Meet Jasper, Product Designer at Gidsy!

Happy Friday, everyone! We hope you had a great week, and are gearing up for an adventure-filled weekend. 

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jasper - he’s a Product Designer and one of the newest additions to the Gidsy team. Keep reading to learn all about Jasper, his background in Interaction Design & his annual (epic) cycling trips….

Hey, how are you?!
Fine! Great, thanks. Still recovering from my landing here in Berlin, but really good. 

Ok, so tell us a bit about your background, and how you ended up in Berlin!
Well, I grew up in a little town called Zaltbommel, in the middle of the Netherlands. I always wanted to go study in Amsterdam, mainly because I thought it was the most interesting city and the most international - my mother also lived there when she was studying, so I had a bit of background. I found a really interesting program, Communication and Multimedia Design - the same program as Floris - and so Amsterdam it was! I’m in my final year now, working on my graduation internship, which is why I’m in Berlin. 

The last time I was in Berlin, I came on a cycling trip with my father. We took a train from Amsterdam to Berlin during a heat wave, and half an hour into the trip the air conditioning on the train broke! Haha. But we cycled from Berlin all the way back to the Netherlands, it was a trip of about 900kms. I do a trip like this every year with my father, we pick a destination and bike back to the Netherlands together. The tradition started when I was really young, but it sort of faded away when I was in high school. We picked it back up when I moved to Amsterdam.

I have visited Berlin a few times with my family, and got to know the city a bit better when I did the bike trip. After that I really wanted to live here. Also, my father worked on a Dutch windmill in the South around the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall. He would always tell me great stories about Berlin, and it got me very interested in the background of the city. 

Tell us about your role at Gidsy.
Its my job to make the existing user experience on Gidsy even better. It’s all about functionality and usability and interaction design. And, since it’s such a small team, even as a designer I’m also asked to work it out as a front-end developer. I work on designing functionality and solving user problems, and trying to translate that into a working design.

What’s your favourite thing about working at Gidsy?
This will be kind of a cheesy answer, but I think it’s working closely with such a small team. It’s been really fun so far. It’s just an informal environment and you can work really close together. For me, as a product designer, it’s a great way to get a different point of view on the problems that I need to solve - sometimes that can be the hardest thing. Especially if you’re a power user or an experienced user, you need to make the solutions you design as simple as possible, and it can be quite challenging. Anyways, I would say the team is my favourite thing about Gidsy.  

What’s your favourite Gidsy event you’ve attended so far?
Well, I’ve visited two so far and really liked both: the Ice Skating Workshop and Wine Tasting event. At the skating event, the host Sergej was a really nice guy and knew a lot about skating. He would encourage you to try for yourself and give great tips about your technique, was really patient with us and was a really cool guy. We had a nice talk after, some Glühwein, talked about our work. It was nice.

The wine tasting event was organized by a brother and sister from Hungary. They were also very passionate. The activity was “officially” supposed to be two hours long, so we started at 6 at night, and I went home at 1 am - so it was a good time. I think I had the wrong image in my head about wine, and they provided excellent wine choices which I really liked and opened up a whole new perspective about wine for me. Though, I really craved a beer afterwards! 

You’re new to the city, but what’s your favourite thing about Berlin so far? 
Well, that would be something I had experienced in the summer (because I really don’t like the cold), but I really like the vastness and wideness of the city. Also, the vegetation - there are some really great places with a lot of parks and trees everywhere, which is the opposite of Amsterdam. It’s really big and open, lots of breathing space. Apart from that I really like the fact that you can eat out easily. I don’t know if it’s the influence of the team, but I’ve never eaten so many different foods in my life!

What are some of your hobbies? You mentioned cycling, but what other types of things do you like to do?
Yeah, cycling is something I really enjoy, but I’m not a professional or anything - I brought an old Italian racing bike with me. It’s got slick tires, though, so I can’t take it out yet because of the weather. That’s something I’m really looking forward to. I’m a bit ashamed because I don’t know how to fix up my bike, so that’s something I’d really love to learn about. 

Also, I’ve recently gotten into reading - I just finished the George Orwell books, Animal Farm and 1984. I’m really happy I bought them. I want to start the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy, and there are lots of Interaction Design books that I’m really into. 

When did you start getting into Interaction Design?
It really took off with my study, obviously, but even before that I had done some web design work. It really changed my perception of how to design things, it was very eyeopening. Mostly I say it’s a bad thing when you ask people what they study, and they answer “Yeah, it’s a really broad study”. But Communication and Multimedia Design is also a really broad study that all revolves around one thing: designing for the user on an interactive platform. So it’s not “broad” in a negative sense. I definitely want to pursue Interaction Design as a career. 

I really like small details, and get very annoyed when things go wrong, and I think that my main draw to IxD was a combination of these things. 

What’s an event that you’d love to see up on Gidsy?
Well, I’d love to learn how to fix my bike - that’s a good one! I’d also love to see a workshop about beer - the different types, a tasting workshop. I’m really interested in learning about what makes the difference in all the types of beers. 

Last question: what are you reading right now? 
It’s a book that I had to read for school, called About Face 3 - about Interaction Design. I really liked it, but we only read a few chapters, so I want to get a lot deeper into that.