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Product Design

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Business in the context of design is the ability to understand the market, contribute to business goals to solve problems and create tools to improve the design lifecycle.

    See all Strategy milestones
    1. Support

      • Familiar with the market and company strategy.
      • Reading and sharing analyst and industry reports
      • Can support the design strategy for one project/product
    2. Build

      • Can build the design strategy for one project/product
    3. Lead

      • Relevant industry experience
      • Can coordinate the design strategy for all products in the company
      • Produces company wide design decisions
      • Find solutions to big picture challenges. Can envision design solutions taking into account the product environment, influence from other company products, and competitors.
    4. Strategize

      • Can envision the design strategy for all products in the company
      • Connects dots from existing products to envisioned products.
      • Discover new markets
      • Proto-persona: Alen Fjalic, Bobby Ghoshal
    5. Architect

      • You are a recognized industry expert in Design Strategy.
      • Demonstrated success in the market.
      • Generating significant business value for the company in terms of new verticals, new sources of revenue, etc.
      • Designer-founders: Tom Kelly, Clark Valberg, Des Traynor, Brian Chesky


User research focuses on understanding user behaviors, needs, and motivations through observation techniques, task analysis, and other feedback methodologies. 

    See all Research milestones
    1. Support 

      • Maintaining Participant Pool, communicating with participants
      • Develop and scope clear research proposals and projects
      • Basic research tasks like user testing, recruiting, simple reporting, and interview note-taking
      • Quantitative data collection and analysis, contributing to research database
      • Synthesizing findings in various artifacts such as personas, journey maps, mental models, usability reports
      • Starts with prepackaged questions or predefined methods and executes on defined units of work.
    2. Build

      • Lead Interview debrief
      • Observation
      • Quantitative data collection and analysis (use of mathematical models)
      • Executing the prescribed research methods to grasp the outcomes each method yields with minimal supervision. Objectively report and share their evidence based recommendations.
      • Workshop facilitation
      • Sell to internal stakeholders
    3. Lead

      • Work with product managers (and other stakeholders) and take ownership of product direction. What do we need to know? Why is this important to us? When should we execute?
      • Report findings and actionable insights. Drive the direction of the product based on evidence.
      • Data collection (Quantitative and Qualitative)
      • Complex reporting
      • Workshop facilitation to align understanding of customer data
      • Synthesizing findings in various artifacts such as personas, journey maps, mental models, usability reports
      • Present research insights in a digestible story at different levels of depth depending on the audience
      • Framing research findings in greater context, leverage storytelling to create buy-in
      • Foster adoption of research db
    4. Strategize

      • Disseminating knowledge and alignment are your top priorities.
      • Coordinate centralizing user research in to a database
      • Wide audience communication
      • Foster adoption of research db
      • Product roadmap planning
      • Program Design
      • Laura Kalbag
    5. Architect

      • Bill Buxton, Erika Hall


Interaction Design combines Usability, Information Architecture, and other disciplines to deliver easy to use products.

    See all Interaction milestones
    1. Support

      • Know and use of Design System
      • Able to differentiate web from mobile and the different requirements for each, including the review of platform guidelines.
      • Knows what accessibility is about but hasn’t yet started to care about it.
      • Explore best practices for common design problems; solutions are solid, though not novel
      • Solve specific function-level problems (e.g., "add to shopping cart")
    2. Build

      • An established performer with strong communication skills who proactively builds relationships
      • Able to contribute on shipped projects
      • Able to contribute to Design System
      • Ability to analyse and solve accessibility problems.
      • Emerging recognition that it's not all about design, but how design contributes to a broader goal; recognizes business goals and technical constraints
      • Strong and capable engagement in standard design processes
      • Confident in applying best practices to common design problems; solutions are solid, not novel
      • Given specific product capabilities that need to be solved (e.g., Checkout process)
    3. Lead

