Friday Faces: Interview with Ramzi Nahawi
As part of our Friday Faces series, we’re interviewing members of the Hatch team to learn a little bit about them, and how their destinies collided with Hatch.
Ramzi is our incredibly talented product designer by day (and musician by night). Here, we chat about design, creativity and some of his favorite projects at Hatch.
Let’s start from the beginning – did you always know you wanted to be a designer?
No, definitely not. But I would consider myself pretty creative as a kid. I played guitar and wrote songs and drew. I even built my own guitar from scratch! I didn’t study design in school. I studied Finance and Audio Engineering.
When did you decide to become a designer?
I did print design for a long time, even in high school, I was heavily involved in the yearbook and created posters for parties, party tickets and fun stuff like that. The idea that I was even relatively good at design crystallized when my teacher – who was in charge of the yearbook club – wanted to make me editor-in-chief. In college, after I realized neither finance nor music was going to work as a full-time career for me, I decided to pick it back up. Since August of 2014, that’s what I’ve been doing. I started with mobile app design, then segwayed into a User Experience immersive program at General Assembly.
So music wasn’t going to work out full time, but you are still a musician now, can you tell me a little bit about that?
I’ve been playing the guitar and singing since I was 11. In college, listening to electronic music and stuff, I thought I wanted to be a DJ. Now, it’s become DJ-ing and singing…all live. I have a machine that lets me loop and then I sing. It’s a cool experience. I did 10 shows this past summer, on rooftops and stuff – I love it – but I’m still gonna stick with my career at Hatch.
Oh yes, that career at Hatch! So tell me, how did you find Hatch?
Well, actually, Hatch found me. Amelia found me on AngelList after interviewing a bunch of candidates for a UX/UI designer. I was in a role at a serious federal agency, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do.
So, give us a little background here, for our readers who don’t know the ins and outs of UX design versus product design, can you give us a quick overview?
Sure, so UX design, at its core, is the art of taking something, testing it and validating it, and doing that over and over until you figure out what the best solution is for your target audience. It includes conducting interviews, doing needs analysis and ultimately figuring out where the pain points are. Amelia and Param were originally looking for a UX/UI designer, which is what I was brought on the team to do, but the role quickly became more than that, so technically my role is Product Designer.
Was there a particular moment or point that made you decide to join the team?
The reason I joined the team wasn’t necessarily about the product – it was about the story of Param and Amelia. I could tell from the beginning that they were a dynamic duo, and I had the utmost confidence and trust in them. That trust still exists which makes me feel like I made the right choice.
What have been your favorite projects at Hatch?
I’ve actually never done a full marketing site before, end-to-end, so that’s been the most fun and challenging project thus far. It’s constantly evolving which is cool. It’s never finished. And personally, I think it looks awesome.
What is your ultimate goal when designing the Hatch product?
My goal is to keep it simple. As someone who works on a product team surrounded by engineers, it’s easy to succumb to the jargon and nonsense that comes with being a technical person. But, you have to realize, the person using our product isn’t highly technical – and frankly, they don’t really care what codebase things are built on etc. They just want to be able to use it – and for that reason – it’s critical to keep. it. simple.
What do you want customers to see or do when using Hatch
I want our customers to come to Hatch with a vision of what they want their app’s design to look like, and have the ability to meet that vision or exceed their expectations.
What is your favorite software?
There’s this fun music creation app called Odesi. It’s my favorite because its mission hits very close to home: lowering the barriers to entry in music production. That’s one of the main reasons I joined Hatch; democratizing software development in hopes to enable any human being with a brilliant idea to execute on it.
Any advice for people who may be interested in pursuing a career in product design?
There are a lot of resources online that can help you kickstart your design career. I would highly recommend Coursera’s UX program. Also, designers.how has some excellent Sketch tutorials that really help refine UI skills.
Erik Erikson of Medium has a great quote that I like:
“ A good Product Designer knows a bit of animation, prototyping, coding, research, visual and interaction design. They know when to deliver wireframes, and when to deliver pixel-perfect mockups. They know when to use animation, and when to prototype. They know how to convincingly communicate their solutions.” – Erik Erikson @ Medium