SCenE from ‘MoonRISE KINGDOM’ by WES Anderson

What kind of a designer are you?

No! I said…what kind of a designer are YOU?

Tuhin Kumar
May 7, 2013 · 5 min read

In the short time since I started designing, I have had a bunch of titles to describe my role; some I chose myself when freelancing, and some were given by the companies that I worked for. I have been a web designer, a user interface designer, an interaction designer, a user experience designer and most recently, a product designer. As I have moved from one title to the other, the industry has evolved and it is much easier to see some of those patterns in hindsight. What does your role, really encompass when you say you are a designer at a startup, or more importantly what all can it encompass that will help you be better at what you are trying to be? What does it mean to be a designer for the digital medium? What does it mean to design a digital product?

The startup is the new agency

Products—not just apps or websites

…[In] situations where the product is facing an incumbent and there are complimentary network effects, it’s simply not enough to launch a well designed product. - Johnnie Manzari

Iterations

Prototyping

When you see a live, polished, interactable demo, you can instantly understand how something is meant to work and feel, in a way that words or long descriptions or wireframes will never be able to achieve. And that leads to better feedback, and better iterations, and ultimately a better end product. - Julie Zhuo

This is a medium that is not static. This is a medium that enables affordances that other mediums of the past did not. This is a medium for which photoshop should not be the end, but merely a milestone in the journey of creation. Use what you are comfortable in, Quartz, Framer or good old HTML/CSS/JS. The end goal is to get more insight and feedback and be able to better envision how the design works and not just what it looks like. Use all means necessary and at your disposal.

Own the product: Being proactive & executing

We don’t have our journal of record, our vocabulary is splintered and vague, our processes are inconsistent, but this is the beginning of something important. - David Cole

The field of designing digital products has just begun to come together. There are common grounds and there are disagreements. New mediums are being added, while old ones fade away. In the coming years, what do you want to see when you look at your phone or through a pair of glasses or glance at your watch or stare at that screen that mimics the TV in your living room? What kind of products do you want to design for this medium? What kind of a designer will you be?

Product Design

Ruminating about digital experiences

Product Design

Ruminating about digital experiences

Tuhin Kumar

Written by

Design lead @Airbnb. Previous versions at @Claralabs, @Facebook & @Pulsepad.

Product Design

Ruminating about digital experiences