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Product Design Director at Facebook Joined over 5 years ago
Having not worked at any of those places except Microsoft very briefly, I don't think I can be an authoritative source on what is similar versus different across companies. But based on what I've heard second-hand from other folks who have worked at those companies, I think some unique characteristics of Facebook's design team are:
1) our product design team is made of up generalists. We don't differentiate roles into visual/graphic, UX/wireframe, or information architects, although of course there are designers on the team who are exceptionally strong/leaders in each of those disciplines. But for the most part we believe in doing end-to-end design work across a product or feature. 2) as a company, design is greatly valued and considered a pillar of product development next to engineering and PM. There isn't a lot of "needing to prove the value of design". Designers are expected to be involved in the conception of a product from the very beginning stages. 3) we're still a pretty small, scrappy, and tight-knit design team compared to the other companies you've listed. For instance, we still have a weekly product design meeting to share work across different teams and projects. 4) we care a lot about design tools. That's why we spend a lot of time teaching/making patches for QuartzComposer and Origami.
I'd say that most designers at Facebook end up working cross platform (this is because designers generally own things at a product or feature level, and most products/features eventually end up being built across multiple platform), but we also have some folks who work on core experiences (like navigation or defining interface standards) and they tend to go much deep in one platform.
I wrote about my dream design curriculum in the abstract here: https://medium.com/the-year-of-the-looking-glass/my-dream-design-curriculum-ace1d0475289, but I don't have enough details of the different design programs out there to be able to give strong recommendations for specific programs. I do know that at Facebook, we've had a track record of hiring a number of designers from University of Washington, Carnegie Mellon, RISD, among others.
There's no "one process" honestly--it depends on the problem and the team. Designing for scale and growth is different than designing new features or products. But we do utilize a good amount of user/market research especially when designing "new" things, and we look for opportunities for improvements using the information we have on how people use our existing products. We definitely try and have all designs that are substantial changes go through multiple rounds of critique with designers and the product teams before launch. We also do a lot of dogfooding of our own products, and sometimes beta-test stuff with external people to get more feedback on how well something works.
Some properties of a design that I wouldn't think is strong...
a) it doesn't actually solve the problem at hand (often this is because we haven't done a good job of defining the problem we're trying to solve) b) it solves a narrow problem versus being generalizable to a broader problem (ie, introducing new settings or features versus figuring out how to make the system more robust such that we might not need those additional settings or features). c) it doesn't strike the right balance between making the 85% use case incredibly clear/easy and the 15% pro-use case more challenging. d) it introduces new design patterns or paradigms when it really doesn't need to (different for the sake of being different) d) it's confusing to understand e) it looks janky
Have a great portfolio (strong rationale of work helps) and send it to me! jouleethezoo at gmail. :)
I have not! Should I?!
I think the vaguest notion is who defines the "product" where product is defined what something does and how it should work such that it will resonate with people in the market. In my experience at Facebook, this isn't a "role" per se that one person fills, but tends to be a collaboration among the team (engineers, designers, PMs, researchers, analysts, etc,) to figure out, because it's the most fundamental question to answer. I've seen product leadership come out of design, engineer, or PM--regardless of title, so I tend to think that it's more important to figure out how to get good at "product thinking" and cultivating that specific skill, and be less concerned about exact role definitions. There are, of course additional responsibilities that PMs, designers, and engineers have that are specific to that role, but figuring out the "product" to me feels like a more collaborative thing.
You can go to "most recent" which is essentially what you describe. Over the long run however, given that as your connections increase, and the number of things your friends share increase, we've found that there's no practical way for people to keep up with what's actually most important without doing some sort of ranking in the feed. Ranking isn't perfect, and that's a huge part of the problem of the current model, but the goal is for that to get better, and also for people to have more control over what they see and don't want to miss.
It's a panel, so answering questions and chatting about good mobile design. :D
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Where the design community meets.
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