Weekly Recap #05: Silicon Valley-esque?

I never really know how to better begin these weekly recaps…what does one usually say in a weekly recurring post? Oh well.

Let’s keep the intro short: this week has been an overall good one. Friendships were made, event(s) were attended, work was done. So where to start?

Level Up: Junior Design 🙋🏻

Ever since I got into listening to Design Details, I’ve been really interested with the idea of starting my own. Well, actually scratch that. I really wanted to participate in one. Chat about something related to design with like-minded individuals, learn a thing or two. The whole shebang. Never really got motivated to do so up until recently, when I heard about Bumpers.

say goodbye to needing professional recording equipment~

Finally, an app that told my posh sensibilities & worries of needing high-end equipment to go f*ck itself. This and seeing a couple of designers I followed on Twitter start their own podcasts was enough to finally motivate me to do the same.

Luckily, I had a friend who was down to start this with me and was able to recruit another friend (who turned out to be the girlfriend of my old best friend from highschool~) to join us. This weekend was the first online introduction we had with each other and gave us time to set the stage of how we’d want this podcast to be structured.

“Design…but like, from a noob’s perspective. We could be the design podcast noobs.”

We wanted this podcast to be a culmination of experiences (from the POV of a designer just getting themselves situated in the industry) & thought-provoking discussions about current design trends/resources/whatever the hell else. It’ll be a good experience, I feel. A lot of podcasts I listen to have these great designers who have been in the field for a good number of years already. Sure, their advice and knowledge is super helpful. But wouldn’t it be nice to hear from more naive designers? Eh? 😏

Tomorrow, we’re actually recording the pilot episode so fingers crossed we don’t completely blow it. Hang tight, and expect to see it sometime next week! 🙈

Making The First Ballsy Move

Not what a designer at Cisco told me verbatim, but I remember there was definitely mention of balls. *ahem*

Had another coffee (okay I say coffee but in reality I had jerky and she had dried fruit, smh) chat with a Cisco designer this week. Compared to the others I’ve talked to, she’s been here the longest (~2 years!) and I was definitely interested in hearing her experiences. Unsurprisingly enough, I found out she too was motivated to do work not because of the product, but because of the team she worked with. Mention of unyielding upper management, differences in the design vs. engineering teams, sacrificing ideation/iteration over quickly shipping all surfaced.

“To be honest the work I do isn’t that interesting…but my teammates are so encouraging and helpful.”

Not to say that Cisco is a bad place to work. Not saying that changes aren’t be made and that design isn’t becoming more and more recognized as an important part of the entire process. It reassures me to know the problems are being addressed, however slowly.

More importantly, I’m glad I’ve been doing what I can to put myself out there. Every single designer I’ve met here since I started has commended me for taking the initiative and reaching out. And not that I’m trying to bathe in these compliments, but it does make me feel extra inclined to continue doing this. I love learning more about other designers’ experiences and how they go about tackling the day-to-day problems they encounter at work.

~* Brb, compiling a guide on how to make it as a designer at Cisco~*~

Facebook Interface Guidelines and…13 Going On 30 Rock?

Yesterday I ventured out of my little San Jose bubble to attend Design Systems at Facebook in Menlo Park. It was an event hosted by the SF Design Systems Coalition and talked about…well, Facebook’s Interface Guidelines for their products. From mobile to desktop, from Messenger to marketplace, Facebook has curated a heavy power tool kit to help designers iterate and build quickly. Less time pixel pushing, more time testing and validating.

cool stuff in store~~~~~

Honestly it was a really cool experience. They did some pretty neat demos, using a tool their internal team built (although currently blanking on the name…😐). Everything was compiled into this one accessible resource, such that any designer — for any team — could pull it up and get the relevant information/icons/assets they needed to correctly and uniformly create their designs.

Just imagine…Sketch Runner, but anything and everything Facebook-related. Need a search bar for iPhone 7? You got it. What about Android? Yup. Don’t know the color palette you should be using for notifications? Fret not, it’s all there.

By having this guideline be used across all their design teams, Facebook gets rid of the confusion (“what’s the most recent file I should be using?”). Oh, and it’s not only for Sketch. They have pushed implementation into Origami as well. So now, you can even create prototypes that work with real data. Like, real data.

How real?

Um, let’s see. If I built a quick prototype that had you log into Facebook and it would display your 10 most-talked to friends, it would do that. No more populating the mock with “real” data (I mean, hello I don’t have a friend IRL named Fred Krowinsky). This allows for more realistic and natural feedback from the user, which is always a good thing!

I could say more, but I’d rather let them ship this (~18 months and counting) and have you experience it yourself 🙌🏼

“So why…did you call this recap “Silicon Valley-esque” if there’s no mention of that at all?”

Well I was just about to get to it, aight?

still haven’t watched the show…whoops

The Facebook event was probably the first real glimpse into what people meant when they talked about the people here in Silicon Valley. I mean, before I kinda knew? But boy, just overhearing some conversations yesterday made me get it.

Here I am, just sitting and eating some fruit (thanks Facebook for catering) and listening to designers around me talk about how “great” their work is at [insert social media company] doing [work that doesn’t truly have as big/good of an impact as they might think].

And wow, the bougie talk was surreal. Nothing I can really encapsulate in words (a real “you had to be there” moment), but I can assure you it made me understand why everyone outside of the Bay Area looks at us with half-squinted eyes. 😑

Personally, I hope to be better. I hope to work on products that strive to improve the lives of people outside the Bay Area. Healthcare, education, whatever it may be, I want to tackle problem areas with the help of technology.