A woman stopping to look out into the horizon while hiking on a mountain ridge line
A woman stopping to look out into the horizon while hiking on a mountain ridge line
David Marcu via Unsplash

Being the only product designer is a unique situation. Ideally, design teams of one should be temporary, never the end state for an organization. But if you’ve landed a role where you’re the only one, here are some ways to navigate life as a solo designer in order to stay sane and make an amazing impact.

Person with revolving abstract shapes as a head
Person with revolving abstract shapes as a head
All gifs by Patrick Sluiter via Giphy

What makes someone a solo designer?

A solo product designer is any designer working on a project without access to additional design support.

Examples of solo designers

  • Designer #1, the first designer a company hires


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Image for post
via Chang Hsien

Yes, iterative design is possible. Here’s how to get your engineers and product managers on board.

This is a framework I recommend to any UX designer seeking to impart a dedicated user experience focus to the members of their agile development team. I have used it to build and launch new features within quick timelines when co-developing new products for enterprise clients. This framework leverages user story mapping and user testing as guiding checkpoints to ensure final project delivery is a relevant solution.

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Image for post
via Laurène Boglio

1. Onsite kickoff

Create cross-team momentum and set the stage for a user-centered project approach by visiting at the start of the project.

  • Shadow users (ideally 2+) to understand their current workflow


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Image for post

Last November, I decided to transition out of freelance user experience design. During my job hunt, I found myself needing to answer the same questions again and again.

I collected my favorite questions and wrote thoughtful and exhaustive answers, creating a list of frequently asked questions.

They served me in two ways:

  1. I linked to my FAQs in my cover letter (a template of which exists here). This provided a speedy, unencumbered avenue for hiring managers to assess me more thoroughly.

About

Allison Milchling

Product Design | allisonmilchling.com

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