We won’t ask you how many golf balls fit in a bus or how many times a day a clock’s hands overlap – nothing like what Google became famous for. While there’s some value in seeing how candidates react to curve-ball questions, they don’t really add much to a 45-minute interview. We also won’t ask you to attend an all-day session with a series of interviewers.
I come from a small, seaside town in Slovenia. By the time I finished high school I had already been designing and building websites for a couple of years. There was no digital design course in any of the faculties in Slovenia at the time so I decided to sign up for the Computer Science course in Ljubljana—Slovenia’s capital. I didn’t know what to expect but shortly after I started the course I realized that it wasn’t for me. Looking back now, I think I just wasn’t mature enough to see the potential in learning Java and stuff. So I dropped out.
Yesterday I read the 6 things I hate about your design CV article. I found myself on the hiring side numerous times already and although a bit disrespectful, the article genuinely offers good advice for designers that are just starting out. Finding and hiring good designers is hard and yes, companies get all sorts of applications. There’s simply a lot of it to get through—many people out there trying to start their design career.
Compared to them, I felt mediocre and I was frustrated because of it. You see, I never specialised in anything. Since I was a child, I had a habit of putting things together and create something out of that. I saw things differently from others. Where everyone else saw a cardboard box, I saw a cool military jeep that I could create out of it.
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses” is a quote attributed to Henry Ford. It’s a quote that many people use as an excuse not to do user testing. Because designers and product managers are supposed to be these geniuses that pull ideas out of thin air. Steve Jobs was one of those design/product gurus. All the designer and product manager wannabes have a quote or two from Steve that they hold close to their heart so they feel more secure about themselves. But neither Steve or Henry became famous for their ideas because they would be original. They weren’t. Steve didn’t make the first computer and Henry didn’t make the first car (he made the first car assembly line).
The last thing I remember I wanted to be was a “game designer/developer”. I just got my first PC and playing video games was all I did. Then, at some point, I had stopped thinking about what I really wanted to do. I guess the “life auto–pilot” must have kicked in.
The owner of the shop is very friendly. He speaks a dozen of languages but always greets me in English as soon as I walk in (he already knows that I don’t speak either French or German — both used in Luxembourg). He offered to shake my hand as he always does and asked how I was doing. I replied with my usual: “I’m OK”, and smiled. At this moment he noticed my book. He must have read the title because he asked me what is it that I do.
We were invited to this event because Wondermags is a Luxembourgish startup and we put a lot of effort in user experience. I must admit, it feels good to have such reputation. Anyway, I was asked to present our approach to creating products that users love. Here’s what I presented.
We designers have always had a problem of handing over creative control to the general population — the basic users. There are two reasons for this. The first is obvious: We are the ones who are supposed to know the principles of design and usability. Some of us were born with this feeling of what feels and looks right, while other designers have learned it — at least good designers eventually have.