Our motion designers breathe life into our products through the magic of motion. They ensure that we stay on the top of our game and that our user experience remains world-class. Read on to find out more about Masha — Wolt’s first Product Motion Designer!
Hello Masha 👋 Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Hello, I’m Maria but everyone calls me Masha as Maria feels too formal for me. I’m a Product Motion Designer at Wolt and have been here for almost 3 years.
I started my career as a creative in the advertising industry. I really enjoyed that time, I was learning a lot from some great supervisors. It was a good school of craft on its own while working on creating ads and branding campaigns. At some point though, I realized that I was missing having control over the quality of the products we were advertising, so decided to make a change.
At that time, I was still finishing my studies in Media Engineering and part of the curriculum was a course focused on building a digital application. This class allowed me to discover the field of User Experience and digital products - and this is what got me really excited! I started researching more, reading some Google design materials. Eventually, I came across the section about product motion design, which eventually led me to writing my final thesis on this topic.
My paper turned out to be my ticket to secure a role with a consultancy firm and allowed me to switch to the product side of the business, which eventually led me to joining Wolt’s team. Becoming part of Wolt’s Team opened my eyes to how different in-house work is from acting as a consultant. In my previous job, we would come in and out on a project-basis, so you can never be fully immersed into the company and its product. At Wolt, I can focus on the finest details of the user experience and I love it.
What do you do at Wolt?
My role at Wolt is very specific, focusing on the transitions and interaction enhancing user experience, where I am working with designers and developers ensuring the best possible outcome. I am not a UI or UX designer, I am not part of the brand or marketing team either. I am sitting somewhere in-between, focusing on behavior and interaction people have with our products. I help all our product teams — whether building products for our customers, courier partners, merchants or internal users at Wolt — and I try to make sure we build a consistent experience for all.
What makes my work come to life is a team effort and continuous collaboration. My designs will not see the light of the day if it wasn't for people who write the code, interpret what I have in my preview and turn it into the actual product. I always try to underline the importance of that and give proper credit to engineers and designers, and other people that make it happen. Great symbiosis between product designers, motion designers and engineers is the key to a great user experience.
What are the most interesting challenges you’re currently working on?
At Wolt, we’ve always had a high bar for building a world-class experience for our customers and we have it in our DNA to be obsessed about polishing our designs, making them close to perfection.
Because building digital products is a team effort, it is really crucial to build a trust-based relationship with the people we work with. Implementing motion design takes more time than you might think, so my biggest challenge is to get engineers seriously excited about the ideas I have for the design, and also show the benefit of introducing it in a project.
As you might know, Wolt has also been present in Japan for two years now. A recent interesting project I was working on was a request to prepare an animated promotional banner for this market. Japan to me is a very unique and different culture, and consumers react to design in a completely different way! So for me this was quite an exciting experience, doing all the research on the advertising in Japan, what speaks to the audience well, where to draw the line between too little and too much, and how we can attract the audience through our material!
What’s the nicest piece of customer feedback you have received?
Motion design is something that should not be noticeable or too visible, it’s more about the feeling! So if we hear from the users that they enjoy using Wolt, that their interaction with the product is delightful, clear and fun, it means we are doing a good job!
Working on Wolt’s products comes with a lot of responsibility, because what we are working on is used by millions of people on a daily basis. Our job is to find the sweet spot between making the product entertaining for generation Z and clear for a more senior audience at the same time. With that in mind, we conduct plenty of research and user interviews. We are constantly trying to understand our users from all 23 countries we operate in.
What’s been your biggest learning at Wolt?
I think one of the biggest lessons for me was understanding that great ideas can be just the tip of an iceberg. From having a good idea to the actual feature that is out and alive, there is so much structure, people, collaboration and communication happening in order to ship it. It is a great challenge to connect all the puzzles in our complicated ecosystem between restaurants, retail merchants, courier partners and users.
Working at Wolt has helped me to understand how many things need to work well together in order for us to make it happen, and so that you get your pizza on time!
Where do you go to learn about motion design?
Motion design is still a fairly new discipline and not many people fully understand what it is. If you’d ask my parents what I do for a living, they’d say that I am a programmer or that I make Disney cartoons! :)
But seriously, there is more and more awareness about the field out there, and you can educate yourself about it in various ways. For me, continuous inspiration is what Apple does. I also find it useful to just keep trying out different applications, or simply googling “UI animations” to keep an eye on what’s out there, tracking the new trends.
What you need to remember is to always approach motion design from the perspective of its function — always ask WHY it is there, how it contributes to the user experience?
Do you have any side hustles?
I actually am very committed to my side-hustle which is pottery! It all started when I was trying to buy pots for my many (thirty-something) plants I have at home. I could not find proper and affordable pots at the store, and so I thought to myself: How hard can it be to make my own? I signed up for a city college course on pottery and completely fell in love with it!
At work I move pixels on the screen all day long where with one move of your mouse you can always go back on a decision, undo anything you would like. With pottery you are doing something with your own hands, working with live material that you cannot just use Command+Z on. It was a truly new experience for me! This hobby is really soothing for me, and I love combining it with my daily job.