Mitch Malone

Orange County, CA Product Design at Weedmaps Joined over 4 years ago

  • 17 stories
  • 232 comments
  • 27 upvotes
  • Posted to Ask DN: If you don't like or don't want to code can you help me understand why?, Jun 06, 2018

    Coding doesn't irk me. I enjoy coding.

    But I think designers are better positioned to impact a business, project, experience, etc in other areas. Specifically in understanding who the user is, what they're goals and scenarios are, aligning with business needs, collaborating on prototypes, and user testing.

    The prototyping can be done in code. Some times it is required but mostly it isn't.

    If it suits your work style—carry on. But I wonder if it should be a requirement for designers.

    9 points
  • Posted to What's your team's design stack?, in reply to Lee Munroe , May 30, 2018

    Heh. It's not easy. Our design system is very much an MVP. So when we add or update the system, it's a laborious process of updating sketch libs, documentation in Confluence, and React components.

    0 points
  • Posted to What's your team's design stack?, in reply to Kris Puckett , May 30, 2018

    Hey Kris. Coincidentally, I discovered the problem a few hours after I posted this. Turns out it was a third-party Sketch plugin that was messing me up. I removed it and now Craft sync works perfect!

    Thanks for reaching out!

    1 point
  • Posted to What's your team's design stack?, May 29, 2018
    • Sketch
    • No version control yet. I'd like to try abstract.
    • Invision for now but moving to Zeplin or something else. Invision has been causing problems for our team in how they render nested and pinned symbols from Sketch when using Craft sync.
    • Atom for FE (for me at least)
    • Slack
    • JIRA
    • Confluence. Use this for design system documentation
    • Dropbox paper for notes and thinking
    • React Storybook. We use storybook in our design system as a front end to our reusable react components.
    • Whimsical for user flows and diagramming.
    2 points
  • Posted to Design Management, in reply to Carlos Sousa , May 29, 2018

    Gaining soft skills is hard. They are rarely taught explicitly in school or elsewhere. You or your employer can hire consultants to teach you how to do this well. There are also a lot of good books on the subject (Emotional Intelligence, Radical Candor, etc). Jared Spool has a lot of good writing and talks on this stuff.

    The best way to learn is to practice.

    The good news is because soft skills are so hard to acquire, if you've mastered them, you are extremely desirable in almost any company.

    0 points
  • Posted to Design Management, in reply to Carlos Sousa , May 28, 2018

    Critiques are about making the design better and they should be a regular part of the process.

    They consist of a group of people who have a stake in the project's success and have the requisite knowledge in order to ask good questions. Critiques are about asking questions after all. Deep, thoughtful questions about the decisions that went into the design. If the reasoning behind the question can't be supported (by evidence or otherwise) then the designer can take note and reconsider the decision.

    However, asking questions like these (especially about why they made certain decisions) is inherently antagonistic and people will become defensive. This is not good. So make sure you phrase questions about the work and not the designer. All feedback must come from a place of support and compassion. It takes practices to do this consistently but it is well worth it. For example, don't say, "Why did you design the flow like this?" Instead, say, "Talk about how this flow works well to achieve the desired outcome." Both of these questions get at the same point but one is about the person and the other about the work.

    Overall, this kind of nonviolent communication is key to creating a psychologically safe space for people to work. When people feel safe, they will be more open to critique and more willing to contribute. Safety also lets people be more daring and courageous in their ideas which can lead to innovative designs.

    To go back to my point point above about "low-quality work", the good DM would not go to the designer and tell her that the work isn't good. Instead the good DM would simply recognize that she needs help and facilitate activities that will get her back on track. Critique is a good tool for that, though not the only one.

    2 points
  • Posted to Design Management, May 28, 2018

    Some things I think good design managers do:

    • If a designer is having trouble making progress on a project, the DM can help think through strategies/tactics for progress. -If there doesn't seem to be strong alignment in a team or among multiple teams on a single initiative, the DM should recognize that misalignment and facilitate communications among those teams to gain it.
    • If the design work is low quality, the DM should recognize it and facilitate a critique with relevant people.
    • Work with designers to understand their individual career goals and help them toward a path to achieve them.
    • Find opportunities for designers to learn.
    • Push designers to the boundaries of their experience to facilitate growth.
    • Provide clear, direct, and supportive feedback on performance (or just in general).
    • Identify bottlenecks, frustrations, or any friction in design process and work to reduce them as much as possible.
    6 points
  • Posted to I started creating minimalist travel posters - let me know what you think, Apr 09, 2018

    These are so wonderful. Awesome job!

    1 point
  • Posted to Teaching Product/UX Design, Mar 30, 2018

    I taught UX Design at an online bootcamp service and the one thing I wish was on the curriculum was product discovery. Time to instruct how to understand the problem space (and contrast it to the solution space), how to conduct user interviews, how to understand and discover user goals, how they need to align with business goals, etc.

    0 points
  • Posted to Survivorship Bias in Startups: Basing UX Decisions on the Gaps in the Data, Mar 27, 2018

    I love this story. Great read. When I think of this story, I always think the first thought the team had was, "Where do we put the armor?" when instead they should have asked, "Why aren't all our planes coming back?"

    1 point
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