Welcome to the first feature of our Walter Humans series in 2024, spotlighting the talented individuals shaping innovation at Walter Code.
Meet Haris Hadžić, a seasoned Software Developer who has been an integral part of the Walter Code family for seven years. Haris’s journey with us has been marked by a relentless pursuit of excellence in the realm of Virtual Reality (VR) technology, contributing significantly to our strides in VR development.
Now, let’s dive into an insightful interview with Haris, where he shares his experiences, insights, and the exciting ventures he’s been spearheading in the world of VR development.
Can you tell us more about your experience working at Walter Code?
Working at Walter Code for the past seven years has been an incredibly rewarding journey for me. The environment here fosters creativity, innovation, and personal growth, which has been crucial in shaping my career in VR technology.
I’m extremely grateful for the opportunities Walter Code has provided, allowing me to delve into the world of virtual reality, a field I might not have explored otherwise. The support and encouragement from the team have been instrumental in my development as a VR developer. I’ve had the chance to work on a variety of challenging projects, each of which has contributed to my professional growth and deepened my passion for VR technology.
The collaborative atmosphere and the constant push towards embracing cutting-edge technologies make Walter Code an exceptional place to work. I can confidently say that without Walter Code, I wouldn’t have reached the heights in VR development that I have today.
How do you balance your work and personal life, and what does your off-time look like?
Balancing work and personal life is crucial for maintaining both productivity and well-being. At Walter Code, although the work can be demanding, I’ve found ways to ensure a healthy balance. I adhere to a disciplined schedule, dedicating specific hours to work and then disconnecting to focus on personal time. This helps me stay productive during work hours and fully enjoy my off-time without work-related distractions.
In my off-time, I engage in various activities that help me unwind and rejuvenate. Additionally, spending quality time with family and friends is a top priority for me. Whether it’s a simple family dinner or a weekend getaway with friends, these moments are essential for my personal happiness and for maintaining a balanced life.
I also believe in the importance of continuous learning. So, I occasionally dedicate time to personal development, whether it’s through reading, online courses, or attending workshops. This not only contributes to my professional growth but also keeps me engaged and excited about new challenges.
Overall, I’ve found that a combination of disciplined scheduling, engaging in hobbies, spending time with loved ones, and personal development activities is key to a fulfilling work-life balance.
Without going into sensitive details, can you tell us more about the project you are currently working on and what excites you about it?
In my current role at Walter Code, I’m thrilled to be working on a pioneering VR education app specifically designed for the Swedish market. This project excites me for several reasons.
Firstly, it’s an opportunity to blend cutting-edge VR technology with educational methodologies to create an immersive learning experience. Our goal is to make learning more interactive and engaging, especially for younger audiences. By leveraging the power of VR, we can transport users into diverse environments that enhance their understanding of subjects in a way traditional methods can’t match.
Secondly, the project is focused on cultural and linguistic aspects unique to Sweden, which adds an interesting layer of complexity and relevance. We are working closely with local educators and experts to ensure that the content is not only educationally valuable but also culturally resonant.
What’s particularly exciting about this project is its potential to transform how educational content is delivered and consumed. We’re exploring interactive scenarios, gamified learning modules, and immersive storytelling, all within a VR framework. This not only makes learning more enjoyable but also increases retention and understanding.
What are some innovative features or aspects of that VR project that you find particularly exciting or cutting-edge?
Our educational VR project is distinguished by a few key innovative features that are particularly exciting and place us at the forefront of VR education technology.
360-Degree Video Integration: One of the standout features is the use of 360-degree videos for immersive education. This allows students to engage with their learning environment in a highly interactive and realistic manner. Being able to look around and feel as if they are physically present in the location provides an unparalleled depth to the learning experience.
Offline Functionality with Downloadable Content: Recognizing the importance of accessibility, we have designed the app so that videos can be downloaded from our server to the device. This is crucial because it ensures that once the content is downloaded, the device can operate offline. This feature is particularly valuable for areas with limited or unreliable internet access, making our educational content more accessible to a wider audience.
High-Quality Educational Content: The videos are not just technologically advanced but also rich in educational value. They are designed by experts to ensure that they are not only engaging but also convey the educational material effectively and memorably.
User-Friendly Interface for Easy Navigation: We have put a lot of thought into the user interface to ensure that it is intuitive and user-friendly. This allows students of all ages and teachers to easily navigate through the content, download videos, and use the app with minimal technical know-how.
Interactivity within Videos: Beyond passive viewing, we are incorporating elements of interactivity within these 360-degree videos. This could include clickable hotspots for additional information, quizzes popping up during the video, or interactive tasks that students need to complete, which enhances engagement and learning retention.
Scalability and Updating of Content: Another key aspect is the ease with which new content can be added and updated on the server. This scalability ensures that our educational offerings can continually evolve and stay up-to-date with the latest curriculum requirements and educational standards.
These features collectively make our VR education app not just a technological marvel but also a powerful tool for transforming how educational content is delivered and experienced.
