What I Have Learned at Google as a Designer

A running list of learnings & insights from my ongoing journey as a Googler.

Hardik Pandya
Apr 25, 2018 · 15 min read

I joined Google back in October. Joining a company of Google’s size and scale has been quite a revelatory experience.

Friends and old colleagues often ask how working at Google is different after having worked at a series of startups — in trying to answer this question, I came up with several instances of learnings through my own experiences the months. I feel sharing these can help many others in similar situations, but I did this in a way that it is an advice to my own self so I can read and re-read these as a reference.

So here we go in no particular order —

Most aversion from designers, when faced with critical feedback, comes due to the amount of effort it takes to make large-scale fundamental changes to designs in advanced stages of a project.

Design discussions start manifesting into decisions as you form these connections [between design interactions and real-life user situations] that are grounded in user’s reality.

The closer you get to the day of the meeting without booking a time, the harder it is to book as people’s calendars have been already filled up.

One time I remember while walking in Kyoto I was thinking about pointers that can help scheduling meetings with a person efficient and interesting and wanted to note down the stream of thoughts. I ended up spending 45 mins in a nearby cafe to finish jotting down my thoughts in a note.

You can accelerate learning but you cannot accelerate exposure. It will take its own time.

Good teams always leave an information trail for current and future team-members. Seek it out and read as much as possible.

Compared to my previous stint where I had to be constantly vigilant of protecting my own interests, my time at Google has been rather cathartic — I’m enjoying every single day absorbing as much of the great culture as possible while spending time on making measurable strides towards getting better at my job.

Alex Roe (ex-Googler and former PM on Google Photos) shared similar learnings from his time at Google you should definitely read them. If you know of other resources where people have shared similar notes about their experiences, I would definitely want to read.

As they say, most advice people give is almost always more of a note to their own self.

For a long time, these points stayed in a running note I kept for myself and it feels great to finally share them. They’ve helped me become a better designer, an effective communicator and a valuable contributor to my team, and the learning continues.

With that, back to work!

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Google Design

Stories by Googlers on the practice of design and technology

Hardik Pandya

Written by

Design Lead @Google Search for the Searchbox & Autocomplete • Previously @GSuite

Google Design

Stories by Googlers on the practice of design and technology. For editorial content and more visit design.google

Hardik Pandya

Written by

Design Lead @Google Search for the Searchbox & Autocomplete • Previously @GSuite

Google Design

Stories by Googlers on the practice of design and technology. For editorial content and more visit design.google

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