Approaching Gender in Software Products

By on in Design, Everything Else, User Research

It is a delight to use software that seems to really ‘get’ you as a person! To achieve this, it requires that the software has been built by people who sought out to understand their users. When software isn’t built with its users in mind, it has the potential to leave its users feeling alienated. In this post, we’ll be exploring a seemingly simple item we often put on forms that is very easy to get wrong: the gender field.

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NYC Design Mentor Night Recap

By on in Design, Events

On Wednesday night, designers and design lovers from all over NYC gathered at Carbon Five SoHo to receive career guidance, feedback, and insights from five senior designers. The evening kicked off with a Q&A with our panelists:

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Building Design Systems for Scaling Companies – SF Talk Night Recap

By on in Design, Events, San Francisco

How can scaling companies maintain design consistency and quality as internal and engineering teams exponentially grow?

Last week, Carbon Five San Francisco hosted Talk Night to answer this question and to discuss the secret benefits of building design systems for growing companies. Our guest speakers included:

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We Belong Together

By on in Design

Five Ways Junior and Senior Designers Can Work Together Effectively

Disclaimer – I am a designer so this is written for /designer pairs but it’s also relevant for any other Junior/Senior duos.

Hello, wonderful Junior/Senior design duos! Odds are you are fairly new to working together. Perhaps the junior designer is fresh out of school or the senior designer just got a promotion. Whatever the circumstances are, you are now buddies and will keep working together. So, let’s make sure that it is awesome!

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Sketched, not Stirred: Attempts to Host a Drink + Draw

By on in Design, Everything Else

This is the journal of two LA designers attempting to host a drink and draw series. But to start – why a drink and draw? As designers in an office of 20-ish developers, we felt lonely (or insane) cooing over our own grid paper. Some days felt like far too much screen time and an outright neglect of the peaceful ritual between pen and paper. We also like to drink. So in the spirit of team-bonding, an hour dedicated to both seemed like a much-needed refresher.

Enter our experiment: The Drink and Draw

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How to Present a Design Review

By on in Design

Arguably the most difficult skill you’ll learn in your design career is how to communicate that you did what you set out to do in a way that gets people to support and continue the work you did.

Presenting design successfully is about knowing what you want out of the meeting and structuring it to meet those needs. There’s a cliche of design reviews as interpersonally fraught spaces where stakeholders alternate between going on tangents and ripping your work apart. It doesn’t have to be that way.

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Designing for Engagement

By on in Design

One of the most interesting distinctions we make in design is between service design and engagement design. Service design is oriented around helping someone achieve a task. The interface that asks for information and prints your boarding pass is service design – it’s successful if you get through it without mistakes as quickly as possible. On the other hand, Engagement design is oriented around keeping people’s attention. If you’re binging a TV show, scrolling down a news feed, or liking your friend’s posts, you’re in an environment designed for engagement.

Designing for engagement means offering up lots and lots of content to keep people interested. A key performance metric for engagement design may be how many posts a user reads, or how many videos they go through without returning to the homepage or search. The end goal of both business and user is a steady flow of content that keeps a user’s attention. Continue reading …


Dyslexia vs Typography

By on in Design

Design has made leaps and bounds to accommodate for all types of visual, auditory, and physical limitations. However, there are some boundaries to what it can accomplish. One example of this boundary where design has not been able to bridge the gap is Dyslexia.

I was diagnosed with Dyslexia and Dysgraphia at the age of eight after three years of struggling through public school curriculum and having teachers say, “You should probably be held back.” It’s an issue that has shaped much of my opinion on design.

Every few months, an article appears in the news about a font that will help people with dyslexia read and “relieve” them of their symptoms; it is frustrating to say the least. What these articles fail to understand is the difference between legibility and accessibility. Let me explain why. Continue reading …


Product Management Resources for Designers

By on in Design, Product Management

Product Managers are awesome! They keep goals in mind and priorities at the forefront –
and when designers get to work with them, it’s a real treat. Clearly, there is a lot of overlap in skill sets, but sometimes you’ll find yourself on a team without a dedicated PM. So if you’re a designer in a position where you need to do a little PM’ing – you’ll want to have these skills.

For a primer on what a Product Manager is and does on an Agile team, check out this great resource. The role is a bit tricky – and as a designer, the work can feel uncomfortable at first because PM deliverables can seem much less concrete than design’s. But, if you can master the secret art of Product Management, you will be a much better designer for it. Continue reading …