VR is known for its immersive user experiences. How does your team prioritize and design for a compelling user experience in the project?
In our VR project, user experience is at the forefront of our design and development process. Our team prioritizes and designs for a compelling user experience through several key strategies:
User-Centric Design Philosophy: From the outset, we adopt a user-centric approach. This means we continuously seek feedback from potential users — both educators and students in this case — to understand their needs and preferences. This feedback directly informs our design choices, ensuring that the final product resonates with our target audience.
Iterative Design and Testing: We employ an iterative design process, which involves creating prototypes, conducting user testing sessions, gathering feedback, and refining the product. This process helps us to quickly identify and address any usability issues, enhancing the overall user experience.
Immersive and Realistic Content: Given that VR is celebrated for its immersive capabilities, we invest heavily in creating high-quality, realistic 360-degree video content. This involves not just technical excellence in video production but also a strong emphasis on storytelling and educational value to keep users engaged and motivated.
Intuitive User Interface (UI): The user interface is designed to be intuitive and easy to navigate, reducing the learning curve for new users. We ensure that interactions within the VR environment are natural and straightforward, enabling users to focus on the learning experience rather than figuring out how to use the application.
Ensuring Comfort and Accessibility: VR experiences can sometimes cause discomfort due to factors like motion sickness. We address this by optimizing the VR environment for comfort — including adjustable settings for visual and motion sensitivity — and making sure that the app is accessible to users with various needs and abilities.
Collaborative Efforts with Experts: Our team works closely with VR technology experts, educational content creators, and user experience designers. This collaboration ensures that every aspect of the VR experience, from the technological infrastructure to the educational content, is crafted to provide an engaging and effective learning experience.
Continuous Improvement Based on Analytics: We use analytics to understand how users interact with our app. Insights from this data help us to continually refine and improve the user experience, ensuring that we keep pace with evolving user expectations and technological advancements.
By focusing on these areas, our team ensures that the VR experience we provide is not only technologically advanced but also deeply engaging and educationally effective.
How closely do you work with the design team to ensure the project meets both technical and aesthetic standards?
In our project, the collaboration between the technical team and the design team, particularly with our in-house designer Robin, is integral to ensuring that our VR application meets both technical and aesthetic standards.
Regular Collaboration and Communication: I work very closely with Robin, engaging in regular meetings and discussions. This ongoing communication is vital for aligning our technical capabilities with the design vision. It ensures that both aspects of the project are moving forward in harmony.
Joint Problem-Solving Approach: Whenever we encounter challenges, whether they’re technical limitations or design dilemmas, Robin and I tackle them together. This collaborative problem-solving approach not only leads to more innovative solutions but also ensures that neither technical feasibility nor design quality is compromised.
Feedback and Iterative Development: I frequently provide technical feedback on Robin’s designs, while he offers insights into the user experience and aesthetic aspects of my technical implementations. This mutual feedback is part of our iterative development process, allowing us to refine and enhance the product continuously.
Shared Vision and Goals: Robin and I share a common vision for the project, which is to create a VR application that is not only technically robust but also visually stunning and user-friendly. This shared understanding helps in making decisions that align with our project’s overall objectives.
Prototyping and Testing: Together, we develop prototypes that integrate Robin’s designs with the technical framework I build. These prototypes are then tested for both usability and performance, ensuring that the end product meets our high standards for quality.
Leveraging Each Other’s Expertise: The collaboration is a learning opportunity for both of us. I gain insights into the latest design trends and user experience strategies, while Robin becomes more familiar with the technical possibilities and constraints of VR development. This cross-disciplinary knowledge enhances the overall quality and innovation of our project.
In summary, the close working relationship with Robin is crucial in striking the right balance between technical excellence and outstanding design. Our collaborative efforts are key to delivering a VR application that not only functions flawlessly but also provides an engaging and aesthetically pleasing user experience.
Within your tech stack, do you have any favorite tools or frameworks that you find particularly efficient or enjoyable to work with?
In our tech stack for VR development, my favorite tool is undoubtedly Unity. There are several reasons why I find Unity particularly efficient and enjoyable to work with:
Versatility and Flexibility: Unity’s versatility is unmatched. It allows for the creation of a wide range of VR experiences, from simple interactive simulations to complex, immersive environments. This flexibility is crucial in a field as dynamic and rapidly evolving as VR.
Ease of Use and Rapid Prototyping: Unity’s user-friendly interface and comprehensive set of tools enable rapid prototyping. This means we can quickly turn concepts into playable experiences, which is essential for iterative design and testing.
Strong Community and Support: The Unity developer community is a treasure trove of resources. Whether it’s troubleshooting, exploring new features, or staying updated with the latest VR trends, the community and the extensive documentation provided by Unity are invaluable.
Cross-Platform Development: Unity’s ability to deploy projects across multiple platforms is a significant advantage. It allows our VR applications to reach a wider audience, irrespective of the hardware they use.
High-Quality Graphics and Physics Engine: Unity’s rendering capabilities and physics engine are impressive, enabling us to create visually stunning and realistically behaving VR environments. This is crucial for creating immersive VR experiences that are both engaging and believable.
