Egor Gilyov: “Everything that you wanted to know about Turbomilk, but were embarrassed to ask”

    Brave turbomilker reveals secrets
    Yegor Gilyov ( yegorg ) - Director of TurboMilk Visual Interface Design Studio . How did it happen that a company with a strange name appeared in central Russia that draws icons for customers around the world? In an interview, Yegor reveals the secrets of organizing the work of the studio.

    Why do you deal with icons and interfaces? After all, you all started as website designers?

    Icons are easier to deal with in isolation from other stages of development. And this work is better appreciated. Having realized the difficulties of developing turnkey solutions (for example, full-fledged sites with an engine and support), we selected the most pleasant of all outsourcing niches. Well, interfaces are a natural growth path from this niche.

    A website developer is often forced to work with non-professional clients. And we, as outsourcers, often communicate with professionals. We have three large customer groups: design studios, software developers, and usability professionals. Communicating with these people is usually easier than with an average client who just needs a website.

    Do you have Russian customers?

    Yes. 30% of our customers are in Russia, 40% speak Russian.

    What is the difference between working with foreign customers and working with Russian (except for the language barrier)?

    All clients are very different, and it’s difficult to single out any national features here. Unless ... a slightly different attitude to the documents. In Russia, they either agree simply in words, or they write agreements on 50 sheets, 10 times double-checked by lawyers. It’s easier abroad: they roll a piece of paper on their knees and consider this an official document.

    Do you provide the customer with several design options (several options for one icon, several options for one interface screen) to choose from?

    Generally not. We consider this a vicious practice. We make one option, trying to fully embody our idea of ​​the correct solution to this problem. Then we refine according to the comments. If necessary - completely redo.

    Are you testing the interfaces you are designing? If so, how? Who is testing (you or the customer)?

    If you mean usability testing, then only in cases where we work together with usability experts . They are testing. Sometimes they test a prototype before the start of our work, sometimes a finished product.

    How is the division of labor on the project ?

    We have a small team. And, although we do our best to ensure that our customers do not perceive the team as a fire department, sometimes we try to meet the challenges and solve ASAP tasks. And for this we have to be interchangeable.

    How is specialization taken into account when assigning tasks to a project? Do you have technical designers or illustrators in your team? Does it positively or negatively affect the result?

    There is a great technical designer - Olesya. There is a crazy illustrator - Eugene. Of course, specialization is taken into account, as without it. Can this negatively affect the result? Interchangeability, which I mentioned above, can negatively affect.

    Setting tasks from the client and agreeing on the scope of work and deadlines - how do you do it?

    First, we estimate the time (in hours) needed to complete the work. According to the experience of previous projects (we have been trying for several years to keep a continuous record of working time). The price and the deadline (taking into account the load on other projects) come out of an estimate of time by itself.

    Question about the analysis of the task. For example, about the icons. If you are told: “we want 25 icons,” and they give a list of what they are for — do you analyze the need for icons, do you offer more options, can you generally offer to review the set of actions?

    Such an analysis of the problem is possible with a long-familiar client with whom we understand each other well. In such cases - yes, it happens, we make our proposals. But if just a person came from the street and ordered 25 icons, we draw without talking.

    What stages do you divide the work on the project into?

    Depends on the project. For icons:
    • selection of metaphors and development of visual language (sketches);
    • style development by the example of several icons;
    • rendering of the entire set;
    • output file generation.

    How does work planning work?

    Not very formal yet. We are moving towards a better organization with TimeLog .

    Here is an example of a plan agreed with the client:

    Icon drawing work plan

    Simple, no hassle. This customer is a rare exception. He treats his milestone as responsibly as he does ours, and is very worried when he cannot provide feedback on time.

    How is quality control performed?

    We have a special person for this - Dmitry Zhukov. Without his approval, not a single pixel is shown to the client. And he is absolutely deaf to the pleas “but Dima, because the client has been waiting for a long time, let's show it now, and then we will finalize it!”

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