Oh wait, it clicks • August 11, 2023

How to have better design conversations

S1 E3 – learn how to get the most out of your design conversations

00:00:02:16 - 00:00:16:21 And today's episode of Oh Wait, It clicks. We're going to be talking about the latest product news bumping around Twitter. And then we'll dig deep on how to have better design conversations. Excited to get into it.

00:00:16:23 - 00:00:37:08 Hey, everyone, Matt and Nick from Markham Square here. Welcome back to another episode of Oh Wait, It clicks. Today is July 20th, 2023, and Nick and I, we got to talk about a few things. There are some things happening out in the world right now that are exciting for us as developers and folks in the the engineering and design community.

00:00:37:10 - 00:00:42:13 Laravel Con's going on Nick, and I can't tell you how much FOMO I'm having right now.

00:00:42:15 - 00:00:55:02 I am bumming, I wish I was there and I do this every year. Every year Larry rolls around and I'm like, Next year's the year, I'm going to get the ticket, I'm going to go. And then it rolls around again and I'm saddling out there and I'm just watching Twitter upset about it.

00:00:55:04 - 00:01:02:18 Yeah, it's funny because I have this year. There was also the first year of telling Nathan, I don't know what it was called tailwind com coming out.

00:01:02:18 - 00:01:03:18 Yeah, something like that.

00:01:03:20 - 00:01:10:05

Yeah, something like that. I saw that happen. I was like, well we can't let this happen for Lyric on. And then we did.

00:01:10:06 - 00:01:12:09 You know, next year we got next year coming up.

00:01:12:09 - 00:01:19:05

Next year, next year. So what do you see in coming out of there. Come that got your ears perked up that you're excited to see.

00:01:19:07 - 00:01:47:16 So I think the big thing for me that I mean there's a lot coming out it's a it's a jam packed as always but heard looks really cool. It's a it's basically like a free runtime so you don't have to deal with Homebrew anymore, which is really cool. It's like, oh, here it is. Kind of like what people wanted Clippy, or at least what I wanted the sale to be because it was sort of the doctrine of of, of Laravel and it just had everything containerized running really easily heard is doing that I think better and without Docker.

00:01:47:16 - 00:01:56:19 So I'm excited. I tried to play with that. I don't think it's life yet. I think it was like kind of like it's, it's almost here kind of thing, but excited to get my hands on it and play with it.

00:01:56:21 - 00:01:58:07

That's a big yeah, that's funny.

00:01:58:09 - 00:02:00:08 Everybody chat about.

00:02:00:10 - 00:02:21:08

Yeah, that certainly caught my eye as well. Pretty, pretty neat to see that some of the things I saw that was Livewire version three. That's that's pretty exciting to see that update and keeping up to the latest thing, I didn't get a chance to really dive into the definitely heard so I'm wondering that when you think about what her to provide, what do you think that's going to do for you as a developer?

00:02:21:08 - 00:02:30:15

What's that going to provide you in terms of experience and also from a feature set? What do you think it's going to let you do and open up your horizon to?

00:02:30:17 - 00:02:54:03 Yeah, no. So it's one of those like DevOps kind of tools that probably doesn't make a huge difference. At the end of the day, it's like, okay, yeah, you could do it in Docker, you could do a valet and Hurd would let you use L.A. anyway. But I think what it's, what it's helpful for is it's if you're working with like with teams that have like some folks on Windows machines themselves or magazines, it's going to be nice to have sort of a more consistent development environment across that team.

00:02:54:05 - 00:03:11:16 So that kind of opens you up there in terms of team composition. And then and this is the making some assumptions. I assume it's going to let you do that. Right? And then the other big thing is it's probably just going to be the default starting point for new Laravel projects going forward. It's going to make it a little bit easier to deploy, get your site up and running.

00:03:11:16 - 00:03:35:02 So it's not it's one of those like little convenient things that Laravel does so well. It's like, Oh, this is nice and I'm going to start using it and it's going to become my default way of working with Laravel. But I don't know if it's like that ten X like huge improvement. Like I'm trying to think of a good example, like when they look at like web sockets and like the echo library is something that we're like, this unlocks a whole new paradigm of development for us.

00:03:35:04 - 00:03:39:03 Not quite that, but it's still a really nice feature to.

00:03:39:05 - 00:03:48:20 For sure, for sure. And that's, you know, that's what we love to hear, especially like on every year. It feels like they just stack in the bricks and it gets better and better to be a Laravel developer.

00:03:48:20 - 00:03:56:02 It's Christmas reliable dance. It's really it's all it is. You're like, these are the presence that Taylor is bringing us this year. And these are nice. These are good things.

