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The D Word: Leading the Way to Great Design39:31 with Jenny Lam
The best sites are both art and craft. Yes, websites can be artisanal! Jenny talks about the state of design, how to hire for it, and how make it part of your day-to-day culture.
Hi! 0:00 Can we just do the dancing the rest of the day? 0:02 >> Yes! 0:05 My name is Jenny, and I am not an SEO expert or a marketing expert. 0:07 So I just wanted to get that off my chest 0:13 because it's been very stressful. 0:15 I tried last night—like cramming for SEO on Wikipedia and on SEOmoz, 0:17 and it just failed. 0:21 So since I'm a newb to SEO and SEOmozcon, 0:24 I thought I'd just give you a little bit of background— 0:29 tiny bit of background— 0:32 from where I'm coming from in my perspective. 0:33 Are there any designers in the house? 0:35 Yay! 0:39 There's a few. 0:39 How about people who work with designers? 0:40 Ah! Thank you. 0:43 Okay. Now I feel a little better. 0:44 So I actually got my start in advertising and completely failed at it. 0:51 In fact, I was always trying to re-design the product and not do the ad. 0:55 So they said—like you need to go get some training. 1:00 From there, I studied product design and went to a mid-level— 1:02 a mid-sized design boutique doing systems for the Olympic bid cities, 1:07 which was really fun and exciting. 1:11 Then I took this giant leap into digital design at Microsoft 1:12 and helped ship 2 versions of the operating system that 1:18 millions of people around the world use, which is really incredible. 1:21 Then I did the crazy thing, and now I'm at a start-up— 1:25 cofounder and chief designer at Jackson Fish Market, 1:30 where we ship our own products, 1:34 but we also help others ship great experiences too. 1:35 Today I am going to talk to you genius marketing people and 1:38 SEO people on how you can be part of that— 1:44 making great design at your company, in your organization, 1:46 your team, on a day-to-day basis. 1:50 So there's some good news and there's some bad news. 1:54 I'll start with the good news first. 1:56 Good news is about 5 or 10 years ago—as recent as 5— 1:58 we used to have to like really scream at the top of our lungs to leaders 2:03 at businesses to let them know that design was really important 2:08 and they should invest in it. 2:12 We actually don't have to do that anymore. 2:15 Thank God! 2:17 It was exhausting. 2:18 I think most of us understand the value of design—the strategic value 2:19 that you have to ship product and content that has real clear value. 2:23 But also on top of that has an emotional connection and expresses a personality, 2:28 as well as surprise and delights our customers. 2:34 Well there is real ROI tied to design. 2:40 In fact, my friend, Michelle Goldberg—is she here? 2:44 She's a Visia ignition—woo-hoo—Michelle. 2:50 She actually gave me this case study when I was trying to figure out 2:53 the value of design—the ROI of design. 2:57 Many people use Mint.com 2:59 as an example of great design and for a good reason. 3:02 What I didn't know is that the company—the people at Mint— 3:07 they started with a user experience vision first. 3:10 They wanted this really beautiful, simple, 3:14 integrated way to handle personal finance. 3:16 They did that first, and then they licensed their technology second 3:20 from a company called Yodlee and turned it around, 3:23 sold it to Intuit for a lot of money. 3:26 What I love is when Michelle—she points at the screen. 3:30 She says, "That's $170 million dollars worth of UI, and I get really excited. 3:33 There's another case study I love bringing up to numbers types people, 3:39 and that is this longitudinal study done over a few years 3:43 for the Gillette Venus razor. 3:47 That's the disposable razor for the ladies. 3:49 They uncovered that for every dollar they spent in advertising 3:52 they got back $7 and change in increased sales. 3:55 But for every dollar they spent on design, and that includes the packaging, the branding, the colors of the handles, 3:59 the ergonomics and curvatures of the handles— 4:06 every dollar they spent on that stuff—they got back a whopping $415 and change. 4:09 So there's the ROI. 4:15 And the thing that I get really excited about and I constantly think about is what are these companies doing right? 4:19 I mean—think about Mint.com. 4:24 They got users to fork over all their personal information from their personal bank accounts with their passwords. 4:26 Now that's a huge leap of faith—that's a huge ask. 4:34 So what were they doing right? 4:38 How do you get people to trust your site and trust your content? 