      • A high-level performer with strong relationships and the ability to lead projects
      • Expertise, process, explain the rationale, cross-functional
      • Contributed to multiple shipped products
      • Develops the process/approach for tackling a design problem, using known methods; anticipates problems
      • Begins going beyond best practices
      • Clarifies success metrics and ties efforts toward delivering business value
      • Leads the solution of a product area; connects that to broader product vision (e.g, product page and purchase experience)
    4. Strategize

      • An organized leader and performer who pushes convention and drives change
      • Leads the delivery of shipped products; Delivered successful work at the scope of product areas
      • Develops the process/approach for tackling a design problem, using known methods; anticipates problems; develops facilitation skills to engage cross-functional teams
      • Begins to realize the power of problem-framing, establishing new starting points that lead to new kinds of solutions
      • Leading the solution of undefined problem spaces (e.g. “How do people complete a transaction?”)
      • Uses understanding of impact and success metrics to focus and re-prioritize their and their team's efforts; Emerging understanding of broader organizational context and goals;
    5. Architect

      • You are a recognized industry expert in Interaction Design.
      • Frames and solves hard problems; has driven innovative efforts that uncovered new value with new kinds of experiences; presents company as an industry leader in design
      • Working with partners and stakeholders, begins making real change in how the company approaches its business; Articulates vision for the team that excites and inspires leaders and partners
      • Reframes company-wide "problems" to suggest new approaches for solving them.
      • The Big Picture of an entire company's offerings, and how they integrate and coordinate
      • Luke Wroblewski, Jared Spool


Visual design shapes the product experience through artifacts like illustrations, photography, typography, color and more to improve the usability of products.

    See all Visual milestones
    1. Support

      • Strong graphic design foundation: grid, typography, color theory
      • Have a strong visual background in print or digital media, advertising, illustration, fine arts, architecture, motion, film, etc
      • Becoming familiar with the limitations and requirements of designing in products and digital scenarios, knowledge and familiarity of designing within systems
      • Creating visual elements (motion, icons, illustration, etc) within an established system
      • Creation of libraries; Icons, Illustrations, Style guide (Visual kit).
      • Applying the visual layer for products or projects
    2. Build

      • Designing the complete visual layer at an individual project or product level
      • Strong understanding of interaction principles (accessibility, usability) and able to thrive within those constraints
      • Deep understanding of brand and applying in a product
      • Able to synthesize business strategy with a visual direction
      • Creating and defining new brands for products or projects
    3. Lead

      • Coordinating visual strategy for all products
      • Leading the visual direction for products across multiple teams
    4. Strategize

      • Leading visuals at an organizational level
    5. Architect

      • You are a recognized, industry expert in Visual Design.
      • Design Architect with successful products in the market, creating and leading the visual standard, creating trends
      • Tobias Van Schneider, Mike (Creative Mints)


Engineering in the context of design is the ability to understand and contribute to the various technologies and frameworks that are used in the designer’s context.

    See all Engineering milestones
    1. Support

      • Understands and has experience in the engineering lifecycle of a product from ideation to market launch.
      • Understands a basic language / framework (HTML/Bootstrap)
      • Knows design tokens
      • Understands accessibility related things to implementation
    2. Build

      • Builds html prototypes, webpages
      • Optimizes and helps others review their code
      • Understands more complex languages / frameworks (Python, React)
      • Uses components and APIs
      • Develops with accessibility in mind
    3. Lead

      • Create components
      • Code review (not only structure but accessibility)
      • Develops standalone sites and apps
      • Teaches frameworks or advanced languages (angular/html/etc) to others
    4. Strategize

      • Proven track record
      • Create APIs
      • Platform & technologies
      • Create design systems
    5. Architect

      • You are a recognized, industry expert in Engineering.
      • Ideate Successful APIs
      • Have successful, robust design systems used in the market
      • Industry leader at the intersection of Design and Technology
      • Colm Tuite, Brent Jackson, Jon Gold
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