00:03:56:04 - 00:04:19:13 Definitely, definitely. Well, speaking of nice things and things that come once a year, well, this doesn't come once here, but something we've been thinking about a lot lately, Nick, and what we wanted to focus this episode on was the topic of how to have better design conversations. And I think for us, you know, we, we didn't we're in a unique opportunity where we're presenting designs a lot.

00:04:19:17 - 00:04:37:13 We're talking about designs and talking with different stakeholders about designs. And so it's something we have to consider a lot and think about a lot. But what I wanted to kick off this conversation is how do you talk about design and how do you have conversations with stakeholders that aren't necessarily design savvy?

00:04:37:15 - 00:05:00:08 Yeah, I think that's the perennial challenge for any designer, right? Is is getting your designs in a place where they're shareable and then presenting them and say like, Hey, this is what's out, this is what's happening and this is why you why you should care and paying attention. And I think like with any sort of design challenge, it comes down to who's your audience and what are they trying to get out of this conversation And and what do you want them to take away from the conversation?

00:05:00:14 - 00:05:15:21 And, you know, it's it's like any good story writing or any sort of creative endeavor. It's like, okay, what what emotions and thoughts and feelings do you want your audience to be leaving with? And so that's where I always start when I'm when I'm sort of framing my conversation, even something as quick as like a slack message, right?

00:05:15:23 - 00:05:33:10 I really try to be intentional about what I'm telling people because like any any user base, people just have enormous cognitive loads of like they're juggling 50 things and trying to keep track of everything. And it's it's trying to distill as much as possible, what do I need out of this conversation? What do I need to communicate to them?

00:05:33:12 - 00:05:59:02 And then what do I need to get out of that and what input to any from them. So just really try to be thoughtful, intentional, just focused. And I think sometimes it's designers, we can pontificate and go on and on and on about different solutions and different ways of approaching the problem, But that is, you know, not always the best approach when we're talking to stakeholders and talking to people who just don't have that context, frankly, don't care about that context.

00:05:59:07 - 00:06:07:14 They just want to know what is this? Why is it important and why should I care about it? What do you need from me about this that's kind of deferential. What about you? What? How do you do it?

00:06:07:16 - 00:06:26:17 Yeah, I think you know what you're harping on At the end there, a principle pops into my head. A few, actually. First off is kids keep it simple, silly. You know, You got to keep it simple for folks. No one. No one needs to hear your whole back story. But in the same breath, like you have to understand the context in which someone's coming to a conversation, too.

00:06:26:18 - 00:06:47:11 So if you're talking to a developer, what is there context around the designs you're creating where they part of the initial solution that you know needed to be iterated on? And so you guys are now building that, designing that iteration so they have previous context of the problem you're solving or are they totally fresh to a problem? And you need to give them catch them up to speed about some of the business logic and the concepts that are going into this design.

00:06:47:13 - 00:07:17:07 Now doing that in a continuous, concise and concentrated matter is what makes, I think, really good designers excellent is or separates really good designers. Excellent designers is being able to distill information to folks when they need it and where they need it. So for example, when you're talking to that developer, you're not getting them caught up in like the nitty gritty, but you're providing enough context so that they can, you know, you can put enough context to deliver value to you.

00:07:17:09 - 00:07:40:19 And like it's always it's always back to what you need from them. And you kind of a limit to this as well as like when you enter this conversation or any conversation, defining what you need for yourself is really important. And then using that to an associate in conjunction with what you know that person knows or what their expertise are, can really unlock, you know, developing a solution really, really quickly.

00:07:40:19 - 00:08:11:06 Because if you can, you know, use developer, use a marketer, use a a CTO, a CEO, and, you know, have a really productive conversation with them about what the problem is based off their experience with that problem. All of a sudden, you know, you have what could be an hour long conversation, take 20, 30 minutes and you're in one time, you're viewed as an asset to your team because you're saving one time, but you're also saving yourself a lot of time and getting to the point and getting to like the the principal point of every conversation or problem a lot faster.

00:08:11:08 - 00:08:38:14 And so those are kind of things I'm thinking about. And one tool that I like to use when having these conversations is some sort of artifact. You know, on our on our website, we have this concept, a show verse telling our about show is greater than tell in our about section, which really means, you know, having something to show somebody that's tangible and physical is a lot more productive than just spewing words at somebody.

00:08:38:16 - 00:08:58:12 And so for us, you know, that can be as simple as a wireframe, a user flow, or just like a concept like a concept map of ideas that we've been talking through and then coming to a conversation with that allows you first, before you even get there, to think out your problem and what that question or answer you need from that other person.

