A little about me, my design approach and ways I can work with you.

I've put together a quick summary of my design approach, core design values, services I offer and how I can work with you. If you still a question, check out some of my commonly asked questions or let's let's have a chat.

Let's have a chat
Man walking shapes flying around his head illustration

About me

👋 Hi, I'm Ben Low, a lead experience designer with over 8+ years experience based in Perth, Western Australia. Squawk designs is my freelance, design thinking business I run in addition to working full time. I'm currently working as the Senior UX consultant at HBF Health.

I have worked with a range of local, national and international clients across a broad range of industries including health, education, not-for-profit, events, arts, film, resources and mining, construction, law, finance, start-ups and more.

I specialise in user experience research and visual design. At this point in time, my preference is to work with people based locally in Perth. I'm a busy and proud father of two (both under 3) and really enjoy working alongside different people in different industries who wish to tackle unique problems through design thinking.

Design Thinking framework

How I approach design

My design process follows the Design Thinking framework. This framework consistent of 5 key phases including; Empathy, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test.

Each stage in the Design Thinking framework includes a range of acitvities that will help unpack qualitative and quantitative information, develop new understandings, stretch potential ideas and challenge your assumptions going into any project.

I've found that following the Design Thinking framework for your project helps approach your particular problem with an empathic mindset and streamlines how we can work together to get the best outcome/s possible.

Man sitting down

My core design values

Start with who, followed by why

The core starting principle of Design Thinking is to empathise with who you are desiging for. What their day to day life looks like, what processes they go through and what pain points may exist.

Developing an understanding for who we are designing for and what day to day life looks like, we can start to understand and discover what problem we are trying to resolve. We can start to question any existing solutions that may exist and how we can improve upon them.

The great thing with empathising with the end user is that you try to remove any bias you may bring to a project and shift the focus focus on solving your user's problems.

Work with real data

Data can be classified as the content on your page, photos, illustrations, icons or complex data pulled from a range of sources that creates a table, dashboard or app. When we get to ideation and diving deep into designs, I prefer to work using real content to ensure that we have the most realistic prototype and vision of the project. This ensures we can test, review, question and challege any assumptions to get to a better outcome.

Design converge and diverge process graph
Source: IDEO, The Design Process from "The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design"

Prototype early and often

This can be either as simple as paper sketches, lo-fi wireframes and user flows to pixel-perfect high-fidelity designs. The whole idea of prototyping is to test ideas out early and quickly.

When we get to ideation and diving deep into designs I prefer to work quickly initally with paper sketches to test any thinking quickly. Once a basic userflow and concept has been tested by a few different people, I prefer to move into high-fidelty designs using real content quickly, to ensure that we have the most realistic prototype and vision of the potential solution to move into user-testing, either in person or remote.

Every time I've run user testing sessions, the feedback and insights gathered is always invaluble to improve the overall experience.

Designs should be inclusive

Where possible I will always aim that all visual designs and UX patterns designed meet WCAG 2.0 AA accessilbity standards.

Depending on your brand guidelines, achieving high enough contrast ratios to achieve WCAG 2.0 AA standards can be difficult. To resolve this, I create a digital optimised colour palette to suit the project. These extended digital specific colour palettes can be integrated into any existing branding guidelines.

Design a modular and scalable system

I'm a firm believer in creating modular and scalable Design Systems either big or small for any project I start visual design work on.

To guide my approach to Design Systems, I follow the Atomic Design Methodology. This ensures that each component within a design system has been explored and assessed to create a engaging, consistent and scalable user experience.

As part of my services, I provide a .sletch optimised Design System that ensures you can continune to add, modify and grow your own Design System following best practices.

Services I can help you with

UX research

  • Landscape research (external, internal)
  • User interviews
  • Workshop facilitation
  • Card sorting activites
  • Customer journey mapping
  • Persona creation
  • Service design
  • User testing (in person OR remote)

Visual design

  • Ideation and paper sketching
  • Wireframes (low-fi and hi-fi)
  • High fidelity designs
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Design systems
  • Intreaction design
  • Documentation & developer hand-over
  • Front-end development (HTML, CSS, JS)

Overall, I can tailor what services you need based on your project scope, timings and budget to start adding value, fast.

Sitting down meditating doodle

Ways I can work with you

I'm happy to work with a team of one, small teams or established Agile development teams working within existing sprint cycles. No matter the method of delivery, I'm flexible in how I can work with you to add value to your project.

As I work full time, I work remotely rather than on-site to make best use of my time available. I'll be working on your project on evenings and over weekends to manage my own time between family and work.

Man walking messy papers flying around

Some commonly asked questions

What if I only need help with a few services?

Depending on the scale of the project, we can tailor parts of the Design Thinking framework and services I offer to suit your needs. The goal of any tool or framework is to use what parts work best for you to add value, fast.

Can you work from existing wireframes, designs, websites, an app or dashboard?

Yes, I'm happy to work from any existing designs, wireframes, paper sketches, apps and more. If we are working on any existing product, we may review the product to determine how we can enahnce and refine the user experience. If we are working on a new product, the sky's the limit. We'll run through a range of exercises to start to ideate and prototype out potential solutions.

Can you work on-site/on-premise in an existing team?

As I currently work full time, I am not able to work on-site. I'll be working on your project remotely in my own hours. However, I'm only ever a call away to talk through any questions you may have.

Do you offer a retainer for your services?

Yes I do offer a retainer for my services. I would suggest a retainer once we've finished a major project. I can offer support, optimisation plans, A/B test suggestions and more over the life-cycle of a project.

How do you charge for a project?

Once we've had a chat about your new, amazing idea, I'll put together a project brief that includes an estimate and timeline. Generally I ask for 50% of the estimate upfront to secure my services (in $AUD). From there, we determine a range of key project milestones and re-work the timeline to suit you. I'll send through periodic invoices once we've completed major project milestone.

Do you offer discounts for not-for-profit?

Yes, I offer a 10% discount to all not-for-profit organisations who are looking to start bringing design thinking into a new project or opportunity.