Humanist designer.
Code tinkerer.
Grumpy bastard.

Pencil sketch of Damir at work.

Vozdra! I'm Damir. Humanist designer, code tinkerer, UX teacher, lover of remote work and travel photography hobbyist. Now, data crunching designer at Booking.com, the third biggest eCommerce site on the planet.

Follow my opinionated rants on Twitter, LinkedIn, Medium and Github.

Booking.com General Assembly Envato Minihero Creative.ai

Impact

I helped one large e-commerce site increase revenue by €42 million per year.

That's the sum of all my conversion increases, measured using A/B testing. Other boastfully remarkable achievements include increasing conversion by 40x in a single design sprint, helping launch the career of 18 design students, and — most importantly — winning the Envato Football Cup.

Design

"Making it pretty" Problem solving since 2009.

A designer is an emerging synthesis of artist, inventor, mechanic, objective economist and evolutionary strategist. R. Buckminster Fuller

I create accessible, performant and most of all effective design for a global audience at Booking.com. Previously, I worked on the search team at Envato, and taught as Lead UX instructor at General Assembly in Melbourne.

Booking.com office.
Today I design using A/B experimentation at Booking.com in Amsterdam.
Phones with screenshots of Damir's work
Snippets from my design portfolio.
A board filled with images and screenshots of apps used to inspire possibilities at the start of a project.
Mood board to inspire and map the creative space.
Envato coworkers gathered around cards we shuffled around to agree on information architecture.
Card sorting exercise to explore information architecture.
Pages from user research report printed out and pinned on wall at Envato office.
Understanding customers with qualitative user research.

Lone wolf in a land far away.

I prefer to work alone and I prefer to work remotely.

This lets me focus and get actual work done. In the age of the indie maker one person can achieve a lot when given a problem to solve, and the autonomy and support to solve it. In return I take initiative, communicate clearly with the people that depend on me, and measure the effectiveness of my work.

Most inventors and engineers I've met are like me. They're shy and they live in their heads. The very best of them are artists. And artists work best alone. Steve "The Woz" Wozniak

Design thinking facilitation.

Group problem solving, minus "group think".

A five day design sprint at Envato.

I occasionally leave the wolf's den and work in a room with other people. Co-design sessions bring out great ideas from the whole team and get to a viable solution without wasting time. More brain power can lead to better work.

Laptop with six design sprint participants and tablet used for sketching and collaboration.
Facilitating a remote design sprint with the folks at creative.ai.
Envato team colleagues watching video highlights of user research I prepared for the session.
Presenting user research at the start of a product roadmap session.
Design mockups with dots marking ideas the team agrees on.
The result of a design sprint at Envato.
First slide of presentation for Design Party with audience gathered in background.
Organising a company-wide design thinking session at Envato.
Envato employees in the middle of an idea sketching workshop.
Democratised design: Not a single "designer" in this picture.

Teaching design.

Helping 18 people with no prior experience start their UX career.

All my students found UX work after completing the course. Most notably for Telstra Digital, PwC Australia, MYOB and Monash College. Wipes proud tear.

Scenes from my time teaching design at General Assembly in Melbourne.
Design students rapidly mapping out problem space using sticky notes.
Mapping out the problem space.
Design students standing in front of screenshot printouts stuck to a blackboard.
Exploring early design direction using a collaborative mood board.
Damir giving talk in General Assembly classroom.
Setting the early foundations in Week 1.

During the course, we covered everything from the basics of design principles, all the way to rapid protoyping, facilitating design sprints and surviving toxic corporate cultures. All about my time teaching design at General Assembly.

Design as a science.

Good design isn't guesswork.

At Booking.com, I developed a comprehensive understanding of how data was used to designed a finely tuned accommodation booking machine.

The hierarchy of evidence in product design. To make good decisions you need to keep a constant flow going from down to up, but the point of it all is to reach the top of the pyramid. pic.twitter.com/pMCmyO4pK3

— Damir Kotorić (@damirkotoric) November 28, 2017

Data is important but it's just as important to be data-informed, not data-driven. Designing with data is empowering when done correctly. It has made me more precise and deliberate with my work.

Humanism

Putting humans — not technology — at the center.

The next humanist wave will lead to global automisation of labour, ownership of personal data, location independence and collaboration instead of employment.

