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A billboard with a rainbow and an English inscription: Love is love. Refers to: An interview on the redesign of the KPH website.Yoav Hornung z Unsplash

The redesign of the KPH website is completed, so I decided to pick the brain of our designer, Andrzej Dąbrowski. I hope his perspective will inspire you.

KPH’s value lies in its community. What soft skills did the cooperation with the organization require from you? Did this differ, for example, from working with other companies?

Andrzej: Definitely. Although communication with the client is crucial in every project, corporate language significantly differs from that used by non-governmental organizations. During the design process, we made many decisions, so clear and tactful communication was crucial. Working with KPH deepened my sensitivity. The effectiveness of the dialogue largely depended on the correct, empathetic form, so that the more sensitive individuals identifying themselves as LGBT+ didn’t feel in any way discriminated against, overlooked, or rejected.

How did empathetic communication influence the project?

Andrzej: Understanding the needs of the organization and the community associated with KPH required considerable openness and flexibility. I was surprised by the lack of ostentation and the focus on the needs of the users who primarily sought psychological help, information facilitating understanding of their identity, or legal solutions on the KPH website. The idea of this website was not colorful exuberance but the need to address socially significant issues, and the real needs of the users. After all, these are often users who experience rejection daily due to their sexual orientation, needing legal information, for example, in contact with medical service providers or employers, or useful content supporting open discussions with family, friends, or coworkers.

B: And how did this translate into the aesthetics of the website?

Andrzej: Together with the client, we opted for subdued colors that wouldn’t overwhelm with loudness. We wanted the user to feel that they are on the website of an organization that understands their needs. Imagine a person who feels rejected and overlooked and is looking for psychological support, for example. The atmosphere of joyful fun, a multitude of animations, and general loudness are not what the user will need at this moment. So, we ensured that essential information was easily accessible, and the layout of content and colors wasn’t overwhelming. Additionally, the website encourages cyber-activism, part of which is, for example, signing online petitions addressed to Polish and international institutions establishing laws or courts. Giving the website a stylistic similar to visually subdued portals of government institutions also aimed to distinguish KPH as an important partner in the broadly understood social discussion.

What turned out to be the biggest challenge?

Andrzej: From a personal development standpoint as a designer, the most challenging and most interesting part was the complete redesign of the visual identity of the KPH website, based on established assumptions with the client. It’s very rare for such mature organizations to require such extensive changes to the visual side. So, it was a highly engaging and communication-intensive task. I aimed to design a universal, intriguing style that wouldn’t quickly become outdated, and any eventual refreshes would occur only after several years. It was also challenging to design user-friendly, simple-to-use forms, allowing, for example, effective financial support for the organization through donations and grants. It was also an art to prepare petition forms that cyber-activists could quickly submit during a given action.

You speak a lot about communication and cooperation with the client. Can you reveal to us how the process looked from your perspective?

Andrzej: I highly value the trust shown by KPH. It’s rare to encounter such openness and the conviction that as designers, we know what we’re doing and how to do it well. Yes, we had many fruitful discussions during the project, but I appreciate the involvement and valuable input from the participants of these debates. I especially extend my appreciation to Cecylia Jakubczak, who, on the client side, collaborated with me not only on the visual identity but also during the design of the entire website. Cecylia’s empathy and her willingness to engage in creative debate helped me better understand the multitude of perspectives that were worth considering when building the KPH website. Various people visit this site, not only those identifying themselves with one of the letters of the LGBT+ acronym, but also members of their families, supporters of this community, and public figures who would like to learn more about the organization directing petitions to them. All these potential user personas had to be taken into account. Therefore, I especially value our meetings and longer or shorter conversations.

B: If you were to summarize the entire cooperation in one sentence, what would it sound like?

Andrzej: That’s a very difficult question. We’ve touched on so many threads today that it’s hard for me to choose the most important one. However, if I had to create such a slogan, it would probably contain the words “openness,” “empathy,” and “community.”

Thank you for your time. I hope our conversation will inspire readers to create digital products in an atmosphere of dialogue built on empathy, understanding, and seeking what unites us.

Andrzej: Thank you very much for your interesting questions and I invite everyone to visit the new website of KPH.

Barbara Filipowska

Barbara Filipowska

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