A look inside design at Handsome with Conner Drew

In the year that he’s been at Handsome, Product Designer Conner Drew has been the lead on two of our major accounts (Audi & Silvercar). Conner played a big role in Handsome receiving a Webby Award for Silvercar, and was also recently accepted into AC4D (Austin Center for Design) due to the depth of UX knowledge he’s gained over the past year.

We sat down with Conner to find out more about his growth since being at Handsome and the impact its had on his career.

Before you came on board, how did you first notice Handsome?

I knew about Handsome. As I started looking into career opportunities, Handsome naturally emerged due to its presence in Austin. It was tough not to notice.

What made you want to come onboard?

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t attracted to Handsome’s dribbble account, but more so, I got the impression that Handsome would foster the environment I was looking for in my professional growth. This included a company that practiced genuine collaboration, showed equal appreciation between user experience, product design, & technology, and well… made cool shit.

Tell us about your role as a Product Designer.

As a product designer I hold myself accountable for seeing the maturity of an experience take shape. I tackle all aspects of the design process from user research to prototyping to helping tell the project story to the client. I pride myself on the amount of rigor I put into creating products. I truly believe the best results come from being comfortable with unknowns and trusting that the process will get you there.

What makes our process unique?

My biggest take away so far has been the amount of rigor that goes into the design process. It’s important to not sacrifice any one particular aspect of building an experience; if we don’t think holistically, we’re going to fall short. This mentality is unfortunately not found everywhere. Included in this mentality is the relationship Handsome forms with clients in becoming an emotionally invested and truly integrated team rather than spitting out a checklist of deliverables.

Conner conducting landscape research with one of our UX Designers, Anna Krachey.

What surprised you about it?

The level of care and passion that the team takes with each client surpassed my expectations. It quickly became apparent that the overall mentality is not about simply giving the client a working product, but rather making sure it’s the best solution. It’s refreshing to see.

Tell me about your favorite part of the design process.

Lately, I’ve been drawn to creating prototypes and designing motion, those two elements can be closely associated depending on fidelity.

How does it shape a product?

I think there are a couple benefits from prototyping. First off, they allow us to get something in front of users early and often. We’re able to quickly get ideas out of our heads and validate them with little effort. Secondly, with the use of digital prototypes during the ideation phase where we’re designing the core of an experience, we’re able to really push the creative boundaries because of how quickly concepts can be mocked up. This really helps paint an exact picture of what the end result will look like.

I hear our approach has deeply affected the way that you approach and think about design and you want to learn…a lot more. Tell me about this.

Indeed it has! I’ve never had such high exposure to empathy-driven design. Having seen first hand the effects it has on a user’s experience, it’s hard to understand why you would design any other way. A significant part of Handsome’s approach comes from Austin Center for Design (AC4D) and was urged by one of our UX Designers, Anna Krachey, to attend a workshop they were putting on (thank you Anna). After seven intense hours of research and synthesis at the workshop, I knew I wanted to pursue a more end-to-end understanding of how to approach problem solving via design. I made the decision to apply to AC4D and was lucky enough to be accepted into the program for this fall. I couldn’t be more excited!

What problems are you particularly passionate about working on?

I’ve found myself wanting to improve personal budgeting as of late. I’m really interested in how design & technology can evolve the financial industry. I think it’s an industry that’s a bit behind the times, especially when it comes to the consumer side of things. Aside from Simple, it’s difficult to find companies in the financial sector which marry thoughtful design and modern technologies.

You can see what Conner and the rest of the design team has been up to on Dribbble.

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