Q&A: Design

Published on Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Last updated Wednesday, October 25, 2023
2 min read

Do you participate in design decisions or propose solutions in your current role?
At my current job, the culture is one where everyone is expected to contribute to design decisions and come to the table with a solution-oriented mindset. In particular, I engage with clients using a user-centered design approach, especially during the discovery and analysis phases of a project. I create various artifacts like process workflow diagrams, site maps, and wireframes. These tools help to not only communicate potential solutions but also facilitate feedback from a diverse group of stakeholders, including developers, designers, and the clients themselves. Additionally, I've found that affinity diagramming can be incredibly effective. It gets the team out of their chairs and fosters a sense of curiosity and engagement in problem-solving.

How has your educational background influenced your approach to design and solutions?
My time at DePaul University was pivotal in shaping my philosophy towards design and problem-solving. The program emphasized learning as a form of service to others, a mindset that pairs seamlessly with the principles of user-centered design. This has made me a strong advocate for inclusivity in design. I resonate with the notion that "everyone is a designer," a phrase popularized by Jared Spool. Even if someone doesn't have "design" in their job title, I believe they can still contribute meaningfully to the design process. I make it a point to involve other developers in UX design activities, regardless of their own self-perceptions about their design skills. The benefit is twofold: First, it cultivates a greater sense of empathy for users among the developers. Second, tools like wireframes are quite forgiving and accessible, making it easier for anyone on the team to contribute, even those who might not consider themselves tech-savvy. This approach not only democratizes the design process but also creates an environment where empathy and understanding for the user experience are shared values among the team.