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Super awesome stuff, get on this!
Generally speaking! I think it really depends on the individual. I've personally gone through several months of being totally heads-down, work-is-everything, to (now) several months of very intentionally keeping a work-life balance. I'll probably continue to waver between the two :) .
I joined Facebook two years ago, but I did plenty of homework beforehand to make sure it was the right place for me. I was impressed by the possibility of impact — few places allow your work to affect peoples' lives on such a grand scale — but I was worried the size of the organization would hinder individual impact, and that everything would always break down into either verticalized decision-making, or design-by-committee fracturing.
Thankfully, it's turned out to be neither of those things.
I'd say Facebook intentionally hires designers who can work proactively, without a huge amount of oversight. Doing so allows us to maintain, if not a completely flat structure, then absolutely a structure where your direct ability to ship (and your ability to make informed decisions about what you design) is of prime importance. Design is a huge part of our culture, and has been since the beginning. And for those of you who've ever worked in agency life (or vertical organizations like a lot of shops I see on the East Coast), it's a refreshing change to know that the people you have your critiques with aren't there to tell you what to do: at the end of the day, you own what you build. The rest of the designers in your critique are there to offer their opinions and share experiences to help push things in the right direction. It's a nicely collaborative environment, and I've yet to experience the sniping or bickering I hear other companies have to deal with.
I've also never been locked into working on something I wasn't passionate about. Speaking only from my own experience, it's really energizing to work on things in which you truly believe. I've never spent a week iterating on an icon unless I thought it really made an impact on the product experience; but I will say I jump rather quickly from pure wireframes to full pixel mockups, because it always helps me to work with the actual content in question. Visual design dovetails into UX so much as to make the line a complete blur, with the way I work — and I dare say with the way a lot of us work.
The amount of challenges you face here is flat-out amazing. I personally dove head-first two years ago into unifying and improving our Android app, specifically focusing on how we could improve the experience for people in emerging markets: people who are largely mobile-only, with slower year-class Android devices, smaller screens, and slow/spotty connections. I now work on the Protect & Care team, trying to "turn bad experiences into good ones:" focusing on problems ranging from "What happens to my account when I die?" to "How do you tell Facebook there's a problem, and how do we respond?" When someone's digital life is lived on the platform for which you design, it takes a lot of humble pie to try to do that experience justice. I guess you could say I just love the challenge. (And the mission-driven people I work with help, too, for sure.)
Hi Maykel! Long-time listener, first-time caller. My question is: how does the Instagram team decide what to work on next? How do you sort your priorities?
How do the product designers at Pinterest divide themselves up amongst the platforms? Do designers arrange yourselves to be platform-specific (i.e. a team on iOS, a team on Android, and so on), or feature-specific (i.e. someone on search, someone on map pins, etc.)?
Definitely one of the most interesting and creative avatar systems around.
This needed to happen. Thank you for making it happen.
Skeptical, but encouraged that people are trying to tackle this.
We use a combination of Trello, Flowdock, and a giant testing spreadsheet for QA.
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