How Lviv Designer Made the Entire World Play His Childhood Games

Ukrzen.in.ua is Mykhailo Holoborodko’s development. Users from over one hundred countries liked it. How the guy managed to achieve such a success – in our interview.

How did you manage to create doing your main work?

I was organizing “Ukrzen” before and after work. Sometimes I was working during my lunch break. I came to a coffee house with my laptop, and while they were preparing my order, I was doing some part of my idea. Or before the start of my working day, having a cup of coffee, I was writing something in a café. Actually, the idea of the first part of “Ukrzen” originated there. During the conversation at a bar counter “Magical Ball” occurred to me.

"Ask a question and click here"

This is a site where you can get an answer to any question.

We did something similar during our childhood, we took a round toy and span it in the hands, waiting for the random answer it stopped at. My project is its virtual analogy. So, I started to put into life my childhood games. I wanted “Ukrzen” sites to be nice, laconic, and simple in usage. The project included “Magical Ball”, “By Hryvnia’s Tracks”, “Book Fortunetelling”, “Text Embroidery” and some others.

In overall, I tried to work on enthusiasm. Although, sometimes perfectionism delayed posting the sites for months.

Process of development

I incorporated some tasks, which I had to accomplish for “Ukrzen”, into my working routine. So, everything was going rather rapidly. At least, it seemed so.

“Sometimes I could develop one of the projects for a night.”

In such a way I created an interpreter into the language R2D2. At that time a new episode of “Star Wars” was presented.

Sometimes working on some of the sites was taking a month. I wrote a prototype quite fast, and then I was thinking how to finalize everything, how to make a support for mobile devices. It was taking an enormous part of time.

How did you change in the process of working on “Ukrzen”? Did you feel any satisfaction?

It was always interesting for me to create various beautiful things. For example, I was doing “Magical Ball” as an entertainment for my friends. But in a week, well-known bloggers wrote about it in social networks.

In a month over one million users visited this site.

“Sometimes my friends asked me why I need this, how I earn from it? Why do I waste my time? But it was interesting for me, so I was creating.”

During my working process I realized a lifehack – a project must be developed in stages. Not to overwork. Because when at the beginning you want to do everything and immediately, it is very easy to lose enthusiasm.

I did not announce specially anywhere that I am a developer of “Ukrzen”. But it was pleasant to hear from my friends that somebody had made “such an awesome project”. And it is interesting to observe how feedback spreads in social networks.

And the site “Text Embroidery” was even launched offline. The idea of the project is to code your name with embroidered symbols on the screen.

And as a result, at “Vernisazh” I have recently seen some works on this basis.

Where did you take inspiration for other projects of “Ukrzen”?

An idea of a literature site occurred to me on a train. To spend time on our way, my friends and me, were playing a game with questions and answers on different book pages. I thought that it would be cool to have a site with a library.

To get an answer to your question that you are interested in, with the help of the site, visit here. Choose a book, page and line, and look what fortune books tell you. An answer, as a quotation, will appear on the screen.

“In some seconds the thunder burst, so the house shook. Alberto was sitting with an absent look.
It is time to go home for me, - Sophia said. The girl stood up and ran to
the door. In the hall Hermes, who was sleeping under the coat-hanger, woke up.”

Jostein Gaarder “Sophie’s World”

Another product, a site with musical hang (a percussive device consisting of two connected metal hemispheres – Auth.), came to my mind, when I saw people playing this instrument in the street. But as far as not everybody can try it, I created the site for this. Here everybody can feel himself a musician.

And the project “By Hryvnia’s Tracks” came to my mind during my trips.

At first, I took pictures of churches, schools, museums. Then I started making photos of money notes on the background of places of interest before the anniversary of hryvnia introduction.

What are the achievements of “Ukrzen”?

I was constantly monitoring social nets to read feedback. Even big media, such as ICTV, Hromadske, Radio Svoboda, were writing about the project “By Hryvnia’s Tracks”.

The projects of “Ukrzen” were usually shared in social networks, in publics, there were sometimes up to one thousand of shares.

It was funny, when I sent my brand new site to my friends, but they had already seen it in their corporate chats.

And I consider “Magical Ball” to be my top achievement. It was used by over 90 thousand people from 110 countries in the world.

Photo by Juliya Low 

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