00:08:58:14 - 00:09:29:08 But it also allows you to guide your conversation a little bit better. You can give somebody a reference point and then feed off of them and get, you know, maybe guide guide them to the the question you want to ask them quicker. And so those are kind of things that I know we always try to emphasize is like whether like sometimes that's even just a deck for us, like we have talking points that we want to go through and having that visualization and like a concrete, you know, list of questions that we can ask people and have them written out, it just makes it feel more formalized and easier to approach.

00:09:29:08 - 00:09:39:13 So I don't know. Those are some of the things I think about when trying to elevate my design conversations with the intention of getting the most out of them from the other folks at the conversation.

00:09:39:15 - 00:10:01:13 Yeah, no, I totally agree with you're saying there with context. I think setting the context appropriately is it's such a skill and it's like anything, right? The more you do it, the more practice you get at it, the better you're going to get at it. And it is an area that is often overlooked. But I think if you just invest some time there, you're going to see huge growth because people are going to get what you're asking them and get what you're communicating to so much faster and so much quicker.

00:10:01:13 - 00:10:28:00 And so it's it's a combination of not showing too much, not not overwhelming them, but finding that balance of like, okay, this is what you really need to know at the time, to be productive, to understand what's going on and emphasizing that. And I always say, yes, having an artifact is always extremely valuable in those conversations. But but even almost more important than that is having the story from either the user's perspective or whomever is going to be experiencing or interacting with the artifact.

00:10:28:06 - 00:10:42:13 What is it from their perspective? Because that just humanizes the whole conversation. And it takes like, for example, if you if you're going after your chairman, like a contact form, you're like, okay, we've got the name feel, we've got the email, we've got the phone. Number of people are like, Okay, yeah, that that sounds reasonable, That sounds good.

00:10:42:19 - 00:10:57:23 Versus if you're like, okay, people are going to be arriving at our website, They're going to read a few of our blog posts and then they're going to want to get in touch with us. And so from them, we're going to need to understand who they are, how we can get back in contact with them. That's a very different way to frame that sort of design conversation.

00:10:58:03 - 00:11:15:15 But because we tell the story, people can. You're setting up the context while also explaining what what you're looking at, what your what you've done and then you just follows up with does that makes like if we're trying to validate that those inputs are the right inputs instead of just letting them out, be like, are any missing, Do we need something?

00:11:15:20 - 00:11:28:16 Okay, now based on this user's journey, have we captured everything about them that we need to know or is there something amiss? Like all of a sudden you frame that conversation so differently and so much more effectively by using a good story?

00:11:28:18 - 00:11:52:00 Definitely. And I really love that example. I think it's such a simple one, but one that articulates what you're saying and b, it's a good visualization. You know, it's funny how many contact forms have been created without the right information collected. Probably not. But it's it's it's interesting to think about what I, I am feeling confident about some of the content we just put out.

00:11:52:00 - 00:11:58:17 I was wondering if there's anything else you want to touch on or think about when talking about design conversation.

00:11:58:19 - 00:12:28:04 No, I think to bring it all together, really, it's focus on like setting up the right appropriate amount of context. Know your audience. Know who? Who are they? What do they want to get out of this conversation? What do you want to get out of that conversation? Really think about that. So because that so many times you just like throw a meeting on the on the calendar or you have that stand up meeting, that recurring meeting, you just like, I don't really have to think about this, but but put that that thought and I know we're all busy and we're juggling so many other priorities, but communication is one of those just high or high

00:12:28:04 - 00:12:44:00 areas where anything that you're going to put into it is going to pay itself back like five, ten times. And so I think it is really kind of like, okay, who is my audience? What are we talking about? What story can I tell? How can I present what I need to get feedback on in a human, relatable sort of way?

00:12:44:01 - 00:12:52:10 Those are going to be where you're going to see huge, huge benefits to to reframing your conversations that way.

00:12:52:12 - 00:13:14:11 Definitely, Definitely. And artifacts and storytelling, right? Those would be the other two big pieces, But that's great. I think that's a real nice summation of some of the thoughts and principles we like to bring to design conversations and how we've seen that elevate and help us have a lot of really productive and efficient convos when sharing designs and talking about designs.

00:13:14:13 - 00:13:28:10 Yeah, let's let's shift gears here, Nick, and dive into our fun segment, something we've been trying to now sprinkle in and bring things into a little bit of a different gear. This was your idea. Somebody punted over to you and let you introduce it.

00:13:28:12 - 00:13:47:20 All right. We are doing a draft. We have to pick our ideal product team. We've got five positions we need to fill. We need a front end of the back end of a marketer, a designer. And we got one wild card pick and that is the draft. And so we can pick anybody we want, preferably somebody famous from Twitter who we all know and love.

