As part of my day job at Skyscanner, I often play a pivotal role in the recruitment process for designers. Recently I’ve been doing a bit of thinking about the skills and qualities that separate the average from the good.
A good designer shares freely, early and often. They welcome feedback, and are open to alternate approaches. They are able to park personal opinion and validate designs based on actual data gained through user behaviour studies, A/B testing and analytics.
A good designer has a varied toolset and seeks to choose the right tool for the job, be it Post-It Notes, Photoshop, HTML or a cool new JS library they have discovered on GitHub.
They iterate, then iterate again. A good designer displays great passion for improving the user experience, and strives to optimise and find new ways of working. They’re the user’s champion — they show strong empathy with the user, and put them at the core of every design decision.
A good designer doesn’t just make things look pretty, they also make it work well! They are driven through creating designs which combine achieving business goals and delighting users.
A good designer has cultural and linguistic awareness in order to create designs which not only translate, but localise well, at scale, globally. They understand the value of and regularly practise testing and validating designs on devices through HTML/CSS prototyping.
A good designer works within constraints, but seeks opportunities to challenge the status quo and is prepared to take calculated risks with a positive outcome in mind.
They have a passion and hunger to learn with a thirst for all things design and tech; constantly seeking inspiration from the world around them. They tirelessly and openly share this with others, never resting in their pursuit of knowledge.
A good designer sees mobile as an opportunity not a restriction. Whilst they design mobile-first they do not overlook how their designs will look and perform across all platforms including tablet, and desktop. They will also have an interest in emerging platforms such as wearables, digital media players and TV platforms.
A good designer will design with performance in mind. They will obsess over every last byte and seek to drive down the amount of HTTP requests needed to display their design. They will know their data URIs from their SVGs as well as having a good grasp on the usual popular file formats. A good designer will take advantage of more performant formats where possible, whilst ensuring backwards compatibility for older browsers.
Above all a good designer is generally regarded as a good egg, by both peers and teammates alike.
At Skyscanner, we’re currently recruiting for a number of designers, so if you think you’re a good designer, we’d like to hear from you.