A product designer's journey is filled with wonder. It can also be rife with peril and despair. So how do you enjoy the awesome parts of product design without letting the negative parts discourage you and get you down?
A Product Design Odyssey
We design products at ZURB. We design products with clients, with internal teams, and we train people to do the same in their companies. Since 1998 we've been helping people design products and we've learned that amazing sparks can happen when teams work together seamlessly. We also learned that if good flow is interrupted it's hard to get up and be productive again. We put together a list of our top seven product design challenges and how we've overcome them.
Feel #1: Getting a Crew Together
Getting a team together is a risky challenge for everyone involved. Learning to improve your value as a team member is an ongoing...
In one of our Chief Instigator's previous posts, we talked about how we can no longer think about design as being purely the domain of designers. Everyone on your team needs to design, especially your engineers. In fact, if you take a look, you'll most likely find that your engineering team is already making the majority of your interaction design decisions.
Creating Product is Like Creating a Building
There is a fundamental misunderstanding about the role the engineers play in building products. Let's articulate this with an analogy.
Creating a product is like creating a building. You have an architect that defines what the building should look like. He imagines the building and creates a design for how the building should look and function. The architect works with a structural engineer to create a blueprint defining how the building should be built based on...
In my past post, our assertion that Silicon Valley killed the design agency agitated quite a few industry design leaders. The post was a wake up call, not a proclamation of the end of design services. Status quo is a sure death and others seem to agree. The argument isn't whether agencies will win or lose, it's which organizations will win the design talent battle to remain relevant.
The debate is nuanced and based on more than just business cycles. Agencies do themselves no good holding on to assumptions that all things will be fine in services moving forward or that there will be a nice living doing design. Change is all but certain. Yes, service firms will exist, just not yours. The problem of building a great design organization is challenging as many evolve to polishing shiny buttons over and over. Which gets us to fat cows, disillusioned scarecrows and...
It's been a little more than a month since we launched Foundation for Apps into the wild. And it's been great hearing all your thoughts on our latest framework! We're excited to learn how you're using Foundation for Apps so we can continue building atop what we've created.
So far, we've learned a lot creating this new framework — from new technology to just talking to the web community as a whole. Lessons that we wanted to share with all of you. Here's the 10 things we learned from building Foundation for Apps:
1. Flexbox Can Be Awesome, But It's Complicated
We decided to build Foundation for Apps using Flexbox instead of a traditional float-based grid. This let us do neat things like mix fixed- and fluid-width columns, drastically improve source ordering, and re-orienting grids. Nifty! What we mainly learned is that while Flexbox was amazing, it also has three...
Last week we wrote about the design leadership gap and the need support emerging designers with career paths. It's an assessment of where we are as an industry that highlights gaps we'll need to close to fill our design leadership roles. And while the blog post creates an impression that leading design requires a design management title in an organization, this couldn't be further from the truth.
Designers don't need a defined role to lead. In fact, designers should look at this opportunity to lead through influence. Progressive design has taught us that design leadership doesn't require a title or even heavy management experience, only a strong desire to learn people skills and shape outcomes in an organization with design. After leading design for a decade and a half, I still believe that being a designer doesn't automatically entitle you to the collective benefits of any industry....
We've recently written about progressive design and the role successful designers play in helping companies build great products. Design leadership is an important part of this conversation.
It's been shown that companies that embrace design driven principles produce better financial returns. Design-driven companies need leaders that can drive this value. But we don't see enough business structure in place to help companies and designers thrive together. Creating design value is more difficult than throwing designers at problems. We need leaders.
We need design leaders to increase the value of design in organizations and it's not going to happen without more methodologies to define problems...
We're starting the new year with some new hires — actually three plus one who just moved in. The coming year will give these new ZURBians plenty of challenges, but we know they're smart, capable, and willing to take on 2015. So without further ado, let's meet Mandi, Shaina and Tim, our awesome new designers!
Mandi Saeteun: Chasing Big Dreams, Craft Beer and Comic Books
Mandi spent most of her early career growing a company with her mother literally from the ground up in Sacramento. In school she discovered that aesthetics weren't as fun as problem-solving —so she jumped from an Art Studio major to Design. That led to a Bachelor's degree in Design from UC Davis. The next step was obvious: She joined ZURB as a design intern. But that didn't satisfy her desire for experience.
To pay the bills (and feed her comic book habit), Mandi worked at Excel Interpreting, a...
There are so many amazing things happening with Foundation right now and we're excited to share it all. Hot on the heels of Foundation for Apps, we released an amazing update for Foundation for Sites. This release, v5.5, brings some great updates and lots key fixes. On top of that, the community stepped up with some well-written pull requests that allowed us to really strengthen this release.
The Foundation Community Crushes It!
Previously we talked about how the Foundation community is crushing it. The big challenge: dropdowns that weren't behaving like they were supposed to, breaking out of the page boundaries. Five different people submitted their versions of a fix for this hard issue. After weeks of going through multiple iterations with the different attempts, a hero emerged: Corey Snyder, who submitted a pull request with a great solution. We tested it in...
Tavern began with this goal: challenge our fellow designers to define the broader, fuzzier concepts or product design. We'd do this by debating a single question a day, exchanging ideas on what it means to be a product designer. A question that had to be asked and answered in the ticking clock of 24 hours. More than a 100 days later and after some 5,000 contributions, our comrades in design ran with the challenge.
Some articulate and outstanding designers, such as Ren Walker, Bryce Howiston, and Antonin Januska, are questioning and challenge ideas, which is the core of being a product designer. And that's exactly what Tavern is about. The community is shaping up to be the place, as well as the structured environment, that is giving extreme focus on aspects of product design that aren't always easy to articulate, for everyone building product — from designers to managers to...
The wait is over. Foundation for Apps is here.
We've teased and teased you all over the past five months. But today is the day. We're stoked to finally release the newest member of the Foundation family and the first front-end framework created solely for building fully-responsive web apps. Now you'll be able build any kind of web app with one set of code.
We've chronicled the journey from our new take on a grid, to the introduction to Motion UI, to our integration of MVC frameworks — and many of you followed along. We had tons of people reach out and help us make some huge, tough decisions. While it's been a long road with lot of planning, tons of code and a few restarts, we're really proud of what we've created with the help of our amazing contributors. And now we can't wait for you all to get your hands on it.
We'd like to thank everyone who has helped us over the past...
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