Integration with Other Tools: Unity integrates well with a variety of other tools and plugins, which enhances its functionality. For instance, integrating Unity with 3D modeling software or using various asset libraries can significantly streamline the development process.
Scripting Power with C#: Unity’s use of C# for scripting offers a perfect balance of power and accessibility. It allows for complex programming without being overly daunting, which is great for developing sophisticated VR interactions.
In conclusion, Unity stands out in our tech stack as a powerful, versatile, and user-friendly platform for VR development. It empowers me to bring creative ideas to life efficiently and enjoyably, which is why it’s my tool of choice in the realm of VR development.
Do you have any advice for aspiring VR developers or those interested in entering the field?
Entering the field of VR development is an exciting journey, and based on my experience, here are some pieces of advice for aspiring VR developers:
Learn the Basics: Start with the fundamentals of programming and computer science. Understanding the basics of languages like C# or C++, which are commonly used in VR development, is crucial. Also, get a good grasp of 3D mathematics, as it is essential for creating immersive VR environments.
Get Comfortable with Unity or Similar Engines: Unity is a great tool for VR development, so investing time in learning how to use it effectively will be extremely beneficial. There are plenty of online resources, tutorials, and communities that can help you get started.
Understand VR Hardware: Familiarize yourself with different VR headsets and their capabilities. Understanding the hardware is key to designing effective VR experiences. Try to get hands-on experience with as many devices as possible.
Focus on User Experience (UX) Design: In VR, user experience is paramount. Learn about VR-specific UX design principles, such as spatial design, user interaction in 3D spaces, and avoiding motion sickness.
Build a Portfolio: Start creating small projects or demos to showcase your skills. A portfolio of work is essential for demonstrating your abilities to potential employers or clients.
Stay Curious and Keep Learning: The field of VR is rapidly evolving, so staying updated with the latest trends, tools, and technologies is vital. Follow industry news, participate in forums, and join VR development communities.
Network and Collaborate: Engage with the VR development community. Networking can lead to learning opportunities, collaborations, and even job prospects. Attend VR meetups, conferences, and workshops whenever possible.
Experiment and Be Creative: VR is a field where creativity has no bounds. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new ideas, no matter how unconventional they may seem.
Focus on Performance Optimization: In VR, maintaining high performance is crucial to ensure a comfortable and immersive experience. Learn about optimization techniques specific to VR.
Seek Feedback and Iterate: Always test your VR experiences with real users and seek feedback. Iteration based on user feedback is key to developing successful VR applications.
Remember, entering VR development is a continuous learning journey. Embrace challenges, be patient with your progress, and most importantly, enjoy the process of creating new realities!
The tech industry is constantly evolving. How do you stay updated on the latest technologies?
Staying updated with the latest technologies, particularly in a field as dynamic as VR, is crucial for continuous growth and relevance. Here’s how I ensure I remain on the cutting edge:
Regularly Reading Industry Publications and Blogs: I make it a habit to read various tech news sources, industry publications, and blogs. Websites like TechCrunch, Wired, and VR-focused platforms provide valuable insights into the latest developments and trends.
Participating in Online Forums and Communities: Engaging with online communities, such as those on Reddit, Stack Overflow, and specialized VR forums, is a great way to keep a pulse on what’s happening in the industry. These platforms are often the first places where new ideas, tools, and challenges are discussed.
Attending Conferences and Workshops: I attend VR and tech conferences, workshops, and webinars regularly. These events not only offer insights into current trends and future directions but also provide opportunities to connect with other professionals and experts in the field.
Networking with Peers and Industry Experts: Building and maintaining a network of colleagues and industry experts is invaluable. I often engage in discussions with peers to exchange knowledge and learn from their experiences.
Continuous Learning and Skill Development: I enroll in courses and certifications to update my skills and knowledge. Platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning offer courses on the latest VR technologies and programming languages.
Experimentation and Personal Projects: I believe in learning by doing. Working on personal projects using new technologies or techniques helps me understand their practical applications and limitations.
Following Key Companies and Thought Leaders: I follow major tech companies and thought leaders on social media and professional networks. Their insights and announcements are often indicative of where the industry is heading.
Reading Research Papers and Technical Articles: For a deeper understanding of where the technology is headed, I read research papers and technical articles. Academic journals and conferences in VR and computer science are excellent sources for this.
Feedback from Users and Clients: User and client feedback often highlight areas that require more attention or improvement, which can lead to exploring new technologies or methodologies.
By combining these approaches, I manage to stay informed and adaptable to the ever-evolving landscape of VR technology. It’s a continuous process of learning and adapting, which I find both challenging and exhilarating.
Haris’s story exemplifies the passion and expertise that define Walter Code’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of innovation. As we conclude this feature, we invite you to stay connected for more inspiring narratives from the individuals shaping our technological landscape. Thank you for joining us on this exploration of creativity, technology, and the extraordinary individuals behind Walter Code’s success.