Her career choice came as no surprise to her or anyone who knew her. Always fond of arts and visually expressing her thoughts and ideas, she was conscious of her own creativity and talent—the love of applied arts only grew as she continued her education. Meet Ivana Stojanovic, one of HTEC’s Senior UI/UX Designers.
Way back in the Art school, Ivana enjoyed designing logos, posters, book and magazine covers, and layouts. She loved good typography and aesthetically pleasing printed materials, which were at the time the only “channels” of communication for young people. As she started her design studies at the Faculty of Arts in Nis, new technologies began to emerge—and so did new media that required design to develop in entirely new directions. Ivana remembers a subject called Graphic Communication, which might today seem like an introduction to UI and UX. Before the tech era, the term Design usually referred to graphics, fashion, or industrial applications, and what we now know as User Interface or Experience Design came much later. Once she finished her studies, which was more than ten years ago, Ivana decided to focus on Design in the digital world. “I think that this period (the early 2000s) was the beginning of the golden era of design, which continues globally today.”
Ivana has been working at HTEC for almost four years, and she says she has had unique opportunities for personal and professional growth in the company. “Most of our projects are long-term, so employees have time to gain valuable domain expertise. Working for longer periods in the same field can really make you a domain expert—no matter if you are a designer, an engineer, or a manager.” For two years, Ivana worked on health/medical care solutions and says that she loves that HTEC works on products that help people and positively impact the world. “There is more to it than what is on the surface. These products are much more than software or hardware or their design. It is the ethics behind the idea—the humanity behind it. Digital products have so much influence on human life—the better the experience, the better the quality of life.” Ivana also adds, “It was a great pleasure working on IoT technologies, which bring together both physical and digital user experience. The big challenge was ensuring quality cross-device experience and creating a harmonious and functional system.”
Having worked in two IT companies before HTEC, Ivana has had an amazing overall experience in small and big working environments, but what makes them the same is the pace at which they change and develop. However, what separates HTEC from other companies is the opportunity everyone has to choose their career path. “Mentors can help you direct your career according to your interests and strengths. They will help you set your own goals and offer guidance and support for you to reach them.” Ivana experienced being mentored by some of HTEC’s best UX experts but has on several occasions been in the role of mentor herself, which she truly enjoyed.
Recently, Ivana started working on a new project, which is more in the e-commerce domain. “E-commerce as a domain has immensely grown during the pandemic. In that sense, it is a challenge to empathize with the users' needs, the client’s business goals, and to synchronize all that into a product.” For her personally, such projects are exciting but demanding.
“To harmonize client plans and wishes, adapt them to the functional experience, relieve customer pains, apply good practices, keep up with the client’s brand, and stay consistent with the story—you have to do it all. However, when you hear that your client is satisfied, and on top of it, you know you solved a problem with digital experience, there is no bigger reward.”
As a Senior UI/UX Designer, Ivana says that anyone who is starting a career in any field should follow their inner voice and intuition. If you are approaching a task with passion and doing a thing that makes you happy, success is inevitable. “And of course, every effort is rewarded—every time you give your best, the best will happen.” She says that for a beginner in design, and any other profession for that matter, lowering your ego may be crucial. “Younger generations are full of confidence, and that is not a bad thing, but what is more important in this kind of business is to have more empathy. When you act with empathy, you will be closer to your users, you will have a better understanding of what they need, and it is a start and a basic point in the user-centric design approach.” Ivana emphasizes that, in reality, this is quite difficult and requires significant practice. On the other hand, at HTEC, the number of experienced designers and young talented beginners is relatively balanced, which brings a lot of fresh and innovative ideas to the well-rehearsed design processes and mechanisms—the best of both worlds.
Investing your time into learning new but reminding yourself of old things you already know is what Ivana recommends. “Things are constantly changing, but some fundamentals will stay forever. It is necessary to follow tech development as well as design trends. Processes also tend to become better over time, but without fundamental things, everything may lose meaning. I recommend NN group articles as a resource for fundamentals in UX design.” HTEC employees have access to Udemy Business courses, and everyone can write for the HTEC Blog (and read it, of course).
In her spare time, Ivana enjoys studying social criticism and loves the works of Michel Houellebecq. This gives her a broader perspective on life and different and deeper aspects of human society. From a more practical point of view, she loves a good case study because there is nothing more satisfying than reading about a genius way a problem can be solved.
As someone who spends most of her workday sitting by the computer, she thinks physical activity is essential. So, when she is not running or hiking, she is probably taking part in an online physical challenge. During the pandemic, these challenges have replaced group training sessions she was very fond of.
A decade of her career has taught her to always do her best and approach work with passion, commitment, and diligence—for Ivana, this is the key to success. And everyone at HTEC knows that she is what she preaches. “Inspire people. Support others. Encourage them to do better. Find positive energy in them when you can. Do not judge and do not have prejudice. The world is made of people—without them, the world makes no sense. A fundamental feature of social life is social interaction—that interaction begins in the physical world. Digital is just the next stage—a sequel. Strive to encourage good things in both the physical and the digital world.”