Metova Spotlight: Manuel Velazquez, Senior UI UX Designer

We’ve had some insightful and interesting interviews with Metova Developers (to see them all, Click HERE) and thought “Hey, what about all of the other amazing folks working behind the scenes at Metova?” 

In light of this, we present our first of many Metova Spotlights. We have the honor of learning more about Manuel Velazquez, Senior UI UX Designer at Metova, to hear about his hometown of Guadalajara, his perspective on design, as well as his leatherwork projects.

It’s been quite a year for the world. What are some changes to your life and activities you have made in the past 8 months?
Well, with the lockdown and self isolation, social life and some hobbies have been reduced or even checked off of the list, like going to the movies, “partying” with my friends over zoom and you know all those activities. Yet this is not something that has had real impact other than the fact that I am not able to hug even my inner circle – that is something that has been tough. Despite all of that, I have been able to read a bit more, and watch movies in bed with a comfortable budget bucket of popcorn.

Do you have any overall feelings on design that influence your approach on projects?
Overall my approach is to think “what if I would be using this? what would I, as a user, like to see or would like to face? Trying to be the user is what drives the way I design projects, this along with watching all the design trends and inspiration that I may find, knowing the capabilities and the restrictions of any OS, how much effort will it take to implement, and other important factors.

What types of development projects are you working on?
At this very moment, I’m working on my WordPress skills trying to reconnect with my knowledge on the platform, I know, I know, eww WordPress, sorry to all devs. I am looking forward to implementing the best of these abilities on a new Metova website design.

Are there any unique foods in Guadalajara that you would recommend someone try?
Torta Ahogada is a must, there is no other place in Mexico, that you can get them, that is a fact. The bread, called “birote” is not the same in any other place, because of the city height above the sea… or so says the legend.

How do you get around in Guadalajara?
Guadalajara is not like a big big city, but is not that small too. Downtown you can walk all over, or maybe travel to some close-by areas by bike, but sadly got to say that I move myself by car as I go from north to south almost all the time.

You make sushi – What is an example of a specialty roll or dish you make?
I like eating the fried ones, but haven’t mastered that specialty, so basic rice rolls with salmon and shrimp with cream cheese, avocado, cucumber and various toppings.  I would say that the key is how the rice is done.

What are some of your top favorite  movies – or movies you recommend people see?
2 of my favorites are from Lars Von Trier, called Dancer in the dark and Dogville, and there’s another one called “Noviembre”  by Achero Mañas made in 2003. (Note: here is the IMDB link)

You also do leatherwork and design. What sort of items are you creating?
I do bags, handbags, and some wallets. This is a recent thing so designing and trying it’s a thing that has kept me busy, the business has dropped over the pandemic.

What is unique about the materials and process you use in the production of your leather goods and handbags? It is really interesting to see and work with the leather because of the variants, not all pieces are similar, and you can try and design different things, but each final product is unique. And, if you know how to work it, the results are brilliant.

Are there any parallels in working with leather and designing a website or mobile app?
The process of creating leathercrafts definitely has similarities with the process of designing even a digital product. Generate ideas based on needs and trends with a user-centered design and experience. These are concepts I’ve used on more than one occasion: comfort of the straps, how heavy the product is, how rigid it is, how easy to take things out of the bag, and many considerations, all of which have to be taken into consideration to deliver a product that actually works.

Once COVID-19 is no longer a threat, where in the world would you like to visit?
The whole world would be the right answer haha but, I still haven’t gone to Europe. I’d like to go to Morocco, Korea, Japan and South America, but the very first, I’d say I want go to the beach, and Punta Cana was calling me for the first months when the pandemic started, and my body is in need of some sun.

Have you visited Metova’s U.S. offices?
I have not, I went to San Diego twice to meet the design and strategy team, but I am willing to meet the U.S. offices anytime once the pandemic is over.

Mac or PC?

Android or iPhone?

Alexa or Google Assistant?

What emerging technology are you excited about becoming mainstream in the next 10 years?
Voice assistants, IoT and AI are all things I want to see evolve.