What does a UX designer do?

UX (user experience) design has recently become more widely recognized. Many of us have heard the term UX used, but what does it mean? What’s the goal of a UX designer? In this article, we’ll answer these questions, share some history, and discuss how you can get started with UX design. 

The Interaction Design Foundation, a pioneer in training UX designers around the world, said that UX design is defined as: “A design process used to create products that have relevant experience for users. This involves brand, design, usability, and function aspects.”  

Usability and function are the essential elements of UX Design. UX has a strong relationship with users, technology, and business. In a specific digital product, it’s important that the UX designer understand the limitations of the technologies that are going to use. For example, if you are developing a responsive web project with HTML and Javascript, as a designer you need to understand the basic limitations of the technology.  That way, designers avoid creating features that aren’t supported. It doesn’t mean that a UX designer needs to know about code, but they must know the principal characteristics and limitations of each technology. 

Also, a designer has to know the business model of the product. Many people think that a UX designer always has to create a beautiful and innovative product, but the reality is that sometimes creating a common design is necessary to achieve the goals of the business. 

User Design History 

Many theories exist about the beginning of UX Design. Some say that the industrial revolution initiated the first debates about the relationship between a machine and its user.

But actually, Apple was the first company to apply the concept of Human Interaction Design. What does this mean? The understanding of the interaction between humans and any aspects of a technological device. Like computer mouse, keyboard, interface is known as Human Interaction Design. For the beginning of UX design, this is the best starting point.

In fact, in 1995 the engineer Don Norman (a pioneer of this discipline) applied this theory while he was leading a design team at Apple. He began using this concept and calling himself a UX designer. In one of his books The Design of Everyday Things (a must-read for every UX designer). He analyzes the design of all the objects around us. He delves into the concept of design and explains the importance of the communication between an object and its user, and how we should improve it. All of this is related to the digital world with things like apps, websites, software, and more.

How do I get started with UX design?

First, you must understand the main principles of design, known as the ‘Laws of design’. Psychology and mathematics backed these laws. The creator, Jon Yablonski, affirms that to have a valid foundation for every UX design,  it must apply psychology and math fundamentals to build experiences that adapt to how users perceive and process digital interfaces.

More UX laws

Hick’s Law

“The time it takes to make a decision increases with the number and complexity of choices.”

Hick’s Law is based on a mathematical model that says that the time to make a decision increases as the number of options grows. Very obvious, right?

Specifically, the reality is that when we apply the mathematical model to UX, we’re talking about a fraction of a second between making one decision and another. So, we have to be very careful about the number of options we provide.

Example: The image on the left looks like a clean UI. However, compared with the image on the right, the number of options could be greatly reduced and could visually help the users to guide themselves. The option in the middle helps the user decide immediately. In any case, reducing the number of options also reduces the time of choosing and, as a result, encourages users to select the most profitable and beneficial option for the business.

It is very important to understand a company’s business model, the design objectives must be aligned with the commercial objectives. In the same way, there must be a connection between the business model and the UX model.

Jacob’s Law

“Users spend most of their time on other sites. This means that users prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know.”

For example, in this sample e-commerce interface, it looks like everything is fine and clean, but the reality is that certain things are messy. 

The user has already learned a certain journey from their time on other web sites. You don’t want to make customers think about how your site works. There are certain human behaviors that we unconsciously learn and acquire. Certainly, when someone shows us something outside of what we have already learned, we feel rejection. That is why the design systems promote certain design patterns that we use every day, such as Google, Facebook, Instagram, and more

The goal of UX design is to optimize things. If the user already knows a certain pattern, it must be reused.

Aesthetic Usability Effect

“Users often perceive aesthetically pleasing design as design that’s more usable.”

This law is based on human behavior. As we see, the design on the left is neutral and hierarchies are used well. If we compare it with the second design, we see the application of colors and a much higher level of detail, aesthetically it is perceived more pleasantly. Humans tend to recognize this design as more usable. As a result, a design may be cute but it doesn’t fulfill all the functionalities. 

