We’re tracking down InVision users inside the world’s most amazing companies to discover their favorite tools, books, methods, and the philosophy behind what makes them so awesome. This week we interviewed Paul Liddelow, a Senior Interaction Designer at Eventbrite in San Francisco.
What are the top 3 essentials in your workspace?
- Open/Collaborative Individuals: The best colleagues are those who are approachable and open to collaborating. That’s why I love it here at Eventbrite: everyone is open and easy-going.
- People Who Are Passionate About Their Work: You’ve got to have a workspace where people are passionate about their product. I think it’s really important for people to use their own product and champion it well, and I’ve found that this company does that really well because the people who work here go to shows, organize events themselves or are trying out the product somehow.
- People Being Conscious of the End User: It’s important to realize that we are not operating in a bubble. We aren’t just designing a cool product, we’re designing something that people will actually use. At Eventbrite we are very conscious of the end-user because we are the end users in a lot of ways.
How important is your workspace to your creativity?
My workspace is really essential to my creativity. Here at Eventbrite we have lots of room to move about see each other because everyone work on the same floor, which is essential for collaboration. You can grab people, get lunch or coffee together, openly chat and brainstorm in meeting rooms, sketch our ideas out on a whiteboard, etc.
Do you ever work outside of the office? Where?
We have a really good working-from-home understanding where we can work from home if we need to, or on a plane if we are going somewhere, or whatever. I usually work from home at least one day every couple of weeks but I like being able to collaborate with the other folks in the office.
Do you do any sketching on paper?
I usually carry a notebook around with me so if I have a problem I can draw some sketches on paper, but I find that a white board is really great during the ideation phase because you have a lot of space to stand there and throw big ideas on the wall and erase whenever you need to. Paper just seems more permanent when you are in that ideation phase.
Getting all the right people involved as early as possible and bringing them along with you in the journey is really important.
What do you do when you hit a creative roadblock?
- Leave the building: A lot of the times I will grab the sunglasses, wallet, and phone and head up the street to a coffee shop or go grab lunch somewhere. I find that if I remove myself from the office and find fresh air and sunshine, I can clear my mind a little easier.
- Involve other people: If leaving the building doesn’t work, I’ll grab Tom, my designer. The two of us will sketch ideas out and try to solve the problem. We do wireframing, sketching on the white board, listing out all the problems and trying to figure them out. Sometimes I like to pull in other designers in addition to Tom so that we can all challenge the roadblock and brainstorm ideas.
What is your favorite part of the design process?
I would say that my favorite part of the design process is wireframing. I started off as a graphic designer for the Yellow Pages in Australia, doing all the layout for the graphic ads: full, half and quarter page ads. I did that for five years so I was in Photoshop and Illustrator every day and got really comfortable with it. In this job, I don’t do visual design, but I really love sitting there with my headphones on and putting all the ideas into a wireframe to see how they’re going to work.
What is the most frustrating aspect of design?
The most frustrating part is probably when a little problem comes up that you haven’t thought about. It is frustrating because you should have thought about that. You should know the right people to ask to get the right answer. Here at Eventbrite, things are flying back and forth across your desk at a million miles an hour. You might be on three different projects, and sometimes you have different roles on each project. That’s sometimes frustrating because you just want to lock the door and work on the problem, but the reality is that we are a mature start-up and you get called onto different projects. It’s frustrating, but it’s also awesome because you get to learn about a lot of different areas.
How do you know when you’ve achieved an understanding of what the client really wants?
Getting all the right people involved as early as possible and bringing them along with you in the journey is really important. More than just the engineer, product manager, and visual designer, it’s important to get quality assurance, sales guys, and even the VP into InVision so they can see everyone’s comments and can chime in at any point. The sales and field-ops guys are really helpful because they are the ones in the trenches dealing with problems. Getting as much feedback as we can really helps to minimize roadblocks so that things run smoothly.
Getting all the right people involved…in InVision so they can see everyone’s comments and can chime in at any point…helps to minimize roadblocks so that things run smoothly.
Tell us about the equipment you’re using.
- MacBook Pro
- Mr. Tappy: A camera mount that attaches to the iPad or the iPhone which allows you to watch where people are tapping.
- Android devices
Tell us about some of your favorite books.
- Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug. I really like that book because the message of the book is to keep things simple.
- Smashing Books are easy to read and have good ideas.
Find people who can ask questions that you don’t have the answers for.
What music do you listen to when you’re designing?
Tell us about some of your favorite tools for the creative process.
- InVision: Transforming designs into beautiful, interactive web & mobile mockups.
- OmniGraffle: Diagramming worth a thousand words.
- Evernote: Capture anything, access it anywhere, find things fast.
- Photoshop: The gold standard in professional image editing.
- SnagIt: The ultimate screen capture tool.
- Silverback: Guerrilla usability testing software for designers and developers.
- Skala Preview: The fastest way to send pixel perfect, color perfect designs from your Mac to your iPhone or iPad.
- Box: Simple, secure content sharing.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I get a lot of inspiration from other designers. I used to go to Smashing Magazine a lot but I haven’t really done that so much as I’ve transitioned more into mobile work. I love looking at the latest apps in the App Store to see what other people are doing, but I also look at places where designers will upload screen shots of their work because there is a lot of good work that flies under the radar. I check out sites like Dribbble and Meerli because they are great for getting ideas and seeing how the designers are laying things out. It has to be a beautiful visual experience so the layout is really important.
How does InVision help you in your design process?
Wireframing & Tracking Comments
I use InVision for wireframing and tracking comments. I put some wireframes into InVision and use it to show my work to the team. I started uploading screens that have explanations and notes for all of the different elements so that folks looking at it can understand the wireframes better.
Visual Design Audit
We use InVision to perform a final visual design audit so we can see what the final thing is actually going to look like.
We also use it to do user testing with the general public. I will ask the test subjects to perform certain tasks while my team watches on a big screen in another room.
How important is collaborating with other designers?
Collaboration is instrumental. Get people involved as early as possible so they can throw questions at you. Find people who can ask questions that you don’t have the answers for. You can always figure out what the answers are, but bringing people along for the journey is really important.
Eventbrite Photo Gallery
G’day I’m Paul, from Perth Western Australia! I’m currently living in San Francisco and working for Eventbrite as a Senior Interaction Designer. I grew up on a farm but was fascinated by the city from an early age. I moved to Melbourne Australia where I discovered UX and visual design and completed a Masters in Internet Studies (Design), which was one of the first Masters programs in the world to be fully online. I work primarily as a mobile interaction designer, working on two apps for Eventbrite that span iOS, Android and different form factors including phone and tablet. My wireframing is usually the end product, but my work starts with strategy, brainstorming, sketching and lots of ideation. I’m also involved in user testing our apps to ensure we give the best user experience possible to our users!
Eventbrite is an online service that people everywhere use to create, share, and join any event imaginable. Whether it’s a photography class with a local artist, or a sold-out concert in a city stadium, Eventbrite makes it happen. We enable event creation, promotion and ticket sales. We help people discover events that match their passions. And we let everyone share the events they’re creating or joining, bringing more people together around the world.