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Uncategorized 5min

Design is a Team Sport

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An insight from Jared Spool talk at Mirror Conf 2018 Edition

An insight from Jared Spool talk at Mirror Conf 2018 Edition


Last October, we had the opportunity to attend Mirror Conf, and since it happened in our city, it was a great opportunity to learn something from the best guys in the industry. One of the speakers that I was really looking forward to listening to was Jared Spool. He entitles himself as a Maker of Awesomeness at Center Centre/UIE and gave us an awesome talk about Design, more specifically, the importance of knowing the context about what we are designing, as well as its limitations, how to educate a team of people who are not so sensitive about the topic and its real importance to the success of a project. 


Here, I’ll break down the main points of Jared’s talk and adapting them to my personal experience.


Design is the Rendering of Intent

When we talk about rendering the intent it does not mean having an idea and start to explore it without knowing the essential information about the project. Even if our intention is the best, we must take a deep breath and analyze the whole thing before action.


The example, in which Jared focused his talk, was the meeting between two designers and their trail of thoughts. Did you ever hear about the Delta Onboarding Passes made by Tyler Thompson? They were inspired by Dustin Curtis work for American Airlines old website, which in his point of view the design was really poor.


Let’s talk about Tyler! After buying his ticket at Delta to fly from New York to Seattle, he received this boarding pass (img 1). Which made him feel instantly mad by the way it was designed.


This is was the boarding pass Tyler got from Delta

As you can see why, Tyler was not satisfied with it, and inspired by Dustin’s work, he grabbed his Moleskine and started to do some sketches. While doing it he thought about his trip and how should the information be organized, until he got to this point:


The Delta Boarding Pass suggestion designed by Tyler


As you can see, this suggestion led to a visually appealing and well-designed boarding pass with great typography, very well structured information and with some nice details to make the experience of buying a boarding pass way better.


What he didn’t think about, were the limitations that the company had to face if they wanted to follow its idea and the logistics that would be necessary to apply his design, including the costs that would come along with it.




If you look closely, you will notice that to apply the suggested design, Delta would have to:

  • Replace more than 10.000 boarding pass printers;
  • Change the paper size and add cutting for bleeds;
  • Create a new supplied chain for colored inks.


As Tyler, there are a lot of people who think that can improve something, and at some point, we all think that we are all designers. Aren’t we?


The big difference, in this case, is that when you have great design skills but don’t have the full context of what are you designing for, it can look great, but it can be badly designed at the same time, because the big difference between poor design and great design lays in the render of the designer’s intent.


What causes poor Design?

Poor design is based on the right intention but executed poorly –  a poorly rendered intention! Tyler matches perfectly this example. He had an intention, and it was a good one, but it was executed poorly, not because the design was ugly, but because there was a lack of context when designing.


So in order to improve design, and create something meaningful, we must work on both, the intention and the skills of rendering it in the best way possible and when doing it, there are two things to have to take in consideration, so you must ask yourself:


Are we design activities or experiences?

On his talk, Jared referred Six Flags Mountain theme park vs Disney adventure park as well as the differences between the two. Long story short, let’s get straight to the point.


Six Flags Mountain

The Six Flags Mountain (img 3) is all about the rides, that come together with as many activities as you want. The main idea of this one is to experience fun and excitement with your chosen ride. Ok, let’s jump to the next until you think we are done for the day.



Map of Six Flags Magic Mountain Theme Park


Disneyworld Magic Kingdom

On the other side of the coin, there’s the map of Disneyworld Magic Kingdom. If you notice in the image above, there are no rides represented on, but that’s not because they don’t exist, that’s because Disneyworld wanted it that way.


They want to focus on the experience they can provide to you and to your children, turning your day into a memorable one, a day full of experiences. The day usually starts with the Character Breakfast, then people walk around the park and experience as more activities as they want to, and at the end of the day, there’s a marvelous fireworks display.

Map of Disneyworld’s Magic Kingdom


Let’s try to adapt this thought to a digital product. When designing for something, what is your main objective? Do you want to lead your user to perform some specific action? Or do you want to tell your user a story about your company, or who knows, explain something about your product and how it can improve your user’s life in some way through storytelling?


If you want to create a great experience, focus on discrete activities, like what your user wants to do? How can you guide them? What will you make through the process to make their experience better? These are some of the questions you can ask yourself in order to create a better experience for your user.


In order to do it, maybe you will need a design process.


Design process – A design process is a designed experience

Like mentioned previously, having a great experience plays an important role on the way that the user think and feel about your product, but if you’re looking forward to create the greatest experience possible, you need a design process and discipline to help you get there.


“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” — Jim Rohn




My, yours, our design process

Every time we approach a new project, there’s a process we follow each time to help us to get better results along the way. This process led us to know exactly which are our clients needs, what is the project about and in which context do the clients use our product. With this in mind, we can work in order to solve them.


We will make it happen