• Matthew Kiziltan

Behind The Designer #002 Furkan Akbayrak

Updated: Nov 18, 2019

Welcome to Behind The Designer, the series where I interview designers and creatives of all levels and experience within my network and celebrate their work; and find out a little bit more about them. I am pleased to welcome the very talented Freelance UX Designer Furkan Akbayrak whom I have had the pleasure of working with during his time in London.

How did you get into design?

The beginning of everything design was during the half-term holiday when I was in high school. When I received my notes, I had eight zeros out of nine classes. I had to fix it before I got home otherwise, it would be the end of my freedom. I could barely use a computer and I had heard about photoshop. I went to the nearest internet cafe, scanned my notes, fixed them on photoshop and printed a new report card (the result was awful of course and no one believed it). After a while, this turned into a paid job for me and I used to edit McDonald's menus. Three years later I was accepted by one of the top fine art universities in Turkey and finished as a high honor student in graphic design.

Who are your design heroes?

My best bet would be Donald Norman, the founder of the term 'UX'. He does not work hands-on anymore but his books, articles and design decisions enlighten not just my path but all the other UX designers around the world. On the other hand, given I came from a graphic design background I would love to share a cup of tea and have a chat with Max Miedinger (the designer behind the font Helvetica) and Wim Crouwel (aka Gridnik).

Where do you see design heading in the next 5 years?

I guess the default answer for almost anything today is AR and VR. But at least from my end, I don't see their effects in my daily life yet. The things I see are; artificial intelligence, deep learning, and human-based machine learning. They are 100% real and they are already in our lives and within the next five years, almost every decision we will be making will be based on a human-centered machine learning algorithm.

What are you working on right now?

I am currently stuck in the usability lab for the last 4 days trying to identify one of the most complex problems in the online travel domain. I have been involved in this sector for a while now and I've had the chance to work with the best of the best but still, I learn a lot from every new participant during our research sessions.

Looking back what advice would you give yourself as a junior designer?

Assumptions and knowledge might be great tools but never rely on them 100%. Take every chance to learn about your users, even the best designers cannot predict the actual customer behaviors nor their needs. As once my hero Anthony Bourdain said "If I'm an advocate for anything, it's to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else's shoes or at least eat their food, it's a plus for everybody.

"Open your mind, get up off the couch, move.”

Many thanks to Furkan for being part of the series Behind The Designer.

If you would like to be apart of this series then drop an email to

**No part of this article can be reproduced without permission**

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