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AMA: I'm Justin Edmund, the first product design hire at Pinterest.

almost 6 years ago from , Product Designer at Pinterest

Feel free to ask me anything you're curious about regarding Pinterest, product design, or life. Prior to Pinterest, I was an undergrad in Carnegie Mellon's Communication Design program and an intern on Facebook's product design team.

Also check out http://creative.pinterest.com/, a hub I just made last month to help inform what The Creative Team is all about through various press articles, long-form product stories and Quora answers.

To get the obvious ones out of the way, I'm obviously big on storytelling, the color red, and long walks on the beach.

EDIT: Thanks for all the awesome questions everyone! I’m still wading my way through them right now, but for whoever is in SF, I’m going to be hanging out with some folks at Mars Bar tonight after 6 or so, so come hang out.

We’re also looking for awesome product designers. If you’re interested in learning more, shoot me a tweet at @jedmund or apply at http://about.pinterest.com/careers!

— your friendly neighborhood @jedmund

75 comments

  • Jim SilvermanJim Silverman, almost 6 years ago

    slightly off topic, but what shampoo/conditioner do you use?

    31 points
    • Justin Edmund, almost 6 years ago

      I usually stick to Dove brand shampoo and Suave conditioner. I'm trying their "Men+Care" shampoo/conditioner hybrid right now and I don't really like it as much as the normal white-bottled shampoo.

      15 points
  • Aaron ShekeyAaron Shekey, almost 6 years ago

    I have a serious but very stupid question for you to disregard. Pinterest is really popular with women. As a pickup line, how effective is "I work for Pinterest"?

    8 points
    • Justin Edmund, almost 6 years ago

      Honestly, I never really tried. Whenever its brought up in conversation, though, people (both men and women) get pretty excited.

      2 points
  • Giulio MichelonGiulio Michelon, almost 6 years ago

    Thanks very much for this opportunity. All the answers where very interesting and accurate.

    3 points
  • Ryan LeFevreRyan LeFevre, almost 6 years ago

    Being the first product design hire, when you started at Pinterest how much of the site design was already decided/done? How much of the design changed in the early days?

    Pinterest's design was considered very unique at the time it launched. Did you guys realize that some concepts relating to a "virtual pinboard" worked well on the web while others didn't work at all?

    2 points
    • Justin Edmund, almost 6 years ago

      I was the first product design hire, which is different from the first product designer, who would be Evan Sharp, our cofounder. He did all of the original design and systems work probably about a year or more before I joined. When I joined, he was working on a visual refresh of the website, which I helped out on. My first project was the mobile website (which sadly is still online).

      I think that at least initially, Pinterest was considered unique because it was very, very visual and organic in a way that many other websites at the time were not. If you think about sites like Facebook and Twitter, those were text-heavy streams with the occasional photo. When you think about FFFound and Dropular, the former was just a bunch of images sequentially on a page. The latter is the closest thing you'd find to Pinterest. Both of those two were very designer-heavy and didn't have mass market appeal.

      The early explorations that Evan had done make no assumptions though. There are explorations that are a list of images. There are some where the images are square. There are more where some things are just stripes on the page. He made hundreds of coded iterations before landing on the grid you know today. I think it was much more of an exercise in patience, exploration and iteration than some sort of magic insight.

      3 points
  • Colm TuiteColm Tuite, almost 6 years ago

    What tools do designers at Pinterest use for things like brainstorming, mockups, prototypes, todos, collaboration etc.

    How big a role does code play in the design process at Pinterest?

    What type of tools would you like to see? What parts of the design process do you think we need most help with right now?

    2 points
    • Justin Edmund, almost 6 years ago

      Most people use Photoshop for design. There's a few Sketch outliers, but we're weeding that out because it isn't a viable tool for the work we do right now and it's more important that everyone be able to easily use anyone else's files. I've seen people use Balsalmiq and Illustrator for wireframes, but I don't wireframe often so I can't talk too much about that.

      The organization uses Asana for tasks and bugs. It's not the best, but it works better than anything else out there.

      The design org uses Basecamp to share progress and gather feedback. It sucks, and I'm looking for a replacement.

