the product development so that issues with product usability or user flows can be identified sooner.

Should You Become a UX Writer? 

UX writing is a relatively new discipline and is a professional task that requires training and a lot of practice. As the current stage, the responsibilities may be absorbed up by an interaction designer or marketing personnel. However, if you are currently employed in a position that requires regular writing, or if you are interested in copywriting in general, now is a good time for you to extend your skill sets and portfolio into UX Writing.

Business Design Certificate in Business Design Greentomato Academy UX Design UI Design Wireframe Prototype Adobe XD Business Design

【Business Value Creation 101】Revolutionize Your Business with Business Design

Business Design Certificate in Business Design Greentomato Academy UX Design UI Design Wireframe Prototype Adobe XD

Evolution of the Corporate Strategic Innovation Methodology

In the past decades, many strategic methodologies have emerged as means for corporate strategic innovation, product value-creation and creative problem-solving.

A few that are widely recognized and adopted by the general public includes:

  • Design Thinking, taught during the 80’s at Stanford University and made popular to the corporate world by David Kelley, the founder of IDEO throughout the 90’s. It is a practical product innovation process in which satisfying the needs of the product users are emphasized.
  • User Experience Design (or UX), emerged in the 90’s as a result of the proliferation of personal computers and is brought to a wider audience by Professor Donald Norman as a process of improving the interaction and experience between the user and the product.
  • Blue Ocean Strategy, proposed by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne was a huge buzz and influential during the early 2000’s. It promotes the idea of creating new product demands by new value creation and making the existing competition irrelevant.

The first two approaches incorporate the user-centered design ideology which emphasizes learning and satisfying the needs of the product users and stakeholders. The latter approach emphasizes creating new market demands by developing innovative products and services. However, without the consideration of the commercial values, even a great offering can fail to deliver a return on innovation.

Then came Business Design, a relatively new approach to strategic value creation that has gained traction beyond 2010. The specific origin of Business Design is uncertain, but what is certain is that Business Design goes beyond its predecessor by incorporating profitable business models into the formula.

Business Design is Employed to Solve Key Business Challenges

The word ‘design’ implies problem-solving. For instance, interior design is the act of improving a living environment that could solve the habitational problems of the habitant. With this notion in mind, we could therefore comprehend that ‘Business Design’ is in fact the process of transforming a business into a more competitive state by solving its underlying business problems.

We have come to realize, with the experiences gained from attempts and failures, that it’s not merely about product innovation that makes a company successful in the marketplace. We also need to consider the business and revenue model, the operations, the marketing strategy, as well as the use of the latest available IT solutions. It’s all about blending business strategies with design and IT, all with the aim of fulfilling the needs of the stakeholders that makes a product succeed and sustainable in the marketplace.

Blending business strategies with Design and IT
Blending business strategies with Design and IT

For instance, wearable technology such as smart glasses has yet to prove its desirability. The launch of Google Glass by the tech giant in 2013 has received a great deal of backlash due to their overly optimistic assumption on the market acceptance of the product’s form-factor and pricing (US$1500). Furthermore, the feasibility of the technological execution also failed, as in the case of the battery lifespan was just not satisfactory for the product to be usable in daily life. However, we will see whether the new Enterprise Edition 2 will be able to change the perception of the market overtime.

Google Glass

This process starts off with (A) “What we don’t know / What the product could be”, followed by identifying the (B) “Actionable problem statement”, and ends with © “What we do know / What the product should be”.

4-phase business design process

This 4-phase process can be summarized as:

  1. Discover the market needs and competition by researching to obtain insights
  2. Define your project scope by analyzing insights into specific problems the project should tackle
  3. Develop multiple ideas with brainstorming to find the best possible solution
  4. Deliver your ideas into reality by making them into testable prototypes and validate your assumption

Considering Becoming a Business Designer?