00:13:47:22 - 00:13:56:13 But that is that's the goal here. That's all we're going to do. So Matt, I think we put the plan before that. So you're going to get the first pick. So why don't you go ahead and lead us off?

00:13:56:15 - 00:14:15:02 Thank you. Good. Sarah and I will lead us off just to have a little fun here. And, you know, I was going through my list of people, of folks I want. And you know what I said, let's wait off strong. Let's go with my wild card just to give someone a little flavor to get in here first. And I'm going to lead with Amy, who is my wild card, because she's going to get us into that knee.

00:14:15:02 - 00:14:30:15 She's going to hammer home our product, whatever it is, and we are going to find product market fit. We're going to iterate, we're going to find that little pocket of sunshine that we need to make a successful business. And she's going to be our flagship captain and she's going to lead off my draft. Number one one.

00:14:30:21 - 00:14:51:05 Amy Goodness me, that's a strong pick. And now I'm upset that I don't have Amy on my team, but I'm going to I'm going to meet you there. I'm going to raise you somebody also in that space who I would pick for my marketer, and that is Patrick McKenzie, the Mr.. Mr. Finance Mr. Worldwide himself.

00:14:51:07 - 00:14:51:22 Patio.

00:14:52:02 - 00:15:08:03 Is Eddie. Oh, yes, everybody knows him. I just think he's going to he's going to know how we're going to sell the heck out of whatever it is we're building. He's going to have the plan. He's already written the blog post on it, and he's just going to chart a path for us to to sales and to success.

00:15:08:05 - 00:15:11:06 Definitely. He's your wild card or your marketers are in the This was my marketer.

00:15:11:06 - 00:15:18:11 He's my marketer. Okay? And so that's that's where we're leaning. And to back Patrick up to the next step to we're going to get your.

00:15:18:11 - 00:15:19:19 Back back here.

00:15:19:21 - 00:15:39:21 And our designer is going to be Steve Sugar. Mr. Taylor And he is going to just rock our designs out of the park. He knows he can do it all. He do icons. He can do the the gradients. He can do the the patterns and all the UI stuff. We're going to need the design system. So Steve is going to round out our our creative team, I might say.

00:15:39:23 - 00:15:58:12 Yeah, that's nice that is very nice. He's not just limited to your, you know, your UI designer, he's going to, he's going to do it all for you. He sure is. He definitely is. And you got patio. That's nice. They got one too. So you got them. I'm with Amy right now and now I need to, you know, let's go build our engineering team.

00:15:58:12 - 00:16:19:14 I'm going to go ahead and do that. So for my front end, I'm going to pick Evan Avenue from you. I think it's going to be a very strong pick. You know, someone who's going to definitely bring the heat and be able to support my engineering team in a very strong and efficient fashion. And then on the back end, I'm going to thunder on you here.

00:16:19:15 - 00:16:35:18 I'm going to take Taylor. Well, from Laravel and really, really flip the script, so to speak, and have a12 punch that is lethal, it is ferocious. And you know what? I don't think anyone's going to top us. I think we're going to build anything we throw at them. Amy is going to be leading us to the promised Land.

00:16:35:20 - 00:16:48:09 And, you know, I can get involved as well. I'm happy to jump in there and do my part, either as an engineer or helping Amy and I feel very confident about my team right now. And I feel a little, you know, look cocky about it. Honestly.

00:16:48:11 - 00:17:07:00 Dan, that said, I should have I should have drafted in a better order is really what it comes down to here. But now I'm happy to get that. I should have got it. Yeah. Goodness. Well, we got Steve. We got Patrick. This is great. We got we got a heck of a team already, but I'm not worried. I'm asking maybe.

00:17:07:02 - 00:17:30:18 Maybe I should round out engineering now. I'm going to go on the front end. Somebody who might even know. I'm like I said, I'm someone but someone who could solve maybe more challenges and just views specific challenges. I will go to Sarah Dresner because she just has the breadth, She's got Angular, she got reaction, got view, you name it, she's cooking it up.

00:17:30:20 - 00:17:42:17 And also she's got the engineering leadership as well over at Microsoft now. So she's going to really do a strong team and then all the animation stuff. Wow, what a great paint job there. Could pick that.

00:17:42:19 - 00:17:44:01 One out of five.

00:17:44:03 - 00:18:08:13 Yeah, I'm going to pat myself on the back there for that one. And I think the only person who can make Laravel better than Taylor, the only person out there who adds so many packages to improve the lack of experience for everybody would be would be Van de Graaf. And he is going to be taking over the back end for me because if he's the only guy, he could make Laravel better than Taylor.