      In a few release cycles, we're planning on trying to switch to Layervault for some of the collaboration and delivery stuff.

      Many, but not all, of our designers code. Historically its been pretty difficult to develop on our platform if its not your full-time job, but its getting easier and as a result, more designers have been coding. I make a lot of prototypes, but I probably have one of the higher code competency levels on the team.


      I have a LOT of opinions on design tools. I think Photoshop sucks, but its a lot more capable than Sketch. I don't think either is a viable long-term solution. Albeit new and unhindered by history like Photoshop, Sketch is not on trajectory to be the digital design tool of the next two decades as Photoshop has been.

      In a nutshell, a modern design tool needs to have three things:

      1. Advanced drawing and animation capabilities
      2. The ability to import real data
      3. The ability to define behaviors and information architecture

      We have the first in tools like Photoshop, Sketch, After Effects, Flinto, Keynote, etc. But you have to jump between programs to access different parts. There are tools that let you do information architecture, but you can only get to real data and behaviors in code. We're good enough at this software thing that it doesn't have to be like that.

      I have a whole essay on this waiting for me to have time to edit and design some stuff in Editorially. This isn't the last you'll hear from me about this.

      3 points
      • Tierney CyrenTierney Cyren, almost 6 years ago

        What are your thoughts on designing in the browser? Would you prefer that to Photoshop, for yourself and/or for the whole team?

        0 points
        • Justin Edmund, almost 6 years ago

          No. Designing in the browser lets you iterate on one idea really quickly with very little effort, but doesn't lend itself much to designing many very different directions in parallel.

          In a perfect world, you can either do everything in a really advanced design tool, or switch between code and Photoshop quickly and frequently. Code is good for knowing how something feels and finding weird edge cases, but that's it.

          While I outlined some of its high-level features above, the tool I'd rather the team use unfortunately does not exist.

          3 points
  • Ari ZilnikAri Zilnik, almost 6 years ago

    Shout-outs to a fellow CMU Grad! I I did the Masters of Human-Computer Interaction there.

    Thanks for taking the time to do this! My big question is—how did you get in contact with Pinterest? It seems like having you as their only product designer must have been a big deal. How did the conversation start, and how did you convince them you're the right guy for the job?

    2 points
    • Justin EdmundJustin Edmund, almost 6 years ago

      I met Evan Sharp, one of our cofounders, the summer prior to graduating when I was interning at CMU. While we weren't ever on the same team, we bonded over our side projects—mine was a product called visually and his being, well, Pinterest.

      A year later, I was in Palo Alto interviewing at Facebook again and he had just left to join Pinterest full-time right down the block. He invited me to "come check out the office," took me in the back room with Ben, and told me they wanted to hire me. I was like, "Oh... uh, okay." I was skeptical because coming out of CMU with all them loans, I wasn't sure a startup that might disappear in months-to-years was the right option for me. Regardless, a few weeks later, the deal was sealed.

      8 points
  • Allan GrinshteinAllan Grinshtein, almost 6 years ago

    Thanks for doing the AMA Justin. I'll kick things off with a few questions:

    1. Tell us about the early days at pinterest. What were they like?

    2. How has the design process (and perhaps culture) over there changed?

    3. What's the design process over there now? What types of designers does Pinterest have and where do they fit in with the entire product process?

    1 point
    • Justin EdmundJustin Edmund, almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

      Tell us about the early days at Pinterest. What were they like?

      The early days were pretty crazy. When I joined, there were 8 of us in a living room in Palo Alto. From my opinion, it was the quintessential startup experience.

      We were growing pretty rapidly, but no one in the tech world really knew we existed yet. I was working on a new project pretty much every week or two, doing both brand and product work. About 6-8 weeks after I started, we raised our round from Andreessen Horowitz, were featured on TechCrunch, moved into our (bigger) Palo Alto office, and everything kind of just continued to explode. Things still haven't stopped exploding.

      How has the design process (and perhaps culture) over there changed?

      There's a lot fewer gut calls now, and a lot more experimentation and learning. When I look at the work my peers are doing, I think that's par for the course for a growing technology company. If you make a change and metrics drop, you have to know why, because chances are something's either broken or people don't like what you made as much as you expected.

