Be nice. Or else.
Creative Director at The Factory Joined about 4 years ago via an invitation from Allan G.
Thanks for sharing!
I'm most comfortable in HTML and CSS, and I've written a lot of the front-end and template code for different web-focused projects I've worked on. Lately, I'm trying to find ways to learn enough about native mobile to build better prototypes, and think through native UI systems and flows in a way that takes the materials and how it's built into account better.
OK, I'll have to leave this alone for a bit while I finish up some work and get home to my family. I'll try to answer a couple more later if I have time. Thanks for the questions everybody!
At some point I just have to overcome my anxiety and trust other people. Either I wait around for them to "earn" that trust, or I just start with trust as the default state and convince myself that the worst case scenario is cleaning up a mess if it doesn't work out. In my experience, that doesn't happen that often, but maybe I've just worked with a lot of people who are smarter than me. Which is another good trick.
It has varied a lot over the years, at different companies and on different projects. In the beginning at Rdio, I was building a lot of the front-end templates, by the end of my time there, I was spending most of my time managing the design team and giving design feedback and direction. I tend to try to take a lot of things on on my own and work out all the details myself, so I've had to learn ways to work against that and be a better collaborator.
I don't think there are any shortcuts to having someone who is a designer in a position to make or meaningfully contribute to fundamental decisions about the company. On it's own, it's not a magic recipe for success, but it's the right start.
Take something that you think is good and try to figure out why it's good. Copying things just for the sake of copying them doesn't really get you anywhere. But you can learn a lot from taking things apart and trying to reverse engineer the component decisions and the process that got them there. Eventually you will start to build up a vocabulary of common patterns and elements that go into things you think are good, and you start to be able to understand your own taste enough to create something yourself that falls in the same category.
I worked on EveryBlock from San Francisco for three years while the rest of the team was in Chicago. For me personally, it worked really well while we were building the first versions of the product, and I was the only designer. We were able to keep up a good rhythm of discussing things together and me being able to work things out on my own. I think it gets a lot harder when you're collaborating with other designers, or if you don't have a certain level of trust and basic patterns of communication built up with the people you're working with. I've never been able to work as effectively remotely when I need to collaborate directly with other people. In larger companies, when it's easy to get swamped with meetings and conversations from all sides, it's great to have the ability to take a day a week to work outside the office and get shit done, but I think it's pretty tough to do it all the time. It works for a lot of people, but it takes effort to do it right and avoid the pitfalls.
Yes, they were very different experiences. Going into all the various reasons why that's the case would probably take all week. I worked on a marketing team at Apple (the design of apple.com is part of the global marketing design team) and I worked on a product design team at Facebook, so it's a little bit apples to oranges anyway. Both companies value design as an integral part of the company's direction from the top, but obviously each product and company has their own goals and priorities. Sorry for the unsatisfying response, but there are at least 100 different ways to say "it's different because it's different." :)
Be nice. Or else.
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