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  • Writer's pictureLuis Alvarez

Looking at Past Projects to Propel Forward

Updated: Feb 20, 2020

Let's take a trip in the way-way-back machine! Doing this isn't always fun, but I find it, as a designer, to be potentially quite useful. As designers, we are so accustomed to going full speed, hopping from project to project. Taking a minute to look back at your journey to see how far you've come, to really think about how you've evolved in your craft can be equal parts embarrassing and humbling. I was recently looking through old work and felt like sharing a particular experience from early in my career.

My first design job after college was at a startup agency in Los Angeles, and it was an amazing foundation for the rest of my career. With the diverse clients and projects, I was able to work on, it allowed me the freedom to develop a workflow process, design style, and perhaps even more important at the time, the trust of senior management to try new things.

phone mockup of an app screen

Looking at these screens now, I cannot help but chuckle at all the things I see 'wrong'. I also remember how this one non-client, side project sparked my fervor for mobile design and began to change my process to a mobile-first approach. Before this, I had never designed for mobile. My entire experience was in designing desktop sites.

I began looking deeper into pixel dimensions, placement, color prioritization, copy sizing, and wording, etc. I learned to dissect the apps I was using every day, and what led to my individual tendencies while navigating these apps. While learning how to pay closer attention to mobile app usability, the challenge of crafting compelling information architecture for users became something I pursued often.

The concept was for a live event app, where users could track, plan, and buy tickets for music shows or sporting events. The app would include a robust community allowing users to interact and share events with their friends, as well as following artists/companies to have social posts weaved into the user's feed.

The handful of screens I created for this project helped me begin to understand the value of compelling and useful features, and thinking through information architecture in a way I previously had not. I began questioning things like, where is the users thumb, and what content *needs* to be within the viewport before they even scroll.

All in all, these screens represent an important change in who I am as a designer. The first step in a more thoughtful and analytical approach to my design processes and solutions.

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