      What's the design process over there now? What types of designers does Pinterest have and where do they fit in with the entire product process?

      The design process can be pretty different for a few reasons. For starters, we don't really prescribe a specific process on designers—you're mostly free (and encouraged) to work in whatever way you're most productive. We also change our product development process as a company pretty frequently to try to be more efficient, effective and nimble than we were before.

      In a nutshell, though, as product designers, we receive an idea, try to form a solid problem statement from that, figure out if its something pinners actually want or would benefit from, then iterate a LOT. That's obviously very abstract, but it probably gets to the core of it. Mapping Place Pins is probably a pretty good insight into how we build products here.

      Right now, we have product designers and brand designers. We haven't really done any more classification than that.

      5 points
  • J.T. TrollmanJ.T. Trollman, almost 6 years ago

    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.)?

    1 point
    • Justin Edmund, almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

      We've moved away from platform-specific designers to area-specific designers. There are designers on the Discovery team, the Pins team, and so forth.

      The problem with platform-specific designers is that a lot of our work isn't platform specific, they go across everything. If a feature designer made something and someone didn't agree with it, it was easy for platforms to diverge based on opinion.

      This year, we're going to try building full-stack teams. I'm a designer on the Pins team, which will have its own iOS engineers, Android engineers, backend engineers, etc. Hopefully, we can move much faster in this formation than we did in last year's.

      4 points
  • Viktor TViktor T, almost 6 years ago

    Hey, thanks for doing this!

    How do you define you title, Product Designer, compared to other types of designers? In other words, what does a Product Designer do in your book?

    1 point
  • Tierney CyrenTierney Cyren, almost 6 years ago

    What do you think the experience would be like for a designer just getting hired at Pintrest now? Are you peers with the newer hires, or is there a strong hierarchy at work, (I'm assuming) with you being toward the top?

    1 point
    • Justin Edmund, almost 6 years ago

      I would be pretty excited.

      Pinterest is a product with a lot of potential and a lot of really exciting work with no owner. Albeit small, we have a really great team of product designers working around-the-clock to make a great experience for pinners. I'm personally really inspired and excited about our mission as a company, which is to help connect people to the their interests and helping them do those things in real life.

      I'm peers with pretty much everyone. There's very little hierarchy at the company. I wouldn't say I'm anywhere near the top. I have the most experience designing Pinterest, but I'm nowhere near the best designer on the team. Probably closer to the bottom in that regard.

      1 point
  • Jon GoldJon Gold, almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

    Would love to know more about the early days of Pinterest. What stage was the product in when you joined? How long until you guys made another product design hire?

    Also, if you're allowed, could you show any early mockups/stuff that didn't get approved? I love that shit…

    1 point
    • Justin EdmundJustin Edmund, almost 6 years ago

      I think I answered some of these in the other questions, but I joined in early August 2011, and we made our next design hire in late January 2012.

      I'll see if I can find some early stuff to show you. Anything particular you're interested in?

      0 points
  • Ryhan HassanRyhan Hassan, almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

    Current CMU student here. Any tips for new grad designers? Was there anything you did when you first moved to California that ended up being really helpful?

    Also, what's going on with Foundation? Are you planning on releasing it anytime soon?

    1 point
    • Justin EdmundJustin Edmund, almost 6 years ago

      A few tips for new grad designers:

      • Your fresh eyes are extremely valuable. Make use of the time you have with them.

      • Even if you have a job, never stop updating your portfolio. You never know what is going to happen, and I've seen tons of people in shitty situations because they didn't update their portfolio for years and suddenly found themselves unemployed.

      • Never let anyone tell you how to work. You know under which conditions you're the most productive and effective.

      And San Francisco-specific things:

      • There's nothing of value north of Market. Don't go there.

      • You should live in the city, at least for a little while. Don't give into the housing prices: if you hunt for a bit you'll eventually find somewhere you really like. (I was homeless for 3 months!)

      And about Foundation:

      Oh boy, Foundation.

