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InfoQ Homepage Podcasts Sara Bayless Da Costa on the Skills Designers Need to Be Effective with New Technologies

Sara Bayless Da Costa on the Skills Designers Need to Be Effective with New Technologies


This is the Engineering Culture Podcast, from the people behind and the QCon conferences.

In this podcast Shane Hastie, InfoQ Lead Editor for Culture & Methods, spoke to Sara Bayless Da Costa, visual storyteller and design thinking evangelist at Fjord.  Bayless Da Costa gave a talk at QCon San Francisco on Rapid Prototyping Methods.  They spoke about prototyping, collaborative design, designing for new interfaces and new skills that designers need in order to be successful with new technologies.

Key Takeaways

  • The importance of taking a collaborative design approach with multiple roles involved – design is not just done by designers
  • Design and development work well together to deliver an exceptional customer experience
  • The importance of empathy when understanding people’s needs
  • Visual storytelling is a powerful way to convey messages and inform good decision making
  • Evergreen needs – human needs have not fundamentally changed, but the way we solve them is constantly evolving
  • Designers need new and different skills to be effective in this new world

Show Notes

0m:48s - Introductions

1m:20s - Solving complex design problems using design thinking concepts

2m:15s - The importance of collaborative design work – developers and designers working together rather than abdicating design to the “specialists”

2m:38s - The importance of building empathy and understanding other roles’ perspectives in order to come up with the best designs

2m:56s - Designers need to understand the limitations of the technologies being used and of the development toolset so they design for feasibility

3m:15s - The importance of empathy when understanding people’s needs

4m:10s - For a developer, being involved with the design process is motivational and helps you to feel connected to the product and its users

4m:35s - Making decisions using data and “what moves us”

5m:20s - Passion helps drive informed design decisions

6m:10s - Just because you love something doesn’t mean others do too – use data to inform decision making

6m:40s - The value and importance of visual story-telling

7m:55s - The “hero’s journey” story of product creation to solve real problems for real users

8m:28s - Story telling is important across the entire design and development process

9m:17s - Contrasting the current story with the future story of the customer experience

9m:40s - Storyboarding as a technique for sketching the end-to-end customer experience

9m:53s - Creating a video from customer interviews to understand and communicate their story

10m:05s - Visuals don’t have to be beautiful – everyone can draw

10m:40s - Skillshare as a resource for improving sketching skills

11m:20s - Designing for new interfaces – living services

11m:45s - Evergreen needs – human needs have not changed, but the way we solve them is constantly evolving

12m:10s - Living services mean that while technology is getting more advanced, it is retreating into the background and the service comes to the fore  

12m:25s - The disappearance of the interface means we are able to be face-to-face with people more effectively and in new ways – VR & AR

12m:45s - Technology is a tool, it is not the solution; the solution is using technology to help people live better lives

13m:05s - Designers need new and different skills to be effective in this new world

13m:25s - Designers need to understand the development process and be able to work with technology and technologists very closely


Software Delivery Practices Evolve Fast, So Should Your Learning: Attend QCon San Francisco Software Development (Oct 24-28).

What are the major trends that matter right now in software development and technical leadership? Uncover emerging software trends and practices to solve your complex engineering challenges, without the product pitches. Save your spot now!,

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