Please introduce your company and give a brief about your role within the company?
We are Bachoo Design Studio — a growing design boutique with an ambition of a global design powerhouse :) To put in context, we are 40 design and dev professionals that are skillful enough to deliver world-class award-winning Web, UI/UX and Branding product and are ballzy enough to go brag about it.
What was the idea behind starting this organization?
Truth be told, I do not think there was a clear thought through idea when the studio was founded by my partner and our Chief Production Officer - Elena. She was an incredibly successful freelancer who at some point realized that she is capable of much more within the framework of a working organization. However, with time the idea really crystalized itself. And it turned out that it was actually there all along. The grand idea (once we get beyond the honest desire to create functional beauty that would make the world a wee bit better place) is in Elena’s background. On one hand side, she is a professional mathematician with a degree in applied math. But at the same time she is an incredibly talented artist. And this pretty much sums the whole thing up - we in Bachoo start every project meticulously going through every detail in it as if it is a math problem. But once it is properly decomposed and the solutions are identified, than art and beauty take over to give the cold though through conclusion an avatar of art and beauty. Sounds a little cliche, but it works and our clients seem to really enjoy the result of this holy union :)
What are your company’s business model–in house team or third party vendors/ outsourcing?
At this point of our life we enjoy a certain degree of flexibility and healthy opportunism. We go where the fun is at first, and where there is money - second. We are extremely open in our clients selection. We work with anyone - from garage startups to large global corporates like Mercedes AMG. This allows us for a healthy level of productive rioting and creative fun. The team loves it and as a result goes beyond the levels of expected, which in turn is adored by our clients.
By the way, all the team members are in-house specialists, and we prefer it this way. The majority of the team sits together in our brand new Kyiv office. But as we live in times of blurred borders, some of the team members operate remotely. For instance, our Head of Business Development - Dasha, abandoned us to follow her beloved husband (an engineer with Rolls Royse) to the town of Derby, UK. But as she is absolutely amazing at what she does, we agreed that she keeps on taking care of our sales processes and of our clients. Similarly, our copywriter works out of Berlin.
We recently launched a full stack dev team that started taking care of our product development. Before that, if the client needed tech expertise we did not have, we gladly engaged into collaboration with dev teams that filled in the gaps. So, we were ok with outsourcing bits and pieces of our projects, but only in cases when clients were ok with it.
How is your business model beneficial from a value addition perspective to the clients compared to other companies' models?
In cases when we have the skill, we prefer to avoid outsourcing completely. We pride in being Bachoo and our clients stay with us to enjoy the absence of creative conformism, direct connect with designers on the project, top level quality guaranteed by the feel of personal responsibility and, of course, the combo of mathematical analysis and artistic approach that makes our final deliverables not only smart but also beautiful. On top of that we try to make the financial side as simple and transparent as it is humanly possible, which is a pretty simple task with a flat rate and the readiness to go beyond the expected.
What industries do you generally cater to? Are your customers repetitive? If yes, what ratio of clients has been repetitive to you?
We do not really have a particular industry niche, but a lot of our projects were concentrated in fin-tech, crypto, e-commerce, automotive, entertainment (e-sports), mass-media and apps of various kinds.
Our client portfolio includes a wide array of businesses starting from a Boston-based TechCrunch acclaimed fin-tech product targeting the Brazilian financial market (Airfox) to goodé ole' Mercedes AMG. Our client's geography is also extremely diverse - from a cloud communications provider from Singapore (WaveCell), to a smart wi-fi solution developer from Norway (Wio) to one of the world's top E-sport powerhouses in San Francisco (TSM).
We also don't care much for the size of our partner - we are equally comfortable with startups, mature businesses, and global corporations. As long as the project in question is interesting, challenging and has space for creativity - we are in.
To get a better feel for what we do, please, have a quick look at our fully renewed and updated website or check us out on Behance. Also, look out for us up on awwwards.com - as last year we have become the 2018 Users' Choice site of the year with the8760.com project and placed second at 2018 E-commerce site of the year nomination with Huru website.
Mention the parameters which are most important for you in developing an app design.
Form follows function — it is a very old saying by Dieter Rams, which initially applied to physical products design. It perfectly fits digital design as well, and yes, we do understand that this saying is overused and abused :)
In our studio, we need to identify the problems that we are solving, to make hypotheses and validate them; to understand our client’s resources and capabilities. Application design is a dynamic thing, when you design an app you should also plan how you will build up on it.
