We talked to Tatiana Yudina of UI Bakery about product development during the pandemic.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Tatiana Yudina: Well, it could be worse. Starting from March 2020, our company switched to a remote working model. Now, some of us work at the office while others prefer working remotely on a regular basis.
What concerns my family and me personally, we try to stay on self-isolation when possible, not to put our well-being at unnecessary risk.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined UI Bakery.
Tatiana Yudina: I’ve been working in IT since my university years and have experience in product development and software development services both for web and mobile.
All in all, I have 6+ years in business analysis, 4+ years in project management, 3+ years in product development, usability, and user experience. Right now, I’m a Product Manager at UI Bakery and a Lead Business Analyst at Akveo, the founder of UI Bakery. I’ve been managing UI Bakery from the day of its birth, and I’m responsible for the product and its development strategy.
Besides working in IT, I’m a practicing psychologist, which allows me to understand clients’ needs and pains better and build strong relationships with customers faster.
How does UI Bakery innovate?
Tatiana Yudina: We use the GIST framework to prioritize ideas, and I find this method very effective. When one of us bursts into the office with some “world-changing idea,” the GIST approach is what helps us get down to earth and think rationally.
For ideas validation, we adhere to the lean-approach. Firstly, we create a solution with minimum functionality to check whether our users will want to use it. The main challenge here is to find time to implement some especially complex ideas. Once we see the demand for a solution, we start building a prototype and test it thoroughly when it’s ready. Due to the tests, there may be delays in the functionality delivery; however, the solution is flawless in the end.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Tatiana Yudina: Since enterprises have cut their innovative development department, the number of our clients developing MVPs and web apps have greatly reduced.
On the other hand, a lot of SMBs have started to look for low-code and no-code development tools that could help them decrease time to market and reduce the amount of manual effort. They need the solutions that will allow them to get the products they need without hiring mature developers.
Such app-building tools as UI Bakery are tailored to solve these and similar challenges, and you don’t need to have strong development skills to start using them. A low-code approach is suitable for product designers, solution architects, and even non-tech individuals. The companies and persons looking for such solutions have become our clients, and their number is rising every month.
There’s also a growing demand for UI Bakery coming from freelancers and developers working for outsourcing companies. They’re searching for tools for accelerating the development process; for example, backend developers need front-end development platforms.
To help people with different backgrounds get familiar with low-code and no-code web app development, we’ve started to hold regular webinars. More than 2,000 people – from non-tech people and developers to CEOs – have already participated in them.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Tatiana Yudina: Not so long ago, when we were planning to release a major feature, I decided to announce it in advance. Unfortunately, its release took us 3 times longer than we’d expected. A lot of annoyed and disappointed clients left since they didn’t want to wait anymore.
We’re now trying to stay transparent to our customers and use a public roadmap to achieve it. If we spend too much time polishing the upcoming features that have already been announced, we offer UI Bakery users to become early adopters. This makes our clients much more loyal.
Where are you directing UI Bakery right now, and what plans do you have for the future?
Tatiana Yudina: According to our roadmap, here’s what we’re going to implement in the near future:
· Reusable components – to allow our clients to create custom widgets and components and use them throughout their UI Bakery projects.
· More integrations – to allow for integrations with such popular backends as Firebase, Airtable, etc.
· PWA – to give users the possibility to convert a web app they build in UI Bakery into a progressive web app (PWA).
· Teamwork – to enable simultaneous work of several users on one and the same project without interrupting one another’s actions.
Also, we’re searching for our product-market fit right now. Once we find it, we’ll start expanding our audience, heading for the new markets, etc.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Tatiana Yudina: Currently, our main competitors are companies that build no- and low-code web app development tools like Bubble, Retool, Wavemaker, AppGyver, and others.
Our strategy is to use the feedback we regularly collect from our current and potential users to improve UI Bakery according to their real needs. The most challenging thing here is to motivate the users to find time to provide us with this feedback.
Your final thoughts?
Tatiana Yudina: As they say: “We have to work not 12 hours, and head.” I totally agree with it.
I believe that you don’t need to work for the whole day – better work less but stay productive! And don’t forget to ask yourself from time to time: “What can I do now to change the situation for the better?”