Editor choice

Rocket Communications: 2022 SmallBiz Editor’s Choice Award Winner – Woman Owned

The innovative technology company helps companies design exceptional user experiences (UX) for digital products.
Michal-Anne Rogondino, Founder of CEO of Rocket Communications. | Photo: Aaron Yoshino

Rocket Communications was founded in 1992 by Michal-Anne Rogondino after developing a passion for user experience design during a college internship at Apple. After consulting on UX design for various companies, she started Rocket Communications to help create UX designs for other companies.

UX design captures what a person thinks, feels, or does when using a digital product.

“It was sort of the dream job of creating designs that weren’t really 2D,” says Rogondino. “You had to be able to interact and behave with the app and it always required creativity to do that. It captivated me.

“I was really lucky to be in the right place at the right time to get into user experience design in the early 90s. It sort of happened organically.

The company is currently working with major defense contractors and the US Space Force’s Space Systems Command. Previously, Rocket Communications helped SuccessFactors, a cloud-based software company, improve its UX design before being acquired by SAP, the German software producer.

Rogondino ran Rocket Communications from his home in Hawaii for nearly 20 years. In fact, most of the company’s senior executives live in Hawai’i, including the chief operating officer, chief financial officer, and chief business operations officer.

“The foundation, the core, is that we’re in Hawai’i,” she says.

While Rogondino’s permanent residence is here, the company also has offices in San Francisco, Boise and Denver. However, most employees are working remotely and have done so even before the pandemic.

She says it’s a model that works because of her employees’ good communication skills and the company’s “really nice, professional people culture.” She also notes that apps like Zoom have made remote work easier.

Rogondino says the field of design has become more valued by companies looking to put consumers’ wants and needs first, and that the field itself has grown, with “much stronger integration between design and development”.

“The future of UX design is changing. Where we’re going, I think, is more with artificial intelligence and machine learning, where apps are going to make a lot of decisions.

“Technology makes a lot of decisions for people,” she says, and it’s crucial for companies to help people better understand those decisions.