4:39 Turns out that the number one factor in this study determining site credibility is actually design look and feel, 4:45 and that's that first impression—you know—that thing that Malcolm Gladwell talks about—that blink. 4:53 Before any reading takes places or any kind of conscious evaluation, 4:59 people are judging the site and its credibility by the aesthetics, 5:04 and I use that word deliberately because it seems to me that even my design colleagues today— 5:10 they shy away from that word—aesthetics—and the importance of it. 5:18 I think it's because they think aesthetics and look and feel is dangerous to prioritize because— 5:23 for fear that other disciplines think that's all we do—that we're just mere decorators and we hit things with a pretty stick. 5:31 But we know that that's not true. 5:37 We know that aesthetics communicate and they trigger a feeling and a response, 5:39 and that to me is functionality. 5:44 It's form and function. 5:45 Okay. 5:48 Ready for the bad news? 5:49 It's actually not that bad. 5:50 The bad news is it's really hard, and I think we really struggle with how we get to great design. 5:53 How do we evaluate if a design is really good or really bad? 6:00 I mean, there's metrics for performance, for even usability—we have standards for that and how useful something is. 6:04 But we don't have quite metrics on determining if a site is beautiful or if it delights somebody, at least not a standard way we do that. 6:12 On top of that, I hear colleagues who struggle a lot with how the communicate and work with designers 6:22 and how they gain that talent in-house and how they build it. 6:27 That seems to be a constant struggle, especially when the leaders at the top—they're telling us we want great design. 6:31 We want great designed products. 6:37 So being great at design—it's just like anything else—writing or being a great athlete or being great at business— 6:41 it takes many, many years of practice. 6:50 And with design—for the designer—it's about understanding the principles and practicing them so that they come to you intuitively 6:52 and, also, getting comfortable with the tools and the processes. 7:02 But, also, keeping up with the medium that seems like it's constantly changing—you know—mobile, touch, gesture, dancing robots. 7:06 All of that is design. 7:13 On top of that, the user experience sector of design—that is relatively new. 7:16 So what's happening is that there's this huge demand for design, 7:24 and we're seeing a very diverse set of people who are calling themselves designers. 7:28 I don't mean to be snarky about that. 7:37 I actually worked with a lot of these roles at Microsoft. 7:39 But in a world full of smaller teams who are trying to do more with limited resources, it's not feasible to hire every single skill set here— 7:45 visual designer, information designer, user researcher, and then have then code it up—front end development. 7:56 So what I see happen and way too often is that we try—we aspire for this role of designer on our team, 8:02 and we grab all of those skill sets, and we say this is the rock star we want. 8:10 It's great to have aspirations, but it's just not realistic. 8:15 I think—we'll talk about this later—the best designers sort of run scared 8:20 away from these types of job descriptions where they try to be everything. 8:25 So bad news—more bad news—that even if you had the right focused job description and you knew exactly what kind of designer 8:31 you needed for your team, they're really hard to find. 8:38 And it's not just in the valley. 8:44 This is a really popular Quora thread. 8:46 It's all over Seattle, in the U.S., Europe, and even in China. 8:48 So it's kind of astonishing. 8:54 Some say it's an issue of education, which I kind of agree. 8:55 Since it's a new discipline, we don't really have formal—formally shaped programs to develop the kind of designers we need. 8:59 So for the next 20 minutes, I'm going to run you through a whirlwind tour of some ideas on how you can overcome some of the bad news 9:09 and take advantage of the good news and get really great design into your organization. 9:20 It all starts with—design doesn't really start with someone sitting in front of a computer and a blank screen. 9:27 It's about building the culture and getting the right people 9:33 and the right process in line way before you even hire the designer or before you start designing. 9:39 So this is St.Peter's Basilica in Rome. 9:43 Has anyone been there? 9:47 Oh, good. Wow! 9:49 So for those of you haven't been there, this basilica is an amazing piece of work, 9:51 and it's this stunning aesthetic experience from an engineering perspective and an aesthetic perspective. 