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Photo by William Warby on Unsplash

How do we measure design quality? This question has been asked at every company where I’ve led design, and it comes not only from designers but from stakeholders and executives as well. Solutions range from “we’ll know it when we see it”, to principle-based evaluation, to detailed and rigorous product and design reviews. Other suggested solutions have included surveys like NPS (Net Promoter Score), CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score), or custom user surveys like “How delightful do you find our product?”

Each of these solutions is problematic. Internally-led evaluations may be biased by internal motivations or blindspots. …


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We’ve all gotten career advice. Work hard, don’t settle. Ask for what you want. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Dress for the job you want. Love what you do.

Yada yada yada.

For those of you who have gone after career growth with all that “tried and true” advice, and it’s failed you; I’m here to tell you there’s another way. …


Self-awareness will help you hire and nurture a design team that’s curious, flexible, and authentic

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Illustrations courtesy of the author

What is the most important skill you can hire for when bringing on a designer to your team?

I’m going to guess that many of you value skills like visual design, prototyping, or sketching, and you wouldn’t be wrong. …


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Photo by Steve Johnson

My friend asked me today how I write. She’s thought about it herself, picks up the rhetorical pen, but can’t go through with it. She asked me to write about writing.

The short of it is, you just write. It’s really that simple.

How, you say? Here’s what works for me.

1. Jot down your ideas

Have a place where you keep lists of the things you want to write about—typically it’s best to write about what you know—with any subsequent notes. I tend to bounce back and forth between Medium drafts and IA Writer. Some are just titles; some are just rough notes. Right…


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True empathy is hearing and understanding in order to implement solutions to meet the actual user needs, not just our interpretation of those needs.

A crucial part of product design is learning how to approach user problems with empathy. Empathy is the ability to share and understand the feelings of others. Seeing how other people experience things enables us to focus on what matters most—solving real problems that people have—rather than what we think matters.

Those of us who have been around for a minute know the obligation of designing responsibly, which at a minimum is designing with comprehensive empathy. …


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When someone says, “I want to be more autonomous,” what does that mean? Autonomy is independence, freedom, self-government. In the context of design, autonomy can be perceived to mean: “I want to do this on my own, I can do this by myself.”

I’ve often heard young designers ask for autonomy as if it’s a role to be had or a skill to be developed. What autonomy-seeking designers really want is to be empowered to make their own decisions; they falsely equate solo decision-making with seniority.

The best design work is never done by any one person alone, but instead…


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You’ve graduated from design school, you’ve landed your first job, you’ve made it! Congrats! You’re a real live, practicing, money-making designer. And yet, people aren’t treating you like you’ve made it. Why?

You’re trying to make strides, but teammates aren’t valuing your contributions. You constantly have to defend your design decisions, particularly to other designers. Your non-design teammates just don’t “get” good design. And it’s not just that your ideas aren’t prioritized, it’s that they’re not even on the table. You get told what to do with your designs, but there’s not a lot of direction up front.

Yep, you’ve…


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How I Get My Priorities Straight

It’s that time of year again, the time when we start throwing together resolutions, albeit some more well thought through than others. If you’re anything like me, these go a bit beyond go-to-the-gym-more and only-drink-on-the-weekends, and while these certainly top the list, other resolutions often hop beyond the personal space and into the work space.

I often find myself at the end of the year running rather haphazardly. At Facebook, launch season typically comes to an abrupt halt before the actual end of the year due to branch cuts and launch deadlines, so product work slows down. It’s a great…


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“How do I get better at visual design?”

This question comes up a lot. I coach and mentor a lot of students on product design by tutoring for the Academy of Art in San Francisco, reviewing for AIGA’s portfolio reviews, hosting interns at Facebook and so on.

There’s a bridge from a student’s perspective to a professional’s perspective. For most, it’s guaranteed to be a blend of fear and excitement and curiosity, peppered with a lot of questions.

“What’s going to happen when I get out?”

“What kind of design jobs are out there?”

“What might I be a good…


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Photo by Christophe Tauziet

At the end of our interviews for Product Design at Facebook, we reserve a few minutes for the candidate to ask questions. It’s one of my favorite parts, where I can be asked anything about Facebook, the Product Design role or my experience, and I always try to answer those questions openly and honestly.

What’s caught my attention lately is how I’ve been introducing this bit. It’s become something like this: “I’d like to answer any questions that you have, because Facebook can be a pretty mysterious place.

Facebook has an incredibly open and transparent culture. …

Jasmine Friedl

Design Director at Dropbox, Dabbler in Writing, Champagne Enthusiast

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