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Getting to know Alex Fedorov and Dave Romero


Weaving together lessons we’ve learned from our hobbies and passions to improve our work creates a special kind of happiness. We become more authentic as we close the gap between who we are at work and who we are outside of work. A few members of our team wanted to share how their interests have influenced their day-to-day work and give more color to who they are as people.

Alex Fedorov and Dave Romero are the dynamic duo at Fresh Tilled Soil. Their passions lay in craft beer, music, and designing web applications (including one that handles the office lunch order). The two stumbled on an article about user onboarding (first time user experiences) and suddenly they knew how all of their interests were related. Whether you’re trying a new beer, playing or listening to new music, or using a new web application, there’s a certain amount of information you need to have a good experience and come back for more.

Dave Romero (left) and Alex Fedorov (right) play chess and enjoy a few beers.
Dave Romero (left) and Alex Fedorov (right) play chess and enjoy a few beers.

“People often design for the ideal state,” explains Fedorov. “They forget about a time when there is no data or very little data.” The ideal state is where the magic happens, when your user has come to grips with the application or product. They come back often and get what they want or need from it each time they use it. When there is no or little data to begin with, how do you ensure that the user is going to find the application useful? Or in the case of trying a new beer, giving the taster information on the ingredients, brewery, style of beer, and type of glassware to use allows them to get the most out of their experience.

“So many web applications can get people to give them their email and try it out, but if they don’t understand exactly what they are doing then they’ll leave.” The importance of onboarding is clear, but the question then turns to where in the design process we begin considering the first-time user experience. As the two discussed, it could be at the beginning or the end, though their research is making them lean more toward the end. “You get to know the features really well over the course of a six-month engagement with a client. You know everything they can do, and you can create a blank slate or blank template for the first-time more intelligently.”

Alex Fedorov is the co-founder and chief experience officer at Fresh Tilled Soil. Dave Romero is a lead developer. Together they enjoy craft beer, beer tasting, and manage the occasional Friday beer run for the team. Dave would also like to take this opportunity to highlight the time Alex grabbed his steering wheel, so that the world knows of his crimes.

Check out some of Alex’s most recent blog post articles on how we prototype and how drawing and design thinking can spark new ideas.

Author Chris Wilcox

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