      The web version kinda works. I'm working on an iPhone version. There will be more news soon. The main problem is both Foundation and Pinterest are full-time jobs, but only one of them is paying me $$$, so that's the one I focus on.

      3 points
      • Account deleted almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

        There's nothing of value north of Market. Don't go there.

        I am guessing you mean north of the eastern end of market? Like financial district?

        Otherwise, there are far too many amazing neighborhoods and places north of market. Haight, Divisadero, tender-loin/nob, polk street, chinatown, north beach, Hayes valley, duboce park, panhandle, japantown ...... north of market is half the city.

        0 points
        • Justin EdmundJustin Edmund, almost 6 years ago

          A bit of an inside joke—I live down near Bernal Heights and I'm incredibly lazy, so I rarely ever venture north of Market ;)

          0 points
  • Luke ChesserLuke Chesser, almost 6 years ago

    Thanks for doing the AMA. Really interesting answers so far.

    In the early days (as a small team), how did you guys balance shipping a feature that maybe wasn't quite ready/polished versus taking too long to ship the feature?

    1 point
    • Justin EdmundJustin Edmund, almost 6 years ago

      In the early days, we actually strived for perfection. There is a balance though: you'll never make something perfect so it's important to ship. The projects that we really worked for a long time on didn't always have the biggest returns.

      Nowadays, we focus a lot more on progress. We believe that if we can ship small improvements to something every week, we'll learn from each of those releases and be at a better place in a month than if we had polished it internally for that long.

      Naturally, from project-to-project, this will vary, but I do subscribe to the idea of shipping early and often, so long as you keep some sort of quality bar.

      1 point
  • joe andersonjoe anderson, almost 6 years ago

    In the early days of Pinterest Ben mentioned how hard it was to get users. Did the product atleast show promising signs with retention/referral even then? How did that look overtime especially as you got on board

    1 point
    • Justin Edmund, almost 6 years ago

      You're talking super early days—I wasn't around then. When I was there, we were growing pretty rapidly, so much that the three engineers we had were up all night pretty much every night trying to keep the site online.

      0 points
  • Martin BroderMartin Broder, almost 6 years ago

    Hi Justin, thanks for doing this AMA.

    My first question would be, as I am always interested in reading, 1. What books can you recommend, regarding design? 2. What did you do at your internship @Facebook? 3. Which websites do you visit on a daily basis?

    Thanks in advance!

    1 point
    • Justin Edmund, almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

      What books can you recommend, regarding design?

      My absolute favorite technical design book is Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Josef-Müller Brockmann. On the more philosophical size, The Shape of Design by Frank Chimero is a must read.

      You can also see all the books that the Product Design team at Pinterest loves on this board: Design Books.

      What did you do at your internship @Facebook?

      At the time, profile completion rates were down, so I was tasked with designing a system to bring them back up. It ended up being a kind of crowdsourced solution, where we would ask people you interacted with frequently if they worked with you, lived in the same city as you, etc, and then we'd ask you to confirm. It was a really low-level thing, but I still see bits and pieces of it in sidebars from time-to-time. I also worked on stuff like the now-defunct Facebook Questions and School Hubs.

      Which websites do you visit on a daily basis?

      Dare I name Pinterest?

      In terms of services, Facebook and Twitter are usually open in a tab somewhere. Quora and Dribbble are both frequent visits, but probably every other day.

      I make a habit of Designer News, The Verge, Polygon as well for design/tech news. Mangastream and Bandcamp are weekly visits for guilty pleasures.

      I'm sure there's more that are more interesting, but I'm drawing a blank.

      0 points
  • joe andersonjoe anderson, almost 6 years ago

    What's your favorite city and food in Japan?

    1 point
    • Justin Edmund, almost 6 years ago

      My favorite city is probably a small town in the south called Kanoya City. There's absolutely nothing to do there—it's probably more of a town than a city. When I homestayed there (something like eight years ago) it was pretty amazing to be somewhere with fresh air and a much slower pace. At the time, I had only lived in New York City, so it was a big, big change for me.

      Favorite food—if you're ever in Tokyo, check out AFURI. It's about a 5 minute walk north of the JR Harajuku Station. So delicious.

