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The How-To: Designing Digital Experiences

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It’s easy to take good design for granted. Often, we don’t give it a second thought as we pick up our pre-ordered coffee, breeze through airport security in minutes, or buy a new pair of sneakers, but behind the scenes, everything has been methodically mapped out, tested, and tweaked to ensure the best possible customer experience at every touchpoint.

Frictionless experiences are expected in today’s connected world, and for designers, the UAE is the best kind of playground to really push the boundaries of what’s possible. There is a willingness to try new things and keep evolving; the result being a thriving digital ecosystem that is disrupting the way we do things. It’s this growth that’s led to a massive demand in improving user experience (UX) across the board and more responsive web platforms/ apps being created as a result.

At Aspexx Digital, we often get asked about the “stages” for an interview, and how many we’d recommend. For most roles at the top level, it should be three to four rounds. The first stage should focus on the cultural fit, but it should be a two-way chat that allows the candidate to share their experience/motivations, while the interviewer should disclose more about the company vision/journey. It should be conversational and create a welcoming atmosphere. The second stage should test the candidate’s ability with a task or presentation. We then usually push for an additional “round” where potential hires get a meet and greet with the team they will be working with. We have found this to be a particularly successful way of closing the deal, and minimizing back and forth. The final round is usually more of a formality to meet key stakeholders, and tick off any remaining queries from both parties.

Say you have found your perfect hire, but you haven’t put much thought into the onboarding process. A major red flag for any new employee is when companies don’t get this right. In truth, onboarding should begin from the minute your offer was accepted. Not the day before starting, the morning of, or the end of the first week. You don’t need to overthink it, just get the basics right. For starters, set up the new hire’s workstation ahead of time. Allocate them a desk, upload all the software they will need, set up their email, and grant them access to the building. This ensures that they can hit the ground running from Day 1. Remember also that it can be daunting starting at a new company, so ease them into it, and ahead of their official start date, assign them a buddy who can show them the ropes, offer practical advice, and give them the office tour. New hires should meet everyone (from the CEO down) in the company structure, even if they aren’t going to be working with them that closely. It helps them to understand who is responsible for what, easing their transition into the new work environment. These actions may seem small and trivial, but it sets the tone for how the working environment will be. If they feel welcomed and included, then, over time, they will become more confident and contribute more.

If you’ve nailed the first two pillars, then now is the time to think beyond immediate retention, and encourage long-term loyalty. Think of the digital and design industries as being constantly in motion. If you slow down, you’ll struggle to catch up. If you stop, you’ll fall off the radar altogether. In our experience, the main way to boost creativity and innovation is to offer unrivaled opportunities for progression.

Not what you were expecting? It may surprise you, but money isn’t everything, particularly in this vertical. Designers like to build, be a part of the process, and influence real world practical application through thoughtful design. In parallel to this, organizations no longer want to rely on agencies to help them achieve their design ambitions; they want to be in the driving seat. As key regional players pave the way for expansion, fleshing out their own teams to build and scale experience design, it opens a whole new realm of possibilities for current and future talent to thrive.

Ultimately, the UAE is always looking to evolve and mature; however, there is only so much that can be achieved with ambition and investment alone. It takes the right people to make this vision a reality. If the two can align, then the potential for even greater service and experience-led design is limitless.

Related: Being A Female Tech Entrepreneur In The MENA Region: Opportunities, Challenges, And Lessons Learnt

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