As Senior UX Designer at Travian Games, Miguel Angel Lonzano faces the challenge of reducing and simplifying UI and interaction patterns as much as possible – without having much impact on core users, but making it easyer for new ones. In today’s #EmployeeExperience, he tells us what pleases him about this task. If you want to know, why Miguel considers himself lucky, working with Travian and what amenities the company provides for their staff, read on…
Games-Career: Please, introduce yourself shortly and tell us which department you are working in.
Miguel: Hello! My name is Miguel Angel Lozano. I’m 37 years old, and I work at Travian Games in Munich as a Senior UX Designer working on Travian: Legends.
Games-Career: Since when have you been working with Travian and how can your position be described?
Miguel: I joined Travian Games in the beginning of June 2017, so it’s only been about 8 months so far. I am responsible of the UX and UI design at Travian: Legends and work in collaboration with the UI Artist, Design Team and DEV team in order to deliver user friendly interfaces and improve User experience.
Games-Career: How and what were your first week’s experiences at Travian?
Miguel: People were very welcoming. I quickly saw this was more than a company, it was a family. I got all the support I needed from my managers and colleagues. Never felt too much pressure. They gave me time to learn about the game and adapt to Travian’s workflow. So everything went smoothly. It couldn’t be easier.
Games-Career: How have you been supported with onboarding at Travian?
Miguel: Lucky me, I was coming from Hamburg, so all the paper work when moving to a new country was done. Still, Travian Games helped me with finding a new apartment. A Relocation Agency visited a bunch of apartments of my choice, discussed the details with the landlord and got an agreement on my behalf. They translated the contract into English, picked up the keys and delivered them to me, once I got to Munich. Easy and smooth.
Travian Games let me choose and provided all the tools and software I needed: you want a Mac, you get a Mac, you want a Windows PC, then you get a get a Windows PC, laptop or desktop… it is your choice. Travian Games wants their employees to feel happy. Managers do their best. I can confirm that.
On my first day we had what we call “Happy Hour” which is our monthly event in the company. Employees are the ones in charge of setting everything up: topic, music, food, drinks, etc… Travian Games wants this event to be an event made by employees for employees. An I can tell you, it is becoming harder and harder to reach expectations! We had great events! Something I haven’t seen before in any other company. Really cool stuff.
Games-Career: What do you particularly like about your new position?
Miguel: As in any other project I worked before, I always try to reduce and simplify the UI and interaction patterns as much as I can – keeping the UI accessible not only for experienced users but also easy to interact with and easy to understand for new users. However, Travian: Legends has a lot of depth and achieving this is harder than ever.
Travian: Legends is the most complex game I have worked on so far. This is challenging and exciting. This is the main reason why I joined Travian Games: I was looking for a true challenge. Challenges encourage me to become a better professional. I don’t like easy things. I am not the kind of person who stays in his comfort zone for a long time. I think Travian: Legends offers me that challenge. That’s why I am here.
And on top of that, this is the first time I work on a project where there is a loyal and hardcore community of players who give us direct feedback about their experience playing Travian: Legends. This is so exciting! I love this part. It makes me feel being part of something bigger. Something alive.
Games-Career: How did you get to your current position and which career steps have you taken so far?
Miguel: I left Spain 8 years ago and moved to England. After 6 years I came to Germany, stayed for one year in Hamburg and moved to Munich to join Travian Games just 8 months ago.
During the last 15 years, I fulfilled a large variety of roles, such as Game Designer, 2D Artist and Lead, UI Artist/Designer and UX Designer. I have also produced and developed two projects on my own. Here at Travian Games, I am a Senior UX Designer working on Travian: Legends.
It hasn’t been an easy journey. 3 countries. 4 cities. A lot of hard work and learning every day to become a better professional. I never get satisfied with the first outcome and always try to come up with better solutions to all my professional. This is sometimes risky. You can become a little bit obsessed, but it is very rewarding when you get things done and work.
There were many sweet moments during my career which I remember with a smile “drawn” on my face; but also, there were a few difficult moments when I thought about moving to a different industry. Games industry is very competitive and demanding, ironically this competition is what makes this industry be so exciting and creative; this keeps me going looking for the new challenge and new professionals to work and learn from.
Games-Career: Do you have any advice you would like to impart to potential applicants?
Miguel: Travian Games is a family. It is a place to enjoy working and make friends. Portfolios and CVs are important but skills and knowledge can be acquired; ultimately, you as an individual is what matters the most.
Be open minded, listen to critics, be social, proactive, participative. You will have more chances to make your dream true with a positive attitude than with just knowledge and experience. Just a little advice.
Games-Career: Since your career entry has been accomplished, which further plans concerning your occupational advancement at Travian do you have?
Miguel: I still have a lot to accomplish in my current project. I am working hard on how to improve the UX Architecture without having much impact on our core users but making the interface more accessible and easy to understand for new users. In addition to that, we are redesigning some features and implementing new ones. This is a long-term goal and keeps me pretty busy already.
Thank you, Miguel, for the interview and good luck with this challenge!