      1 point
      • joe andersonjoe anderson, almost 6 years ago

        Rural parts feel very friendly and slower paced, I was in Saitama for a bit, felt a bit too isolated though. I will definitely check it out if I ever make it back someday. Ramen can be hit or miss since there are so many styles, Tokyo style ramen is my favorite (closest we have in SF is Katana-ya).

        Thanks for doing the AMA!

        0 points
  • Pedro CarmoPedro Carmo, almost 6 years ago
    1. How did you get plugged into the opportunity of being the first product design hire at Pinterest? What was the application/interview process like?

    2. Since you were the first product design hire, early on, was there an unfair amount of pressure or demand on you and what you were designing?

    3. At times, did you feel like you were in your own island? If so, share a story or an experience that reflects where the product design team is now compared to when it was essentially just you.

    0 points
    • Justin EdmundJustin Edmund, almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

      How did you get plugged into the opportunity of being the first product design hire at Pinterest? What was the application/interview process like?

      I answered a lot of this to Ryan L.'s question. (I can't link to comments though). Anything you would want me to elaborate on?

      Since you were the first product design hire, early on, was there an unfair amount of pressure or demand on you and what you were designing?

      You're implying that there's not a ton of pressure and demand on me (and the rest of the team) now!

      Yes, I was responsible for everything from business cards to about pages to product work for at least 6 months, and it was both fun and stressful. The oddest request I got was a design for a surfboard for an investor. (I never actually did it)

      At times, did you feel like you were in your own island? If so, share a story or an experience that reflects where the product design team is now compared to when it was essentially just you.

      There were lots of times I felt like I was on an island, and actually it still happens now. I worked on Place Pins for 6 months as the only designer, and even though there's critique twice a week with the Product Design team, its very different than having another designer in the trenches with you. I do have time to breathe and do a few more things I want to do now though, which wasn't always the case.

      A lot of this is just because we've got so much work to do and not enough designers to do it, sooooo.... http://about.pinterest.com/careers/

      1 point
      • Pedro CarmoPedro Carmo, almost 6 years ago
        1. Oh, sorry I didn't see Ryan's question or your answer.

        2. Ha! Did you have to design the shape of the board or the artwork? Care to share a photo?

        3. I hear you! Nice plug ; )

        (Big ups for doing this AMA, the whole community appreciates it)

        1 point
  • Dan LeathermanDan Leatherman, almost 6 years ago

    Do you have any advice for a new team member challenging the current 'status quo' and establishing their role, whether it be decisions, roadmap, new features, etc?

    0 points
    • Justin EdmundJustin Edmund, almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

      I think the most potent advice I could give is "Don't be afraid." I wrote about this before, but I feel like people often get really afraid of branching out and trying new things, or speaking up, or doing something absolutely insane. Those are the qualities that I respect the most in a person though.

      Once you get over the fact that people are going to be judging you, watching you, and criticizing you, the sky is literally the limit. When you focus on doing the things that you think are right, you learn more and people will respect you for taking a risk.

      Quick story: When I was looking for jobs out of school, a lot of top design consultancies gave me offers and I turned them all down. Every one of my peers and professors thought I was absolutely nuts. I knew what I wanted, and I took the risk. I think things worked out pretty okay for me IMO. I didn't know specifically that I wanted to work at Pinterest, but somehow I'm exactly where I wanted to be.

      3 points
      • Tierney CyrenTierney Cyren, almost 6 years ago

        What do you think would have happened/what would you have done had things not worked out at Pintrest? What was the thing you knew you wanted? What was the reason that the consultancies offered you positions? Your portfolio? Your degree?

        1 point
        • Justin EdmundJustin Edmund, almost 6 years ago

          I had a few criteria that I developed over many, many interviews at many, many companies:

          1. I didn't want to work at an agency.
          2. I wanted to work at a startup or somewhere dealing with technology.
          3. I didn't want to work anywhere I would have been the first designer.
          4. I didn't want to be in New York City (my hometown).
          5. I wanted to be in San Francisco.

          I don't really know why consultancies offered me positions, but if I were to guess, it might have been some combination of being half-decent at design, knowing how to code, having built full products, and CMU being a prestigious design school.

