Yury leads a team comprising UX and visual designers at one of the largest Russian Internet companies, Mail.Ru Group. His team works on communications, content-centric, and mobile products, as well as cross-portal user experiences. Both Yury and his team are doing a lot to grow their professional community in Russia.
I've been following the idea of algorithm-driven design for several years now and have collected some practical examples. The tools of the approach can help us to construct a UI, prepare assets and content, and personalize the user experience. The information, though, has always been scarce and hasn't been systematic.
However, in 2016, the technological foundations of these tools became easily accessible, and the design community got interested in algorithms, neural networks and artificial intelligence (AI). Now is the time to rethink the modern role of the designer.
In the first part of the case study about Mail.Ru Group product design unification, I described our first approach — a mobile web framework. Aside from creating a unified visual style and interaction principles for a dozen services, we've also transformed our design process from the classic "prototype → design mock-up → HTML → implementation" approach for every screen, to a modern and more efficient framework-based approach.
In this second part I'll show how we have improved the same technology to embody larger versions of these products and made our "Bootstrap on steroids" more powerful. In the spring of 2012, our business unit acquired 11 content-based projects: Auto, Events Guide, Health, Horoscopes, Kids, Lady, Moto, News, Sports, TV, and Weather. Many of them are very successful in their market niche in Russia; however, they each have their own history, often with outsourced designs that led to inconsistencies.
Big companies are always trying to simplify the support and development of their large product portfolios. Mail.Ru Group (one of the two largest Internet companies in Russia, with more than 100 million monthly users), has about 40 products — even more if you add mobile and tablet websites and apps, promo websites, etc. My team deals with almost half of them — that’s about 100 ongoing projects at different stages. Our goal is to update these products and unify them around several guidelines.
This article will discuss the transformation of our design process from the classic Prototype → Design Mockup → HTML → Implement approach for every screen to a modern and more efficient framework-based approach.