A seat at the table.

over 5 years ago from , Design at Blush



  • Jan ZhengJan Zheng, over 5 years ago

    haha nice touch on the 2008 vs. 2018 buttons. How do we get designers to become more extroverted and own our ideas? After all, every decision we make affects the final product

    16 points
    • Dirk HCM van BoxtelDirk HCM van Boxtel, over 5 years ago

      By making us check our ideas through use of 2 very simple questions:

      • How much will it cost to make?
      • How much will it make or save us?

      There's more to that second question but it's a good starting point.

      10 points
      • Thomas Michael SemmlerThomas Michael Semmler, over 5 years ago

        yep, you got it. Never forget that even though business podcasts and books tell you otherwise, unless you own your business, it will only ever be about the money. And even then, it will be primarily about the money.

        4 points
    • Arturo Rios Gutierrez, over 5 years ago

      Every decision the organization makes affects the final product. We are not special, we should become extroverted to help teams share and own their ideas, not only ours.

      1 point
  • Yitong ZhangYitong Zhang, over 5 years ago

    Hey Pablo, could you explain the 2018 panel? I'm not sure I have the same read you do on the state of designers having a seat at the table.

    This is personal experience, but I don't think I know a lot of designers reluctant to participate in company decisions. If anything, it seems that this is the year of our industry reckoning with what it means to have a seat at the table:

    • What is the balance between user advocacy and business objectives?
    • What's right tradeoff between polish and speed of shipping?
    • Are we actually designing products that meaningfully make the world better?

    If anything, I don't know if we ever sat at this proverbial table. If you look at the upper stratum of most large orgs, you'll find very few design people there. Seems like most of the time, we are subsumed under PM, marketing or eng.

    8 points
    • Zach HubbardZach Hubbard, over 5 years ago

      I'm obviously not Pablo, but I've taken more of a business role lately, in trying to earn new business and interacting with our clients and not just the end-user.

      Obviously, this depends on your product, industry, and the beliefs and values of your organization.

      The key is framing your story and sharing why usability/design is key.

      Point 1: User advocacy should align with business objectives, since happy users = repeat business or continued business. For my organization, we view it from a mission model perspective, which is defining what the bare minimum to accomplish their assigned mission from two perspectives, the end-user and the person providing the funding.

      Between user advocacy, use a cost-benefit analysis to determine what's acceptable? Does it cost an tremendous amount of money versus little benefit to the user? Or is it detrimental to the user, and still expensive? If the user abandons using it, or they cannot complete the intended task, or have an extremely painstaking process.

      Basically, is there going to be a return on your investment? If no, then sometimes it needs to be cut. Watching those pain points and testing them can be indicators of if there is an ROI.

      Point 2: Tradeoff between polish and speed of shipping, this is a tricky one, since it's really dependent on what it needs to accomplish. For my organization, it needs to be close to perfect before shipping most things, since we do very very very costly work. And then take into account, is your organization good at going back with updates? Or no? If you're a B2C startup, get in the market as soon as there's a fringe benefit for your intended user. If you're managing complex space systems, that better be near perfect.

      Point 3: It really depends on what you think of your product. I work at a large aerospace company, some people think we're the devil incarnate, but I think we provide national security, science & technology solutions that help keep the world turning and push human society forward (like space telescopes). So, I would say, are you proud of your work? Where do you see if helping people? Ask your friends that don't work at your organization.

      You have many stakeholders, your users, your leadership, your coworkers, and/or your shareholders.

      I'm lucky enough to still do UX research & design, while combining it with business development and mission engineering.

      In any organization, it's about showing results, if you're an NGO/non-profit how many people are you helping? If you're a governmental organization, are you advancing your mission? If you're a for-profit company, are you earning maintaing, creating long-term value, and building new opportunities? And with the growth of social entrepreneurship are you helping people and making money?

      10 points
      • Yitong ZhangYitong Zhang, over 5 years ago

        Thanks for the super thoughtful response! _^ I agree with the points that you've made. There's indeed often a way for design to navigate the org in a way that puts it on a more equal footing with other disciplines.

        I guess I was reacting more to the unrealized excitement from the period of Apple's re-ascendency, when it felt like design as on its way to become a dominant organizational priority everywhere.

        That obviously didn't happen, and for good reason—design isn't the first priority at many orgs. So for me, it's not that designer are not willing to take the seat offered in 2018, but rather that it's been taken but also turns out that the seat can sometimes be at a far corner of the table in some orgs.

        2 points
  • Edgar Chaparro, over 5 years ago

    so much good love the buttons, love the shirts, love the thought process lo;

    2 points
  • Eugeniu EsanuEugeniu Esanu, over 5 years ago

    I believe there is a seat at the table for designers if you stop thinking about design as making websites, pretty UI, and small tweaks to a product. If you can start thinking as a business owner, it will change the entire perspective of how you do things.

    Usually, a designer is under a PM because you let people think that you can make only pretty stuff and "we are user advocates" and all that bla bla which other people than designers are not interested in. The harsh reality is, you have to better at business than design. I have seen so many designers with "awful looking portfolios" but who advise the CEO directly on what to do next only because they have the business skills.

    1 point
  • Sayan Hussain, over 5 years ago

    I didn't understand this!

    0 points
  • Rey AlejandroRey Alejandro, over 5 years ago


    0 points
  • Zsolt Istvan, over 5 years ago

    Wondering why there is no seat at the table for London, UK or not even for Europe

    0 points
  • Brennan Smith, over 5 years ago

    You hit the nail on the head with this one, bravo!

    0 points