This example highlights the importance of the UI because it helps the user to interact more easily and pleasantly, as a result, the experience improves.

UX has a bit of psychology and mathematics, this helps designers to establish which design is the most appropriate. You don’t only have to care about aesthetics, there are many other things that are a part of good UX design. Also, some mathematical models support these behaviors, so there are specific ways in which certain interfaces and experiences must be developed.

Now we have twenty laws recently added. I’m sure this will increase, you can check out all the laws here.

What is the difference between UX and UI?

UI is inside UX, with UX being the umbrella of everything. The fundamental piece in the UI. Both must be connected although is much easier to understand when they are separated.

Some differences:

User Interface (what the end-user perceives)

  • Branding
  • Colors and typography
  • Graphics and illustrations
  • UI components: buttons, inputs, etc.
  • Layout

User Experience (this has to be solid, that’s the only way the UI would be functional and provide a good user experience)

  • Definition of the problem and the needs: Detect what the problems and the main needs are. If you don’t understand the problem you will never find a solution.
  • Research: Research is done regarding the product, investigate the type of user, and more. It varies for each project.
  • Usability test: It’s very important to make usability tests. A designer must know if the product is usable or not. For example it’s important to be aware that the user can finish the process in a particular amount of time. Or certain parts of it will get you frustrated.
  • Information architecture: Locate all the content and ideas to generate a hierarchy and order the content. This helps the user to find things much easier.
  • User Flow: Design all the flows through which the user passes (this part is very important).
  • User Cases: Each person will have a different experience, depending on the use case. Design each experience based on different types of profile

Currently, a designer works with both UX and UI. But if we talk specifically about UX designers, they don’t necessarily have to know how to design. You need to know how to design to be able to transfer all that experience to UI, that’s the only way to have skills that can be used more generally.


Design is everywhere. So it seems simple but it is complex as it evolves through the digital age, making it challenging. Today we have twenty laws and overtime more concepts and insights will appear and this will continue growing. On the positive side, the design principles will always be maintained.

So as designers we have to provide solutions, that is the most important thing.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading! Read more interesting articles here.

Resourcing with Oktana

When you outsource development, nearshore or onshore, you probably wonder about resources and whether they’re going to work well with your internal team. At Oktana, we consider our team to be your development team. We take pride in working to get the right help for each project, whether it’s a designer, developer or a whole team. Many of our clients even choose to continue with the same team on multiple projects.

Let’s take a look at how resourcing works at Oktana.

Step 1. Gather data

First, we need a clear picture of your company and project. Your account manager will work with you to understand skill requirements, project scope and anything else you feel is essential. For example:

  • Will we work alongside your internal team? 
  • Will we need to integrate with existing systems? 
  • Are there preferred development platforms, frameworks or languages? 
  • Is business analysis, design or test automation part of the scope? 

We work with you to define “done” for the project. We are an Agile company, so this often means defining a minimum viable product, or MVP. These conversations help us determine a reasonable start and end date for the project.

Step 2. Select resources

Now that we have an idea of your needs, our resourcing team will build your development team. We want to ensure your team brings the skills to meet all of the technical requirements for your project. We also want to ensure they’re a good fit in terms of personality and experience.

Everyone should feel confident in their ability to work together.

Step 3. Review resources

As our resourcing team builds your development team, you have a few options depending on how involved you want to be in the process. You can let us handle the entire process, or you can be far more hands-on. 

If you want to be more hands-on, we’ll work with you to review a set of developer profiles. You can also conduct developer interviews to meet each team member before you sign-off on your development team.

What’s a developer profile?

Our resourcing team compiles a developer profile for each of our developers, which provides you with a good overview of their skillset, certifications and experience.

Step 4. Meet your development team

Our teams receive English tutoring and overlap with most of the US workday. Because of this, you are always able to chat or run planning sessions, review specs and do demos face-to-face by video. This is your development team. 

As your project grows, or requirements shift, your account manager will work with you and our resourcing team to adjust the team to meet those needs.

