Communication is one of the most important core skills designers should have and improve throughout their careers. It is not only about talking more (or less), at the right moment, or writing more. It is also about understanding the cultural differences within your team.

A Feedback Framework by Tom Censani

Tom Censani, Director of Product Design at Eventbrite, shared different ways of giving and receiving feedback on his talk at Design At Scale meetup in Madrid.

He introduced the feedback framework they use, adapted from IBM, which consists of grouping the feedback in 4 groups to provide consistency. It is primarily used in their design critique sessions.

Feedback framework

Participating in critique sessions is relevant for a designer and the entire design team. A small detail shared by Tom is that when something is shared in the session, it is not just your work anymore, now it is everyone’s work. Your teammates are not judging you, they are helping you improve your design.

Tom Censani talking about critique sessions Photo by Alberto Roldán

Another method they use to keep distance shorter is sharing a slide deck with a quick overview of everyones work on a weekly bases. It is good for everyone in the team to know what other designers are doing. Every week, they share in the slide deck screenshots of what they are working on, one slide per designer. They also have a worldwide call where each designer has one minute to talk.

Idiomatic Expressions by Emilio Garcia

After Tom’s talk, the rest of Eventbrite’s Madrid went deeper into what means working in a decentralized company and what are the communication barriers they have to overcome every day.

Emilio about to start his talk Photo by Alberto Roldán

Emilio talked about idiomatic expressions. As an example “It’s ok” doesn’t mean the same thing for an American person than for a Spanish person. For Spanish people is a “go ahead”, while for Americans is “this could be better”. Funny, but important. We have to understand these cultural differences to give the best of us at work.

Long-distance communication can be tough, moreover when there is a 9h difference. Emilio shared what his normal week schedule looks like, and faced it with Tom’s schedule. In this kind of situation, it is important to understand that is not one person who has to ease in favor of other people, but a work of balancing schedules on both sides.

Timetable of two people seating at 9 hours difference Overlapping calendars from designers in different time zones.

The meetup finished with the talks from Macarena Padilla and José Bello who described 2 different cases of international communication showing wins and looses in the process. While Macarena talked about the communication between two teams working in a same page with different business goals, José did it on knowledge transfer between two teams working in different time zones.

Thanks to the Eventbrite Product Design Team for sharing your experience! 🤗


EuroIA 19 Recap: Talks

More posts by Victor Valle

image for Facing whiteboard challenges

Facing whiteboard challenges

2 Min Read


Part of Liferay, IncCode/Content Licenses