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Designer at Instagram Joined almost 8 years ago via an invitation from Jonathon T.
A lot of our design process starts with what our goals are. From there we try to define what problems we see the need to solve to hit these goals. A lot of the design work that we do is discovering and defining these problems, so we can make sure that we're designing the right solutions.
When it comes to the amount of people that are involved, it differs. There's large and small projects. On matters of figuring it what direction we should go in; we have design reviews to decide those. Sometimes a lot of them, sometimes little. We have learned to be very flexible in this process.
1. Never try to cut corners. And don't ever think you're right the first time around. Even though you are some times. Finally, make sure you're solving a problem. Design for design's sake is rarely a good idea.
2. I think that we're in a very interesting place. A place where we are getting new tools, or are using them differently (Quartz Composer, Framer, Origami, Macaw, Sketch etc.) I'm pretty excited around the stuff that Koen Bok is doing with Framer. The stuff around Origami. A lot of the open source stuff that FB is doing in front-end web, like React and Flux. Pete Hunt is the guy to follow in relation to that, although he might be a little hardcore on the programming side.
3. I absolute love product design. Client work is great for it's variability, but I really love diving deep into a product, discovering and defining problems and trying to figure out the best solution. And be proven wrong and having to figure out a different one. :)
Thanks for the support!
1. I can't answer that with 100% assurance, but I think a lot of it has to do with performance and reliability.
2. I'm really happy with what I'm doing right now! I feel very lucky to have found something I was passionate about and get to do that as a job. Apart from that: I'd probably do some more traveling and make photographs all over the world.
3. I think hamburger menu's have their place. But it's a small place where they actually make sense. If you get into a place where you would be looking at using a hamburger menu, you should ask very hard if there's a need to scope down the product, or if there isn't another way to configure the functionality.
1. @chrisconnolly, @danielkrieger, @danrubin, @pketron and @throughthetinylens (but there's way more...)
2. Depends on the project! For some of them, research is a part of the process from day one. Research might actually be the reason why we're doing the project, and we'll dig deeper with more research as we work on the problem.
When it comes to research studies for new products or features we're building, we try to get to a usable state as fast as possible and get people into the lab as early as we can. We have learned a lot about that in the past, especially when we were working on Photos of You and Video, and it's been invaluable.
Getting in touch with a solid research team has been one of the best parts of joining Facebook.
3. Yeap! Research is engrained in the design process.
4. We have an awesome research team at Facebook that we tap in to whenever we need any help, and we're building out our own team under the leadership of an awesome guy named Andy Warr. We're actually looking for a Qual Researcher now! https://www.facebook.com/careers/department?dept=design&req=a0IA000000CzHP8MAN
5. The ones that have been really meaningful to me are @dguttenfelder in North Korea and @syriandeveloper in Syria. And then there's @sonyayu who can make just about any dog pose for her. And @robinmay who found her husband through Instagram. Oh, and @joselourenco who makes crazy (instagram themed) art.
Need to meet that dog. So good.
Daily inspiration comes a lot from experimentation nowadays. I used to spend a lot of time scouring the internet, but a lot of digital product design is more about defining the problem and it's possible solutions. Once there is direction on potential solutions, you can do research for information in a very focused way.
In college, I did Communication and MultimediaDesign in Maastricht. While I definitely created some critical thinking during the course, much of what I know, love and do nowadays is self-taught.
At it's time, the course was pretty behind in it's curriculum and had a hard time catching up. So during projects I would always try to find some new pattern or technology to learn instead of adhering to the technical guidelines of the project.
I think that in many cases digital design education is lagging behind a lot. The reason for this is that much of the industry is moving forward so fast, that it's hard for schools to even stay on part with them. The college degree for me was important because it got me my visa. But I haven't used it at all apart from that.
And at Instagram and Facebook we don't specifically look for a degree. You don't need a degree to be a good designer and or product thinker.
Tangentially related: the speed at which our industry moves, while being a problem for the education systems, is actually a great blessing for people who want to learn at their own pace, at their own times.
Thanks for reaching out!
We're working together heavily with the Facebook recruiting organisation for that. I expect us to start looking for interns in the next cycle. I'm not sure if we will look for interns specifically for Instagram or if one or more from Facebook will be allocated to us.
Hope that helps!
Early on, we weren't really good at growing our team, which is why the team was only thirteen people when we were acquired. As we joined Facebook, we slowly started growing. We were being very intentional about our growth as we knew it would come with growing pains.
And we definitely experienced those, as we tried to put more process into place the first time, and then again, and then again. More product reviews, less product reviews, a fixed time for product reviews, design product whenever deemed needed etc.
I think that we are now in a place where we are comfortable with the review process. But we're still learning how to grow our team, yet we've become better at it.
From a design perspective, the iOS 7 redesign also gave us some license to think about our design language, and set up a system to work with going forward.
I will forever love Trappistes Rochefort 10. Next to that I'm a pretty big fan of Pauwel Kwak and Damnation (which to me is an american version of La Chouffe). Wherever they have a 'rotating handle' I will try whatever is on tap, though!
Multiple screens generally get done in what we call a 'Map' PSD. Some times all the layers are in the PSD, nowadays I try to put them in Linked Smart Objects. But that's still a process I'm transitioning in to.
Sadly there's little tools we have at our disposal now. I would love the ability to select a Layer Comp in a Linked Smart Object. Because that would allow you to have 1 PSD with all of your UI elements and different views into that PSD in your map file. :)
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