Prepare to meet Damjan Obal, Head of Design at Ardoq, as he is joining us at DevTalks Cluj on the 27th of September! Before finding out more about UX of Data, let’s get to know him better:
Simple. I’m a curious observer and a perpetual beginner. And that’s the mindset I’m trying to foster in and with people around me. Be it designers, developers, business folks. As a design/research hybrid, I’ve been walking the line between product design and user research for the past 20 years. Constantly zooming out to see those broken user journeys and zooming in to try and help fix them for users.
As a design leader, I work mainly with complex challenges such as industrial data, asset-heavy enterprises and enterprise architecture.
# What's the craziest or most far-fetched tech prediction you've ever heard, and do you think it could ever come true?
It’s not really crazy or far-fetched, but has to be the VR hype, especially the headsets for the masses. Whilst I love the idea and the promise that comes with its potential, I simply can not see it going mainstream as a mass consumer tech.
# If you could time-travel to any point in history with a piece of modern technology, where would you go and what would you bring?
Easy. Time travel to 1970, to Leeds to see The Who perform their Live in Leeds. Of course, I’d bring back a selfie with the band. Maybe a signed LP, if I’d be really lucky.
# If you could switch careers with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?
I’d switch with Tim Burton or another great screenwriter/director, and try to learn what’s their secret sauce to creative and captivating storytelling. Hoping it’s not drugs ;)
# Who / where do you look up to for inspiration?
Fiction writers that create narratives, worlds and ecosystems that not only entertain, but engage and trigger our own imagination to bloom. I try to spend equal amount of time reading, exploring and learning from authors outside of my spheres of interest.
# What would you say to inspire a young talent that is just starting his/ her journey?
Respect the elders, don’t be arrogant, and always listen more than talk. In general, Baz Luhrmann captures the best life advice to anyone, in his Everybody’s Free (to wear sunscreen).
A bit more seriously though… find inspiration in products, services, and solutions you like and try to understand what’s the thinking behind it. Reverse engineer it, hack it, copy it, improve it. Why did the developers code it like that? Why were the buttons out of place? Why doesn’t it work like it should? …
# What's the coolest tech gadget or tool you've ever owned, and what made it so special to you?
I love my ReMarkable tablet. And e-ink tablet that is a damn great notepad, a marvel of industrial and technical design. It’s just a notepad, nothing more. And that’s the beauty of it. It does this one thing so, so well.
# If you could invent any piece of technology that doesn't currently exist, what would it be and why?
Carbon capture device that’s affordable and convenient enough so that every household has one.
# A book worth reading?
Our house is a mini library, so this is a tricky question. One of my favourite inspirational books to recommend to anyone really is “The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design” by Mars & Kohlstedt. if you’re into building products of any sorts, a fun and insightful read is “Inmates are running the asylum” by Alan Cooper.
# Do you have a message for our Romanian Tech Community?
As said above, my message is consistently similar to anyone I speak to. Dear tech ninjas, gods, gurus, superstars… you have the power to change the world for the better. This powers and skills are now needed more than ever. But please don’t start by building new features and yet another app for this or service for that. Start by understanding what the hell your customers, users, the people really need. You’ll be amazed by the reward you’ll get at the end.
Impressed? Come and meet him at Cluj Innovation Park, on the 27th of September. He will be on the Programming Stage!