It’s been a year and a half since I started Studio Flolab and the journey so far has been both thrilling and exciting — not to mention challenging! I started working as a freelance UX Designer soon after getting an MFA in Design & Technology from Parsons, New York. Two years of freelancing in India and Indonesia, and I was ready to take the business up a notch. Flolab was born on June 2016 and since then we’ve been working with some incredible startups in Indonesia and outside. Flolab helps them build products that are, at their very core, simple and easy to use.
In a very short span of time, all of us at Flolab have had the chance to work with some great teams from the South-east Asia hub: ranging from Nodeflux — an integrated data platform that involves Big Data, iOT, Machine Learning, Distributed Computing; to CekAja — a Financial Products Comparison platform. 2017 was our first year of working on some incredibly ground-breaking products and I’d like to reflect on the year that has passed, looking back at some great achievements and learnings we made as a team.
What started as a single-person operation soon grew into a committed, passionate team as I started looking out for designers who could join me in my vision to create digital experiences that work seamlessly and who love working with fast-paced startups. The transition was exciting and made me nervous at the same time — mostly because it was almost my first time managing a design team! There was a lot to learn and understand, especially with a completely new culture.
We’re now a team of 5 designers working together; and Flolab wouldn’t be anything without them! Say hello to the amazing team that I couldn’t be more proud of: Nathania, Rizqi, Rafly and James.
It takes a bit of work to find “the one” in Jakarta — the right workspace, that is. There are plenty of co-working spaces in the city, and while some might work well for freelancers who are comfortable working alone, they may not necessarily work when you’re trying to build a team.
The choices were plenty, ranging from the very basic chair-and-desk arrangement to the busier, better equipped spaces. As the team grew, AND fell apart (I literally had employees leave because the office was too “quiet”, “dull” and “boring”); I realized how important it is to have a work environment where employees feel motivated enough to come to work every day.
That is when it ceases to be less about the amenities and more about the communities. An ideal space for Flolab is about having an environment that employees feel connected to. For the first couple of months, we tried multiple offices and co-working spaces until we finally moved to Block71 Jakarta — a fabulous community, kind enough to let us grab a small corner of their huge space in central Jakarta. We finally started settling down and worked our way into collaborating closely with local startups while working amongst them. Block71 is definitely our home now! :)
I had an immediate connection with Mojoreads (Log.os Social) founders Volker Oppmann and Kiran Pasavedala when they asked me to work on designing a social reading platform back in 2015. Their vision was bold — Flolab was tasked with building a reading experience that makes reading books a collaborative activity rather than just an isolated one. It sounded like just the right amount of challenge and I couldn’t wait to jump on board.
It has been more than 2 years since we have been collaborating with this brilliant team that’s based out of Germany and India; building an engaging platform for readers all over the world. We are always finding new ways to create a reading experience that users have never experienced before and yet feels familiar. Do give the website a spin here; and learn more about how Mojoreads works.
It was such a great experience working with some really sharp minds in the industry. There’s so much that we learnt from working with Meidy Fitranto and Faris Rahman who were focused on building a complex platform that would be used by data scientists to create visualizations and analytics with huge chunks of data. We needed to get up to speed quickly — there was a lot of new vocabulary and many details for us to familiarize ourselves with. However, the end result is one of our proudest accomplishment as kept the platform simple enough to use big data and distributed computing to create visualizations that are effortlessly understood and interpreted by users. We are excited to see Nodeflux grow.
We’ve had a long working relationship with Chiragh Kirpalani, Adi Vora, Jakob Rost, and the rest of the founding team at Ayopop. Towards the end of 2016 we went in to help Ayopop build a payments platform that changed the way Indonesians look at bill payments; a routine activity usually perceived as dull and mundane. Our goal is to make bill payments super accessible and easy through the touch of a button.
It’s been a gratifying experience to work with Ayopop and see the product and team grow in just a year! The engineering team at Ayopop is one of the best we’ve worked with so far, their attention to detail and eye for good design makes it all the more enjoyable to collaborate with a team that sees the value in User Experience and Interaction design. There’s still plenty to be done, but we’d love for you to download the app and give us some feedback.
Collaborating closely with J.P. Ellis, founder of CekAja was definitely one of the most rewarding and exciting projects of 2017. JP’s crystal clear vision of the financial services product was a delight to execute. We took on the task of redesigning and structuring the landing page, turning the engagement funnel upside down, to designing a completely new Sales App from scratch. The team work was seamless and we designed the end-to-end experience of the entire product gradually over a course of 3 months in small pieces and can’t wait to see the end result.
We’ve saved the best for the last. The best part of last year, I daresay even more enjoyable than the assignments, has been mentoring my team. It’s been such a journey to see them grow and turn into the wonderful designers that they are today. They’re all so talented in their own way, but it was probably the first time all of them have worked with such fast-paced startups and had direct interaction with the clients. It was a proud moment to see them find their voices — talk to clients themselves and explain their design process. Communication is a key skill for any designer, and I encourage everybody in my team to express what they feel while working on any product. It is also super important for all designers to face their fears, interact closely with clients and users, and ask more questions.
2017 was a whirlwind year, and I’m really excited to see Flolab grow even more in 2018! Some of the stuff that’s already lined up for this year:
- A new product called TanamDuit is in the works for the Indonesian market to learn about and invest in Mutual Funds
- A brand new mobile experience for Mojoreads
- Designing & defining key strategic features for Ayopop that will help increase user engagement
- More growth, more maturity and more partnerships
Thank you for reading!
UX Director at Studio Flolab
If you’re looking to build a mobile app or website, or just want to talk about design, reach out to us to have a chat.