My name is Dima and my story begins somewhere around the age of 15. I remember I was in the 9th grade and I had a lot of pressure from my ex-Soviet parents to study hard at school. They were trying to push me towards an advanced class and a career as an engineer. Well, It didn’t really align with what I wanted, and as part of my teenage rebellion, I instead announced that I wanted to be a designer. After a short giggle, they immediately said: “you can’t be a designer, you don’t know how to draw, you don’t understand colors, it’s impossible.” Their resistance to my idea only pushed and motivated me even more. I found an 80-year-old painting teacher that taught me classic painting. I learned how to work with colors, what composition is, how to communicate ideas, and much more. I downloaded my first hacked Adobe Photoshop (it was the 7.0 version if I recall correctly) and started teaching myself how to design websites. I was horrible at it but I didn’t know that, so it didn’t matter to 15-year-old me. But all that is water under the bridge. Since then, I’ve developed and learned a lot, eventually graduating with a degree in Visual Communication from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, and launching a career in product design. Today, designing, and especially user experience, is in my blood.
Design as a lifespan
Everything I do today involves design in some way or another. As a designer, I draw inspiration and learn from the world around me. For instance, a year ago, I moved to a new apartment together with my wife. The kitchen in this apartment didn’t have a lot of storage space. Actually, there were only 4 drawers that we could use, so we had to decide in which drawer to put our cutlery and in which one our dishware. I saw that as an opportunity for some self-imposed user research. I led my wife and me through a process that culminated in the decision that we use glasses more often than forks and knives, and so we should put them in the first drawer, even though we both grew up in households where cutlery was in the first drawer (and we had grown used to this idea). After a year, I can say that I still go to the first drawer for cutlery, even though it’s in the second drawer. I’ve learned a lot about the power of habit and how users sometimes find it hard when experiences they are used to are not as they expect them to be, even when the designed experience has the right rationale behind it.
For the past couple of years after and in parallel with design school, I’ve worked and collaborated with many talented people on very interesting projects. These projects range from a tool that was built and designed to help disadvantaged people to report institutional racist behavior, to a website that created a database of NGOs - a first-of-its-kind this platform that allows the public to receive a brighter and wider picture of NGOs and nonprofit organizations. Currently, I am the lead designer at Zencity, leading all design related matters and working to bridge the gap between end users and high-flying tech products. At Zencity, I’ve had the opportunity to lead all design aspects for the company from the ground-up, from designing the product itself to branding the company, which has allowed me to flex all of my design muscles. One of my chief successes has been in designing technology solutions for an audience that doesn’t traditionally turn to technology for solutions - local government.
As I’ve already mentioned, I have experience in managing projects from initial consultation through their successful launch, and have a proven ability to handle various projects at the same time and complete them by a given deadline. As a detail-oriented individual with a passion for perfection, I am adept at listening to the client’s needs and analyzing and implementing the best-designed solution.
Apart from this, I have strong opinions of equitable access to information and technology, and I endeavor to be active on this issue. One of the notable projects that I’m very proud of is entitled “I Agree.” “I Agree,” has been featured worldwide in museums, exhibitions, on various media platforms, and more. In this infographic project, I took the text of the consent agreements or “terms of service” of the leading online platforms that we use on a daily basis, for example, Instagram, Twitter, and so forth, and printed them on enormous scrolls. I never thought that something I made would resonate with so many people worldwide, let alone receive the coverage and acknowledgment it has all around the world.
Putting business aside, I love swimming, photography, books, and old school hip-hop.