I usually start by saying that I’ve been a designer for the last 15 years, UI designer. “What’s UI?” I get that question a lot, can’t help but smile.

“User Interface,” I respond, trying to answer the question in a few words, “is the visual part of an app. You see, the engineers will write the code, but most people can’t read and understand the code, so the user interface displays all that information in a way anyone can understand. Or at least that’s what good UI does, or tries to do.”

We say app, although UI extends to the OS itself, and nowadays to anything with a screen. We say anyone, but what we really mean is anyone with a certain background — which might be really broad or really specific. We say user interface, when we actually mean graphical user interface; we lost the graphical in the rush of our daily lives.

“So you make apps look nice?” It’s pleasant when people are interested in what you do.

UI is entangled with UX, user experience. Which is how people interact with a tool, the feedback they receive, and the mental model: the way the human thinks the machine operates, to name a few. UI is what you see, UX is everything that happens around it. The interface must be clear and beautiful, the experience direct and pleasant.


Through the years I’ve come to realize that I was always meant to do this for a living. Or perhaps I’m so deep in this shit that it has changed who I am. I love visual arts, I enjoy enigmas and puzzles, and I strive to be as rational and objective as possible.

You’ll recognize a UX/UI designer because when faced with a complication in real life, they will stop to think about it for a second, ask a clarifying question about the usage, and then proceed to recommend something that could solve the problem. The solutions might include getting rid of something that’s not useful, changing the location of certain things, or even wondering if the complication could be completely replaced with a simpler, more adequate thing.

I was at a house party once — I’ve been to more parties, but they’re not as relevant.

The hosts had an ample living room, but all the guests were hanging out in the kitchen (happens at all parties). So the room with the music was empty, and the kitchen was crowded, making it hard get a drink. They had an L-shaped couch in the middle of the living room, dividing the space in two, which is useful for watching movies and creating two spaces in one room. I mentioned to Theo that if we moved the couch, it would create more space, allowing people to stand there — and even have room to dance. We moved it 90 degrees and pushed it against the corner — a change in the user interface. The amount of seating didn’t change, so we added a feature without losing another one in the process. Great!

Then I turned my attention to the dinner table, that was still blocking part of the living room. I should’ve suggested beer pong at the time — let’s call that v2 — but instead I suggested the same operation: turn it 90 degrees and put it against the wall. We also brought the spirits from the kitchen counter to that table, so those drinks were easier to access, freeing up the kitchen, and allowing beers to remain cold and accessible in the fridge. We changed the way you grab a drink (the user experience, that is), divided the most common actions (beers and cocktails) into two main categories with two different flows.

After this, the party was the same: the same conversations, same music, and same people. The contents remained unchanged, but it was more user friendly.

 


 

A party, an appa pedestrian crossing… In the startup world we might consider user interfaces just a part of the many in software, but simplifying and adjusting to our needs the way we interact with tools — and other people — , can always be positive. Next time you’re faced with a complication think:Do I need it? Is it the best solution? Can it be simplified?

A staple can’t get simpler, but you might not need it at all: a paper clip does a similar function and it’s reusable. Or maybe you didn’t even need to print that at all. And as I finish my drink and this paragraph, I wonder if I’ve explained what UX/UI design is effectively. What do you think?

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E.

Essential Podcasts for Entrepreneurs & Tech Lovers

Podcasts are a great way to discover new subjects and new people. Whether you are a tech lover or an entrepreneur, bellow you will discover podcasts for entrepreneurs you should – without a doubt – listen to. 

Itnig Podcast with César Migueláñez, Bernat Farrero and Carlos Pierre
Itnig Podcast with César Migueláñez, Bernat Farrero and Carlos Pierre

« Masters of Scale » 

with Reid Hoffman

The host: Reid Hoffman decides to turn to the corporate world instead of pursuing a university carrier. He worked for Apple, Fujitsu for then starting his own business: SocialNet and left it in 2000 to join Confinity. Confinity gives life to Paypal after fusionning. Finally, in 2003, Hoffman co-founds LinkedIn. He is Master of Scale’s host. 

About: The podcast welcomes some of the greatest entrepreneurs. You will discover throughout the talk how they managed to take their companies from 0 to a lot of zeros. You can listen to Masters of Scale’s special guests like Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Selina Tobaccowalla (Evite), Brian Chesky (Airbnb) or Nancy Lublin (Crisis Text Line). Must-hear: one of the top tech podcasts for entrepreneurs.