9:58 It has—when you walk in there, it has this very visceral impact and your heart starts beating a little faster—in a good way. 10:05 And the thing that's interesting about the basilica in this context is that that emotional impact comes directly from putting an artist in charge. 10:17 But it took 150 years to build. 10:27 That's even longer than it did Windows Vista. 10:31 Please don't tweet that. 10:36 The story behind the basilica is actually really juicy and scandalous, and there's a book about it. 10:41 But in short, over the 150 years there were about 22 popes or there were 22 popes, 10:46 and each time a pope came on-board they hired a new head architect. 10:51 As you can imagine, with a project this large—if you've ever been on a really large project, they're really slow and really difficult to manage. 10:57 It's hard to make progress and sometimes there's corruption. 11:04 So what they did is they hired a steering committee of people who were going to oversee everything. 11:08 They were going to hire the artist. 11:15 They were going to oversee the designs and the plans. 11:17 They basically screwed around for a bunch of years, building stuff up, tearing it down, building it up, tearing down, changing directions. 11:20 It's because they didn't have a clear creative vision— 11:27 until Raphael comes in. 11:32 The Raphael. 11:35 He comes in. 11:36 The Pope recognizes how amazing his talent is and Raphael comes in and he looks at the frescoes, and he says, 11:37 "These aren't up to quality—they're crap." 11:44 He orders for them to be destroyed immediately and for all the painters who have spent their life's work painting them to be fired. 11:48 I can just imagine all those painters who spent 40, 50 years or whatever 11:56 painting these frescoes and being fired while chips of plaster come falling down on them of their life's work. 12:01 This is not the way you want your project to go. 12:07 So anyways after Raphael—much later—Michelangelo came on board. 12:14 He basically laid down the law. 12:19 He said to the steering committee— 12:21 he says, "I'm not—I think your job—you guys take care of the money—make sure it's not squandered and lost and stolen." 12:23 "But my job—my job is to do the design and the planning. I'm a professional. That's what you should let me do." 12:32 So one thing I want to talk about before I move on to this side—let me go back—is that at that time you have to remember 12:42 that art was the communication at the time. 12:52 It was—because people couldn't read, art and visual told a story so things like— 12:55 it was sort of like Hollywood, the Internet, newspaper, and TV like all rolled up in one into art. 13:01 And the leaders at the time, they knew that not only controlling the communication was a way to control the people, 13:07 but that art and beauty were a way to get to that legacy—to preserve their legacy. 13:16 So you probably—if you're lucky, you have a Michelangelo or a Raphael. 13:23 Does anyone have a Michelangelo or Raphael in their organization? 13:29 Yes. 13:32 I know Kyle is here. 13:33 Kyle is up here with the freaking genius—he's a Raphael. 13:34 But if you don't—that creative vision—it needs to come from somebody. 13:37 So my ask here is that—because there's such a shortage of designers coming into our field—that we help the more junior— 13:43 and I call them the delicate flowers because I don't—I don't know what it is about junior designers, 13:51 but they just seem like delicate flowers to me that I stomp on sometimes by accident. 13:57 I think it's our job, if we can clear, creative vision, and we want that emotional impact and that beauty, 14:04 that we have to help bolster and help these designers lead. 14:12 That's more than owning the color palate. 14:16 That's—in my experience, I have experimented with taking junior designers and empowering them and having them own certain things, 14:19 like having them own the way that the office looks—the physical expression of the brand and the aesthetics. 14:28 Have them own the internal communications. 14:38 I've seen a lot of your pitch decks in your presentations. 14:42 Please have them own your pitch decks and presentations. 14:45 I insist that you should! 14:48 So this is what it looks like when a designer embraces that idea in the offices at Etsy in New York. 14:53 Now if you're a designer, be great and lead. 15:00 And if you're not, find one and help them be great and lead. 15:03 They need help because they're delicate flowers, remember? 