Every so often, we pass the mic to a member of our Product Design team. What inspires them, what are they watching, a new band they love, a book they can’t put down — it’s all fair game. This month, we’re spotlighting Senior Product Designer and ancient civilization aficionado, Renee Cao.
What is your role at Hulu? What do you work on?
I’m a senior product designer based in the Seattle office. I work on the Design System & Platform team, focusing on the Living Room space.
In the 10 years I’ve been at Hulu, I’ve worked on many features across all platforms and devices. For the past year and a half, I focused on how we use voice control on Hulu to bring the best experience to our user. Those include the voice campaign page, voice tips, and the voice settings page for Alexa. Aside from voice, I am working on components within our Living Room design system and improving our playback experience.
What is your favorite part about designing for Hulu?
Designers have enough time to explore solid design solutions: starting from research to high-fidelity prototypes — each step forward is considered. We use user tests to verify the design, and improve the design before the release. Our directors, managers, and leads give their best guidance. All the designers on the team work very efficiently and provide constructive feedback. Additionally, our team has a great culture and a team that keeps growing. There is always so much to learn from other designers.
Any advice for new designers?
One piece of advice would be to take time to do thorough research before beginning designs. I enjoy doing research work such as competitor analysis, market research, and user research. The more research and analysis you do, the better informed your ideas will be during the design exploration process.
What do you like to do when you’re not designing?
I love learning about ancient civilizations and experiencing different cultures. I hope to get some inspiration and answers to this mazy universe by doing so! I also enjoy travelling and have visited Egypt, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, the Mediterranean region, Middle East region, and China.
What inspiration sources do you use/look at?
There are a lot of great resources that can be found online. I follow a variety of top innovation media labs and institutions. I also keep an eye on updates from various design award shows.
How do you stay creative?
Being curious about the entire universe is a way I keep a creative spirit. I’m always absorbing innovation, staying out of the safe zone, and imagining the things that are intangible. This helps me think outside of the box.
What’s your design mantra?
Always consider a different perspective.
How did you get involved in design/what drew you to UX design?
It’s been very linear. My major was Industrial Design when I was in university, but I found I was more interested in user psychology, behaviors, and relationships between humans and machines. I preferred this over designing the physical product itself, so I kept learning interaction design and user research in postgraduate school, which directly led me into UX design.
Lastly, what are you watching on Hulu?
I am a super Sci-fi fan — I’ve been watching Devs since week one! Also, I always randomly pick one episode of Futurama — it’s my favorite show. I am so glad the series is on Hulu! ♥️