Looking for new career opportunities? Meet Julia Komin, our UX/UI Designer! She started working at our company 3 years ago and now is a leader of UX and UI team. How it was changing and what is she doing now? All of the answers and more in the interview of My Applover Path!
Julia Komin – UX / UI Designer at Applover with over 3 years of experience designing mobile apps and websites. She enhances sensibility to users’ needs, the functionality of websites, aesthetics, and minimalism, as well as UX/UI principles.
How did you get a job at Applover?
Before working at Applover, I was doing freelance design as an addition to my current job. I wanted to focus only on design, so I started by developing my portfolio and sending emails to all digital agencies in Wrocław. Two of them invited me to the final interview – including Applover.
How did the recruitment process look like back then?
When I was looking for my dream job, Applover wasn’t looking for a designer. After sending an email with my resume and portfolio, Piotr reached to me (at the time we didn’t have an HR department yet) and invited me to the office for an interview. At the meeting with him and Kasia (a UX/UI Designer, then), we talked about my experience, approach to the design, and portfolio. The next stage was a recruitment task for which I had about a week. It turned out well because I started work in February.
Now our recruitment process is much more professional. The HR department consists of 4 people and is responsible for recruitment in our company. Its role is to make sure that each candidate is noticed by us and using appropriate tools HR manages each submission. Without a doubt, it’s much more organized than before.
What position did you start from?
Actually, I started as a Junior UX/UI Designer. I already had some freelance experience but working with the whole design and development teams was a different story.
Which project was the most challenging here for you and why?
It’s a difficult question because projects at Applover are so varied that each one is a challenge of its own. I don’t think I could point just one. Each one is different and demanding. But what’s interesting is that we also work on projects in different teams. From my perspective, it’s important to design the digital product right with art (sometimes it’s not that obvious) and have the best possible contact with the client who asked us to develop it. Understanding the vision of our client and visualizing it is the key. In other words, the most important thing for me is good communication.
When did you become a leader, how did it change your day-to-day work?
I became a leader in April 2021 (for today, it’s over half a year). When I think about what’s changed in my day-to-day work, the most important thing is that I don’t think only about what I have to do. I often think about how much work a particular designer has left to do, whether he/she encounters any problems along the way, and if so, how I can help him/her. It’s definitely a more responsible position – I’m a positive person but you also have to be able to spread that enthusiasm to the rest of the team. We don’t have complex structures or hierarchies. If one of the designers in the team wants to take the initiative to introduce specific improvements to our work or let’s say change something in our current activities, I give him a free hand (of course if the rest of the team sees the value in it).
I’m always available for my team. Once a week we meet for Weekly Design Status. We discuss what we’re going to work on, the problems we have, but we also talk about how the weekend went – casual but specific. We also have our edu-meetings (so-called UX/UI Meetings) where we usually discuss the topics we are interested in, break down the functionalities of a particular tool, etc. All of this is supposed to be for us. We are supposed to get value from it. This is why communication is also the key to our whole team. But what kind of a leader am I? You should ask my team about that. 😉
How do you combine leadership commitment with work in the project?
In my daily work, I am between the role of a leader and the requirements of the project. We prioritize our projects. If there is something that can wait, it’s usually our internal stuff but it’s not that one part is neglected by me at the expense of the other. To make sure I don’t miss an important task or meeting I write everything down in my organizer – currently we’re testing Asana as a team so I mostly use it. Yet, I like to write down my tasks manually.
What tools do you use in your projects? Do you have any that you prefer better?
Of course, I use Slack for communication and Figma as well as Figjam in my everyday work. Sometimes I also use Photoshop or other tools like Adobe XD or Sketch (if for example client already has design in those apps). I think the best tool for me is Figma which is similar to Adobe XD (some of the Adobe features are better) but it’s fast and efficient. Since they created FigJam we have moved most of our remote workshops to this tool and we use one tool for our daily work.
What are you doing in your current position? What are your responsibilities?
As UX/UI Designer there are quite a few responsibilities. I always participate in the process from the beginning, i.e. I lead workshops with clients from Poland and abroad. The preparation for the workshop itself takes a lot of time. I analyze the materials which we receive from the client, the brief which they fill in, and then, after the workshop, I create a summary and mock-ups. After approving it I take care of the UI phase. I haven’t mentioned it before but working with people is also a kind of challenge. But I love it. One thing worth mentioning when talking about designers’ work is their soft skills. I think I’m, good at it and I just like to communicate with people.
You have been working in one company for over 3 years. What, from your perspective, is the most important thing that you have managed to do professionally during this time?
The most important thing from my perspective is leading workshops with clients. I was already attending workshops on the 4th day of my work (then it looked completely different from now). But during these 3 years, I think I worked out how to run them and what to do. Of course, I think that there’s always room for change and improvement and I am constantly trying to do something better.
What, in your opinion, did change the most at Applover since you started working here?
First of all, everything is much more structured. We have an HR team, leaders, and specific processes which we constantly improve. Only people haven’t changed. It’s difficult to talk about it because I think that only those who work for us will feel it – we have our unique atmosphere which is created by all of us. Even despite the pandemic and remote work, I still feel it.
What professional successes are you particularly proud of?
One of the biggest successes for me was to start doing workshops with foreign clients. At the beginning of my work 3 years ago, I never would have said that I would do it. Subconsciously I was afraid of it and after the first workshop, I didn’t know what I was afraid of because it went well. 🙂
Any plans or challenges that you await in the nearest future?
To be better at what I do. And to improve my soft skills at work even more. 🙂
Do you have any advice for people who want to start their career as UX/UI Designers?
Give yourself time. The enormous amount of materials that we can find online may be frightening. Contact a person who already has the experience, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to contact other designers. Remember that designing isn’t only about coloring mock-ups. It’s all about contact with the client and the team. And it’s also worth training your soft skills.
You can follow Julia’s Dribbble profile for more design inspirations!