I’m Agnes Czegus, a product designer, casual powerlifter, and perpetual dog walker based in Edmonton, Canada. I’m currently a Staff Designer at Jobber.
These values underpin how I work (and want to work) as a designer.
Don’t take the “why” at face value. Product problems are complex. At the start of any project, designers should spend a good chunk of effort on evaluating assumptions of the root cause of a problem before focusing on solving it.
There’s a time for one-off solutions, and a time for more robust, elegant solutions. The perfect solution doesn’t exist, and the design process is a constant balancing of user experience, product principles and business objectives. Those factors should always be part of every exploration and discussion of a solution.
Design is cheap but building the wrong thing is not. It’s important for me that designers are always equipped with enough parameters to begin their work, but any mention of scope cutting happens after initial design exploration. Otherwise we get half-baked solutions with more holes than swiss cheese.
Never let the user see the popsicles and glue. There should be one connective thread between every type of solution, whether it’s scrappy or elegant. We as a “product” (sorry for anthropomorphizing that) should shoulder the complexity and any additional work, not our users.
There will always be discomfort that we don’t know enough before being asked to land on a solution. Good design exploration relies on being confident in the knowledge you do have, sprinkled with some gut instinct. Clarify your assumptions, do the research you can but in the end, sometimes the best way is to ship to learn. The scale of the solution should be directly related to its riskiness.
Designers need to be vulnerable to be successful. This is challenging for most, including myself, but we need to be able to bring more people into our process earlier. This means losing some control and safety over how we explore solutions. It’s hard to get buy-in when you’re working in a silo. And working with other designers is not enough.
The right tools and processes are less important than being critical and flexible. As someone who enjoys implementing the occasional process, bear with me. It’s more important for a designer to be asking “is this the right tool to get the answer I need right now” rather than pulling out a checklist of a linear design discovery process, or firing up Figma to go through the motions.
Get discussions off Slack as soon as someone starts using bullet points. A little glib I know, but not much good can come from detailed nuanced discussion happening over chat or email, especially around design.
Every design presentation is a pitch. We can’t just dump artifacts on our stakeholders and expect them to make a decision. We should always be telling a story anchored in rationale that highlights a path forward. The less confident we are in that path, the more loosely held it might be, but there should always be a vision underpinning each stage of design exploration.