We hope all of this information helps you understand the resourcing process better and by extension how our teams work. Our team has worked with different organizations and their projects. We are Salesforce platform experts and offer custom development to help you build your platform and solve the right problems. If you want to know more about our work, go check out our latest success stories.

Oktana is Growing: 200 Developers

  • The first half of 2019 has been a period defined by growth and expansion for Oktana.

200 Developers

We are thrilled to report we’ve officially reached a headcount of over 200 developers, testers and designers worldwide. As our family grows, our available skills grow which is exciting for all of our partners.

Introducing, Paraguay

Our company was founded in Montevideo, Uruguay. Like any technology company, we’re always on the hunt for great talent, encouraging our team to learn new skills to provide additional value to our partners. With that in mind, we expanded into neighboring Paraguay in late 2018, opening an office in the capital, Asunción. Over the past six months, we’ve been able to bring on new team members in Paraguay in a wide variety of roles. The team has become an essential part of the Oktana family.

Why Paraguay? The population is young and entrepreneurial. There has been increased investment by the government in science and technology and several accelerators and other programs have launched to help fuel entrepreneurship. For us, this is the right environment to find developers eager to work on big projects and expand their knowledge.


Asunción, Paraguay

Fun Facts about Paraguay

  • Population: 7,000,000+
  • Slightly smaller than the state of California
  • Literacy rate is 94% (vs. 86% in the United States)
  • World’s fourth-largest exporter of electricity
  • Host of Guinness Book of World Records world’s largest barbecue, attended by approximately 30,000 people

Next Stop: Peru

With offices in New York, San Francisco, Montevideo, and now Asunción, where are we headed next? After the successful expansion into Asunción, we looked for other cities to grow into and found Lima. So, we’re excited to announce our office in Lima, Peru is open and ready for business.

Why Peru? The capital, Lima, has a population of over nine million people, making it one of the largest cities in South America. Because the majority of our customers are based in the United States, it’s important for us to ensure our team schedules align with US timezones and work hours to enable collaboration. Like Paraguay, Peru’s workday naturally overlaps with the US workday. Peru is a growing and stable country, so we’re confident it’s a place we will be able to continue to grow.


Lima, Peru

Fun Facts about Peru

  • Population: 30,000,000+
  • Nearly twice the size of Texas
  • Founded in 1551, National University of San Marcos is the oldest in the Americas
  • Incan Empire was larger than imperial Rome at its peak
  • Home to both the world’s highest sand dune and deepest canyon

Company Culture

As we continue to expand, it’s important to ensure our Oktana family feels connected regardless of location so we’re increasingly focused on building our company culture and communication between offices. As the year progresses, we may reach out to you, as our partners, to share your story so each developer is able to better understand the projects keeping their colleagues up at night.

MuleSoft & Informatica Certification

With a growing team, we’ve also expanded on our certification game. We believe in continuous learning, so our developers are always training and working on new certifications. We recently stepped outside of core Salesforce certifications to explore other options that fit our team, including MuleSoft and Informatica certifications.

Hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about us. Our team has worked with different organizations and their projects. We are Salesforce platform experts and offer custom development to help you build your platform and solve the right problems. If you want to know more about our work, go check out our latest success stories.

Women in ICT Event Reflections

At Oktana, we believe that we can have an impact on the future of the technology industry, which is why this year we participated in the International Girls in ICT Day celebration.

International Girls in ICT Day is celebrated every year, around the world, on the fourth Thursday of April. It was born with the goal of inspiring and empowering women to explore careers in science and technology. There are a wide variety of events every year and, this year, Oktana was proud to host one ourselves.

On April 25 we opened our doors to some women from Forge, UTU, and other women in the community to discuss the variety of jobs available in the technology industry and the different career paths that are available for women. Some women from the Oktana team took time out of their schedules to discuss what it was like for them to work in the technology industry and share what a day in the life looks like for them.

We began with a broad discussion of technology and the different roles it plays in our lives. We wanted to emphasize that technology touches almost all professions in the modern world and is fundamental in the working world. For those exploring future career possibilities, a greater understanding of modern technology is a clear advantage in the workforce.

