Stefano Planatscher is an always-up-to-date individual, who never misses a pixel when designing. Well-organized and hardworking, this millennial has all the new apps tried and tested before you even hear about them. If he had to choose one hashtag to describe himself, that would be #TechnologyJunkie.
Give us an overview of what you do at glueglue.
I basically take care of the UI and UX side of our projects. Whether it’s a website or an application, I work directly with Fabian and Matteo, who are other UX designers at glueglue, to create the best solutions possible. Sometimes I work closely with clients – through direct collaboration, I can find out and understand better what are their needs and consequently deliver individually tailored products.
How did you find your way into design?
Well, I’ve always liked to draw… and even when I finished my high school and started technical studies in quantity surveyor there was still this part of me interested in design. I’d say that throughout time, my passion for technology and applications drove me to this new field. Then I decided to start a two-year course in visual design and realized that UX is a golden mean between technology and design.
What do you enjoy the most in the design process?
The design process is a really long road to take. It starts with brainstorming and defining the problem as our main goal here is to solve the problems and make people’s lives easier. Then the wire-framing follows. Once you have specified the issue, you need to visualize it. And for me, it’s both the most challenging and enjoyable part. First, I sketch with pen and paper on the whiteboard and then transcribe these designs onto the computer.
So, this is something you can’t work without. Pen and paper.
Yes, definitely. Designing on the paper is easier in a way it allows you to be entirely intuitive and feel the inspiration flow. Maybe you’re not that precise like you would be with the computer, but at the same time, you’re definitely faster to erase some things, add notes and freely transform your ideas.
What are the challenges of being a UX designer?
You need to be flexible and have the perseverance to keep on adjusting your product. Sometimes you work on a project for a month or two and give the best of yourself. Then during the presentation day, it may turn out that the client is not fully satisfied, and another reiteration cycle starts.
At the same time being empathetic is crucial. You need to always remember to be on the side of the user, not the other one. This other, dark side can lead to the ‘Malkovich bias’, the belief that everyone uses the technology in a way we do it, which is not true.
Designing a product must really fit the needs of the users. And sometimes it can be really difficult to achieve, since there’s a lot of different users out there, a lot of different services.
Sometimes you think you designed an app, or even its component that seems explicit and easy to but may be difficult for someone else.
When you create, you always try to identify yourself with the users.
I always try to think for them. To make a product that’s reachable, original and as intuitive as possible. That’s the real challenge. To design for everyone: the pro users and beginners. You have to balance it all. Sometimes it’s better to leave the white background, sometimes you just need to write down all the information in a neat and clean manner. Simplicity, that’s what often does the trick.
It’s been a year since you joined glueglue. What has working with that studio taught you?
Working in an agency as a UX designer is a great experience and definitely, differs from the one you can get in big companies. There’s an ever-changing flow of projects and works encompassing different industries and businesses. Every month brings something new, and every month you have to reset and reopen your mind. There’s no room for boredom! Plus, there are really good vibes here.
Apart from that, we’re closely working with companies that create very specific applications like Funambol’s cloud services. We meet regularly at their HQ and such collaborations allow me to discover a different working environment.
In short, I’d say glueglue teaches you how to be flexible, open-minded, and ready to apply your knowledge and experience to meet the needs of the specific project while interacting with diverse industries and people.
What are the projects you’re really proud of?
Since I joined glueglue, I’ve done a lot of interesting projects. It ’s very difficult to pick because when giving your best, you naturally engage, and the projects are often very different, so you treat them very individually. After some thought, though, I could come up with two products. The first would be our rebranding. The funny story is, one month after I started working for glueglue, we decided to refresh our image. We redesigned the logo, stationery and created a new website, It was great.
And recently, we have begun working on a big project in the Internet of Things sector. All I can say for now: Big Project. Big Challenge.
Who are your favorite designers?
My favorite designers are definitely those who are the brains behind the products I use every day. But then, there’s Tobias van Schneider who works for Spotify, and to me he’s just the best designer ever. I follow him on every social media. His youtube channel provides a lot of valuable insights and useful tips.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I have this favorite website of mine that’s called dribble, which is a digital community of designers from all over the world, thanks to which you can always get new updates about the design world, trends, tips and also can hang out with people who share the similar mindset. When I hit a creative block I check what’s new on the website and get inspired, get new energy.
Pinterest is also helpful, especially when I start a new project with a moodboard.
Outside of work what are you really into?
I really enjoy just hanging out with friends and traveling’s what makes me tick. I love discovering new places, opening up to new cultures and immersing into different realities.
Are there any apps you couldn’t live without?
I really like the Youtube and Netflix apps. They’ve become my new TV. I think it’s an emerging trend now to lose interest in Television. Anyway, these apps are very well-done. As for everyday life apps, I couldn’t live without WhatsApp. Then there’s Instagram, also a great source of inspiration.
UX designer mode. Always analyzing things.
From my point of view, those apps don’t provide just a certain service but also give me some inspiration as to what and how you can design the layout and display information.
So, once I have a new application downloaded, the first thing I do is analyze and understand the individual choices. I use it, though at the same time, examine how it’s made, what are the colors and the details like the direction of the arrows, the strokes…
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
The future is unpredictable, but I have confidence that 10 years from now I would see myself as more skillful, knowledgeable, and experienced designer in this industry. I would also see myself in a position as senior User Experience Designer, and I reckon that my dedication would help me to reach this goal.