15:08 So back to that crazy job description of expecting everything from a designer—expecting them to do the user research 15:12 and the product definition and the UI design and then to code it up—the front end development. 15:19 Well if you want to get down to it—I don't have time to get into the hiring process—but the way I like to think of it— 15:26 first it's a very contentious issue about designers and whether they should code. 15:35 Well a lot of designers code, but they're really bad at it and it's not what they were trained to do. 15:39 So in most cases my general advice is don't find a designer who can code. 15:46 Find an engineer who loves design and have them be part of the design team. 15:52 You'll see amazing results from that. 15:57 When it comes to interaction design and visual design, fortunately, these kinds of roles, even though have different backgrounds, 16:00 it's more and more common to find one person who can do both of these. 16:09 But it's not likely that they're really great at both of them—usually better at one than the other because that's what they trained in. 16:13 So the way I like to think about it is what's the right fit for your team? 16:20 Do you have someone there who can help work with the designers on the interaction and some of the user goals 16:27 or is there a really amazing illustrator who is just chomping at the bit to do more UI design? 16:33 You can also think about it in terms of projects. 16:40 If you have a really complicated tool with lots of user flows and user tasks, 16:43 you might want to hire a designer who is stronger at interaction than visual design. 16:47 But if you have a project that needs to compete against something— 16:52 it needs to be more beautiful and more creative or it's very brand centric— 16:57 we've heard a lot of talks about community and building community— 17:01 if you need a designer to help build that place where it will attract people, you probably want to hire a visual designer 17:05 or a designer who is stronger at visuals than interaction. 17:12 So here's my quick checklist, and I think you have the PDF to dowload so you don't have to write these down. 17:18 But what I look for first is the resume. 17:24 Does the person have formal design training and that can be in HCI, which is human computer interaction design, or graphic design? 17:26 That will give you a clue on what kind of designer they are. 17:34 When I do the phone screen, I ask—I listen when they talk about the user. 17:36 Not only are they passionate about being the advocate for the user, but they're passionate about the brand and they're a little nerdy. 17:43 That always works for me. 17:50 And the no delicate flower syndrome. 17:54 A lot of being a designer is about having an opinion 17:55 and having an opinion about the new Netflix UI or this website or this new IOS upgrade. 17:59 So making sure that I'm hearing from the designer that they actually have a voice and have an opinion and thoughts about what's out there. 18:08 The portfolio itself should be a piece that you critique and you look at. 18:19 Does it make sense to you? 18:23 Are you able to navigate through the pieces well and easily? 18:24 Is it built in a way that matches your philosophical way that the site should be built? 18:28 And the last 2 are things that aren't normally on designers—the hiring designer checklist. 18:33 To me, it's really important that a designer has actually gone through a product cycle—that they've shipped something. 18:39 It can be something crappy. 18:46 It doesn't have to be good. 18:47 The point here that I'm looking for is that they have empathy. 18:49 They have empathy for the marketing goals or the SEO goals for the content and for engineering constraints. 18:53 Anyone who has been through that cycle has huge empathy for what it takes to get something out the door. 19:01 Lastly, this one is kind of a pet peeve of mine, and that is I see a lot of non-designers evaluating the quality of work in the portfolio. 19:08 And it's not to say that you don't know what's good or what you like or you don't like in a portfolio. 19:20 You have your own opinions and you can decide whether this person is a good fit. 19:25 But I would never go and review an engineer's code. 19:29 I mean—the great thing about having someone else come on board and help you look at stuff is that a really senior designer— 19:32 they're going to be able to tell within minutes if the work is high quality—if the technical execution is done well. 19:40 So I suggest that you go find a design advisor. 19:48 Make friends with them. 19:51 Meet with them quarterly. 19:52 Have coffee. 19:53 Have beer—whatever. 19:54 Have them in your back pocket and call in a favor once in a while. 