Dany Sánchez, Hanuman Capital’s senior UX/UI designer, tends to do a bit of explaining about his job, mostly that UX is techie shorthand for “user experience” and UI means “user interface.”
“I would describe UX as bridging the gap between businesses and real people. Sometimes for a business a customer is just a wallet with legs — part of our job as UX/UI designers is to humanize that relationship,” said the 32-year-old from Querétaro, Mexico.
“Often our role is to represent the user or customer. If you’re in a meeting, you don’t have the end-user there so you advocate for them, addressing their concerns and interests. And those usually aren’t what the business people in the meeting think they are.”
Another way to put it, in the words of a well-known web developer, is that “UI is the saddle, the stirrups, and the reins, but UX is the feeling you get riding a horse.”
For Sánchez, the perfect user experience depends on “empathic design,” an approach the was pioneered at La Jabonera, a design center where he worked after earning a degree in industrial design in 2013 from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey.
“The premise of empathic design is that a product will be more successful if there is an emotional connection with its user. It has to create a connection at a deep level — but even today the need for that connection is overlooked,” Sánchez said.
He continued: “Look at it this way: all the products you create have emotional connections with users no matter what. But because you aren’t making those connections consciously, you don’t have any control over them. The idea with empathic design is that you do it consciously and design that emotional connection, and you want it to be a deep and positive one.
“We’re all starving for connections and community.”
Sánchez described his life since leaving university as “non-stop.” He’s played bass guitar in a band that toured the world, traveled and worked with people from more than 25 countries, and started a popular 3D-printing company that makes replicas of global landmarks for the visually impaired.
“Having different experiences helps in two ways. It broadens my horizons and makes me aware of things I would never have been exposed to, and it gives me a more colorful bag of tricks to pull from when designing software. I can remember something I saw or read, who knows where, and it’s like a library.”
UX/UI and Social Impact
He decided to work for Hanuman Capital because it was a start-up company that was still trying to determine its UX strategy.
“Hanuman has a chance to become a real leader in UX , if it isn’t one already. Other places might be doing it, but it’s not a shop like ours,” Sánchez said.
“Hanuman has everything in place to be the best example of UX in the country if not the region.”
Even so, Sánchez had another reason for joining the Hanuman team.
“It is a goal of mine that every project or company that I am involved with has some degree of social impact and is improving people’s lives,” he said.
“And what Hanuman is doing in Cambodia is in line with that goal.”