Designercize: Designer, Challenge Thyself!

Zac Halbert
Published in
2 min readNov 20, 2017


Does the thought of leading a design sprint terrify you? Do you get sweaty palms just thinking about leading an ideation session? Are you scared you’re going to faint in front of the whiteboard during your next design interview?

If that describes you, DO NOT PANIC! We made something for you.

The Designercize App

Today, we launched Designercize to help you get better at designing out loud. Though you can use it to practice your solo UI skills, it’s intended for practice in front of a whiteboard and at least one other person.

Though involving someone else is scary, push through that fear. After a few deeply embarrassing sessions, you’ll start to get good. Before you know it, you’re going to be facilitating whiteboard ideation sessions like it’s your job. It’ll also help you ace the whiteboard portion of design interviews.

Challenges should be between 15–60 minutes long, and your goal should be to build a regular habit. Once or twice is fun. But once or twice per week will hone your skills measurably. I and my colleague Jake have seen over a thousand whiteboard challenge sessions in our roles as product design instructors at Tradecraft, and can tell you with confidence that it works.

For Pros Too

If you’re already a champ, you can also use Designercize as a fun end-of-week team bonding exercise. It’s a fun way to pull the team together, with the side benefit of helping you all make faster design decisions with more confidence. Design teams of all skill levels will benefit from regular practice.

“How Do I Designercize?”

If you’re a read-the-instruction-manual type of person, this is the original how-to guide, and this is an updated guide for 2017.

If you prefer just to dive in, find a friend, go get a challenge, pick a time limit, then get designing. Your friend should play the role of a stakeholder, filling in any detail not explained by the prompt, providing constraints, and maybe even changing the prompt on you mid-challenge to keep you on your toes.

A couple things to keep in mind: there’s no single right answer to any challenge, and narrate your thought process. Your goal isn’t simply to come up with a good solution, but to explore solutions and involve the stakeholder in your process.

Go forth, challenge thyself!

Special Thanks

Designercize is a digital version of an analog whiteboard exercise originally created by Kate Rutter and Laura Klein, and honed over thousands of practice sessions with Tradecraft designers. Inspiration from the app came from Typecooker. Thanks also to Molly Inglish, Tea Chang and Eunice Choi for writing in-depth guides on navigating the whiteboard challenge exercise.