By Design, a new podcast from the team at Abstract, explores the nuances and many steps in the product design process with a goal of highlighting all the work that design teams take on. Hosted by Josh Brewer, co-founder at Abstract, each episode focuses on a specific stage of the design lifecycle, with perspectives from some of the best leaders in design today. Listen in to hear more about how design teams work now and where design is headed in the future.
Fonz Morris says the best products are constantly being refined
In Design, refinement is constant. As you move through the process, you’re sharpening your understanding of the problem and subsequently the solutions you devise. Throughout his time at companies like MyArtistDNA, Coursera, and now at Netflix as Lead Product Designer for Global Conversion, Fonz Morris brings a mindset of constant improvement to his work. He says that teams that collaborate throughout the entire process are much more likely to put themselves in the customer’s shoes and start iterating from the very beginning. He also dispels the misconception that data can limit creativity, instead he believes that it allows teams to gauge success in service of refinement.
Joshua Goldenberg on shipping together
There’s an exciting moment in the design lifecycle when you move from concept to reality, when the “idea” becomes the “thing.” This phase of the process is a deeply collaborative effort between several different disciplines. After leading design organizations at Palantir, Slack, and now Loom, Joshua Goldenberg has insight into how we can make building and shipping an opportunity for inclusion and a shared sense of ownership. He also reminds us that design’s responsibility doesn’t end after the handoff — we should be collaborating with cross functional teams early and often.
Katie Dill on designing effective reviews
From the “Hey, can I get your eyes on this?” request for feedback to the “Final Executive Review,” so much of our work involves gathering and processing input from other people. In her time leading design teams at companies like Airbnb, Lyft, and most recently as the Head of Design at Stripe, Katie Dill has learned setting the right amount of context with the right people at the right stage is critical to success. She says that it’s important to take the time to design your review process — including your ability to facilitate.
David Hoang says prototyping is about failure
If we’ve learned anything from the past three deep dives into the research, product brief, and exploration phases, it’s that there are lots of chances to reduce uncertainty throughout the design process. But nothing compares to the prototype. David Hoang, Director of Design at Webflow, says prototypes are about failing — and that’s a good thing. He makes a strong case for a new way to use the prototyping stage: to figure out the wrong turns, not just the right ones.
Marc Hemeon on exploring within constraints
Conducting research and creating a product brief are important for mitigating risk when building a digital product, but how do we make the most of the divergent thinking and exploration stage? Marc Hemeon, an artist, designer, and entrepreneur whose passion for design has impacted several seminal internet companies, is an expert at the zero to one phase. He shares how setting expectations with stakeholders and clarifying the type of feedback that’s needed in this stage can create compassion and freedom to explore. He also encourages folks to put down the phone and find inspiration in the analog solutions all around us.
How the Sherwins go from user problem to product brief
Though we might want to believe that the product brief can be the one document that will tell us exactly what to build, the reality can be quite different. David and Mary Sherwin explain how the product brief can be a tool for alignment and consensus about what you’re going to build and what success looks like if you get it right. From their experience consulting and coaching product and service design teams, large and small, they’ve found that the most successful teams collaborate to make sure everyone is being honest about their assumptions.