Listen to the podcast: On their website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Youtube

The Team: Reid Hoffman, June Cohen, Deron Triff and Jai Punjabi

« Rocket » 

with Christina Warren, Simone de Rochefort and Brianna Wu

The hosts: Christina Warren started as a Freelance Writer. Then, she worked at Mashable as a Senior Tech Analyst and Tech Correspondent and ended the journey at Microsoft as a Senior Cloud Developer Advocate. About Simone de Rochefort, she is  Senior Video Producer and co-host of The Polygon Show. Brianna Wu founded her first startup at the age of 19, Giant Spacekat. She was Head of Development at the time. She is now running for US Congress. 

About: In this podcast, you will discover three passionate women and their “geek conversation” as they like to call it.  No guest speakers, but you will be able to listen to a panel of tech subjects from Apple to Comics, you will not be disappointed. 

Listen to the podcast: On their website, Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Spotify and Castro

« This week in Startups »

with Jason Calacanis

The host: Jason Calacanis starts as an internet industry journalist in New-York. In 2003, he co-founded Weblogs, Inc and then a few years later he joined Sequoia Capital, launched the web directory Mahalo. He also founded ThisWeekIn.com. Furthermore, he created This Week in Startups podcast and a startup named Inside.com. Finally, he was part of the creation of the Sydney Launch Festival. 

About: Either you are looking to start your own company, or you are a successful entrepreneur, or you just love technology, this podcast will give you a peek to the entrepreneurship world. You will hear stories of all kinds! On his website, you will also find his events and some research on transportation, healthcare and more. This is one is part of the tech podcasts for entrepreneurs not to be missed.

Listen to the podcast: Apple Podcasts, Youtube, SoundCloud and RSS Feed

You can also subscribe to their newsletter in order to receive episodes directly. 

The Team: Jason Calacanis, Jacqui Deegan, and Tony Agapiou

« Recode / Decode » 

with Kara Swisher

The host: Kara Swisher is an American journalist specialized in the technology industry. She first started to work for an alternative newspaper in Washington for then working for the Washington Post. She wrote articles for the Wall Street Journal and New York Times and wrote her own books. Finally, in 2014, she created Recode, a website dedicated to the latest technology news. In 2015, she initiates Recode Decode. 

About: The weekly podcast welcomes tech experts and great entrepreneurs. They review how they got there, what’s on their mind about the current industry and what they would improve or create. Her recent guests were Elon Musk (Tesla CEO), former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Mark Zuckerberg. 

Listen to the podcast: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn

« K Fund PodKast »

with Jaime Novoa

The host: Jaime Novoa’s background is quite diverse. He is a writer and an investor, but he also worked in data analysis and social media analysis. In 2014, he founded Novobrief, a newsletter for startups. Then, in 2016, he becomes an investor at K Fund and he founds, in 2019, Dealflow, a weekly tech newsletter. 

About: The podcast discusses startups, entrepreneurs and Venture Capital. You will discover enterprises and their story. From data science, unicorns or digital platforms, you sure will find more than one interesting podcast. 

Listen to the podcast: On their website and Soundcloud

« Clockwise »

with Dan Moren and Mikah Sargent

The hosts: Dan Moren is an active author and writer as well as podcaster. He was a Senior Editor at Macworld. Today, he hosts two podcast shows: Clockwise and The Rebound. As for Mikah Sargent, he started as a Website Designer and Developer for then switching as a Senior Editor at Newsy. He now hosts few podcasts such as Clockwise on Replay FM or on TWiT.tv. 

About: The weekly podcast discusses technology and welcomes each time 2 special guests. For 30 minutes, they address 4 topics where all four speakers get to elaborate on the matter, highlight the issues and expose their thoughts. 

Listen to the podcast: On their website, Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Spotify and Castro

« Itnig Podcast»

with Bernat Farrero

The host: Bernat Farrero starts his career as a Developer. In 2009, he founded Itnig, a startup ecosystem that organizes entrepreneurship events. They also have a coworking for startups, a podcast and a fund for early-stage projects. Furthermore, he is a Founder of Factorial, Quipu and Camaloon. He is also a Board Member of Playfullbet, GymForLess and Parkimeter. Finally, he hosts Itnig’s weekly Podcast. 

About: The podcast welcomes every week a new guest. If you wish to learn from successful entrepreneurs, you are on the right platform. The discussions turn around Technology and its industry. You will come across guests like Carlos Pierre (Badi), Vincent Rosso (BlaBlaCar) or Oscar Pierre (Glovo).

Listen to the podcast: Youtube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Ivoox, and Google Podcasts

You can subscribe to their newsletter if you want to receive the podcast’s link every Monday. 

Whether you are at an early stage of your project, an investor or you are just curious, these podcasts for entrepreneurs give you the opportunity to be updated on tech and business news. Also, you get to learn from successful international entrepreneurs, which can definitely be very useful for your business.