19:56 "Can you look at this portfolio online—just give me quick thoughts?" 19:59 That's something to take home. 20:05 Now we talk a lot about—at SEOmoz—or from what I understand, which I don't understand like half of it. 20:08 But is that you're trying to get people to some place, right? 20:16 There's a lot of talk about cost of acquisition and trying to convert somebody. 20:23 Well you can think of design as once you've gotten that somebody there that this is a way to get them to stay. 20:29 And there's hundreds of principles that I don't have time to go through today—it would be silly— 20:37 so the thing that I like to think about and the thing that I use in my day-to-day practice is this really easy Latin statement. 20:42 Ad spelloramus—that's what I say. 20:52 It's a 14th Century philospher's definition of what makes something aesthetically pleasing. 20:55 Again, I'm focusing on aesthetics, even though we do a lot more than that. 21:00 But I have this sign and it's above my desk, and all of my designers have this sign above their desk. 21:04 There are 3 things—3 qualities—to make something aesthetically pleasing—integrity, harmony, and radiance. 21:09 Integrity is kind of a loaded word, but it's easy to understand. 21:16 To me it means how true and sound and how honest and how high quality something is. 21:22 Now I love this quote from Conan O'Brien. 21:30 He was interviewed in the "New York Times," and he was talking about the entertainment business. 21:34 He said that you've got to stake out what is right—put out your signal and make sure it's really clear. 21:39 But the biggest mistake—the biggest mistake would be for me to alter that signal just so I could reach more people because then you're lost. 21:44 This is why I kind of get grumpy when teams tell me that they're trying to design for a target audience—a persona that is not them. 21:53 And it's not impossible, and we do it everyday. 22:05 But there's something about when you're building a product as your company—it's hard not to be genuine. 22:08 And when you're off by a millimeter, like Conan says, you're lost. 22:15 So my point is that when it comes to designing for users, it's a designer's job to be the user advocate— 22:21 to understand their needs and their goals. 22:30 That's absolutely what we're supposed to do. 22:31 But there's a big difference between that and pandering. 22:34 This is just a new concept that I want to explore a little more. 22:39 So check back with me because I have some more ideas on this. 22:42 Does anyone use MailChimp? 22:49 Yeah. I'm a huge MailChimp fan. 22:51 I chose it all over all the products purely for it's UX and its UI. 22:53 I got to meet the lead designer at MailChimp a couple weeks ago in Austin, and I was talking about the personality of MailChimp 22:59 and how cohesive and how they just put themselves out there. 23:07 Now I'm sure they didn't go and do a bunch of studies and think that they wanted to please their customers because they 23:11 thought that they would think that a chimp was really cute. 23:17 That's not how they went about it. 23:21 The way they went about it is it was an expression of their culture in their company. 23:23 They are a company that works hard. 23:28 They want to make it easy for the user. 23:30 They're charismatic. 23:33 And the site on the right—well it's not a bad site, and I'm sure the people who work there are really lovely. 23:35 But it—the problem with it—the problem I have with it is that they've missed out on an opportunity to tell a story 23:42 and to really—to promote their purpose. 23:49 I'm going to skip this because I have like 4 minutes left. 23:55 Harmony is the second principle. 23:58 This is kind of easy to get. 24:00 It's how all the parts relate to the whole. 24:01 So when you think about style guides and consistency—consistency and variation—how all of these tie together. 24:03 But it's not just about the pixels. 24:11 It's also about the tone and the voice and the manner and how the customer service person picks up the phone. 24:12 Again Aaarron Walter from MailChimp—he's put his entire design persona online, and I recommend you go and download it 24:18 and use it as a template for your own company if you don't already have one. 24:26 We just started using these tools—actually only the one at the top called patternry. 24:32 And they're pattern libraries. 24:37 Has anyone used these at all? 24:38 No. 24:41 Oh, one in the back. 24:42 Well this is a really great way of gathering snippets—not only of the UI, but of landing pages, of messages, of modules— 24:44 and then catalog them, and even when you stand out like 10 feet away 24:54 from the monitor you can tell what's sticking out—what's not harmonious. 