November 28, 2019 An Interview with TCO19 Design Champion, L.O.I
After being an active TCO attender for several years, it was very sad for me to not be able to attend this year’s TCO19. However, I was totally attentive to the live broadcast and the results for each day on the design track.
For me the best surprise of the event, at least from the design part, was the proclamation of one of our newest members in the community as TCO19 Design Champion. Here in the distance, I felt extremely happy for this to happen. That is a clear example that we are growing, our quality standards are improving, and the competition is getting harder and funnier.
So I wanted to share with the community a short interview I had with Loizing Singha, known as L.O.I in Topcoder. Grab a coffee and enjoy.
First, I would like to congratulate you for winning the TCO19 Design Cup. I know how hard it is, I have been there times, and the closest I’ve ever been is fourth place in Buffalo NY at TCO17.
It is not only the pressure of being on-stage competing against the top UI/UX designers in the world, is also the hard work of an entire year just to get the qualifying points to actually be there. Amazing work my friend.
I would like to share with the community a little bit of your story, that path that brought you from anonymity to the top of the world.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background? What career did you study? Where did you work before joining this community?
L: I completed my masters in design around two years ago. The design course in my masters was more focused towards the design thought process and the UX while designing a product. I then chose to work in the digital interface field (UI/UX) towards the end of my course. I got recruited during campus placement for a UX designer position in a product and service based company.
But before my joining, I got my first project as a freelance designer from a client who was developing a medical website. It was an eye opening experience for me. I enjoyed the freedom to work and that made me love my work even more. After graduating I decided not to join the company and work independently. I worked as a freelance designer for almost a year. I worked with some local clients as well as some from abroad. And after almost a year of rigorous freelancing I discovered Topcoder and I am here now.
How did you learn about Topcoder and how was your first competition experience?
L: I got to know about Topcoder from my friend (joni7sunny) who was my university classmate. In fact, he used to talk about Topcoder back in college but we never got the time to talk much about it as we had other projects to work on. It was only after we graduated he started competing and told me about all the perks of TCO and that he had already qualified for TCO19. That really made me curious and moreover I was looking for something new. So I came home and started exploring Topcoder and the community around it. I found the way it works really unique. My first challenge at Topcoder was designing a website for a fintech company. I got third place in that challenge. It was so fun and fulfilling that I have never looked back since. The feeling of being in a community is what makes Topcoder so special. I am with Topcoder for life.
About TCO; what is your opinion on the overall Design competition experience through a full year until the final event.
L: I think it’s a very intuitive and well laid out process. Collecting points by winning challenges and having leaderboards. It is almost like being in a game and that makes it so much more fun. The feeling when you see your profile at the top with all those heavy points makes the effort worthwhile. And then there is the ultimate prize of attending TCO if you make it among the top designers in a particular quarter. I wouldn’t tweak a thing in the current setting. It works so damn well. It keeps you motivated to do well all year round and up your game.
What was your process onstage to solve the design problem in such a small amount of time?
L: My only focus was on what the client had asked for in the workshop and the specs provided. I love simplifying problems, even the most complex ones. Normally when I work from home and there is no time pressure, I work a lot on polishing the UI after all my UX flows are complete. But during the onsite TCO rounds since there was no time at all, I put all my focus on solving the client problem, applying the most simple and usable form of UX without thinking much about the UI.
What are your future plans now that your portfolio includes winning a world class design competition
L: My future plan would involve competing in more challenges. I want to work in all sorts of challenges and test my design skills to the limit. Winning this TCO was a great confidence booster and an amazing milestone in my career, but I feel I still have a lot to learn. The TC community is filled with such experienced and world class designers, I am really looking forward to learning more from them.
If you had the possibility to design something that may change the world, what could that be?
L: An interface where all living beings can interact and understand each other.
C: This would really beautiful to have, the world needs this.
Finally, what is your advice to all those new members and rookie designers that are entering into the UI/UX Design world?
L: I feel UI/UX is the most happening field in design, which keeps evolving. But in this ever-evolving design world one element is always constant, the user. Always design keeping the user in mind. During the design process it is very easy to get lost in your own thoughts and ideas, but it is crucial as a designer we come up with solutions that solve the user’s problems. At the same time it is also important to not lose your creativity in the process. I would say always strive to be a creative problem solver. As for the UI part there is always something new to learn from the latest trends and styles. Go through the latest UI designs posted on dribble, pinterest, etc. daily. Make it a daily practice and amaze yourself with the designs you come up with next. This practice helps a lot in improving your color sense, typo sense, the overall UI sense, and how to organize a solid UI.