Let’s focus on what people are trying to do, instead of giving them more than they can chew.
Hey, I’m Stjepan – a designer, psychologist and HTML/CSS developer based in the Netherlands.
Computers are great at dealing with a lot, at once. People are not, no matter how hard we try. We can deal with a lot, but not at once. We thrive when we focus.
I design software people use at work because I want them to focus, feel confident, and gain progress in their day. I try to put myself in other people’s shoes — like an actor preparing for a role — to understand what’s in it for them. Who wants to do what? Why are they doing it? When and where do they struggle? I try to answer these questions to understand how software can serve people better. Because jobs they do are hard enough — using software shouldn’t be.
I work at Stayntouch, where I lead design of software that hotels use to run their business. Hundreds of hoteliers that use it daily say it’s the easiest system they've ever used.
Before that, I gained experience at Multilink, a web agency from my home town in Croatia, and freelanced on the side to expand my horizons — and my wallet.
Early in my career, I worked on any project I could get my hands on. I wanted to expand my horizons and make money. I’ve designed hundreds of websites, from mom-and-pop shops to government agencies to corporations. I even designed a website that compared prices of toilet paper — "Mister Bum".
A few of these websites were great, and many were “meh”. I checked how many are online today, and 9 out of 10 are gone. My work is replaced with a trendier version, or the company went bust. This made me realise how fleeting the work we do is. Maybe we shouldn’t take ourselves so seriously?
I’m calm & collected
I’m a laid-back slow thinker. I listen, learn, and bake in a few principles into my work:
It's not about you.
Design for progress in people's lives. Work so others around you can make progress.
Reassure people, every step of the way, that they’ve got this. Trust your gut.
Allow focus to happen.
Place the burden of complexity on computers, not people. Focus on what’s now, not what might be later.
Context is everything.
Make software for context in which work happens. Embrace the context in which you design.
Someone instead of something.
People buy a house and turn it into a home. Design for how it feels, not how it moves the needle.
Software ≠ features
Cook with the wrong ingredients, or use too much spice, and you'll ruin the meal. Focus on features, and you'll miss the opportunity to make software that serves people better.
Thoughts, shallow and deep
I learned to write letters when I was six or seven. I realised I’m not good at writing when I was 37. That was last year, and I’m doing something about it.
It’s an emotional rollercoaster that made me question every assumption I had about myself.
It's one of the hardest thing I've ever done.
For now, I’m enjoying the ride offline.
But wait, where's your work?
On it's way, it'll be here soon.