Next, the team discussed the skills required for each of the roles within Oktana (Business analyst, team lead, developer, Q&A, design, and support). As we discussed these different roles members of the team shared some stories about their experiences in these roles. It was a fun way to highlight what we do and how we do it.

We concluded the event with a question and answer session for our guests. We wanted to make sure that everyone left the event feeling fulfilled and confident about the possibilities in front of them. As we reflected on the day with everyone it was clear that to us there are no restrictions for what you can do in this industry. Regardless of age, gender, or anything else the opportunity is there for the taking. We believe that this is exemplified by the wonderful teams at Oktana and the success of Women in ICT Day.

Thank you for joining us at this event and we hope to see you soon. We are Salesforce platform experts and offer custom development to help you build your platform and solve the right problems. If you want to know more about our work, go check out our latest success stories. Also, if you are interested in being part of the Oktana family, go over to our available positions.

by Andrea Gomez

Pledging 1% at Wishing Well Garden

This past Monday, 03/18, the team in New York got together in the Bronx to help work on getting the Wishing Well Community Garden ready for the spring in conjunction with the great folks at GrowNYC. This project was part of our ongoing 1% Pledge to give back to our community.

Ready to Dig!

GrowNYC is a fantastic local organization that focuses on environmental issues through working directly in communities to help make them green and healthier. Founded in 1970 under the name, Council on the Environment of New York City, GrowNYC originally focused on policy issues but over time they have become much more focused on ground-level work in communities. These days they help communities all across New York City through community garden programs, educational programs with children, recycling, and running community farmers markets. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to work directly with them to help get one of their smaller gardens ready for the spring.

On Monday, we got together and met with David from GrowNYC at the Wishing Well Community Garden in the Bronx. Our goal was to help get everything cleaned up and ready for the local gardeners to come and start planting their gardens once it warms up. It was a great day for everyone on our team. We began with some quick clean-up, getting dead plants and garbage out of some of the planting boxes. Once we finished cleaning out the boxes we spent the rest of the morning filling the boxes with fresh soil provided to the garden by the city. It was great to work with our hands and see the results of all our labor as we went along.

When we’d finished shoveling dirt it was time to set back to clean up. Half of the community garden is dedicated to locals in the community, they can reserve a box and use it to grow plants over the course of the season. The other half of the garden is used by GrowNYC for educational programs where they teach teens in the community all about growing their own plants and how to eat healthy at the same time. Our host, David, runs the program out of the Wishing Well garden. When we finished filling the boxes we helped him clear out the student area to get it ready for the kids to come in and plant for themselves. This involved a lot of raking up dead leaves for compost and collecting trash that had been scattered around the area.

This experience is one that we’re never going to forget. It was a great chance for everyone to get out into the city and feel like we’re having a real impact on the community around us. Thanks to the work of our team the Wishing Well Community Garden is well on its way to being ready for the spring. Gardens like this allow the community to work together and share outside space. It’s a place for people to visit, relax, and get away for a moment. It feels great that we helped in a small way.


We all grew through our time together and I know we’re all excited about what we can do next. We’ll definitely be heading back up to Wishing Well sometime this spring to see how far it’s come since we were there.

In 2020, Oktana was awarded a Silver rating by Ecovadis for its commitment to sustainability. We have aligned to three of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Gender Equality, Decent Work & Economic and Growth Responsible Consumption & Production.

Women Working in Technology

women in tech

Recently, the New York Times published an interesting article on women in the tech industry and what representation was like in the past. In the early days of computer programming women actually made up a much larger percentage of the workforce, 27% in the 60s and growing to 35% by 1990 but since the 90s that number has taken a drop down to 26%. This is happening while there are more people working in the tech industry than ever before.


In the early days of computer engineering, programming was treated more like a secretarial task whereas designing the hardware for computer systems was seen as far more glamorous. Hardware engineers would design computer systems and tell programmers what to make them do on assignments. As computers became more advanced and ubiquitous, the expected skill level of programmers came to be more specialized. As a result, the number of available positions and salaries grew. Thanks to elevated importance and increased salaries for programmers, women started to be crowded out of the field by men who found programming positions far more desirable than before. The result is a lack of women working in computer engineering and we know it needs to be addressed far more widely.