24:57 It's been really helpful. 25:02 Last principle is radiance. 25:05 This one is really tricky to describe or it's kind of hard to prescribe because it's the pleasure we feel when we experience the design. 25:08 One way or one thing that I like to tell my non-designer friends of getting radiance is don't forget about the little details— 25:18 the little details that bring delight. 25:29 So this is—we just re-designed our website so you won't see this on our site anymore. 25:32 But we used to have this header—this little street scene and every time we were launching a product the scaffolding would go up 25:37 right in front of a black and white storefront, 25:42 and then when we launched the product the scaffolding would come down and the store would come to life. 25:44 And at 6:00 Seattle time, the stores close up, the street lamps come on, and the moon comes out. 25:48 And it's not—it's not a big deal. 25:55 It did take me a lot of time to pixel poke all the buildings, but that's another story. 25:57 And I'm kind of sad that it's gone now. 26:03 But the people who notice this kind of stuff, they remember us and they remember our story and they remember those little shops. 26:04 There's a lot of examples at this site called littlebigdetails.com to gather some information. 26:13 This example in Google Maps. 26:20 When you drop the little Lego guy in Hawaii, he's not the naked guy. 26:22 He actually has a Hawaiian shirt and a surfboard. 26:27 But he doesn't have any pants. 26:29 But it's still cute. 26:31 And it makes me so happy. 26:33 It makes people happy. 26:34 Happy people are more forgiving. 26:36 They're more forgiving about mistakes that you guys make—I make—and they also think that it actually works better. 26:38 It improves usability when people are happy and they're delighted. 26:48 There's a whole book on it. 26:51 Don Norman wrote it. 26:52 Lots of people are writing about it. 26:53 It's worth repeating—don't forget the special stuff—the little details. 26:55 All right. 27:01 I have one more minute to go through really fast the art of critique. 27:01 So the designers come back with their great designs. 27:05 They kept in mind all those principles of harmony, integrity, and radiance, and it's time to give feedback. 27:08 The problem is the art of the critique—it's changed. 27:15 We don't really critique anymore, and I'm reminded by this every time I go and I visit students because they do it the right way. 27:23 The point of the critique is to get a bunch on information and data from other perspectives to move the design forward— 27:29 to progress the design and make it better—not to sit there and poke holes at it and say what's wrong and how it makes you feel depressed. 27:36 It's to make the designer—give them more information, more perspective. 27:46 We've gotten in trouble with this. 27:51 I've been to many critiques where it's turned into this horrible art direction session, 27:54 and it's not pleasant for either the designer or the people attending the meeting. 27:59 Quick rules of the critique—sorry my fonts aren't loading. 28:05 Whether it's visual design or interaction design, if it's a design critique then the designer should own the meeting. 28:10 They also should own the design. 28:15 They should be—I mean—if it's someone you trust, and you should trust this person. 28:17 Otherwise, it's just a bad situation. 28:20 For any meeting, write down the goals up on the wall. 28:24 That just helps anchor the discussion if it starts to stray. 28:26 And focus on the feedback or focus the feedback on the problems and don't try to solve the solutions. 28:30 No matter how talented your group is or how smart it is, when you try to solve something as a group it gets sort of watered down, 28:36 and watered down design tends not to be good, right? 28:44 So you can read this later, but the idea is not giving them prescriptive information and prescriptive feedback 28:51 but helping them understand your perspective, helping set their priorities. 28:58 Then, also, maybe a long the way learning something 29:03 about their strategies and their intentions and making sure that actually works on you. 29:06 So wrapping up, I hope that you take home—back home to the office or—these takeaways. 29:13 Start recruiting now because it's going to be really hard to find a great designer. 29:21 They're high in demand. 29:25 Figure out what kind of designer do you need. 29:27 Do you need someone who's more visual or more interactive? 29:29 Do you need someone who's more strategic? 