Interview with Aleksandr Volodkovich for Smart Residental Complex App

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Aleksandr Volodkovich

Aleksandr Volodkovich, whose journey in the field dates back to 2015, has been deeply involved in the realms of web and mobile application design. From the very beginning, his core identity has been rooted in creativity and artistic expression, ignited by a childhood fondness for drawing.

Interview With The 2023 MUSE Design Awards Winner – Aleksandr Volodkovich

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.

My name is Aleksandr Volodkovich and since 2015, I have been involved in web and mobile application design. For several years, I worked as a freelancer, developing and deepening my skills and with that, expanding my portfolio each time I complete a project. This experience not only allowed me to develop products but also to understand the needs of users, which, in my opinion, is important when designing.

In 2022, I joined the fintech company BNPL "Podeli" as a product designer. It was a significant step in my career, allowing me to contribute to product development at a new level.

I have also been fortunate to be a jury member for international design awards. This experience provides me with a unique opportunity to evaluate and analyze the work of other designers, learning from their successes and mistakes. I take pride in my design awards that confirm the quality of my work.

In addition to my professional activities, I am a design mentor. It is incredibly important to me to share my knowledge with young professionals, helping them grow and reach new heights in this fascinating field.

2What made you become/why did you choose to become a designer/artist?

I've always felt that art and creativity were at the core of my soul. From an early age, I loved to draw which became the first manifestation of my passion for design.

Over time, my love for drawing evolved into a love for design. I realized that through design, I could not only express myself but also impact the world around me, making it a better place. Design offers a unique opportunity to contribute to societal development by turning ideas into tangible products and solutions that enhance people's lives.

This process of creation, the ability to see the world through the lens of beauty and functionality, and the desire to improve the world through design were key factors that drove me to become a designer. In the end, design for me is not just a profession; it's my passion, my mission, and my way of interacting with the world.

3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.

Currently, I work as a product designer at the fintech company "Podeli". Our service embodies the BNPL (buy now, pay later) concept — a rather progressive and modern solution in the financial world, designed to provide consumers with greater flexibility when making purchases.

The main advantage of "Podeli" is the ability for consumers to split the cost of a product or service into several payments without any additional interest. This makes our service particularly attractive compared to traditional loans, where interest can significantly increase the final cost of a purchase.

In my role as a product designer, I focus on creating and optimizing the user interface, aiming to make our service as intuitive and accessible as possible for our clients. My work includes researching user needs, developing prototypes, testing, and implementing changes to improve the user experience.

4What does “design” mean to you?
For me, design is not just aesthetics or beautiful visual elements. It's a way of communication, a form of expressing thoughts and ideas. Design merges functionality with beauty, helping to create products and solutions that cater to people's needs, making their lives better and more convenient. It's a process of understanding and solving problems where every element has its purpose and significance.
5What’s your favorite kind of design and why?

For me, the design of the hammer symbolizes perfection in simplicity and functionality. Over time, its shape has hardly changed, which speaks to its efficiency and versatility. This tool was created for a specific purpose, and it fulfills that purpose flawlessly.

Its design is a combination of weight, balance, and durability, making it indispensable in everyday life and in manufacturing. The hammer shows that design doesn't have to be intricate or fancy to be effective. Sometimes the simplest solutions turn out to be the most brilliant.

6To you, what makes a “good” design?

For me, a "good" design is not just about aesthetically pleasing appearances but also about effective functionality that serves its purpose. Good design meets user needs, making their experience straightforward, intuitive, and enjoyable. It's a blend of form and function where every element has a specific purpose and adds value.

A good design is also timeless; it doesn't appear outdated or trendy in a short span of time. Ultimately, for me, good design is the kind that elicits an emotional response, enhances the quality of life, and makes the world around us better.

7Describe your design style and its main characteristics.
My favorite design style is minimalism! The reason I'm drawn to minimalism is because of its clear, uncluttered aesthetics, which focus on presenting content in its most essential form. Minimalist design emphasizes simplicity, making use of white space and limiting color palettes and elements to only those that are absolutely necessary. This approach not only looks visually appealing but also enhances user experience by eliminating distractions and making navigation more intuitive.
8Tell us about your design process.

Of course, my design process might vary slightly depending on the project, but in general, it consists of the following stages:

Research and Problem Definition: First and foremost, I aim to understand the needs and expectations of clients or users. This might involve interviews, surveys, and even competitor analysis.

Idea Formation: Based on the gathered information, I come up with preliminary concepts or ideas that could potentially solve the identified problem.

Prototyping: This stage involves creating initial layouts or prototypes that help visualize the idea and gather initial feedback.

Testing: The prototypes are tested among the target audience to identify any potential issues or shortcomings.

Revisions: Based on feedback and testing results, I make the necessary changes and refinements.

Development and Implementation: Once the final design is approved, the development and implementation phase of the project begins.

Continuous Monitoring and Optimization: Even after launching the product, I continue to monitor how it functions, collect user feedback, and make the adjustments needed to enhance the user experience when necessary.

9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?

My cultural heritage and the rich history of the country inevitably influence my design process.

Moreover, the digital product market in my country has its own peculiarities that impact the design process — from considering the specific needs and expectations of my country’s users to adapting to local regulations and standards.

