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How we design

Small, diverse teams drive our best work, but only when we all collaborate from the outset. No one can design alone. See what happens when one design team takes two different approaches—and why you want to include everyone at the beginning.

Cover art that says Every One in blue

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Title: Every One. A designer’s story

Meet the Intuit team

Faces of the seven team members in various colors—namely shades of pink and teal.

Top row (left to right): Interaction Designer, Product Manager, Content Designer
Bottom row (left to right): Visual Designer, Product Developer, Design Researcher, Marketing

Our story begins

Hallway chat, full panel drawing. The product manager shows the interaction designer something on his laptop.

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[Hallway chat. The product manager shows the interaction designer something on his laptop.]

Product manager: “Time to work your magic. That new flow is killing our first-time-use experience.”

Interaction designer: “Oh wow. Look at all that legal stuff. It’s gonna turn our FTU into a GTFO. I’ll get started right away.”

Product manager: “Sorry this is so last minute. You’re a lifesaver.”

Close-up of a woman's face. She has black hair and wears sunglasses on her head. She looks up and has her index finger and thumb on her chin, as if already dreaming up ideas.

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[Interaction designer is thinking, eyes gazing upward. So much possibility!]
Every design challenge is a series of tough decisions. The First? How to get started.

Adventure 1

Get started on your own. You can bring the others in later. Besides, they have a lot on their plates right now.

The interaction designer and product manager sit in a conference room interviewing a customer. The customer's back is to us, and we see the designers' faces.

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Adventure 1: Customer interview

[The interaction designer and product manager sit in a conference room interviewing a customer.]

Customer: “So I’m trying to get my info in there, and I run into this screen called…”

Interaction designer [thinking to herself]: “Wow she’s spending a lot of time on this screen… Why’s the first step so difficult? Oh shoot what did she just say?”

3-panel comic, mostly brown and blue, of the interaction designer struggling to solve the problem. First panel: She grimly stares at her computer. Second panel: She gets up and tries to whiteboard. Third panel: Tired and admitting defeat, she slumps over and rests her head in her hands.

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Adventure 1: Late that night

[Interaction designer grimly stares at her computer.] “Well, that won’t work.”

[She gets up and tries to whiteboard.] “Wait, what if…ugh no.”

[Tired and admitting defeat, she slumps over and rests her head in her hands.] “Damn.”

Drawing with perspective of being up high looking down at the two workers in a conference room. The interaction designer sits on a table and the product manager points a marker at the whiteboard.

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Adventure 1: Early the next morning

[Product manager and interaction designer are in a conference room working on a whiteboard together. Tensions are high.]

Product manager: “Okay, this is my first time seeing this. But I think we’re gonna need a visual pass on these…assuming the visual designer has any bandwidth.”

Interaction designer: “Yeah, I know He’s busy. Guess I thought I should start on my own.”

Product manager: “Riiiiiight…and Content is definitely gonna want to turn all that lorem ipsum into…not…that.”

9-panel comic drawing of two designers having a heated discussion. Colors are mostly brown and blue.

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Adventure 1: Tensions rise…

Interaction designer: “Can’t you just—”

Content designer: “You need to step people through this stuff.”

Interaction designer: “But there’s already so much text.”

Content designer: “Which is why I need my text to get them through the other text.”

Interaction designer: “Can’t they just read the other text?”

Content designer: “Nobody reads the text!”

Interaction designer: “Then why do we even need y— I should so not finish that sentence…”

[Both designers turn away from each other in frustration.]

Drawing of interaction designer holding a coffee and her laptop, standing next to the visual designer, who takes off his headphones

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Adventure 1: Pleading for help

[Interaction designer walks up the visual designer, who takes off his headphones.]

Interaction designer: “I know this is kind of last minute…”

Visual designer: …

Interaction designer: “Can you…You know…work your magic?”

Visual designer: …

Interaction designer: “Okay I hear what you’re saying. Let’s have a team meeting.”

Comic with mostly brown and blue colors where the designers are in a room, some sitting, others jotting notes on a whiteboard. Text says

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Adventure 1: Finally in the same room, putting it all together

[Everyone is in a room, some sitting, others jotting notes on a whiteboard.]

Product manager: “Alright guys, we can do this. What’s the right strategy?”

Content designer: “What’s the best practice for this?”

Design researcher: “What’s the best way to help the customer?”

Visual designer: “What’s the most important thing here?”

Interaction designer: “…That from now on we do this as a team.”

Want a do-over? Try Adventure 2

Adventure 2

Gather your partners and crank it out together.

Everyone is in the room interviewing the customer together. We see the customer's back and the designers' faces.

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Adventure 2: Customer interview

[Everyone is in the room interviewing the customer together.]

Customer: “So I’m trying to enter my info, and then I get all this legal stuff.”

Content designer: “When you said ‘legal stuff,’ you made a scary face.”

Customer: “I totally did! This stuff makes me feel like I’m about to get sued.”

Visual designer [thinking to himself]: “Nice catch. I could use progressive disclosure on the legal.”

9-image comic book panel showing everyone's faces as they discuss the customer problem

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Adventure 2: defining the customer problem

[The team debriefs after the interview, everyone is bouncing ideas off each other.]

Product manager: “She said something about the text…”

Interaction designer: “…Yeah, it scared her.”

Content designer: “We’ve really got to tame that beast…”

Visual designer: “…and trap it in a very pretty box…”

Marketer: “…where it can’t hurt our brand image.”

Product developer: “Soon as I get visuals and copy I can build it.”

Design researcher: “I’ll start pulling data for you guys.”

Interaction designer: “Hold on! I need more Post-Its!”

Product manager and design researcher whiteboard in the background. In the foreground, the interaction designer rifles through paper.

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Adventure 2: Working Session

[Product manager and design researcher whiteboard in the background.]

Content designer: “I bet I can hack the fed-speak down to four sentences.”

Interaction designer: “Whew. That stuff is an accessibility nightmare. That poor screen reader.”

Visual designer: “My poor eyes! This needs a Hoarders-level decluttering.”

The team is working together on a wall filled with blue Post-Its and notes.

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Adventure 2: prototyping

[The team is working together on a wall filled with Post-Its and notes.]

Visual designer: “Nice! This is starting to look like a thing.”

Interaction designer: “We should be able to have this done in a few hours.”

Product manager: “We should order boba.”

Content designer: “Ew, pass. Boba feels like an alien is laying eggs in—”

Design researcher: “Why are you like this?”

The interaction designer works at her desk. The visual designer works outside while food delivery bots are in the background. The content designer works on the bus home while someone sleeps on her shoulder.

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Adventure 2: reflecting and refining

[The interaction designer works at her desk. The visual designer works outside while food delivery bots are in the background. The content designer works on the bus home while someone sleeps on her shoulder.]

Team stands around, ready to cheers with boba tea. Perspective is from the ground looking up at them

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Success! With a broad range of perspectives, the team gets everyone’s very best.

[Team stands around, ready to cheers with boba tea.]

Interaction designer: “I seriously couldn’t have done this without you guys.”

Visual designer: “See? Boba’s pretty good, right?”

Content designer: “It is! You know, until something hatches out of—”

Product manager: “Please don’t.”

Illustration of 7 diverse people smiling, with the text

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Powering prosperity takes EVERYONE

…and it’s more fun that way.

Story:
Tina O’Shea, Scott Ganz, Danielle Kirkwood, Catherine Cacheris

Illustration & design:
Vivek Saigal
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