I am not my user, and neither are my friends who are also designers.
When I got wind of a new idea for a web application that would help my sister I was so excited I immediately got on Photoshop and started to lay out the GUI. Yes you read that right. I immediately started to lay out the graphical/branding/look and feel of the user interface. And this is what it looked like:
Pretty cool right? Well here are the issues:
- Skilled Student was already taken
- Black/dark backgrounds are is bad for the eyes
- How in the world am I going to get gold text via html and css?
- Black and gold aren’t colors normally found in the education industry
- Children are no longer learning how to write cursive and therefore don’t know how to read it
- I have not done any research.
Research saves lives
I started conducting expert interviews with my sister asking questions. Gearing up to start a focus group. I wanted to tackle the branding first. Figure out what exactly this web application would be about. I looked at what was already out there that she needed and was using. I simply wanted to make it better not reinvent everything.
I saw that “Skilled Student” was taken so I went with “Skilled Scholar”. I made notice of what I think are awful color schemes of the education industry. I found a few color schemes that didn’t make my heart hurt and a few fonts that I could live with.
I did some research on color psychology and found what I think is the perfect color scheme for SkilledScholar and the user interface for the web application.
When it came to picking a font I took my Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and my closest friends as well as my sister and my developer for their vote. My developer as funny as stereotypes are, choose an option no one else did. Teachers and friends with children picked one option and those who were designers chose something completely different.
Phase One of logo development. Close friends and development team picked which one they preferred.
Moving forward I will ask my developer what they think if they like it or not. I want my team to be onboard with the branding of an application they are building from the ground up. However, never will I isolate myself to their opinions. I will ask my friends who are designers for critiques in terms of execution and not so much if they “like it” or not, they aren’t the user. I AM NOT THE USER. The user is the user and so the logo that captured the hearts of my targeted audience won.
The plain, sans-serif font, clearly won
But I was rooting for the first option. Yet upon being reminded that our youth isn’t learning cursive anymore I had to choose the sans-serif option as well. As another friend and design pointed out it was very plain. So I changed it up a bit.
I wanted to give hints as to what the SkilledScholar web app would do.
Once again I took to my close design friends and development team.
But the votes where to widely spread, so I went post them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and the last one won. It came down to two. One option was clearly chosen by designers and the other was chosen by teachers, people who worked with children in someway and parents.
The targeted users had spoken
Now it was a matter of just picking the color scheme and figuring out how to use it on the logo. I put together many options. Stepped away from them for a while and then went back to look to see what popped out. It got me to one color scheme and layout but I wasn’t convinced. Not yet.
I had incorporated grey but I really wanted some brown
I had issues with the grey, I had unresolved issues with the small details of the logo disappearing so I looked for other solutions. None of which I loved and neither did my development team.
We hated all of them
I would say that the advice about not going back to changing stuff up after it has been decided upon stands true. I needed some reassurance. I needed to try out everything to make sure were weren’t settling. So I gave it one last shot and I was shut down.
I was satisfied and put at peace.
I had taken all my lingering thoughts and ideas and put them out for the team to see and they didn’t like it. So I folded, I found a way to incorporate brown instead of gray and we have a finished logo a color scheme for the web application.