👋 Hi, I'm Ben Low, a lead Experience Designer with over 10+ years experience based in Perth, Western Australia. Squawk designs is my freelance UX/UI work I do in addition to working full time. I'm currently working as the Lead Design and Product Strategy Consultant at Telstra Purple in Perth.
I have worked with a range of local, national and international clients across a broad range of industries including health, education, not-for-profit, arts, film, mining, construction, law, finance, start-ups and more. I really enjoy working alongside different people across broad industries who wish to tackle unique problems using design thinking.
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 activities that will help develop new understandings, stretch potential ideas and challenge existing assumptions in any project.
Overall, I've found that following the Design Thinking framework helps approach your particular problem with an empathic mindset and streamlines how we can work together to get the best outcome/s possible.
My core design values
Start with who, followed by why
The core starting principle of Design Thinking is to empathise with who you are designing 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(s) 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 see things from their perspective and 'walk' in their shoes. This helps to hopefully remove any bias you may bring to a project and shift the focus on solving your user's problem(s).
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. When we get to ideation and diving deep into visual designs, I prefer to work using real data to ensure that we have the most realistic prototype and vision of the project. This ensures we can test, review, question and challenge any assumptions we may come up with during visual 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 mockups. The whole idea of prototyping is to test ideas early and often.
When we get to ideation and diving deep into visual design, I prefer to work quickly initially with paper sketches to get ideas and userflows out quickly. Once a basic userflow and concept has been tested by a few different people, I prefer to move into high-fidelity designs using real content, to ensure that we have the most realistic prototype and vision of the potential solution to move into user-testing, either in person or remotely.
Every time I've run user testing sessions, the feedback and insights gathered is always invaluable to improve the initial designed solution.
Designs should be inclusive
Where possible, I will always aim that all visual designs and UX patterns meet WCAG 2.0 AA accessibility 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 recommend we create a digital optimised colour palette to suit the project. These extended, digital specific colour palettes can can typically be integrated into 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 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 Figma optimised Design System that ensures you can add, modify and grow your own Design System following the latest best practices.
Services I can help you with
- Landscape research (external, internal)
- User interviews
- Workshop facilitation
- Card sorting activities
- Customer journey mapping
- Persona creation and mapping
- Service design
- User testing (in-person/remote)
- Ideation and paper sketching
- High fidelity designs
- Rapid prototyping
- Design systems
- Interaction design
- Documentation & developer hand-over
Overall, I tailor what services you need based on your project scope, timings and budget to start adding value, fast.
Ways I can work with you
I'm happy to work alongside yourself, in a small team or in an established Agile development team working in 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.
Some frequently 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 framework is to use what parts work best for your needs.
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 enhance 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?
No, 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 product/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 30% 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 reached major project milestones.
Do you offer discounts for not-for-profit?
Yes, I offer a 10% discount to all not-for-profit organisations who are looking to work with me.