29:32 Build a design culture and help those delicate flowers grow and help set them up for success. 29:36 Integrity, harmony, radiance. 29:45 And respect your user, respect the content, but don't pander the design. 29:48 And lastly, practice the art of the real critique where you're progressing the design forward. 29:55 All right. 30:02 Thank you so much for listening. 30:02 [applause] 30:03 >> We're going to do some Q and A, so don't run away yet. 30:12 I think that's a really, really good perspective, and a lot of what you say here I make these parallels with what we all do in SEO, 30:16 especially the critique. 30:25 We do SEO audits, and how many SEO audits have you seen where everyone is just like—no this is wrong! wrong! wrong! wrong! wrong! wrong! wrong! 30:27 (inaudible) your client. 30:34 But really like you said, if you're encouraging them to be better, how much more valuable is that? 30:36 Whether it's design or whether it's SEO. 30:42 On top of that—there's one parallel. 30:45 Another parallel is with SEO being more like things that are popular, if you have great design that can make all the difference in the world. 30:48 Maybe your content might even suck, but your design could be great and you could do really well, right? 30:56 So—but anyway—we're going to do some questions,and I think—Rand, are you the first hand I see? 31:02 >>Thank you. 31:10 >> Hey. 31:10 [Jenny] Hi. 31:11 >> Hi Jenny. That was amazing. 31:12 [Jenny] Thanks. 31:13 >> I'm very curious about this talent challenge, in particular. 31:15 What items would you recommend? 31:20 What do you put in a job description that appeals to a designer—that says to the right kinds of designers—the great people out there— 31:22 this is going to be a company where I want to go work? 31:30 [Jenny] I think— 31:33 >> And likewise, what turns them off? 31:34 [Jenny] I think the best—the best suggestion that I have is you want to make sure it's a good fit. 31:35 And being yourself—that Conan O'Brien quote—being yourself and describing with integrity what kind of culture and company you have 31:45 and what kind of things you're going to do for them. 31:53 I've done experiments in the past where I've posted the job description as the first year review—the performance review. 31:56 It's a really kind of tricky way, too, to say, "Hey, these are the things we're going to work on." 32:04 >> Wait. Do you have someone who already works for you? 32:08 [Jenny] No. Like their future performance review. 32:10 >> Oh! 32:12 [Jenny] But I think the things that gets designers and creators really excited is really the environment. 32:13 Designers have—in the past—have always been service oriented. 32:19 So they're always working for a client or agency. 32:24 If you're a product company, it's really exciting for a designer to be a part of shipping something to a real user—an end user and not a client. 32:27 So I would sell that pretty hard, and you'll get the right kind of people, too. 32:35 >> Last question—where do you post? 32:41 Do you—like where do you recruit or where would you recommend we recruit? 32:43 [Jenny] There are a couple of organizations. 32:47 Here in Seattle, we have a chapter—IXDA—Interaction Design Association. 32:49 You'll get a little more the brainy types and more of the HCI types. 32:53 AIGA is a traditional design—AIG—it's a hundred year organization. 32:57 They typically have the more graphic designers—the more creative types who are eager to get into technology. 33:05 But they are a little gun shy. 33:12 They don't think they have what it takes so going to those—they have meet ups every month. 33:14 Those are 2 great places. 33:19 >> Hey. Over here. 33:23 [Jenny] Hi. 33:27 >> Hi. I'm Mike. 33:28 [Jenny] Really deep voice. I love it. 33:28 >> The mic is tricking you. 33:30 Anyway my question essentially is strategy and creative kind of sit at odds with each other a lot. 33:31 In my experience, working with creative people—oh, one thing before I say any of that— 33:41 your presentation was awesome, and I like that you were the only presenter that used Serif fonts and you made them look great. 33:47 [Jenny] Yeah. Bodoni really classes it up. 33:54 >> Anyway so my question is—it kinds of plays to that conversation about the art of critique. 33:58 How do we work better with creative people where we can actually get our changes made— 34:03 like they always feel like what we want to do is very intrusive to their design so how do we speak to them better to make that work? 34:11 [Jenny] That's a really good question. 34:21 It really—to me—it's a matter of trust. 