Giving Back to the Design Community

A big thanks to Jared Erondu and Bobby Ghoshal for the High Resolution Podcast.

The Mission

Jared and Bobby set out to give back to the design community. Despite designers being essential members of any product team, there is still ambiguity around the function and value of design in an organization. In order to help bring clarity to the design process, the High Resolution Podcast will feature twenty-five masters of industry spanning across an equal number of episodes. The featured guests will discuss how the best companies approach, communicate and deploy design. You can watch the first episode with Katie Dill of Airbnb, that aired on February 13, 2017, here. Early access to episode two can be found here.

The Importance of the High Resolution Podcast

Design is still a growing field. In order for non-designers to understand user experience and the value of design thinking, they have to be told the importance. As Katie Dill explains in the first episode, design is a way of solving problems. For Airbnb, this means not only looking at the digital environment but the physical environment as well. How comfortable is a guest in a host’s home? How easy is the payment process? What can Airbnb do to provide the best possible experience for both parties? These are questions that designers at Airbnb answer every day. These are also the kind of questions that everyone should be trying to answer. If given the proper direction, non-designers in all roles can think through different problems using a design mindset. This is what the High Resolution Podcast aims to solve.

A Chat with Jared Erondu

A couple of months ago, I had a chance to talk with Jared on the phone. We talked about the importance of design and how young people can shape the industry. He touched on the use of design thinking and how industry leaders, even non-designers, can use this to their advantage. I believe the principles Jared and I talked about will be shown throughout the podcast. After this chat, I began to realize how design has made me a better problem solver. I knew Jared was on to something and I was excited to see more.

It’s More than a Podcast

The podcast is great, but it’s more than that. The newsletter on their website, giving you early access to every episode, brings actionable design takeaways to your inbox every Monday. Here are this week’s design takeaways:

1. Speak to a couple of your users

Just two or three. Watch them use your product and try to identify moments where they struggled. Tell stories of these moments the next time you present a design solution to your team. The black belt move here would be to show, not tell.

Record your users using your product, jump into iMovie and tie a 3–5 minute clip together. Now you’re armed with a story the next time you need to defend a decision made by your team.

2. Socialize your idea with a cynic

When an idea hits you this week, prototype it in a low-but-believable fidelity and find the cynic on your team to socialize the idea with. Preferably not a designer. They will see this as a gesture of respect and will open up to you in a valuable way.

Cynics are experts at grounding lofty ideas and generally come from a good place. Use their thoughts to build on the idea quickly, find a few more cynics and keep socializing newer versions. You’ll notice that the people who generally tear you down will suddenly advocate for you.

If you want actionable takeaways like this every week, sign up here 🎉

As a huge fan and proud member of the design community, this post was a lot of fun to write.

I’m excited for what’s to come from others in the community 🎉

Catch me on twitter or my website — always feel free to reach out.