Knomi is a high-end fashion discovery platform focusing on bridging the gap between e-commerce and brick and mortar boutiques.
My role as designer has comprised designing the complete Knomi user experience. In addition to making sure all design is first class, my core responsibility is to understand Knomi’s target audiences, business goals and to manage the developer team in order to guarantee the quality of the final product.
Knomi is not only my single most significant reference, but my time at Knomi has elevated my skills to a level where I can now proudly call myself a designer.
Edward has had the sole responsibility for the entire design process at KNOMI. His creative input, hard work and commitment as well as his healthy dose of scepticism has been invaluable and he has constantly delivered above expectations, and on time.
Co-Founder of KNOMI
Knomi three years ago was vastly different than it is today. In the summer of ’13 I was taken on an internship in order to design the UI of the app, develop a webpage and develop a visual identity, including a logo.
Knomi was initially a customer management platform for high-end boutiques which allowed store associates to recognise customers on walk-in and display useful information about them as they served them.
I created a full brand identity for our B2B operations, including all UI design for both our iPad and iPhone applications. In addition to this, I created social media graphics, email templates and business cards.
Knomi matured and saw that the only way to create a service relevant for enough customers, is to create an ecosystem first, having us focusing our efforts 100% on a customer application.
User research and interviews
In a true startup manner, we dove into development with too little true understanding of our customers’ needs. Learning from this, we conducted tens of user interview sessions, with the intention of trying to learn as much as possible about Londoners’ fashion consumption habits. I’ve truly come to appreciate the amount of insights one is able to gain by talking to people who should use a service. Reading the book “The mom test” proved to be a life saver for gathering insights.
Having decided to target our product to the demanding high-end fashionistas, we collaborated with London-based branding agency Foxall in order to develop a provocative, yet stylish and fun brand identity.
Knomi set out to conquer the challenging and saturated fashion-app market, which we knew could only succeed if the app featured stellar design.
I conceptualised, prototyped and designed countless iterations of designs in order to come up with a common design language for all views inside the app, working perfectly in line with KNOMI’s other online- and offline presence.
On requirement for Knomi’s design language was that it should be fun and easily approachable. No better way to achieve this than to design custom icons to be used in the app.
As the basic functionality became clear and the marriage between function and visuals grew stronger, we thought relentlessly about how to solve several design problems in better ways as competitors do. I learned to use Facebook’s Origami, Framer JS, Invision in order to prototype everything from extremely low fidelty ideas to concepts where animation easing and timing would become crucial factors.
The biggest bottleneck for progress was development speed, thus I did my outmost to provide as clear and well thought-out concepts as possible to the developers in order to minimise their efforts once development was to start. That said, developers were always included in ideation from day 1. Coming from a web-development background where I could control the whole process from design to implementation, I still feel design should never be done separate from development.
How do you communicate your vision as a designer to the developers, and make sure that the quality of the final product is sufficient enough? This is the no.1 question I have been struggling with during my three years at Knomi. Our developers are under constant pressure and do not have the extra resources to be part of low-level brainstorming and thus trying to gain their input where needed became a challenge in its own. Furthermore, once the concept is finalised and the perfect design is ready, how are all the smallest details in terms of animations or different states conveyed?
I have noticed that I’m a people-person by heart. I thrive in the company of talented people and I love to involve everyone in a team towards a common goal. This is the main area I want to develop in from now on, I want to combine my skills in design and apply an empathetic approach to create a true multiplier effect among team members.
In early 2015 I had an aha-moment. I realised that most design I would’ve characterised as stunning was created with the intention of impressing other designers, not solving real problems. I strive to do my outmost in order to not fall into the trap of defining good design as something else than the best solution to real users’ problems. My three years at Knomi have made me grow into a designer, next I want to become better at truly helping people through good design.