It's nice to see some acknowledgement of how different the design challenges (and workload) are in an early-stage startup. It seems like most of the articles I read about design at companies involve huge design teams with people dedicated to user-flows and research, and others dedicated to coding, and others dedicated to branding, etc. They describe processes and ways of thinking that are simply not possible when you are the one guy sketching, designing, prototyping, coding, and user-researching.
For me the stereotypical process of: Research -> User Flow -> Sketch -> Prototype -> Code -> Deliver -> Refine goes more like Design/Code -> Deliver -> Refine eventually, one day, maybe.
We finally hired another product designer to help me out and I have so much more time now to think in detail about each step.
Thanks Mattan! I'm glad you were able to relate to the piece. And congrats on hiring another designer :)
Thanks for the writeup! I think diving into anyone of those topics would make for a great post. I'm particularly interested in how design works with the marketing team around growth and getting new users
This is great feedback Joe. I plan to write a lot more in the future so I'll keep in mind sharing our interaction with the marketing team.
Great suggestion. The nexus of design and marketing at a product company is a little-explored topic.
This can really vary depending on how the company is structured early. I've been the CD at startups reporting directly to the CMO... and I've been the CD at startups reporting to the VP of Product.
My ideal has always been to silo a team/crew off as much as possible and have the company use us like an internal ad agency. This way, choices can be made at a higher business level on design priorities... versus one team hoarding the primary designers. I've seen in some places this lead to other departments getting their own designers and contractors... which becomes aa awkward situation... and one where quality is extremely hard to maintain in the long run - especially at scale.
Hey Jason, this article is so great and perfectly sums up my exact experience at a startup over here in London. Was just designing uniforms for drivers, now I'm designing the startup flow for our app. Says it all, I love it.
Thanks for sharing, interesting to see your workload. Sounds about the same as being a sole designer at any company having to handle everything. At least it's interesting though!