Design/UX Team Structure

almost 6 years ago from Matt Felten, Design System Lead at YouCaring

  • Joshua HynesJoshua Hynes, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    A lot of the suggestions that I would offer, Joshua already gave. I think one thing to remember is that a lot of people are struggling with finding solid talent. There are a lot of people who call themselves designers, by finding talented "A-level problem-solvers" is difficult.

    The design team at Stack Overflow is only 4 people. We maintain over 120+ communities as well as design a developer-focused careers product. Needless to say, we have a ton of stuff to work on.

    Another wrinkle for us is that we're a completely distributed design team, stretched from Indiana to France. When we look for designers, we look for a few things:

    Can you design?

    It seems like a really simple question, but given that we're Stack Overflow, we get a lot of people who apply that have stronger developer backgrounds and design occasionally. While having a development background helps, you're first and foremost a designer — so can you do that well?

    Are you a problem-solver?

    A lot of the stuff we work isn't generating templates or knocking out marketing collateral (though we do that). We tend to work on bigger projects that require a lot of thinking. Can you create not only beautiful interfaces, but beautifully intuitive interfaces and workflows? Sometimes the best workflows have minimal visual design, but they're presented in a really logical manner so they work.

    Can you hold your own when it comes to front-end development?

    We're not talking about being an expert here. We're looking for some experience though. Having some experience shows you're open to doing. It also helps you to better understand the medium you're designing in every day. At Stack, we don't have a single front-end developer on staff. Our reasons are many, but basically any developer or designer we hire needs to be able to work within code.

    Can you get stuff done without having co-workers or your boss nearby?

    Almost every designer on staff comes from a background where they were the sole designer on staff, worked in a remote situation, or were an independent contractor. We've all shown the ability to get things done, even if we aren't in a sweet office environment. Being all in the same office has its benefits, but being remote allows us access to a lot more designers who for one reason or another can't or won't live in a major metro area.

    Considering all these items, it's hard for us to find talent. But as Joshua said earlier, better to take your time to find the right person than hire the wrong person too quickly.

    3 points
    • Matt Felten, over 5 years ago

      Really great stuff Joshua. I think it's pretty interesting you don't have any front-end developers on staff and all designers work with code.

      I've been looking at a lot more front-end developers recently, just because they seem easier to find. From what I'm learning from this thread though, that might not be the best way forward.

      0 points