L2D is brought to you by Joshua Wold, a curious designer. I’ll share more about who I am in future issues, but for now let’s jump ahead.
What is this?
Hello! this is the first issue of L2D, a something-weekly newsletter where I share learnings and how I apply them to my work as a designer. As with many designers, I’m a perfectionist. I tend to keep working on something for too long. With this newsletter I’ll share thoughts that are more raw, and hope you can gain insights along the way.
How I work
For many of my projects I approach with a basic process for how I’ll do the work. At a high level it is:
- Processing – Start by learning details about the project, ask questions, talk to team members and customers, understand the context around what you’re designing, look at the competition, and more.
- Sketching – Before I get into the stage of what is usually considered design, I’ll draw rough sketches of what I want to build. This helps make sure I understand the flow and helps me think more freely without getting into tiny details.
- Designing – Once I’ve spent time thinking about the problem, and have sketched rough ideas by hand, only then will I open design software and try to refine my ideas.
There’s much more to design! However, those steps give a sense of how projects can be approached. Here’s an oversimplified example from a project I was working on recently:
We want to make it easier for merchants on WooCommerce.com to display customer reviews of their products.
There’s a lot of details to the work, which I can share in a future issue. But, at its heart that’s the task I was working on a few weeks ago. I made sure I understood the problem, processing through all of the data available to me. This meant talking to a few team members, looking up a bunch of stuff, and writing down what I thought I wanted to design. My notes might look like:
- Product reviews have a star rating, a description, an author, and maybe some other stuff, I’ll look into that
- A product can have a bunch of ratings, how would I handle that?
- Product reviews probably need to be close to the product, they’re usually on the same page
- The current software already has product reviews, we just want to put it in a different place now, are there any differences I should be considering?
Those thoughts are not in anyway complete, but they are enough to start getting my head around the problem thinking through some ideas.
From there I begin sketching. This is crucial for me because I can’t think the same way when I’m using a mouse and keyboard. I have to use my hand and draw out what I’m thinking. Right now I do this on an iPad with a stylus, but don’t let that stop you. Pen and paper is perfect! Here’s what an early sketch looked like:
That’s often enough for me to get a handle on the problem, or at least know where I need to keep exploring. Sometimes I’ll just share a sketch like that with a teammate and get feedback on whether I’m missing something.
Once I know where I want to go I’ll often spend time making the sketch feel more like a wireframe, to ensure I have the smaller details flushed out:
From there I often jump into Figma to take it further. In a later issue I’ll share more of my process using software like Figma and Illustrator and how they work together. This is where I start designing the product. But, the key to all this is by the time I’m in Figma I’m often half way through figuring out what I need to do.
The journey and process you approach to design are as important as the results. Understanding that process and knowing where to improve helps make for better designs.
I’d love to hear from you!
While this newsletter is a one-way medium, my goal is to learn from everyone who reads it. This is not a newsletter for me. It’s for you! Please send me your thoughts and questions. I’ll respond as I can, and I’ll use those as inspiration for future issues. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!