What key aspects do you keep in mind while developing an app design in order to enhance its usability?
The first forepost is our experience and knowledge of most recent and most widespread design patterns. It is always easier for people to understand familiar interfaces, layouts. In simple words, a button should look like a button and an input field should look familiar, too.
Another aspect is knowing deeply the expectations, needs, fears of the user, as well as the context of usage.
For example, one of our cases suggested that considerable portion of people will use the app at festivals while happily wasted. This rather unconventional description of the potential user was what defined contrast, font size, dark background, bright images and another million of tiny interface details.
What are the key parameters to be considered before selecting the right framework for a app design?
I don’t think there can be a definitive answer to this question. Each design framework is a theory, and in practice, we combine them.
Our CPO, Elena, is a big fan of lean UX, because it seems to be a most effective and down-to-earth approach.
She is also quite ironical about Design Thinking, which is over-the-top popular nowadays. She says “Design thinking is the same as just thinking” The framework is great, very simple, and it applies to the processes of solving any problem, not only design-related.
Which framework do you suggest your clients to go for when they approach you with an idea? Why?
Truth be told, we try not to burden our clients with frameworks. We are very comfortable with raw data, raw ideas.
If we understand that we need to have a workshop to brainstorm, ideate of validate any ideas, we will plan and construct it according to the situation, and the information we receive from a client.
Android or iOS— which framework is best to use to build your app design? What are your recommendations?
Uhm. For Android applications we sometimes use Material Design framework, which is very flexible and basically does not limit visual design to any particular style.
For iOS, it is good practice to follow iOS GUI, but it is more rigid, which means we step off of it here and there.
Most of the products we developed recently were built using React, which gives us all possible design freedom. So we pay more attention to following foolproof design patterns, rather than design frameworks.
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of a mobile app design?
There is really only one - time. We are running an extremely simple financial model with a flat rate that goes across everyone involved in a project. So, the trick in the beginning is to estimate how much time is it going to take and whether it is possible to do it at all? If we are involved in a small task, for example - a need to build a new screen or a simple function for an existing product - we can properly estimate the amount of hours needed. In this case, we shoot our clients a proper estimation and stick with it. (unless, obviously, there is a significant request for a change somewhere down the line).
When we speak of a long engagement, proper product design requires flexibility and a certain level of time ambiguity. Our large projects like Airfox’sBanQi or our engagement with Mercedes AMG last months and years. And they go through proper product cycle - coming up with a theory, implementing it, testing it on real clients, getting the feedback in and, often times, going back to the drawing board to create a new and better iteration. And then going at it over and over again until perfection is reached. In these scenarios, the workload is hard to predict. In these situations it is important that the client understands what they are getting themselves into and whether they have the resources to go all the way.
What kind of payment structure do you follow to bill your clients? Is it Pay per Feature, Fixed Cost, Pay per Milestone (could be in phases, months, versions etc.)
If we are looking at a finite project that we can provide a detailed estimation for - it is 50% pre- and 50% post-payment, when we are done and the client is happy with the result. When it is a year-long engagement, it depends on the interaction model. If we are working on time & material basis - we usually invoice the client monthly once the billed month is over. If we are working on a retention basis, when our guys technically turn into our client’s remote team member - it may vary, depending on what our clients are more comfortable with.
At the end of the day, it is really all about making the engagement work. We are compact enough to be flexible. And we love our clients enough to always try to accommodate their needs. So, the engagement type and billing structure come second - as long as we are getting a cool project, while the client is getting the best design he can possibly hope for :)
Do you take in projects which meet your basic budget requirement? If yes, what is the minimum requirement? If no, on what minimum budget you have worked for?
If we can bring value to the project, we take it. Sometimes, we start with ideation, building a vision for an app.
We don’t take projects in, if we understand that we are limited to the point, when our effort will not help the project. For example, if we are asked to only fix a front-end of a product, and after an assessment, you see that to become usable, the product needs significant improvements, that include certain backend changes, we will recommend the client to revise limitations, and find resources for more substantial changes.
What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2018?
The lightest one is branding, which we approach as a box solution, which comes at $4000. The biggest ones get closer to $300k.