Hi there 👋 I’m Julie, Head of Product Design at Product Hunt. AMA 👇
With over 15 years of experience in design and product strategy in tech, I am currently Head of Product Design here at Product Hunt 🐱 AMA 👇
What are you favorite design tools, websites, etc. that you rely on to do your work?
@jmsuth My work is very varied, so I can use many different tools depending on what I’m working on. I’ve tried to list my main tools here 👇 User research: Dovetail for qualitative research Zoom to talk to people Typeform for large surveys Invision to share designs and collect feedback from the community UX/UI/IxD design: Sketch Framer primarily to prototype mobile experiences Whimsical for early collaboration on wireframes and user flows Communication and collaboration: Notion this is where I take notes Pitch to formally present ideas Loom to present designs and ideas asynchronously Slack for gifs mainly (and to talk with my team) Asana to follow projects and work together Testing and tracking: Stark to test designs for accessibility Koa11y to test live pages' accessibility Hotjar occasionally to test how people use features I'm not listing analytics tools like GA, Looker, or Periscope because although I use data, I do not set these up. As a team, we certainly use more than this, but these are the tools I use personally.
@jmsuth @syswarren Do you use anything to manage user feedback? I've recently been questioning the value of the platform I use and think I would be better off going back to something a little more analog. I currently use ProductBoard if that helps clarify what I'm asking.
@jmsuth @aaron_chiandet To me ProductBoard "customer feedback" feature is primarily used to manage feature requests, which is a bit different from user feedback. We've been using Dovetail for research — outside of unprompted feedback — but it's possible to manually add feedback there. But really, you could simply use a Google doc, or Airtable to list feedback and tag them.
How does the usual design process look like?
@ipgregor My design process is complete A.N.A.R.C.HY 💥 Acknowledge opportunities/problems through research and insights - Always listen, look at metrics, talk to users and think about possible improvements. Note what should be improved - Formulate your hypotheses: what you believe the issues are, what impact you hope a new experience will have. Agree on the scope of the project - Share your thoughts with the team. Reach agreement on what needs to be done. Refine solutions - Discuss with other designers, PMs, engineers, support… to explore solutions as a team. Use wireframes, user flows or high-fidelity mockups as support for the discussions. Create the designs - After you’ve collected feedback, create the finished designs and collaborate with engineers to facilitate implementation. HYpothesis testing - Work with the team on defining which metrics to track and how the new designs will be tested. Follow how the experiments are doing… and repeat the process. Now, it’ll depend on the size and complexity of a project. You have to be flexible for innovation to happen. There are times when you just need to get things done. Sometimes, you need lots of research before doing something. Other times, you need to take a leap of faith and run with your idea.
@syswarren This is amazing. I love that there is somehow a framework but allows to break out of it if needed. Thanks for sharing 🙌
What’s the most exciting aspect of the product design process for you, and where do you find your most profound inspiration?
@jackbingham While I really enjoyed UI work earlier in my career, the most exciting for me now is uncovering opportunities. I love connecting the dots between user needs, product possibilities, and business opportunities. I also enjoy getting others motivated to work on a project. I see a lot of products launch every day, and that's an inspiration, but sometimes, I just need to take a step back, go for a walk, watch a movie or read a book to find inspiration.
What's been your biggest (latest) highlight? What keeps you excited about designing?
@hwjedaggett This is not an easy question! My biggest/latest highlight is probably convincing talented product designers to join our team ✨ And if I'm still excited about designing after all this time, it's because design is my way of communicating ideas. It's easier to show what you have in mind than explain it with words sometimes.
What does your daily routine look like?
@ryangilbert On Mondays, my cat wakes me up long before my alarm goes off. Then I get ready, workout or go for a walk, buy food for lunch, go back home, clean things a bit, and go to my desk to start working. In the morning, I try to answer questions and ensure I'm not blocking anyone's progress on a project. Then, if I have time, I'll do design work before taking a break for lunch. In the afternoon, I'll either do design work or be in meetings. Then suddenly, it's Friday. ⚡️
@ryangilbert @syswarren I like how quickly its Friday!
What is the best place to find great UI / UX talent in your opinion, Toptal, Upwork, Behance or...? And do you prefer Sketch or FIgma? Curious. And thank you.