10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2023 MUSE Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?

Winning the 2023 MUSE Design Awards is a significant milestone for me. This recognition not only reflects all the hard work and effort I've put into my projects but also confirms that the design community values and acknowledges my contribution. This award emphasizes the importance of continuous learning, innovation, and striving for excellence in design.

For me, it's not just a trophy or a title; it's a reminder of the responsibility I carry, setting standards in design and inspiring others in the community. The MUSE Design Awards have given me added motivation to continue experimenting and creating designs that have a meaningful impact on people's lives.

11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 MUSE Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

The work that won the 2023 MUSE Design Awards is an application for the "Smart Residential Complex". This project was designed with the goal of revolutionizing the living experience in residential complexes, making it more comfortable, safe, and convenient for residents.

The application integrates various systems of the residential complex: from climate control in apartments to security systems and parking management. Residents can easily book communal spaces within the complex, monitor energy consumption, and even communicate with neighbors through a built-in chatroom.

The decision to participate in this project was driven by my passion for innovation and the desire to make a difference in people's daily lives. I saw tremendous potential in using technology to improve the quality of life in urban settings and was confident that such an approach would be relevant in the market.

12What was the biggest challenge with this project?
The main challenge in the "Smart Residential Complex" project was creating a universal interface that would be understandable for all age groups and integrating a multitude of different functions into one cohesive and intuitive interface.
13How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?
Receiving the award became a significant milestone in my career. It not only brought me recognition within the professional community but also opened up new opportunities in the form of exciting projects and collaborations with leading companies and brands.
14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?
In our industry, what I appreciate the most is the ability to turn ideas into reality, positively impacting the lives of many people. It's a field where technology and creativity intertwine, allowing for the creation of innovative products and solutions. Every day presents a new challenge, as well as an opportunity to learn and grow as a professional.
15What makes your country specifically, unique in the design industry?
My country stands out in the digital design industry with its multi-ethnic experience. Modern trends are combined with local peculiarities, leading to innovative solutions. In my country, designers skillfully adapt global standards, taking into account local preferences, making their work competitive on the world stage.
16Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?

Strengthening User Experience (UX): Understanding and meeting the needs of the end-user is becoming increasingly important. UX tools and methods will continue to evolve, allowing for the creation of more intuitive and effective interfaces.

Virtual and Augmented Reality: The use of VR and AR in design will grow, offering new opportunities for interactive and immersive user interfaces.

Design for Sustainability: Given the global ecological challenges, designers will focus more on creating sustainable, environmentally-friendly solutions.

Personalization: Thanks to analytics and artificial intelligence, products and interfaces will increasingly adapt to specific users, considering their preferences and behavior.

3D and Graphic Design: Advancements in printing and display technologies will spur the use of 3D graphics in interfaces and product design.

Greater Human-Machine Interaction: Interfaces that respond to gestures, voice, emotions, or even thoughts may become commonplace.

Education and Adaptation: With rapid technological advancements, designers will need to constantly learn and adapt to changing conditions and tools.

Overall, the design industry will continue to adapt to technological progress, social trends, and user needs, offering increasingly innovative and functional solutions.

17If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Design Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?

I believe that in the future, design will be largely focused on enhancing user experience (UX) and expanding the horizons of virtual and augmented reality. As users demand more intuitive and interactive interfaces, UX methodologies will evolve to meet these needs. At the same time, VR and AR will redefine traditional design boundaries, offering immersive experiences previously considered futuristic.

These shifts signal a change in the industry where understanding the user and leveraging cutting-edge technologies will be paramount. The combination of advanced UX and immersive VR/AR will lay the foundation for a more interactive and personalized design in the next 5-10 years. Henceforth, studying user experience (UX) will definitely prove to be useful for anyone.

18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?

For those looking to enhance their skills in the design industry and are seeking design mentoring resources, I recommend this following platform:

ADPList: A free platform where you can find and talk to mentors from various design disciplines.

19Who has inspired you in your life and why?
In my life, there have been numerous sources of inspiration, but one of the key figures in design who truly inspired me is Dieter Rams. His philosophy of "less but better" and his pursuit of functionality combined with aesthetics resonated with me. Rams taught me to appreciate simplicity and purity in design and to understand that good design is like an invisible bridge between function and beauty. His works and principles became a starting point for many of my projects and my approach to the profession as a whole.
20What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

My key to success lies in setting clear goals and consistently executing tasks that lead to achieving those goals. By maintaining a laser focus on the end objective and breaking it down into manageable tasks, I ensure that every step I take brings me closer to my ultimate vision.

As for words of wisdom: Success is not an accident. It's the result of unwavering focus, relentless effort, and the ability to adapt and learn from every experience. Set your sights on your goals, break them down into actionable steps, and remember that every small effort you put in today brings you closer to your dreams.

Winning Entry

Smart Residential Complex App | 2023


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Aleksandr Volodkovich

Aleksandr Volodkovich, whose journey in the field dates back to 2015, has been deeply involved in the realms of web and mobile application design. From the very beginning, his core identity has been rooted in creativity and artistic expression, ignited by a childhood fondness for drawing.

Read more about this interview with FanYu Tseng of Medi-Muse Design Corp, the Gold Winner of the 2023 MUSE Design Awards.