UI/UX Visual Designer Elena Liakou makes a very insightful observation about the work she does, creating unique, user-friendly websites.
The LA-based, highly skilled designer explains, “A website or application is the way that a specific company chooses to communicate with its audience. Your website is like a shop's window. You have to make it as attractive as possible to reach out and grab your audience's attention. The same thing happens with an application or a poster—grab their attention and make it memorable. That’s even more so these days. Think about the fact that most of your shopping today is done online. Statistics suggest over 75% of people are shopping at least once a month online.”
Indeed, Elena notes the sea change that’s occurred where the online world, in many ways, has become our “real” world—except you’re browsing and booking and buying from a screen. Elena continues her thought process:
“So, your online ‘shop window’ must display a ‘wow’ factor and make an awesome first impression. You have to say everything with your design, and you have to communicate with your audience through the colors, the lines, the font, and the elements that the design includes. If the window is ugly or unattractive, your potential customer won't want to go into your ‘online’ store, and you won’t have a second chance. That’s why designing a website or application requires in-depth research, knowledge and keeping up with the latest trends.”
While Elena’s career began as a graphic/web designer, she was actually inspired to create her first piece of digital art on her grandfather’s computer—at the tender age of 4. In fact, she explains that her love of art and tech started way early, quipping, “I started drawing before I could speak.”
Now, she’s built up a wide educational background, including: BA degree of Visual Communication in Athens, Greece; and, User Experience design at General Assembly in LA.
Consequently, along with her educational background and technical expertise, Elena has a burgeoning list of international work credits, first working at Eworx, an international digital communication agency. She’s also worked for many big organizations like Uber, Europol, Apple and more. Indeed, this enthusiastic visual designer makes mention of Steve Jobs saying, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” Elena totally concurs, adding, “Design is not limited to the digital world, but instead everything we use in our daily life is designed for human ease. From the cup of coffee you drink every morning to the smartphone you’re holding. Indeed, Apple is probably the most significant and important influencer in terms of product design, probably in the world.”
Most importantly, ease of use is paramount with her explaining, “My goal for every website, application or product is to make it awesomely unique and user-friendly. The whole process should be very easy following a beautiful design to ensure every user can easily use a website.”
That “ease of use” factor ties into three of her bigger projects, for Gender Equality Index, Experly and also for Europol, where she and her team built a user-friendly navigation, search and filter functionality. The challenge with Europol, the European Union's law enforcement agency, was to successfully apply a user-centered design perspective, which aimed to offer website users more intuitive, usable and understandable content. Elena says, “Because the website has loads of content, we wanted to apply a properly-balanced and well-organized structure to help keep the website from unnecessary clutter and make it easy for visitors to more easily find what they were looking for.”
In fact, her team’s work for Europol also helped the organization to earn the European Excellence Award for EU’s “Most Wanted Campaign.”
On the other hand, Elena says her team also worked on some fun projects like building creative ways to encourage people to search for and help catch fugitives through funny seasonal campaigns.
Additionally, Elena and her team built a personalized experiences generator as the core component of Experly, an app designed to revolutionize the way you find and book experiences. And, she also helped redesign and develop a state-of-the-art data visualization tool aimed to present the research results of the Eurogender Equality Index.
Moreover, her love of travel contributes immensely to her sense of design: “Essentially, I observe the UX (user experience) things in real life. I find awesome inspiration when I travel, as I’m always looking for good design around me, from buildings and art forms to jets.”
And she’s previously used that love of travel to help create an app called Cultural Gems that creates cultural meeting points between a City’s visitors, its locals and its administrators. The goal was the creation of an EU-wide map of cultural and creative spaces, and the app now supports 30 European countries.
Above all, this visual designer loves working across borders and for international clients, adding, “I mean, visual communication is the universal language that everyone in the world can understand, right? Regardless of their age or ethnicity. Design is a way of life, and I love designing elegant and engaging product experiences for humans.”
In short, with more than 10 years of experience as a UI/UX ((user interface/user experience) Visual Designer, Elena has a proven ability to define and build products. Assessing her own strengths, she adds, “As a visual designer, my value is my ongoing desire to learn and grow, and also my deep curiosity about life and design.”
Ashley is an award-winning journalist/author/blogger who has written for Playboy, Toronto Star, Movie Entertainment, Sports Illustrated, Maclean's and others. He's interviewed various "leaders" in their fields, including: Oscar winners (Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Lawrence, Alicia Vikander, Jane Fonda, Mira Sorvino, Geena Davis, Anthony Hopkins); Grammy winners (Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Ice Cube, Pete Townshend); MVPs in sports (Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Wayne Gretzky, Kobe Bryant); and, business leaders (Amazon's Jeff Bezos). He has an upcoming novel, REJEX, coming out on Pulp Hero Press. And he has written several episodic TV shows, appeared on CNN, and blogged for Mademan, Medium, GritDaily and HuffPost.