5 principles I’ve learnt while working at OpenTable.

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This article is based on a talk that I gave at SofaConf organised by Clearleft in June 2020. I’ve summarised the talk for everyone to read. Enjoy.

Hi, I’m Sim Wishlade, and I’m a design manager at OpenTable. To give this article some context as to why I wrote it: I hate losing. I hate losing more than I love winning. We all got told as children it’s the taking part that counts. Not for me. If I start losing at anything, I get annoyed and frustrated for not being better. …

Exploring the perception of user ratings

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I’ve always been fond of numbers. My father, who was a math teacher, fostered this appreciation. He’d always give my sisters and me sums to do as we drove along in the car to see who could answer the quickest and who could do the most difficult sums. My love of numbers continued though my studies where I took courses in Maths and Accounting. In the end I pursued my love of design as a career. …

Lots of things to look at, little time to look at them

Being the sole product designer in our London Office, working with multiple product teams, there’s always work to be done and meetings to attend. I don’t like having a list of things that need to be done, and this means that I spend little time reading/listening/watching/trying out new things to find inspiration and explore new processes. These last few weeks I’ve been blocking out my calendar on a Friday morning, after stand-ups, to find more time to listen, read and write, forcing myself to step away from work. …

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Screenshots of the final visuals is great, but how did you get there?


1: Tell me what the brief is
2: Talk me through your design process and show a couple of images: sketches, people that did your user testing, card sorting etc
3: Did you come up with multiple ideas, show an image of the ones you didn’t take forward if it shows off some broader thinking of the problem.
4: Show me the solution, prototypes, interactive pieces, printed material if you have any.
5: Ask some questions!

Every year we offer a few design assistant positions here at OpenTable. In this process we look through some amazing work, meet…

What are we trying to achieve?

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In the past week I’ve been linked to three articles mentioning ‘pixel-perfection’ in design. This notion of pixel-perfection was one I used to strive towards in my early career . I’ve always wanted my designs to be ‘perfect’ and when I hand them over to the engineering team I want them to be engineered exactly as I had laid them out.

Pixel perfect designs take time to craft, and making it pixel perfect in code takes even more time. If you have an infinite amount of time and money you can achieve perfectness and if you don’t, well, as a…

Why redesigning a product shouldn’t be reserved for when it breaks.

I had been watching a film on BBC iPlayer on Monday night and made it half way through before heading to bed. When I returned 24 hours later to watch the second half, the BBC had released an updated version of their iPlayer. My first thought was “how do I find the film now?”. Usually, I would have clicked on the ‘film’ category and found it in there, but now that didn’t seem to exist (as far as I could see — further exploration revealed that it does). …

Sim Wishlade

Product designer @ OpenTable

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