Bucminster Fuller standing in front of one of his signature geodesic domes.
"Our new economic basis wouldn't be gold or dollars; it would be kilowatt hours." — Buckminster Fuller.
Peter Joseph speaking at podcast.
Peter Joseph putting forward the idea for a new economic system based on automation and design based on open source collaboration.
Carl Sagan smiling at a public event.
Carl Sagan understood that facts don't win, but well-told story do.
Alain De Botton giving a talk.
Alain De Botton bringing philosophical thought to the masses.
S.N. Goenka smilingly sitting cross-legged.
S.N. Goenka designed the first secular, global meditation retreat.
Jacque Fresco sitting in his dome house, looking at his miniature-sized future city.
Humanist industrial designer Jacque Fresco designing society as a whole.
Aral Balkan giving a talk.
Aral Balkan speaking out against corporate-owned personal data.

I believe that open source technology, the indie web, blockchain apps, automisation, education and mass meditation will solve a lot of problems we see in our world today. Email me if you are in this space and could use an extra pair of brains.

Inclusive design.

At Booking.com I design for a global of 140 countries, including 44 languages, with a focus on accessibility, performance and inclusiveness.

I'm happy when a person with a visual impairment can make a last-minute hotel booking using a screen reader on their phone, while on a 3G connection, in their native Bahasa Indonesia.

Projects

Instamentary

Turn any web page into an instant documentary.

Paintings of the starry night painted by a rather artistic bot.
Screenshot of Minihero website showing a sample Minihero mission in Amsterdam.

Think of Instamentary as an Audible.com but for an immersive audio-visual experience of web pages instead of books.

Botcraft

Photos crafted into iconic paintings with the power of machine learning.

Paintings of the starry night painted by a rather artistic bot.
Screenshot of Minihero website showing a sample Minihero mission in Amsterdam.

Can bots paint? Turns out they're a really talented bunch. Botcraft.io is my first project in the machine learning space.

Minihero

An open-source site connecting nearby volunteers, all around the globe.

Minihero's Batman-inspired poster with person looking over a city with a big 'M' spotlight illuminating the night sky.
Screenshot of Minihero website showing a sample Minihero mission in Amsterdam.

Minihero is an open source project I built while riding a scooter from café to coworking space in Bali. Read the story of Minihero, and why it was made.

Twipsum

A Twitter to Lorem Ipsum Generator. Just for the lolz.

Monitor showing Twipsum website and a snippet of its codebase.
Screenshot of Twipsum website showing lorem ipsum text from the satirical @Queen_UK twitter account.

I built Twipsum as a way to learn full-stack development. The story of how it was made was featured on Hackernoon.

Photography and videography.

Showreel of aerial footage recorded in Australia.

Falcon Films and Falcon Stock were two MVPs for aerial photography ventures I tried starting up in Australia. Didn't succeed, but was plenty of fun trying.

World-renowned surf destination Bells Beach, Australia.
Aerial footage recorded for Melbourne Ska Orchestra.
A warmly coloured shot of a sandy beach at sunset, with waves breaking, and cliffs on the other side.
Aerial of Jan Juc surf beach in Australia.
Close-up shot of a monkey's face with snowflakes falling in front of it.
Monkey in the snow, Japan.
Intricately detailed stone Buddha statue overlooking the surrounding forest at Borobodur.
Borobodur, Java.
Black and white photo of bicycle riders on cobblestone street in Amsterdam.
A little Henri Cartier-Bresson in Amsterdam.
Overcrowded street in Morocco's tourist capital.
The dense streets of Marrakech.
Rice farmer working on rice paddy near a small, controlled fire.
Rice field in Ubud, Bali.

If you like these photographs, check out A Photographic Journey Through Wondrous Bali and Java. Or follow me on Unsplash.

Tools

Jack of all trades, master of none being jack of all trades.

As a generalist I focus on problem solving with the least design possible. No need to reinvent the wheel when you can customise ready-made solutions.

Pen and paper are for idea dumps, Sketch and Adobe Creative Suite for visualisation. I made Botcraft, Minihero and Twipsum, and pushed code live for Alexa Top 100 websites. My broad range of skills is my greatest strength and I have no interest in limiting myself to one domain.

Writings

Ramblings on work, design, photography, society and things unrelated.

The Dawn of The Indie Maker

Minihero: An open-source site connecting nearby volunteers, all around the globe

A Photographic Journey Through Wondrous Bali and Java

Building Twipsum from idea to launch in two weeks

The ELI5 Web Developer’s Lexicon

A designer’s take on learning the basics of iOS development with Swift

Catch me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Medium, Github or email me. 👋🏼