Hi, I'm Ovidiu.

I'm a digital product designer with a technical background and a passion for
cognitive psychology, currently living in Bucharest, Romania.

Learn More

I create
meaningful user
experiences

Having several years of experience and the proven know-how to efficiently combine business objectives, user needs and development constraints, helps me to better understand how to improve brand loyalty, customer retention and conversions by creating a meaningful user experience.


But let's start from the beginning: long story short, I've changed my comfort zone a few times along the way, trying to discover what defines me and makes me happy. And it took me a while to figure it out, but when I look back, it makes perfect sense.


It was not the joy I felt at the age of 12, after compiling my first Basic program, but my friends reaction after playing the game I developed. Nor was the happiness of having my first paycheck after I successfully delivered a desktop application a few years later, but the positive feedback I received from users who found it really helpful and easy to use.


Continue Reading

-


I had the same rewarding feelings right after I switched over to web development and joined the online industry when I was 22 years old. I found a world of endless posibilities, where every user action could be tracked down to the smallest details and everything I did had a measurable objective. Being able to play with different data sets and test various solutions was an entirely new and exciting area for me.


2007 came by and I was honored to receive Microsoft's "Best User Experience" Award for one of the projects I developed. I was 25 years old and that was the trigger that opened my eyes: I realised that the true passion I was searching for was right there all along, but I was looking at it from the wrong angle. Now it was cristal clear and it had a name.


Shortly after that moment, although my daily activities were still centered around web development, my interest, my reading list and my inspiration sources started to shift into a whole new direction: HCI, usability engineering, user-centered design principles, information architecture, data-driven design and cognitive psychology.


Few years later, my transition to the UX field was complete and I was finally leaving behind my technical expertise to focus on creating engaging, user-friendly digital products, having a well-defined information architecture, an affective interaction design and, overall, a compelling user experience.

Profile Summary

-
Professional experience, current expertise areas
and design toolkit

Background

+12 years experience in designing, developing and directing a great variety of digital products (e.g. finance, e-commerce, media, enterprise); +8 years experience in User Interface, Interaction and Experience Design; +5 years experience in coaching and managing digital teams.

Expertise

What I do: Digital Product Strategy, User Interface, Interaction and Experience Design, Information Architecture, Usability Engineering, Consultancy (Usability and Cross-Channel User Experience Reviews). What I don't do: Graphic Design, Web Development.

Main Tools

Axure, InVision and UXPin - for interactive prototypes; MindJet and MindMeister - for maps and flows; Pen & paper, stickers and stencils - for sketches, wireframes, etc; UserTesting, CrazyEgg, SurveyMonkey and other services - for testing and research; Fireworks - for UI elements.

I use a
flexible, holistic
approach

Embracing a holistic approach for each of the products I design enables me to find a proper solution that goes beyond the problem it should solve, thus resulting in a much larger context that should be taken into consideration.


And I do this by taking a step back and enlarging my perspective on things to be able to see the big picture - i.e. how is the digital product going to fit into the cross-channel user experience (if there is one), into the business values, long term vision and technical constraints, into the user's mental model and his day-to-day activities, into the market ecosystem and the digital environment it should fit in.


Also, my design approach is flexible enough to allow me to tackle different kind of challenges and depends on various factors that can influence more or less what UX methods and techniques I use, when and how I use them.


Continue Reading

-


For example, it matters if I design a new product or improve on an existing one: almost all the stages of the process will be affected when dealing with a new project due to the lack of relevant data, which leads to a greater number and depth of design iterations. Further more, if I improve on an existing product, it matters if I have to redesign only a part of it or do a full redesign: the context defined in the strategy phase is more strict (especially the business constraints) and the architecture is more rigid (everything will have to fit into an existing framework) when redesigning only a part of a product.


Also, my approach depends on the company type, size and culture: the bigger is the company, the harder it is to achieve the desired outcome in a reasonable timeframe due to their complex decisional procedures (thus resulting in large feeback delays) and their most likely deliverables-oriented, development-driven processes (which implies a total reconsideration of my design approach and significant efforts to advocate for a design-driven, user-centered approach).


On the other hand, a startup or a small-sized company that usually embraces a lean, agile, design-driven and fast time-to-market culture, represents an ideal environment for any product designer and overlaps perfectly with my design process, but has a few major drawbacks: the lack of long-term vision and cultural values that help define a proper context in the strategy phase, few data to work on in the research and analysis stages or not enough time and budget to conduct a proper validation.


And last but not least, it depends on the project deadline and budget: although I don't recommend it, skipping certain steps or even stages can be done when having a tight budget or a hard deadline, but it affects the final outcome and the overall product design on the long run (most affected areas being the robustness and scalability that should be reflected in the product's architecture).

Design Process

-
5+1 stages I iterate through and adapt for each
project's unique context
1

Strategy

I define the problem to be solved, the context (company values and long-term vision, business requirements and constraints, project scope and timeline), the desired outcome (goals, objectives, success measuring) and the right UX methods and techniques.

2

Research

I gather data using competitor analysis, stakeholder interviews, existing business reports (analytics, customer care, sales, marketing, etc), content and features inventory, expert reviews (usability and cross-channel user experience), surveys and user interviews.

3

Analysis

I use the data collected during the Research phase to better understand who, why and how is or will be using the product, and I turn them into valuable insights I can recline on further in the process: personas, scenarios, experience map, user roles and use cases. #validation

4

Architecture

I rely on the previously gathered insights to create a robust and scalable structure, that suits both the user and the business needs: workflow diagrams, sitemap, information architecture, functional specifications. #validation

5

Design

Once the architecture is defined, all the pieces begin to fit into place as I start designing, testing and refining on various interface and interaction ideas: paper sketches, wireframes, low-to-high fidelity interactive prototypes. #validation

#

Validation

Having a user-centered, collaborative process also means I validate my analysis, architecture and design assumptions. And I do this by using remote, shadowing and guerilla user testing, heatmaps, split and multivariate testing.

I enjoy
solving difficult
challenges

Case Studies

I shall have the case studies live pretty soon (showcasing my work is a challenge itself, mainly because I'm never satisfied with the end result). In the meantime, take a look at my LinkedIn profile, I attached a few work samples for each of my positions. Thank you for understanding.

View Work Samples

Brands Selection

-
Some of the brands I've worked with, that had a
major impact on my career
McDonald's
Renault
Ing Bank
Forever Living
Ferrero