In 2023, we’ve won six awards for our work on three great projects. Two of these projects were redesigns of popular news sites - Showbuzz.hr, a lifestyle news hub, and DNEVNIK.hr, one of the top local multimedia platforms and news sites. The third one was a very special project - the redesign of our website undabot.com.
At the heart of it all are four brilliant designers. They’ll step into the spotlight here to tackle some of the most common questions on design and unveil the magic behind our design philosophy.
Let us introduce the design team first
Ana has nearly 20 years of experience in the field, ranging from web designer to UX/UI designer positions, with some digital designer titles in between. She enjoys working on long-term projects. Besides designing, she loves to travel, try out different sports, and listen to music.
Jelena has been working in design since 2006, and her greatest passion is designing complex systems. In her free time, she loves hiking and exploring the mysterious world of Slavic mythology through her paintings.
Marija has been a UX/UI designer for two and a half years. She says she has always dreamt of working without being bored. “Luckily, I have a job where I can apply my creativity and continuously acquire new skills and knowledge.” In her free time, she loves taking photographs, drawing illustrations in Procreate, listening to music, and learning new languages.
Iva has started her UX/UI designer journey in 2021. She’s passionate about human psychology and understanding users' needs so she can create easy-to-use designs. When not designing, she loves spending time outdoors with friends and her dog, kayaking, and reading.
What are the types of projects you work on at Undabot?
Jelena: At Undabot, we work on end-to-end projects and complex systems. I personally have worked on various projects, from e-commerce and customer care mobile apps to media and news sites.
Ana: Projects that last from a few months to a year or even longer are my favorite. They are usually from different fields, which makes them interesting, always providing an opportunity to learn something new. At one point, you are talking with farmers from the Netherlands and at another with telecom support specialists from Germany.
Is your process structured differently when you start work on a new product or an existing one?
Jelena: It depends on the project and requirements. The main difference is that if there is an existing product, a good approach is to rely on metrics and user testing, which give us the best information about any possible flaws of the system. If we start designing a new product, we won’t have this data, but other types of research are still needed. In both cases, we organize workshops with the client, which is very important.
How does the design process look like in Undabot?
Jelena: From the clients’ perspective, our work usually starts with the client workshop, and we continue with information architecture, wireframes, moodboards, UI and finally, developer handoff and implementation overview. If user testing is required, it’s also a part of our process. It all depends on the project. From Undabot's perspective, we get involved before the project even starts.
Ana: We are always included from the beginning, usually from the pre-sales phase. That way, we can understand the client’s needs better and offer services accordingly. Once the project starts, we kick off with a client workshop, which can be done together with the BA team or separately, depending on the project.
Challenges and KPIs
Which tools do you use and why those?
Jelena: We do our design in Figma since it is very easy to collaborate with other teams and communicate with the client. Also, it has all the functionalities we need.
Marija: Jelena mentioned we use Figma for UX/UI design, but for some assignments, I personally also use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and After Effects.
Iva: Besides the design tools, Teams and Slack are our primary tools for real-time communication with our team and clients, enabling us to share project updates and discuss design iterations.
What are the most common mistakes you’ve noticed that can happen while working on a project?
Jelena: There may be consistency issues, and sometimes there’s a need to be more systematic. Not designing all the needed states is another common misstep. These problems are most common from my experience.
Ana: Sometimes, there’s also miscommunication between the team and the client.
Marija: It’s a challenge to get the conversation back on track by giving suggestions and showing a path forward when noticing that clients want to go in two directions at once.
Iva: Neglecting usability testing can sometimes result in design flaws and issues remaining hidden until the advanced stages of the project. Doing usability testing helps us target which parts of the design are confusing to people and come up with a better solution.
How do you validate the success of a project?
Design Team: If we get the chance, we test applications with users or try to get the client to gather feedback from their users. Client satisfaction is also an important factor, as are the metrics if the client provides them.
How do you present your work to the client?
Jelena: Depends on the phase of the project and the project itself. We prefer presenting our design solutions to clients in the form of a meeting, but if we are nearing the end of the project or implementing changes from the client feedback, Figma comments are a more practical way.
What happens if the client is not happy with the design?
Ana: We communicate extensively with clients to understand their ideas and that’s why we rarely have a situation where a client is unsatisfied. If this happens anyway, we discuss the reasons and find a new direction together.
Jelena: Clients have the opportunity to provide feedback on our design work. If the client isn’t satisfied with the design solution, as Ana mentioned, we discuss reasons and offer another solution that might perhaps be more suitable. Timing and appropriate communication are the most important here.
Marija: It’s also good to go through the brief again to ensure we are on the same page. Initially, it is hard not to take things personally, but the best thing to do is take a step back and look at your work from a different angle.
Iva: It’s important to listen carefully to clients’ concerts and preferences, discuss our design decisions according to the brief and business goals we agreed on, and devise solutions more closely aligned with their expectations.
How do you gather feedback from clients?
Jelena: Usually, it’s at a meeting or through comments in Figma.
What kind of music do you listen to while designing, or prefer silence?
Marija: It depends on what I'm working on and my overall mood. It's usually ambient chill-out or classical music if I'm stressed. Other times, I usually listen to rock or alternative R&B.
Iva: It depends on the task I’m working on. Music usually distracts me, so I work in silence. But when I listen to music, I choose downtempo playlists.
To wrap it up - what are the 3 most important things designers should focus on to create an optimal website?
1. Focus on client’s challenges and possible solutions.
2. Understand users and their perspective.
3. Strive for open and timely communication with the client and the team.
1. To understand the problem being solved, look at it from various angles.
2. Do the research and have all the information you need before the start.
3. Focus on timely communication with the stakeholders and the team.
1. Make sure the website accommodates the needs of the user.
2. Achieve simplicity through visual language, such as limiting the number of colors and fonts, arranging elements in order of importance, etc.
3. Optimize websites for all users and devices.
1. Understand the project purpose, target audience, and goals.
2. Raising the assumptions and clarifying them.
3. Find the best solutions for users’ needs and problems in collaboration with other team members on a project.