Design Chats

Inside the Design Team at Handy

4 min read
Conor O'Driscoll  •  Aug 26, 2014
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We’re tracking down InVision users inside the world’s most amazing companies to discover their favorite tools, inspirations, workspace must-haves, and the philosophy behind what makes them so awesome. Today, we’re talking to Jared Lewandowski, Product Designer at Handy, a service that provides cleaners and handymen on demand to your home, all at the click of a button. We chatted to Jared about growing as a designer, fostering trust, and giving back to the design community.

Hey Jared, thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Tell us a little bit about your role at Handy.

Leading the user experience efforts here at Handy is a lot of fun. Currently, our product team consists of two product managers and three designers, and it’s my job to turn innovation and initiatives into something tangible. It’s a really interesting challenge, because we have two audiences: the customers and the service professionals. Customers need to be able to quickly book a cleaning or handyman service, and we also need to empower our professionals to get the job done well. It’s a matter of balancing these two audiences and truly understanding each of their individual needs so we can provide the best possible solutions.

Who out there right now inspires you to be a better designer?

I really like to watch what Cameron Moll, Meagan Fisher, and Dan Malarkey are doing. From concept to completion, they always own the experience. More importantly for me though, it’s everyone I’ve been able to work with and learn from in my life who have truly been and will always be an inspiration to me.

Without InVision, it would be nearly impossible for us to collaborate with each other in an effective way, especially at the pace we’re going.

What, in your opinion, makes a great designer?

A great designer has to be humble, able to listen to others, as well as trust their own instincts.Twitter Logo And don’t just hear your audience, but listen to them. Take in what they’re saying and how they’re feeling – you need a great deal of empathy and humility to do that.

It’s also important to be patient. There are a lot of things that you’ll want to do, and learn, and create, but you have to be patient. Just give it time, and the quality of your work will catch up with where you want to be.

One of the mistakes I made starting out was thinking that everything I made had to be perfect. Perfection is impossible. Just move forward and iterate.Twitter Logo You can – and will – get better, but you can never be perfect.Twitter Logo All that comes down to patience, too.

Is there a particular challenge that you’re currently facing in your work at Handy?

One of the biggest challenges for us will always be fostering trust. We’re putting strangers into people’s homes, so helping the customer feel confident in our service is so important. It’s this trust that expands beyond the office and beyond the business. That said, trust is a hard thing to measure. How do you measure trust? You can’t, really. Trust isn’t something you see, it’s something you feel. I guess that’s true of all design. Design is more about how people feel than what people see.Twitter Logo

How does InVision fit into your process?

The entire product team relies very heavily on InVision. We’ll go from wireframes into InVision very quickly and get as close to the final product as we can. We’ll then deliver this to others in the company to help them visualise and feel what we’re trying to accomplish. It’s great, because we can lead them through a very realistic experience. They don’t have to depend on email chains, meeting notes, and other random conversations that happen in the office.

InVision is part of our design process all the way up to the final, pixel-precise comps, and then we send an InVision link over to the developers to work from. One of our designers lives in Portugal, and without InVision, it would be nearly impossible for us to collaborate with each other in an effective way, especially at the pace we’re going.

I’m always trying to think long-term, envisioning how effective a solution will be down the road – how it will adapt to evolution.

What other tools are essential to your process?

Paper – lots of paper. Google Docs has really been key as well. I still use Photoshop as my go-to design tool. It’ll be hard to switch to something else, as I’ve been using it almost everyday since I began my career. I’ve been intrigued by Sketch. A lot of designers are getting into it right now. It’s a bit of a mental transition, but I really like how light it feels. I also use UXPin to lay out wireframes and jot down initial workflows. I use Coda when I need to code up an interaction quickly. And we also have Slack as our communication tool around the office.

And of course, Spotify. This office can get pretty loud at times, so sometimes I need to put some headphones on and get into a place where I can concentrate. At the moment, I’m listening to stuff like Explosions in the Sky, RJD2, Little People, Grimes and Armin van Buuren.

What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind for the design community?

One guiding principle I always like to keep in my head is “timeless, not trendy.” I’m always trying to think long-term, envisioning how effective a solution will be down the road – how it will adapt to evolution.

I think it’s also important to give back as much as I’ve been given, and in this industry, we’ve been given so much. I feel like it’s my obligation to give back, whether that’s by writing, or presenting, or simply filling out feedback forms online. So in terms of legacy, I want to be known as somebody who gave back as much as I was given.Twitter Logo

Design affects the world in positive & negative ways. Make sure your work affects it positively.

Has writing and speaking made you a better designer, do you feel?

Definitely. It helps me to stay sharp more than anything. It’s easy to become complacent in design – stuck in one direction or another. Plus, the web is evolving so quickly that it’s exhausting to keep up with it all.Twitter Logo But putting my ideas out in the world helps me to stretch myself a little bit. I never like to be the center of attention, but like I said before, I’m always looking to grow and writing helps me to get out of my comfort zone and learn more.Twitter Logo

How would you define success? Do you think you’ve found it yet?

Defining success is different for everyone, but personally, I measure it on a daily basis. If I can look back and say that I did my best every day, that’s success.Twitter Logo And I can apply that to anything, whether it’s my professional work, my community, or being a father. As long as I’m doing my best, I feel successful.

To what extent do you feel that design can affect the world?

Design will impact the world whether we want it to or not.Twitter Logo Design affects the world in positive & negative ways. Make sure your work affects it positively.Twitter Logo To do that, you have to pay attention, because your design can communicate the wrong thing entirely if you don’t pay attention to it. Just as design communicates, so does a lack of design – So you have to be careful. It’s important to remember we designers are all on the same team. We’re all trying to push this world in the right direction.Twitter Logo