Ideation | Leadership

Flainar

The basic premise of Flainar is to connect places, literary works, and themes. Based on such a relatively simple concept, this start-up came up with a million ideas to allow its users to explore, navigate and add to those 3 dimensions, discovering new links and networks between them.

Continuous iteration

I joined this start-up at an early stage, when only a handful of wireframes were drawn. At first I was given very specific and contained objectives on a weekly basis, but soon after my responsibilities started to grow. In a short time I was being given very broad ideas and concepts to develop freely into wireframes as I saw fit, according to the briefs. This led to a high degree of suggestions and iterations, a back-and-forth discussion between designers and the product owner that improved both the wireframes and the concepts they were built upon.


We also used an agile approach to development, which means that we developed an MVP and then went back and improved every area of the app in cycles. That approach was reflected on the wireframes and mockups as well, since they always preceded the development phase. We reexamined the solutions already drawn for each area every time we came back to it, which improved them significantly in the long run. Depending on the situation, those improvements were either immediately followed by the development team or put in the backlog to be tackled as an improvement at a later date.


Despite all the iterative work at Flainar, we were also very conscious about making every solution future-proof, especially since our requirements at the beginning were much more complex and in-depth than what was being initially delivered as an MVP. Having those solid foundations since the very first wireframe meant that most of the iterations ended up being small incremental improvements and not complete revisions of the app. So even though the iterations were frequent, they weren't costly to the company.

My responsibilities included using my specialised knowledge in UX design doing wireframes, specifications, ideation, and research; but also UI design, such as:

Design system

Based on the atomic design methodology, I continuously specified every visual element.

Hi-fi mockups

After the design system, the high-fidelity mockups became easier to develop and maintain.

Functional prototypes

A few prototypes were created mainly as a way of specifying behaviours and transitions.

Below are some of the wireframes and mockups I developed for Flainar.

Evolving leadership

I was hired by Flainar as a UX designer to work alongside a senior UX/UI designer developing wireframes for the app. For the first six months, as my soft and hard skills shone through, my responsibilities started to grow. My opinion was valued from the very beginning, and the meetings between the product owner and the designers started to be gradually more mutually beneficial, in the sense that our inputs were also improving the briefing.


After six months, as the senior UX/UI designer had to distance himself from the project due to personal reasons, I started to assume his position and became the UX Lead at Flainar. My responsibilities were similar to what they had been so far, but with the added onus of being the only UXer on the team and, consequently, having to answer for every component of the app.


After another half a year or so, the CEO proposed that I become the Design Team Lead. This meant that, on top of all my other responsibilities, I'd have to develop the UI side of the project, coordinate with other designers (print, graphic, illustration) as well as other teams (mainly developers). I have been in that position since February 2020.

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