Learn How to Design — Designer vs. Developer #10

Learn How to Design — Designer vs. Developer #10


[MUSIC PLAYING] MUSTAFA: Having a
technical background or having technical
knowledge, do you think that it can help
you make the creative process burgeon and grow,
or do you think it can hinder the
creative process? YASMINE: It can go both ways. But I’ve definitely
found myself early in my career kind of noticing
that, yeah, I started thinking about how to actually
implement a design, and that sometimes hindered
my design process because I was thinking so much
of how to actually make the solution happen. MUSTAFA: That’s quite
a challenging thing. So how did you manage
to break through so it’s not stopping you,
but maybe enhancing the stuff that you actually do? YASMINE: I think
one of the things that I always struggled with is
that from a visual standpoint, like, I’m not a super
talented visual designer. I’ve seen some amazing visual
designers that I’m just like, oh my goodness, like, that
is really, really slick and I love that. And that’s not,
like, my strength. And so a lot came
back more from, like, the coding perspective, being
able to actually implement some stuff in code,
which they couldn’t. But you know, there was this
kind of this deciding factor, realizing am I more
of a designer, or more of a developer? Like you know, I’m
not necessarily that great at graphics,
but there’s still so many other ways of design
that can kind of spread in. So really, like,
doing some research and finding out
more about UX design and realizing that
is really kind of what I wanted to focus on
is kind of what led me to that. So it definitely was
this kind of process of navigating through it. It’s like, where do I fit? Am I a designer? Am I a developer? Where you know, from the first
projects that I started doing, a lot of the time I
did a lot of websites. And when people
come to you, they’d go, hey, we need
a website built. They don’t necessarily say,
hey, we need a front end developer to come do this. Especially if you’re working
with smaller businesses and clients. So you do take on the
designer and developer hat to kind of make that happen. A lot of developers are very
afraid to learn about design. It’s like, ’cause I
get question like, if I was to write an
article, the perfect article for developers would be how to– how to learn to design. Or how do you– you know. Which makes no sense to me
because learning to design doesn’t really mean anything. It’s like, what part of design? You know, what
discipline of design? But there’s still
that question of OK, what is the first step that
someone who wants to really– as someone who’s gone through
this process yourself, what was your first step
to say, OK, that’s it, I’m becoming a designer? YASMINE: Right. I think, you know, following
a lot of design patterns– at that time I didn’t really
understand that they were called design patterns, right? You kind of, you implement
them in the sites doing a lot of web work. You kind of take on,
OK, the navigation menu, where does that live? And you’re following a lot of
the patterns that have already been created. And so you kind of learn
to explore through that. And then testing out
the site and realizing, oh, this doesn’t feel right. Like, something’s off. Let’s work on how
to make this better. But I think one of the
great things that can really help a designer, or developers
wanting to go into design, is looking– a lot like, the material spec
guidelines are actually really, really helpful, because
not only does it actually tell you, hey,
here’s some guidelines of what to follow, but it actually does
a really good job of explaining why you’re doing– MUSTAFA: And the
rationale and logic. YASMINE: Yeah, exactly. So that actually
is really helpful because then you’re
able to understand why was this created. Like, what was the
thought process behind adding potentially
a bottom navigation? Or why would you
have a side nav? You know, it’s really getting
to kind of explaining that. So you’re able to learn from– learn from actually
interacting with something and seeing how they’re doing
it, but also finding out why they decided to do that. Because I think so much
of design is so much– it’s problem-solving, right? MUSTAFA: Yeah. YASMINE: So many
people forget that. When they think of design, they
think of the finished product. But there are so
many different stages of how you got to
that finished product. And so a lot of it, being able
to understand how someone was thinking through
that really, really helps you, from a
development perspective, get into that design field
of understanding, oh, OK, how do I get from thinking,
how do I develop this, versus, how do I even
arrive to the solution? I think that’s kind of
the big difference there. As developers,
you know, you have something that’s already
designed for you for the most part. I mean, some people
get handed things. Some people get handed
an IoS mock and said, hey, make this into Android. So then at that time you kind
of become an Android designer in that aspect. MUSTAFA: What do
you think is, like, the biggest thing that stops
developers really understanding design? YASMINE: One of the things
that we do at Google is we do design sprints. So the design sprints are really
great because it brings people from all the different
disciplines and specialties together to work into solving
a challenge that we have. You know, so you have product
managers, engineers, designers, researchers, everyone
in the room together, and kind of thinking and
working through a problem, which is really
fantastic because you get all these different ideas. And one of the things
that I really notice is as we’re bringing
in designers, you know, and engineers, all
these people together, is when we’re walking
through the challenge, the engineers are already
thinking of the solution. MUSTAFA: Yeah. YASMINE: And already thinking
about how to implement it. They go straight to
that, which makes sense. That is their role, right? As engineers, usually
you are given something and you have to go, oh, how do
I– how do I make this happen? Like thinking through problem
solving, how to actually get to that solution. Whereas designers, we don’t know
what the solution necessarily is. So I think a lot of the
blockers is automatically wanting to know the answer– MUSTAFA: Yeah. YASMINE: –instead of being more
aware and being OK with saying, you know, I don’t know
the answer to that, but let’s explore it together. MUSTAFA: Yeah. YASMINE: So I think that’s
the biggest hindrance that can really stop developers
into getting into design is wanting to have
all the answers. It’s OK not to have them. MUSTAFA: I mean, and what do you
think developers can actually do to get past that? I mean, because I find, like,
for me, it’s always sketching and just experimenting. So I suppose is, how does
the developer maintain that kind of playful space where
they’re not thinking, right, here’s the library
we’re going to use to do like a whatever
widget or a fab or whatever. But what can they actually
do that allows them to not thinking about,
like, the end result, or breaking from that cycle? YASMINE: Yeah, you actually
bring up a great point with sketching. That’s probably one of
my favorite exercises when I’m working
with different people to get them thinking
of solutions. So it’s particularly, if
you’re developing an app or so is, hey, let’s get
some sketches out there, get a Sharpie, and just
start sketching out through some ideas. Because that really,
that doesn’t– you can really get
some ideas on paper and not be married to
them, you know, and not feel, like, really connected
because you spent all this time developing the
solution and realizing, oh, it doesn’t really work. And so if you start
really low fidelity with some sketches,
that can really open up your mind
in terms of thinking about different solutions,
because as you’re sketching through it, you’re
realizing, oh, like, maybe I want to use this fab
button or something– everyone loves fab, right? So you want to
incorporate it somewhere and then you realize,
hmm, maybe that’s not the right thing to do. And I haven’t spent
all this energy developing or even
designing this. So then I can kind of toss
that and move on and create a different solution. So sketching, I think, is
a great resource instead of people go straight–
a lot of people like to prototype in
the code, but I usually like to challenge
people and go, hey, start sketching some ideas. And then once you’ve
landed on something that you think you want
to explore some more, then dive into code or
dive into Sketch or whatever you’re using. MUSTAFA: So I suppose
for the engineer to really understand
design is almost like, OK, just start sketching
first and start thinking about the thing
you’re going to build and the possibilities, rather
than straight to the end solution. SPEAKER 1: One of
the things I really noticed there was the way
really good designers responded to constraints, you know? I think about, like, black and
white photography or duotone prints, whatever. They’re responses to
restrictions on the medium.


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