When Athens-born but LA-based Elena Liakou was only four, she joyfully recalls creating her first piece of digital art on her grandfather’s computer. Now as a UI/UX (user interface/user experience) Visual Designer, who has international credits like Apple, Uber, Europol and more, she’s responsible for the “look and feel of all sorts of websites, apps, and other products.” But Elena cites Apple’s Steve Jobs when he said, “The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.”
And for this highly skilled visual designer, that says it all, as she explains: “Designing a website, product or application requires in-depth research, knowledge and keeping up with the latest trends. A UI/UX designer has to be familiar with the audience and its habits, and learn your audience’s trends, weaknesses, habits, etc. My goal is to make the product or service unique and user-friendly.” Assessing her own virtues and why she’s so much in demand, she adds, “As a UI/UX Designer, my greatest strength is my deep curiosity and a constant desire to learn.”
Indeed, Elena’s love of travel enhances her perspective on UX design, as she enthuses: “I love traveling. It’s a great way to not only learn new things and immerse yourself in a new culture, it also provides a constant urge to continue learning and get inspiration. I love to visit different and new places and observe the UX things in real life. Every time that I travel, I’m looking for good design around me from elevators to airplanes, and especially here in the US, I have found great inspiration.”
Moreover, her specific design experience includes: User Interface Design, User Experience Design, Prototyping, Interaction Design, Web Usability & Accessibility, Information Architecture, Visual Design, Logo & Branding, Art Direction, Usability Testings, and Design systems.
Firstly, her career started as a graphic/web designer, but then doing UI/UX Design took root in her soul because she “enjoys studying customer behavior and finding new ways to reach the target market.” And, she’s been using these skills and expertise to realize the challenges that several reputable organizations have laid out for her.
For example, she worked for 10 years at Eworx, an international digital communication agency. The company trusted her with handling more than 50 complex websites, applications and digital products from the initial stage in European and national public and private sector projects such as the Gender Equality Index, Europol, and Experly.
So, she explains:
Experly is a demand-driven experiences marketplace. It’s designed to revolutionize the way you find and book experiences. Our team developed an AI-based system for generating personalized experiences based on user expressed needs, and lifestyle patterns.
•Eurogender Equality Index
The most challenging part was to create a visual display of the most important information needed to present the research results of the Gender Equality Index, consolidated and arranged on a single screen so the information could be monitored at a glance.
However, she also helped design an interactive game based on football’s World Cup. In fact, her team’s work for Europol also helped the organization to earn the European Excellence Award for EU “Most Wanted Campaign.” Additionally, she’s been a Jury Member (Digital Category) for the Ebge Digital Awards, she was Portfolio Reviewer at Behance Portfolio Reviews and also earned a Behance Thesis Project Award.
Most importantly, Elena enthuses, “Design is a way of life, and visual communication is the universal language that everyone in the world can understand, regardless of their nationality, age, or background. I eventually want to develop into a position that allows me to continue to use my skills and my creativity while also managing a design team. I understand that the responsibility to present a client’s website is the first impression of a company or product. It is crucial to make this first impression interesting, attractive, memorable, and easy for the user. I welcome the responsibility which is enormous, but I follow my instinct and vision.”
Recently, she also designed a fun, very practical bike sharing system app called City Ride: “It’s a favorite project because I’d like to improve these systems. I created this case study, which is even more interesting especially if we can take advantage of upcoming technologies — voice or face recognition — and utilize any ideas around security for a user to have fewer steps from arriving and getting on a bike.”