00:18:08:15 - 00:18:30:23 I think that is a wise pick, a very strong pick, one I even considered as I was going through this process. But I will, you know, I get the Sarah pick as well is really strong when I actually feel silly for not taking her when I had the chance. But she is she's excellent and I'm jealous of your dev team.

00:18:31:01 - 00:18:49:10 I think I'm down to just my designer and marketer here now. And I was going through my, you know, my all of my tweets and all of my people, my enforcers I follow and all these great talents. And I really like where I landed on my one two punch here from the design side, I'm going to go with not with an empty.

00:18:49:10 - 00:18:54:02 Yes, Matt I think it was Matt Smith. Matt Smith I'm not making that up.

00:18:54:04 - 00:18:55:21 So yes, that's I.

00:18:55:23 - 00:19:21:12 Always have this. Assuming it's massive. I apologize, Matt. It's not, but very strong. Actually. One of the people will help elevate my design game. When I was a junior with his via his course. I'm forgetting the name of this course, but it's fantastic. Snapchat. Yeah. Yeah. I was blanking there, but he is a fantastic not only teacher but just a core UI man and and really fantastic work from him.

00:19:21:12 - 00:20:02:08 And I love his educational material, so I'm confident that he could not only level up our designs, but level up our team as well, you know, really design some good interfaces and and help the rest of the team understand that in the spirit of design conversations. And then lastly, my marketer is going to be Craig Eisenberg. And I just the reason why is I just every time I'm on my feed, I am seeing something new from Gregg, something from a marketing standpoint that is just creative, innovative, exciting, whether that's the boring marketer now or his design studios, just consistently great stuff.

00:20:02:08 - 00:20:20:06 And I'm confident that with him and Amy, we're going to find the real great niche for us to attack and just expand our business and grow our business and have the right marketing plan to target and grow our audience. So I'm feeling really good with my my whole team here. We'll review the map again.

00:20:20:08 - 00:20:36:14 Those are good pickups. I mean, you know, Greg is great. And in Cabo with Amy, plus he handles doing all the design work. Oh, it is a it's a solid team. So my last pick here, I'm going to do my wild card. I'm going to cheat a little bit. I'm going to pick a pair of brothers to come on and be my wild card.

00:20:36:14 - 00:20:55:23 But I'm going to pick the Allen Brothers or Mindy Hackers Portland to Channing, because they are they are the world's foremost indie hackers. The best, the best of the best. They've clearly they know what they're doing. They know how to how to run the whole system. I think they do design, they do the dev, they do the the business side, the indie hacking side.

00:20:56:01 - 00:21:05:07 And who who better than them to come and join the team and help us level up and just be the glue that holds the whole operation together?

00:21:05:09 - 00:21:17:00 Yeah, hard to argue with that pick. Really strong ending there. I think they're going to be the great stewards for your ship and you guys are looking an elite. That's a great team you put together.

00:21:17:02 - 00:21:28:12 I'm excited. I want to go talk to all the people, a little bit of it and come on out, know there's other people. And while. All right, so let's recap who who is your full team?

00:21:28:12 - 00:21:45:07 And I let me give it my front end avenue my my sorry avenue my back end. Is Taylor out? Well, my designer MDs, my marketer, Greg Eisenberg, and my wildcard Amy Malloy, and of course me doing nothing doing after.

00:21:45:09 - 00:22:07:20 They go after you pick such a good team, you get to manage, you get to see you. Oh, great, great, great. So my front end, I've got Sarah Dresner who's just going to be aces. We've got for the back end, we've got a freak designer of Steve Marketer is Patrick McKenzie. And then Last Families, we've got our Allen brother wildcard and they're going to go crush it.

00:22:07:20 - 00:22:12:22 So I haven't said that's the Dream team, right? They're going to go make it happen.

00:22:13:00 - 00:22:23:03 Loving both these teams. Well, Nick, I think that's all the time we had scheduled for sports today. Any parting thoughts as we sign up?

00:22:23:05 - 00:22:33:13 Nope. No, I just want to go talk to those few signs of Diane's. Nancy. See? We can make it happen. It would never happen. But you know, goodness can you imagine? Like winning the lottery.

00:22:33:15 - 00:22:35:22 Might be pretty fun.

00:22:36:00 - 00:22:45:01 Be super fun. Anyway, thank you all for listening. Until next time, we are Matt, Nick And this is a wait. It clicks. So smash, unsubscribe button. We'll see you next time.

00:22:45:03 - 00:22:51:02 Bye, everyone.

00:22:51:04 - 00:22:52:19 Try to come back.

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