Archive for the ‘Design’ category

Designer interview tests: should designers write?

17 January 2018, in Design, Work method | Add a comment »

Knowing whether a candidate is right for a role isn’t straight forward. Jobs are different, teams work differently, and assessing someone’s ability to adapt to a different set of circumstances can feel like an impossible task.

I’m not particularly fond of design exercises. They can easily feel like spec work, especially when the recruiter’s expectations aren’t clearly set. Are you expected to work on an answer for 30 minutes, 2 hours, a week?

The subjectivity of the process in contrast with the typical engineering hiring process also bothers me. How do you tell a correct answer from an incorrect one?

With this in mind, other day I had this idea that, if good designers write, could a written exercise be part of a designer’s recruitment process? Because, truthfully, if you can’t write, can you design?

I must confess, I did no research whatsoever before writing this post, so the possibility that there are several companies doing this already is very real.

Nevertheless, the idea is worth exploring. A writing exercise could be the only exercise, or part of a series of steps (screening — take-home writing exercise — in-person whiteboard exercise — portfolio review — final chat?).

Would this cause issues to certain candidates? Could this be an exclusive process that puts some at a disadvantage? Would there be any accessibility issues?

I think this is an idea worth trying. I’d love to know if anyone has tried it before, and if it was successful.

What’s in a name?

4 January 2018, in Design, Writing | Add a comment »

As I consider a move away from having my blog separate from my namesake domain, something dawned on me: my blog is called Web Designer Notebook, but is that name still accurate? How many of us still call ourselves web designers?

Recently I advised a friend looking for a new job to not only search for the term “web designer” but also “product designer”, as that describes what many companies are looking for today. She did find more job ads.

So the question is twofold: is there a point in keeping a blog as a separate entity of the portfolio site (ignoring the unwelcome task of merging Kirby and WordPress); and is Web Designer Notebook a good name for it anyway?

Architect’s myopia

22 January 2012, in Design, Resources | 2 comments »

Before I get to my main point, I must mention (once again) the phenomenal quality of the hand-picked articles that are featured on the Give Me Something To Read website, the source of the piece I will be referring to in the following lines.

The article “The Architect Has No Clothes“, by Michael Mehaffy and Nikos A. Salingaros, explores why modern architecture feels so cold and inhospitable and how that might be easily explained by a phenomenon called “architectural myopia”. The authors describe how this consequence likely has its causes in how architecture is taught and how the methodologies used in the classroom deprive future architectures from any empathy with those who will in the future live and use their creations.

It’s not my goal to provide a summary, as the article does a much better job at explaining this fascinating theory. But I started thinking about whether it would be fair to conclude us web designers might sometimes suffer from a similar malady. I also found it interesting that this profession I hear mentioned so many times as so established and as the ideal model to follow is, like our own, still finding its own ways.

Do designers need a personal style?

2 February 2010, in Design, Project 52 | 24 comments »

A post by Darren Hoyt caught my eye the other day (among the hundreds of unread posts on my RSS reader…) where he asked whether designers needed a personal style or not. I wrote up a quick comment at the time, but I feel the question deserves a little more discussion — specially because no-one seems to have a definite answer (my bet is that there isn’t one).


The tangibility of websites, or something like that

30 November 2009, in Design | 8 comments »

Last night I watched Objectified, a good film about the design of everyday things. In the film, the matter of durability and sustainability in design is mentioned a lot, and that led me to think of how those ideas translate to web design.


From print to web: avoiding common design mistakes

14 July 2009, in Design, Work method | 7 comments »

Moving from print to the web is not as easy as it may seem. I had to do it myself a few years back, so I can speak from my personal experience of the process and also from my experiences coding designs that have been created by print designers that were new to the web.