Design Talk With UX Lead Jamie Narkunski

Posted by Jen

23 February 2015

Meet the Mingle team! Going forward, we will periodically publish interviews with Mingle team members. Got a question? Contact us or tweet us.

Meet Jamie

Jamie image
Jamie Narkunski, UX Lead

When did you join Mingle?
I joined Mingle early last year. My early focus was helping the team update the UI and feature set after moving the product to SaaS. Recently I shifted my focus to re-building and growing the XD practice.

What are the biggest mistakes you see in product or web design?
I don’t know if I’m able to pinpoint the biggest mistake, but if I had to pick something that makes me shake my head on a consistent basis it would be the act of designing without purpose. Product design can and should be beautiful, but its higher purpose is functionality and experience. Products—and in many cases, websites—are tools. Once you understand the intended functions of these tools you can use design to make them even more effective.

The power of design really lies in understanding. Once you really understand your user and your brand you can design for emotion, what you want users to feel when they interact with your tool, what you want users to think about as they use your product. A big part in influencing at this level is based around the idea of using the right tool for the job. So when a designer reads about a cool new animation or style and thinks about using it in their tool, I hope they take a moment to ask themselves what the impact will be.

What got you interested in UX?
Well, I studied graphic design and arts management in college and complained about things a lot. And then I found a job doing tech support for hardware/software tech startup where I got to spend my days with customers who also liked to complain about things. Once I got into building products I found myself empathizing with and trying to represent the customer whenever I could.

What design-related things are you excited about?
There are two design challenges that excite me right now. The first is making the things we hate to do less tedious, and I’m not talking about making services that just have someone else do them for you. People taking on the way we interact with space like in the retail, grocery, travel, or virtually like banking and organization.

The second is designers who are working with complexity. In so many instances the solution for ease of use is something that just does one thing. Okay, that works sometimes, but what about those instances that cannot be broken down into single-purpose apps? Do we just leave them behind? I think the ability to work with complexity in an elegant way is immensely inspiring.

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