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10 in 5. Joseph Astorga, Product Designer

Meet Joseph, one of our Product Designers, and read about his road to becoming a PD and what he thinks about it.

Irina Balog

Irina Balog

Product Design is so much more than simply designing a product. It involves having a user-centered approach to design, as well as aligning user needs with business needs.

We have so many awesome Product Designers at Humblebee, and we would like you to meet one of them: Joseph Astorga!

  1. Hey Joseph, how are you doing today?
    I’m doing good as always!
  2. So what do you do at Humblebee?
    I work as a Product Designer.
  3. Can you tell us exactly what a Product Designer at Humblebee does?
    Yeah, basically as a Product Designer I’m involved in many different stages of digital product development. In the beginning of a project or task I start with trying to understand both client and user needs. In order to do this I need to work closely with stakeholders, project managers and UX Designers to understand what we are trying to solve and how to combine these needs into a digital product. From there I work really close with a team of multi-disciplinary people that normally consist of service designers, product owners, developers and UX Designers. At my current project there are several teams which have a similar setup, all working towards a common goal. In my current role as a Product Design Lead there is a lot of bumping heads with the client, stakeholders to getting us moving forward. For example when a new feature request comes from the client side, my first question is usually “Why?”, “Who is this for?” and “Is this aligned with a user/client need?”. I’m usually the one that is in charge of presenting the final design, solution and prototypes to the team so that we can start breaking down tasks for our developers.In our project right now we are in the final stage of a release so there is a fair bit of jumping back and forth supporting our product designers, solving bugs, last minute decisions and meetings.
  4. How come you ended up working with Product Design?
    I’ve always had a fascination for people and an urge to be creative. Like I loved arts and crafts at school, be creative with little to no limitations. But I actually started as a web designer in 2007 at a small agency in Gothenburg, coding and designing websites. That was an awesome experience for me cause I learned both code and design, which helped me later in my career. Moving forward I realized I wanted to focus more on the design part. Back then we didn’t know what the user need was and I felt like that focus was missing. I felt that I wanted to be more focused on the user and how the user interacted with my design. I have been called a hybrid between a UX, product manager and a digital designer, so yeah, that is basically how I ended up in product design. An urge of having a bigger holistic view of a digital product drove me to Product Design.
  5. Tell us about one project you’re particularly proud of…
    Oh! There’s been a couple of project over the years. But I think the one I am most proud of is the current one with Stena Recycling. We are helping them to push product design, design thinking and improve the way of working forward. As a Product Design Lead I’m supporting our Product Designers and we as a team are responsible to develop their Design System. We are a tight team and work well together and have a good work flow. The lead role came naturally as I progressed in the project.I had been working at the client for a year and I had knowledge and insight to help them to push how they work with product design in a new direction.
  6. Do you have one good tip for a tool you love, or perhaps a book or resource you highly recommend?
    I hang around a lot in the Figma community, trying to expand and improve my way of working with Figma as my primary tool. Combining that with tutorials, talks and other useful videos on Youtube.That is the most highly recommended source of info I have right now. I haven’t really been that focused on reading a lot of books lately, but the last book I read was Scott Berkun – Mindfire: Big ideas for curious minds. “Chapter 5: How to detect bullshit” is pure gold!
  7. What do you do to make sure you continue to grow as an expert within Product Design?
    I have been reading various articles about how product design is evolving. Feels like it’s still a fairly new area of competence and kind of hard to grasp which direction it’s going since different companies have different descriptions of what product design is. But I do quite a lot of reading up on medium, attending online forums and webinars.
  8. How do you think Product Design will evolve in the future?
    I don’t know. There are so many different interpretations of what Product Design is. But I think in the future, perhaps UX/UI will merge in to one field. Don’t know if it’s going to be called Product Design but you will probably have different areas of expertise within the Design (Product Design) sphere. But I don’t think companies will keep dividing these two areas in the future. I’m thinking similar to Full Stack Developer but Design. Full-stack designer? Let’s see what happens!
  9. Do you have any advice for people starting out their career and considering Product Design?
    Avoid getting too focused on just the look and feel of the product, be more focused on the user need and the entire experience side of it. I see designers all the time getting stuck in the nitty gritty and losing the bigger picture. My advice is to take a step back once in a while and look at the why of a product and what you need to solve, the problem, then it is much easier to move forward and create a solution for it. So basically: less focus on UI and more focus on needs and problem solving.Perhaps try to step into the UX field even if it feels like uncustomary to you, work close with UX and learn how they do design sprints and user testing etc. That made me evolve a lot to be able to work with good UX and Service designers here at Humblebee.
  10. If you could give a company one piece of advice (from a Product design perspective)… perhaps a recurring error you have seen from your career… what would that be?
    I have a bunch! But my experience from working with companies/clients that are not user focused is that they think they know everything. My advice to them is start listening to your users and start focusing on them. Because if you do not know the user needs, you will have a tough time satisfying them.

If you’re interested in working at Humblebee then get in touch and we’ll meet up for coffee and a chat.

Written by

Irina Balog

Product Manager

irina.balog@humblebee.se

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