This month’s Designer Chat features one of Dribbble’s veteranss and renowned design agency, Ramotion. We sat down with CEO Denis Pakhaliuk, designer, DJ, and well-rounded business person, for an interesting conversation about his experiences in the world of UI/UX design and digital media business.
Thanks so much for sharing your time with us. Let’s start with a brief introduction to who you are and what you do.
My name is Denis Pakhaliuk, I’m the CEO at Ramotion – UX Design and App Development agency. I do business development and sales for the agency through the lens of my design experience. I’ve been working in CG and then UI/UX design since 2004.
Before going any further, I just want to say that I have a team of designers and developers now. All of the work you see here is the result of the collaboration of a group of talented people.
What was one of your first designs and looking back today, what would you do differently?
Well, when we all got into the interface design and apps, we all were influenced by beautiful pixels and ‘overdesign’. I loved this trend though, given my 3d modeling background. Most of my first attempts to get into UX/UI design back then where purely focused on replication of the native iPhone 3g screens and they were lack of the core understanding of the end user goals.
So what I would do differently is to start with fundamentals of understanding of what human-computer interaction is and then I would dive deeper into the knowledge of what user-friendly interface is and how to achieve meaningful design behind the beautiful pixels.
How do you usually approach a new mobile app design project?
It always starts with the ultimate goal behind the app. Most of the clients of our app development agency are SF Bay Area startups. All of them raised or about to raise money and they need design that works, that solves someone’s problem and that’s the core.
We identify measurable design goals and then align everything we do with that and of course, by considering the target audience, existing metrics like user retention, drop-off rate one some screens etc. Only once all that has been identified, we can move forward with the design or re-design.
We also believe that design is a process. It becomes meaningful after it is used and iteratively improved. That’s why we are huge fans of Time and Materials approach when we work on any given project just as long as it evolves.
Your work with App Annie resulted in some amazing designs. What are some design considerations when it comes to migrating a web service to mobile?
It is a very good question. Because when you design a mobile app for a service with a wide audience, you have to consider existing expected user behavior and even the layouts of some screens that the users already gotten used to.
They have to feel familiar with the interface, not just visually but from the UX perspective. I’d say that this was the challenge that we faced and the team behind App Annie was very responsive. They made a lot of good UX decisions that helped us to design their app.
You’ve worked with some big names in the tech industry. Could you share some advice on how to best balance the demands of clients and the needs of users?
I think that identifying the real business goal behind the work they approach you with is crucial for successful collaboration. You have to spend time to understand why they need it and how you can utilize your expertise to make it better. We are really lucky to work with some of the best people from Silicon Valley. But only some of them can communicate the real goals. Otherwise, you have to identify them yourself before jumping into the project.
What would you do if you get stuck in a creative dry spell?
I’d maybe try to get some inspiration from different areas like industrial design or CG. I’d watch some great movies or go to the de Young museum here in SF. I do this often because it helps me to shift my attention from my job and then to look at our work again after the break.
I checked out your Soundcloud. You’re also an awesome EDM DJ. How do you manage with only 24 hours a day?
Heh, I’m glad you asked this. I’ve been in electronic music from 2005 as a listener first and then I was a frequent guest at RTS.FM. After moving to San Francisco, I decided to write my own dub techno sound. There isn’t just the music hobby. I also lead a few other projects like the iPhone mockups store and Mobile Design Inspiration feed that suffer a bit from my neglect.
Before I go to bed, I open a task manager app on my iPhone and take a look at the priorities for the upcoming day. I prioritize them and mark them as done during the next day. I’m not the best example of a good ‘time manager’ though. I still learn how to be more efficient because I’m very passionate about a lot of things besides my job.
That’s it from Denis Pakhaliuk from Ramotion. We would like to invite creative and talented designers to join us for Designer Chat sessions. Reach out @protoio