          0 points
  • Tierney CyrenTierney Cyren, almost 6 years ago

    Did you graduate? If so, do you think your degree has helped you land your jobs? Why? If not, do you think you've missed out on opportunities because you don't have a degree? What are those opportunities? Either way, what are your general thoughts on having a design degree?

    0 points
    • Justin Edmund, almost 6 years ago

      I did graduate.

      I don't know exactly whether my degree helped me land my jobs, but it definitely helped expose me to them. I only considered being a product designer when I saw what fellow alum Lee Byron was doing after graduating at NYT and later Facebook. If I didn't go to Facebook, I wouldn't have met Evan Sharp, so I wouldn't be at Pinterest.

      I think design degrees are more useful than people make them out to be. Of course, all design schools are not created equal, and many of the better ones will cost an arm and a leg, but I think that the salaries of the jobs that you can land as a consequence of having a good degree are proportional to tuition costs. This is especially true for product designers and engineers.

      Carnegie Mellon taught me what Design is, with a capital "D," where previously I thought of it as little more than applied art. Granted, at the time, there was no iPhone and Facebook was a budding website on the internet, but Design has implications beyond posting status updates and designing lickable icons. Designers have the ability to solve problems that actually will change the world—its just that many of us either can't find those opportunities or choose to make photo apps instead. I think this is something that is very easily missed without having been in design "academia," if you will. My personal opinion is that letting those opportunities pass us by is worse for the profession as a whole.

      There's lots of other little skills that I learned in school that I don't often see in self-taught designers, like learning how to work on teams, learning how to give and take feedback, how to work on a deadline, how to communicate effectively in low-fidelity, and so on. That being said, self-taught designers are usually better at execution because they dive straight into the work. It's a trade-off. Of course, those are all anecdotal observations.

      I wouldn't trade my experience at CMU for the world. I don't think I would have been a designer, or nearly as good of one, without it.

      3 points
  • Jordan Price, almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

    I watched an interview awhile back with the head of engineering at Pinterest (I believe he just departed). I remember him saying that one of the most difficult things about working at Pinterest was working with designers. I was honestly a bit shocked to hear that because Pinterest has such a thoughtful and beautiful design. Clearly there is a huge respect for good design at your company.

    As a designer, what are the biggest challenges you face when working with engineers? And how do you overcome them?

    0 points
    • Justin Edmund, almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

      We're lucky to have a really talented engineering team. It's incredible the stuff they get done in ridiculous deadlines.

      Our engineers are pretty easy to work with, but not everyone has a design eye. Sometimes you have to be overly clear about how you want something to behave, which is something I personally struggle with.

      Due to how our systems are engineered, getting an engineer to prototype rapidly in code can be difficult, not because they don't want to, but just because its a lot of work. As a consequence, designers spend a lot more time in Photoshop than I like. I spend part of my time building and finding tools to alleviate issues like this and make knitting (our fun word for collaboration) between design and engineering easier.

      2 points
  • Tor Løvskogen BollingmoTor Løvskogen Bollingmo, almost 6 years ago

    Have you ever felt that Pinterest had reached a local maximum, and if so – how did you guys move on from there to expanding the product into new areas?

    0 points
  • Martijn Otter, almost 6 years ago

    What is, in your opinion, the cutest animal on this planet?

    And awesome that you're doing this, really enjoy reading the answers you give to all the questions!

    0 points
  • Dirk HCM van BoxtelDirk HCM van Boxtel, almost 6 years ago

    What's it like to see Pinterest's design pattern ALL over the place, and how big of a part were you of that design, or was that mostly Evan? If so, do you guys ever talk about what it's like to see everyone stealing that pattern? Must be a great compliment to define the way the web looks!

    0 points
    • Justin Edmund, almost 6 years ago

      Mostly Evan on the original grid stuff, and Andreas Pihlström (http://suprb.com), who we hired, before him on things like Grid-a-licious and Reform Revolution.

