Product design captain steering the ship through UX, UI and SEO

Hi! My name is Przemysław and I know my name is really hard to pronounce, so you can just call me “smitu”.

If I had to choose one job-title I would say that I am a Product Designer, however, there is more to it. 

Just as well I think of myself as someone who is a researcher, designer, problem solver, project manager and marketer at the same time. I have a huge SEO background and front end design knowledge, which I gathered through a dozen years of practical experience. 

Fortunately, while working I never stopped learning from top-notch articles and books. In terms of education I am something of a self made man possessing both practical and theoretical knowledge.

I’m a team player, but I also have no problem in carrying out projects on my own 

Although working in the world of online marketing is often solo, one man job type of experience I managed to gather lots of experience teamwork-wise. 

For example when I worked for Highlight Media Group as UX designer in a team of a few designers under a head of design, from the beginning I was appointed to be responsible for choosing directions for projects at hand. In consequence delegating tasks quickly became a part of my job description. 

And of course all decisions were made based on my own knowledge and experience combined with discussions within the team, research and internal testing. 

This experience along with my work at Spider’s Web, where – among many things – I have to oversee cooperation between dozens of creators, made me finally realize that I am perfectly capable of managing a team of UX and UI professionals. 

I have abilities, experience and desire to be a leader and I don’t have to run these so fashionable workshops and place flamboyant stickers everywhere to successfully manage a team. 

How do I work?

1. Research

Without a comprehensive research phase, without knowledge of the industry and its environment, there is no chance the project would meet both aesthetic and business expectations.

2. Paper sketches

I start the design process the oldschool way – sitting at my desk with a pen and a piece of paper. Planning everything on paper first facilitates the creative process.

3. Design & Iterate

Pretty, simple, clear & pixel perfect design. Once I know what to design, I start working with the design software. I take care of every single detail, with the focus on mobile as we live in a mobile era.

Like every Product Designer, I just want to make life easier

In order to improve the design process, I introduced Figma to my team in Highlight Media Group. 

Before Figma, we shared files using an internal server, everyone used Photoshop & Illustrator (obviously :P), Sketch and Invision and all decision-making processes took centuries. With Figma we managed to speed up many tiring processes. 

It was an important step and before I convinced my coworkers that it was worth it, I carried out extensive research among our projects and in terms of whether the new tool will meet our expectations 100%.

In the end we definitely speeded up our work and not only for our team, but also the team of programmers and product managers had an easier job to do. Reviewing anything in Figma is much easier and because of that our work in this time has taken us to a new level. 

Choosing the right tool or tools is one thing, gathering resources to have something to work with is another – just as significat

In my line of work we do it through research – a word everyone heard, but almost no one elaborated on. So what does research really consist of – at least, while I’m doing it? 

The first thing I do is simple – I talk. Not to myself or mirror of course. I talk to my coworkers, external users or friends who use a given product in order to get perspective from others. 

Thorough googling combined with checking out the entire market and competition is another step I take in order to gather intel. Then I analyse all data available using Google Analytics and others. 

Comparative testing is something of a final step (not the last one necessarily). Then I repeat all of that and the more repeats I take, the better research I do.

All these fields of work I went through made me ask myself whether I am a UX researcher or designer? Well I am both of these things, what  theoretically would make me a UX generalist, though I don’t exactly feel at home in such a box. 

I simply believe that one does the best job when he or she can combine experiences and knowledge from all UX related spheres. This way I get the most complete view on a particular issue or subject and that is something that makes me better at my job than I would have been if I had focused solely on one thing.  

This complete view on things is something that I value also in terms of strategic planning

In most cases I try to be included in a project from the very beginning, because from my point of view even the very first talks, business negotiations may provide me with so precious insight into clients or users needs. Of course it’s not always possible, yet whenever it is I enjoy working from scratch. 

This way of strategic thinking is something I perfected, while working in an interactive agency where my responsibilities included not only project planning, but sales and contacting customers as well. 

I am glad it happened because today I am an entrepreneur and without this ability to see the bigger picture, my professional life would be much more difficult. 

To sum up. Who am I? All-in-one product design captain steering the ship through UX, UI and SEO wild waters towards the best solution. For users, for clients, for business. 

And personally? 

Food, dogs, football. In that order.