34:23 Like if you don't trust the decisions that your designer is making 34:27 based on the goals that you set forward that's really not a great situation to be in. 34:31 It's hard to do, but you really should demand excellent, excellent designers and excellent people. 34:36 It is a time also to be introspective and to see is the strategy getting in the way of something that is not very tangible— 34:44 that's emotional and that we gain a lot of really good—you know—good joo joo. 34:53 Someone over here. 35:04 Do I have time for one? 35:06 Okay. 35:08 >> If you work in an office that is largely— >> Over here. 35:08 [Jenny] Okay. Hi. 35:12 >> —largely focused on budget a lot of the time and really numbers-driven, but there's also the creative element. 35:13 How do you help bridge that gap so that you don't kill the creative but still pay attention to budget? 35:21 [Jenny] Could you explain what you mean by how limited you are in budget—you can't hire more people or you can't— 35:29 >> Yeah. And the people that we do have can't always spend maybe as much time as they might want to— 35:35 [Jenny} Yeah. 35:43 >> —on the products. 35:44 [Jenny] There are a lot of really great platforms that have built-in great design—Twitter Bootstrap. 35:48 If you're building mobile apps, you can sort of lean on the native controls and the native look and feel for certain experiences. 35:55 But I don't really have a good answer to your question. 36:04 It's—I think it's kind of a thing that you have to—if it's really important to have great creative that you've just got to convince 36:09 somebody at the top to increase the budget to work—to invest in that more. 36:17 I mean—some of the ROI stuff in the beginning—that's the kind of stuff that I send people. 36:24 And I have some extra research if you want me to send that to you, just email me. 36:29 One more? 36:37 >> Hi. As a manager of a designer, personally I've got no experience design, but I'm really passionate about good quality design. 36:38 I'm unsure as to how much time to give them for research around a design. 36:46 Like if I give them a project of a wire frame markup—some designs for a wire frame— 36:51 [Jenny] Yeah. >> How do I balance research against outcome? 36:56 [Jenny] What level of designers are you talking about—mid, junior— 36:59 >> Mid-level. [Jenny] Mid-level? 37:03 >> Mid-level, but they're independent. 37:04 They're in-house, sole designer. 37:05 [Jenny] Are they doing kinds of research—the ethonography research or just like— 37:10 >> Just look around— [Jenny] —dorking around on the web? 37:16 >> Yeah—try and give them good direction with sites that we like or resonate well with our community already. 37:18 But just in terms of balance their research time against outcomes. 37:25 Like a lot of people have been saying, we're driven by figures and dollars and time. [Jenny] Yeah. 37:31 >> How do we know as a manager what is enough time for a design? 37:36 Like is there a benchmark? 37:40 [Jenny] I don't have any benchmarks for that. 37:41 I just know that I have a schedule, and that's what I give my designers and they work toward that. 37:44 I also try to get as much information that's available that I don't have to go do research. 37:50 Like the U.S. Census Bureau has a ton of really great user research that's free, 37:54 and I can get a better sense of a scenario or a type of person or a demographic. 37:59 That's helpful—just getting that kind of free stuff and front-loading that and giving that to them so they don't have to go do it on their own. 38:07 All right. 38:16 One more? 38:18 >> Yeah. [Jenny] Hi, Derrick. >> Hi. 38:19 [Jenny] Derrick is a designer. 38:20 >> Yes. [Jenny] He's Art Director at SEOmoz. 38:22 >> Hi guys! [Jenny] And he's responsible for the awesome robot. 38:24 [applause] 38:27 >> How does an in-house designer build design integrity for the individual department? 38:32 So how—for critiques, how do we build that integrity to gain confidence in our team to maybe gain that veto power? 38:38 [Jenny] Well you're the boss over there of the designers— 38:50 I think you guys have done a fabulous job, and I'm not just kissing your ass. 38:54 I really do think that you put your personality—your company culture out there, and that can be a scary thing to do. 38:59 I think maybe your next step might be to set some standards using the pattern library and creating templates— 39:05 giving everyone at SEOmoz really great tools so that they can express the vision and the creative that comes from what you started. 39:12 All right. 39:25 >> Okay. I think that's it. 39:27 [Jenny] Thank you. >> It was really great. Thank you. Thank you. 39:27
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