is a Product Designer and Product Owner at Jatheon and Partner and Designer at web agency MWEB. Keep reading to find out how Marko transitioned from just polishing pixels to thorough UX work.

Hi, Marko. How did you start with design?

Hey, actually, quite accidentally.

I used to make music with my friends and we needed posters for concerts and covers for mixtapes. So when no one volunteered, I had to learn it. And I liked it!

Step by step, from logo design I moved to web design and designing web apps. I consider that ‘switch’ and “redirecting” the love and passion from music to design to be one of my greatest wins in life.

What projects had the biggest impact on your design thinking?

The biggest challenge for me personally was creating the user experience and design for a website builder.

The inner pressure I put myself under to create a good product was enormous. It was particularly interesting to work on a website builder 4–5 years ago when there was a real industry boom for that kind of product (remember Squarespace or Wix).

“Launch as early as possible with core functionalities and start from there. Listen to user feedback and user needs in order to avoid developing a feature for 3 months just because we in the company think that users would want/need that feature.”

The website builder project allowed me to really understand the importance and power of the user experience for both product and organization. Also, for the first time, I encountered serious critique by real users.

This was the beginning of my transition from being a designer to a UX designer.

How does your workflow look like? What makes it special?

I always start with the analysis of the existing feature/product. I dig deep into the problems users already face (given to me by the support team) as well as a competitive teardown of a product from a similar industry.

The solution must be a sum of all findings. I don’t want to focus only on polishing elements and iterating pixels. Instead, I split my time equally between research, prototyping, building a design system, feedback rounds, and design hand-off (via Avocode). Only after the review and validation of all ideas, wireframes, and prototypes I start with real UI work.

What design you started with and what are you using right now?

I started designing in Adobe Photoshop. I tried to work in Illustrator but couldn’t get used to it except for drawing icons or illustrations. I would send .psd design files to developers and they had to have Photoshop installed and know how to find what they needed. It wasn’t fun at all.

Then I introduced Marvel app to my workflow, then LucidChart (for quick wireframing), then Avocode and finally, I replaced Photoshop with Sketch and I’m not looking back since then.

In the end, tools make your but there is still an actual job to be done so everything depends on your .

What’s the one thing you wished you knew when started with design?

The only thing I consider today that I should’ve known, and which every beginner or junior designer should know, is that the actual ‘design’ — drawing of pixels — is just 20% of designer’s work.

Rest 80% is planning, researching, iterating, feedback, talking to users, colleagues, other designers, testing and validating, making sure your design is implemented right, following industry standards, design communities and how others solve their issues, maintaining and updating design components.

What problems do you face as a designer when working with developers?

Developers are easy to work with if you understand them. We usually struggle when devs expect me to have all the answers or when there is extra work included in developing something custom (like a component) when they can use already available one or when the implemented design is not pixel perfect. But the last one is becoming a less of an issue than before with products like Avocode evolving and adding new tools that prevent this (hey Pixel checker tool).

The Pixel checker tool allows you to compare the coded result against the transparent design. Learn more.

It is important to tackle issues with a positive attitude and always have in mind that we have the same goal — making users happy and solving their problems.

In your opinion, what’s the most important skill to develop for designer and why?

Probably a skill to understand.

As a designer, there’s a plenty of things you have to understand — actions, software, habits, tools, brief, but most of all people.

Additionally, try to automate your work as much as possible to share knowledge and get knowledge from design and non-design colleagues and last, but not least — be a nice person.

Do you think self-promotion is important for designers?

Well, it depends on what type of person you are. Extroverts get the spotlight easier than introverts but it depends what every individual wants from career and life. I don’t consider “popular” designers better than those hiding in the background and delivering stellar work on the products we use every day. It’s up to everybody to decide how much time they want to spend on self-promotion and what they want from their career.

“Self-promotion is important in the time of social media but it can take away your focus if you don’t control yourself. “

What would be your dream client to work for?

I am going to hate myself for this but — for a design company or company that is creating something for designers because, most of the time, only a designer can truly understand my work and my rationales for design decisions. It doesn’t get better than having a designer as the ultimate critique of your work.

What do you think will be the next big thing in design?

Well, design systems are already a reality. We passed that phase where UI elements exist only on pages and where only devs think about how to reuse stuff. Today every company that takes itself seriously in the design field is maintaining a design system.

“I believe that the next big thing in design will be when one of the design tools passes the line that separates design and frontend development — one that will enable designers design code and not images.”

Bonus Question: If they made a movie about your design work, what would it be called?

It would definitely be a romantic masterpiece from 1993 — Groundhog day. This movie gives you a lesson that even if every day seems the same and you have the same battles to fight, if you love what you do and for whom you are doing it — you will prevail. 🙂

Want to stay in touch with Marko? Find him on his website or on Twitter.

Know an interesting designer or front-end developer we should interview? Hit me up at [email protected].

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