@jillandresevic I'm not sure there is one best place to find good designers. Talent can be found everywhere. A good place to start would be Dribbble. It's also worth looking on Twitter or joining smaller design communities! I use Sketch and Figma. I don't have a preference, but I use Sketch more often!
What have been your favorite resources to learn about design and product strategy? Perhaps a YouTube channel, book, podcast, or all of the above 😀
@maxdemaio I studied design as an apprentice, so I really like learning by doing! There are some books that I've found very interesting: Outcomes Over Output The User Experience Team of One Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Rapid Customer Growth Universal Methods of Design Universal Principles of Design Then there are hundreds of books you can find for inspiration! And Youtube channels I watch: CharliMarieTV The Futur femke.design Product School I've also followed courses, which can be expensive, but depending on your level and your goals, it can be very interesting.
@syswarren Thank you for the detailed response! I 100% agree, learning by doing is super effective. Will definitely have to check out those YouTube channels and books 😀
What's one example of a design decision made that you're proud of because of its impact on businesses?
@jonathanm It's funny because it's usually the most random design decisions that have the biggest impact. You change a small thing, and suddenly, it impacts the whole system. This happened a few years ago with the upvote buttons on Product Hunt. We simply moved the upvote button, and people started upvoting 20% more. It's important because upvotes highlight good products to visitors, which impacts returning visitors, page views… and traffic sent to the product's website, and potential new users for them, which encourages Makers to keep working on their product and launch new things... I am mostly proud of the decisions where the effort was minimal and the impact significant.
What’s the biggest and unexpected feedback you’ve ever received from a user, that changed the way you though about your product ?
@sylvainramousse In most cases, you'll only receive unprompted feedback from users who are either unhappy users or power users. Unhappy users have issues and bugs to fix. You solve the problem, and everyone is happy. On the other hand, power users can lead you in a direction you think is correct, but they use the product in a way that's very different from how 99% of people use it. Power users can be the most active users of your product. Or people with industry knowledge. Or anyone who has the power to lead you in a specific direction. One single user's feedback shouldn't change how you think about your product. However, if it does, you should talk to more users and do more research before changing your product strategy. Occasionally though, we receive feedback from people saying they landed their first job, or they were inspired to build their own product, or they found their co-founder on Product Hunt, or that something negative happened to them... and it's always a good reminder that we're not just building products, we're directly impacting people's lives and the decisions we make have to be thought through.
What is the most useful feedback loop you've employed or created?
@aaron_chiandet If we're talking about experience feedback loops (someone does something and something else happens), the most useful loops I can think of aren't the ones we intentionally create as product people, but the ones users create themselves and that we are able to identify and strengthen. The PH team will probably laugh if they read this because I've made a dozen visualizations explaining what I call the "Product Hunt ∞ flywheel" which details how one action on Product Hunt generates a feedback, which encourages another action... until it goes back to the first step of the loop.
Congratulations 🎉 I just do think that is missing for the first comment some text customization to make it stand out like to be able to use h2, h3, séparation lines, maybe 2 colors who that match with our brand identity. And when we finish to field our page to be able to see a preview without going on an other site to test it with old setups of PH.
How much of this is intuition and how much knowledge, from 1 to 10?
@emanuele_caldari Intuition is the driver, knowledge is there to help make informed decisions. Just like in science, you make the hypothesis that something might be possible, that's intuition guiding you. Then you use methodologies, frameworks, processes, tests, to verify your hypothesis. That's knowledge. Intuition and knowledge work together. 50/50
Should designers learn to no-code?
When working on new features for a product, how do you prioritise what to work on and what does measuring success for them look like?
@kylerjphillips I see prioritization a bit like when you're building a LEGO. If you know what you want your LEGO (product) to be like at the end, you can prioritize which blocks (features) you have to put first... otherwise, the other pieces will float in the middle of nowhere. It's difficult to decide what needs to be done first if you don't understand where you're going. Does that make sense? As for measuring success, it really depends on the feature. Sometimes, success is not moving any metrics but laying the foundations that will help build faster in the future, or just making users happy.
In your opinion what are the most important skills for all design leaders to have in your experience?
What do you learn from all the products posted on Product Hunt and how do you apply that to make Product Hunt better?
What are your favorite aspects of designing products and which parts do you find draining/challenging?
@alecdewitz My favorite part is "being in the zone" when you're going with the flow, and things come naturally, and it's exciting and moving fast. For me, the draining/challenging one is the wait between having an idea and having the time and resources to work on it.