10 in 5. Maja Haak, Product Designer
This is Maja, she started out in visual design but was drawn to service and user centric design and therefore ended up working as a Product Designer at Humblebee.
Product Design is not merely about designing products, as the name may suggest, but as a vital part of the team, you collaborate with others to ensure that the design is aligned with the user needs as well as the business goals, creating both prototypes as well as design components along the way.
Maja is one of our many talented Product Designers, hear what she has to say about this creative profession!
- Hey Maja. How the heck are you doing?
I am good! How are you?
- Fine thanks! So what do you do at Humblebee?
I work as a Product Designer.
- Can you tell us exactly what a Product Designer at Humblebee does?
As PD, you are, more or less, involved in all parts of the process of creating a digital solution. I work in a team with UX, Service designer, Developers and Product owner. As a PD I perform the design phase, creating sketches and prototypes in Figma to test on users, but also a big part of the job is talking with the devs and aligning on the technical prerequisites. And another part is to design components and maintain component libraries and/or design systems. In general, you collaborate with your team to ensure that you are releasing a good version of the digital product, based on the user needs and the business goals.
- How come you ended up working with Product Design?
I have a background as a graphic designer and illustrator. I have through the years become interested in UX design, like the user centric way of working and problem-solving design. I wanted to be part of figuring out why something is needed and the problem that you are trying to solve. And I like the idea of digital products being more “living”, always improving. My background is more visual design, branding, communication, but then applying UX and service design as well, product design felt like a good combo to me.
- Tell us about one project you’re particularly proud of…
I did a project during a course in UX and Product design for a start-up. It was about rehabilitation for people suffering from long term covid and similar conditions. I was proud over that project because at the start there was this hypothesis around gamification and applying that on the solution, and over all a lot of strong ideas and opinions on what this service could be referring to popular training apps. But after doing user research it became clear that this was not what motivated these users in the state they were in, but we found out what could help and support them in their daily life and recovery process. This left a strong impression on me, the power within the user centered way of working and the importance of always turning to the users to be able to create the right product or service. It’s hard to argue on that.
- Do you have one good tip for a tool you love, or perhaps a book or resource you highly recommend?
Right now, I along with some other colleagues, have been starting to get into accessibility and usability connected to UX and Product design. One thing I’ve tried is a plugin in Figma called Stark that can help you, it’s like a checklist and you can also test out different stuff. It feels like a good tool in order to set a good foundation and it is a starting point to learn more.
- What do you do to make sure you continue to grow as an expert within Product Design?
Reading articles and following accounts, but I’ve noticed that for me the most important is to always ask questions and talk to my colleagues! Research and find out how others have solved similar problems. I’ve noticed that I am a person who must try things out in practice in order to develop a skill and fully understand things. I am fairly thoughtful so I take time after projects to go through what went well and not so well, both in terms of the collaboration but also the solution that was created.
- How do you think Product Design will evolve in the future?
That’s a hard question. I hope that accessibility and usability will become more of hygiene factors, not something one thinks of and implements in the last step of the process. My experience is that it’s not so rewarding to work like that, instead if it’s included from the start it will contribute to a better solution for all users.
- Do you have any advice for people starting out their career and considering Product Design?
Ask a lot of questions and ask for help! Dare to share what you are working on in order to get input. I censured myself a lot in the beginning because I thought I should be able to understand things better, but it became so much better once I stared to ask for help, listen and based on that find my way forward.
- If you could give a company one piece of advice (from a PD perspective)… perhaps a recurring error you have seen from your career… what would that be?
Set up clear goals based on user needs and problems, as well as setting a vision that connects these with the business value. What are we gonna build and why? It really is a journey to create a digital service or product, the needs and conditions change, and you are always in a team that involves several people, so you need the common goal to work towards to be able to build the right product.
If you’re interested in working at Humblebee then get in touch and we’ll meet up for coffee and a chat.