If you are looking for a career development in the digital transformation industry, becoming a Business Designer would be the best place to start. Being knowledgeable in Design Thinking and UX development is definitely a must but being affluent in the process of Business Design would certainly give you extra advantages. Currently, you can find a few related courses on Design Thinking/ Business Design offered by respectable institutes such as:

At GreenTomato Academy, we also offer the Certificate in Business Design course that provides you the opportunity to be exposed to the Design Thinking and UX design methodology, as well as enabling you to learn the practical process in Business Design.

If you are Interested to know more about the Business Design course, visit our website for more course detail.

UX UI Design

好多人都話識UX,其實你又識唔識?

User Experience (UX) 概念及技能在設計行業非常之盛行,特別係喺數碼產品開發行業(如手機應用程式或網站),時常都需要聘請懂得 UX設計 的人才。坊間都有好多媒體提及到「以人為本設計」User Centered Design (UCD) 同UX之重要性及初創公司如何透過UCD模式來獲得成功。到底UX這個專業係做啲咩架呢?邊度有得進修相關技能?以及 UX設計 到底適唔適合你?

什麼是UX設計?

User Experience UX設計

當問到咩係UX時,單從字面解釋就可以理解為「專門負責研究用戶體驗的專業」,但內裡究竟包含咗咩流程同技巧呢?一般UX設計流程會包括設計思維 (Design Thinking)、用戶研究、User Persona、User Journey Mapping、製作線框稿 (Wireframe) 、原型製作 (Prototype)同可用性測試 (Usability Test)。當然,呢啲都係UX中重要的部分,但係如果你想成為一個專業UX從業員(如UX Designer或Business Designer),單係知道上述幾個步驟係唔足夠的,你必須要更透徹咁了解UX核心價值,以及作為一個專業的UX人士喺工作上有咩職責同需要面對乜野挑戰。

UX設計流程

下圖係GreenTomato Academy (www.greentomato.academy) 采納UK Design Council 的Double Diamond Design Thinking 框架及結合了GreenTomato Limited (www.gt.app) 多年數碼產品開發經驗而得出嘅一套完整UX設計流程:

Business Design Certificate in Business Design Greentomato Academy UX Design UI Design Wireframe Prototype Adobe XD

圖中所見,這個基於Design Thinking框架嘅UX設計流程分咗4大階段:(1) Discover;(2) Define;(3) Develop同 (4) Deliver,整個流程全面包含探索、分析、試驗同反覆測試元素。流程包括:市場調查、用戶研究、定義問題、用戶流程設計 (Task Analysis and User Flow Design)、互動 (Interaction Design)、製作線框稿 (Wireframe)、原型製作 (Prototype) 及可用性測試 (Usability Test),呢啲步驟都係強調「用戶分析及體驗設計」而非關乎外觀的用戶界面User Interface (UI) 設計。

坊間有時會誤解咗UX的性質,以為單係提供線框稿設計 (Wireframe)、原型製作 (Prototype) 及UI設計等等相關工作就係UX設計。很多雇主,什至乎設計帥本身都會誤解同混淆咗UX Designer及UI Designer嘅工作性質及職責。UX Designer係負責架構用戶大腦所接收到嘅信息,而UI Designer係負責設計用戶眼睛所看到的同互動模式,如果得唔到充分了解同掌握,角色上就好難得到充分嘅發揮。

User Experience UX設計

線框稿設計 Wireframe Design

總結

希望大家睇完呢編文章之後會對UX設計有更多認知同興趣,坊間都有不少網上分享、教學及課程可以學習UX設計。現時 UX 設計相關職位待遇不低,初級職位起薪點平均在月薪 2至2.5 萬港幣不等。如果你係一個具好奇心及富有分析力嘅人,或對數碼轉型 (Digital Transformation) 及數碼產品開發行業有興趣,咁UX設計相關都會適合你。

GreenTomato Academy現正開辦UX/UI設計相關嘅工作坊及課程,為有興趣了解行業趨勢、有意轉型的設計師們或有意向UX/UI Design 及Business Design行業發展之人士提供入行機會。

相關工作坊及課程

UX設計原型製作及可用性測試 
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Adobe XD UX/UI 設計初階
Adobe XD UX/UI 設計初階
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