      It's entertaining to see, because a lot of the time it doesn't work. There's a lot of reasons why our content uses that design beyond aesthetic. And a lot of thought into things like spacing, flow, and density specifically for our pins. I think when we were redesigning pinterest.com, at least 2-4 weeks were spent just on revamping the spacing of the grid and the pin cells themselves.

      When you port the grid to things like articles and whatnot, it breaks pretty badly if you don't pay attention to details. Many people do not pay attention to details.

      That being said, it's definitely flattering.

      1 point
      • Dirk HCM van BoxtelDirk HCM van Boxtel, almost 6 years ago

        Yip, I'd wager most implementations are shoddy rip-offs.

        You lot did a great job. I guess inspiration-wise people shouldn't steal the pattern, as much as steal the persistence you showed in getting this pattern right. Often good ideas get implemented badly. If it's a good idea, stick to it, and tweak until it works.

        Cheers for answering all these questions. Love learning from other people's experiences.

        0 points
  • Matthew Williams, almost 6 years ago

    What is the relationship with the engineering team at Pinterest like? Are you building prototypes?

    0 points
    • Justin EdmundJustin Edmund, almost 6 years ago

      I detailed some of this in Jordan P's answer just a bit above this.

      The relationship is pretty good, I think. Due to being a young organization with not a lot of processes, some things are a bit rockier than they could be, but I expect a lot of that to sort itself over time. A lot of it is just that there's not enough people to sort out internal tools, so we use whatever is easiest.

      I personally build prototypes all the time. I've built a prototyping library called Pinkit that lets a designer easily iterate on Pin cells as well as easily use real Pinterest data in HTML/CSS/JS prototypes.

      I'm currently learning iOS development (and later Android) so that I can do the same sorts of things on mobile platforms. My goal for the year is to code more and ship code.

      I'm pretty experimental—design tools are a big passion of mine, so I use lots of budding tools to see how they work and whether they'll make the work of the whole time easier. Recently, I've been playing with Adobe Edge Reflow and Composite.

      2 points
  • Nate NavascaNate Navasca, almost 6 years ago

    Thanks for doing this AMA!

    Here’s my one question: How does your design team minimize the amount of states that are unaccounted for? To clarify, I mean when the engineering team starts to build out a feature, then during production, weird edge cases are often found that need to be hurriedly designed for. Is there a systematic way to surface these early on in the design process?

    Also, you should stop by the Prismatic office sometime. We’re a young team that’s always looking for people to talk to and learn from. :)

    0 points
    • Justin EdmundJustin Edmund, almost 6 years ago

      With the current design tools we have, I haven't found a way to systematically surface those kinds of edge cases. We just design them as quickly as we can. Ideally, you've built early enough that you can allot extra time "padding" to thoughtfully working through those last-minute cases.

      I'd love to hang out! Bradford nags me about it all the time, but we're usually super busy (there's never a drought of things to design!) I'll try to make some time to bring some people over sometime soon :)

      1 point
      • Nate NavascaNate Navasca, almost 6 years ago

        Ah, yeah we’ve been experimenting with some tools lately to see how to alleviate some of that painful churn. My guess is building a quick and dirty prototype and hammering on it early on is one of the better ways. Way too many variables going on sometimes to be able to pinpoint it in a more rigorous way.

        And do it! @/DM me on Twitter whenever you guys get a chance to breathe and hang out.

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  • Tierney CyrenTierney Cyren, almost 6 years ago

    This might be a dumb question, but what does it mean to be a Product Designer at Pintrest?

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  • Dan MalarkeyDan Malarkey, almost 6 years ago

    I work at a software engineering firm as the only UI Designer. I am a resource to three teams (four members to a team) so my work load stays extremely hectic. I do all the UI and front end work. I work on multiple products at once, and at times I feel I can't give each product my “full” attention.

    Do you find yourself building great products focusing on one at a time, or does it not matter?

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    • Justin Edmund, almost 6 years ago

      I have a short attention span, but I'm also extremely irresponsible with time. Working on one project alone usually drives me to the point of insanity where I get in too deep, and that makes for a bad project because I get into echo chamber mode. At the same time, working on more than three or four things at once starts to take its toll on my attention. Two projects simultaneously is my sweet spot.

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