What can we do to help? First, we need to be making sure that women are being given a fair shake when they begin their education. One issue discussed in the New York Times is the rise of hobbyist computer programmers and the assumption that those with more experience starting out have greater potential in the long run. Anyone could be a hobbyist but the majority of those in the hobbyist space tended to be male thanks to a variety of complex factors including gendered expectations around technology. While it’s true that prior experience gives you a leg up starting out that doesn’t map directly to potential skills. This bears out when the end results were examined for students completing computer science programs. While the hobbyist types might have had the head start by the end the playing field tends to level out. What this means is that if women are given a fair shot they still have just as much potential to succeed in tech.


Beyond fairness, we need to see a further push towards destigmatizing engineering for women. This starts with greater encouragement for young girls to explore technology, including Computer Science. Great programs such as Girls Who Code and Code.org are already invested in helping girls interested in technology and give them the chance to experience computer programming.


There is always more to be done and that’s where companies like Oktana and our partners can help. One of our closest partners, Salesforce, was named one of the best workplaces for women two years in a row for their commitment to inclusivity and equal pay. They’ve made great strides by pushing to ensure equality at all levels of the company. Additionally, they’ve invested strongly in parental leave, 26 weeks, for both men and women to make sure working doesn’t mean putting your life on hold. Another one of our partners, Okta, has been very proactive about inclusivity. Their Women@Okta resource group has done a wonderful job of engaging and facing the issues women face working in engineering.


What are we doing to address these issues at Oktana? We’ve discussed how here at Oktana we are very open to bringing in young men and women without previous experience or training on how to do the work we do as a company. Thanks to that we can say with confidence that it’s part of our core values to look at all candidates on an even playing field. We believe that we can teach the skills needed to excel at our company and that anyone could be a leader whether a man or a woman. Our commitment is apparent when you examine the makeup of our teams, where women like Andrea Morales, the team lead on some major projects, can thrive as great leaders.


Something else we’ve done in the past is our participation in International Women’s Day. We opened our offices to women currently in school exploring new career paths. This gave them an in-depth look at what it looks like to work at a technology company like Oktana. We presented an overview of all the different career paths available at Oktana such as development, QA, design, and management. The goal for the day wasn’t just to show them what the company was like but also to demystify the tech industry so they understood that they have a place there. We believe that everyone should be recognized for their skills and it’s exemplified by the teams we have in place. We concluded this experience by answering questions about how everyone should get started if they wanted to pursue this path.


Moving forward, we’re further investing our time and energy towards supporting women working in technology. Watch our social channels on International Women’s Day, March 8th, where we’ll be sharing interviews with women in our offices about what it’s like to work in technology. Then, in April we will be opening our doors once again to female students to give them a first-hand look at what it’s like to work at a technology company. Just like in the past we’ll be answering questions and sharing experiences in the hopes of encouraging more women to consider a career in engineering and technology. We believe that no matter what career you want to follow whether it’s in technology or not that it should be a welcoming and open experience and we’re committed to helping make it even more so in the future.


Salesforce Silver Consulting Partner

Everyone at Oktana is thrilled to announce that we are officially a Salesforce Silver Consulting Partner. We’ve all be working extremely hard to grow as a team to reach this milestone and are extremely proud of how far we’ve come together. We want to thank all of our incredible partners for working with us as we’ve grown as a company. They’ve been essential to this growth and we look forward to continuing to work with them and new partners as we head towards what’s next.

“Becoming a Salesforce Silver Consulting Partner is something we have been working very hard at Oktana and we’re excited about this new achievement. Our new distinction will open new opportunities in new sectors and industries. We’re excited to see how this impacts 2019 and beyond.” – Jaime Solari, President of Oktana

Thank you all again and stay tuned to see what everyone at Oktana has in the works.

Building Demos and Prototypes at Oktana

Everyone at Oktana is the best of the best at what they do and the incredible people that make up the Demos and Proof of Concepts team lead by Gonzalo is the perfect example of that. Whether it’s a Salesforce, mobile, or web project the team works hard to make our client’s dreams and ideas and make them a reality. The needs of our clients always come first and as such the team has developed into an extremely agile machine that is capable of producing and iterating on projects quickly while responding to new and changing requests.

The Demos and Proof of Concepts team’s role are to help our clients work through the entire prototyping process. First, we bring on all stakeholders and map out what the client’s goals and vision for the project are. The team is extremely adaptable and capable of discussing tasks at a very high level regardless of how fleshed out the idea is. Once all these ideas are captured the design team here at Oktana gets to work on designing the prototype. The design process here is highly iterative as we want to make sure our work is aligning with all of our client needs.

Once the design has been completed, the assets are then passed on to the engineering team. The engineering team then takes pre-built templates and reworks them into a working prototype for the project at hand. They continue to iterate on the concept with the client to ensure that it meets their needs. Once this process is completed the client will either decide to move forward on the development of the full product or not. If they opt not to move forward all code is then scrapped and the team moves on to its next project.

The Demos and Proof of Concepts team does incredible work for our clients with very little notice. They’ve built demos and prototypes that have been used for presentations in front of thousands of people at major conferences. If you’re ever in need of a demo or prototype then our team is here for you.

If you are a Salesforce partner looking to partner with experts to help you provide the best custom app development solutions to your clients Contact us. Our team will give you more information about these services. 

Showcase – Gonzalo

It’s time once again to shine the spotlight on one of the fantastic members of our Oktana family, Gonzalo Parada! Gonzalo is Oktana’s Demos and Proof of Concepts team lead. In his two years at Oktana, he has grown to be a key member of our team.



Gonzalo has been working in Salesforce development since 2011 and joined the Oktana family in 2017. In that time he’s worked on a wide variety of different projects including some product demos you may have seen at some major conferences. These demos are seen by millions of people and we know Gonzalo is immensely proud of the team’s accomplishments and his contributions to them. We love that our work makes it onto these big stages and Gonzalo is a huge part of how we make that happen.

At his core, Gonzalo is a Salesforce developer. He’s an expert in the field and it shows in all his work. A self-styled Hardcore Salesforce Developer, Gonzalo has worked on it all, from apex, visualforce, lightning components, service cloud, sales cloud, and communities, whether it’s for the classic Salesforce experience or Lightning he’s got it covered. Additionally, Gonzalo is one of the only members of our team to have three Salesforce certifications under his belt, Platform App Builder, Platform Developer I, and Platform Developer II.

Dreamforce 2018 (Continuous Integration using Salesforce DX)

Gonzalo is very comfortable getting up in front of a crowd as well. He’s lead training sessions internally at Oktana on topics such as developing for the new Lightning Web Components framework. And just like a number of our fantastic team members Gonzalo has had the opportunity to travel and share his skills with the wider Salesforce developer community. In 2018 he was fortunate enough to be able to lead a presentation at Dreamforce with fellow Oktana Showcase developer Carlos titled “Continuous Integration using Salesforce DX”. Both of them were thrilled by the opportunity and have nothing but great things to say about the experience.

Though you might assume Gonzalo thinks about nothing but Salesforce that’s not actually the case. A lover of technology, Gonzalo is always on top of what’s new and cool in the tech world. He’s also a bit of a gamer and is currently working his way through Resident Evil 2 on his PS4. But the thing he enjoys more than anything is when it’s time to travel with his family and visit new places. Next month they’re actually heading to the western United States for a road trip! They’ll be hitting San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Las Vegas, The Grand Canyon, and Los Angeles before heading all the back to SF to wrap things up.

Post-Dreamforce 2018

In closing Gonzalo’s message about his experience here at Oktana is a simple one, “Oktana is a great place to work… But the most important thing is that you are always learning new things and improving your career.” And on some level that’s what we’re always striving for. We want the best people to be here working together not just for the sake of the company or our clients but also for the sake of themselves. We’re always learning and growing and we’re thrilled to have someone like Gonzalo here to grow with us.