Making good typography more accessible and common design pitfalls to avoid with Matthew Paul

Product Hunt Radio

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43:24

April 14, 2020, 9 p.m.

On this episode Abadesi talks to Matthew Paul, software product designer, researcher, and front-end engineer. He’s a former product designer at InVision, he’s worked on software and design systems at IBM, and has designed prototypes at Apple.

In this episode they talk about...

The open-source design project he’s working on, and how to make good design more accessible

“As a designer you always have to bring the customer back to the conversation, and you have to invite the engineers, product directors, VPs, into your conversations with the customers, and let them hear what the customers have to say.”

Matthew points out that type is being used on screens in more and more places these days, including in non-traditional places like in heads-up displays in vehicles and in VR headsets. He says that it’s important to make sure that good type is accessible to everyone, everywhere, and explains how the project he’s working on will enable that.

Common design pitfalls to avoid and advice for working with designers

“Seriously, don’t be afraid to ask for help. At a decent company, at a decent place, no one’s gonna get dinged for asking for help. You’re going to get dinged, not right away, but you’re going to get dinged if you don’t. You just end up burning out or not doing a good job at any of the things.”

He runs through a bunch of different common mistakes that people make when they’re designing a product or working with a design team. He walks through some projects in the past that he’s been a part of that didn’t work out as intended and what the key issues turned out to be on those teams.

“Don’t run a design sprint unless you actually know what it is and how to do it and have a plan to make it successful.”

He explains the right ratio of designers to software engineers, saying that you want to usually have one designer for every eight software engineers. He also talks about the pitfalls of running a design sprint without really knowing what you’re doing.

He also talks about what it means to be “neuro-atypical” and why we need more inclusion of different thinking, learning, and communication styles in the workplace.

“They expect them to be a certain person, to fit a certain mold, to have good executive functioning, to have a set of cognitive processes that allow you to work in a linear fashion. The fact is, our brains are not all built that way. That’s neurodiversity.”

How he’s working on his personal development and where he learns the most

“I try to meet new people. I literally have gotten every single job that I’ve ever had through Twitter, just through them reaching out to me, me reaching out to them, and introductions happening that way.”

Matthew explains the evolution in his thinking over time on how best to keep up with the latest trends in design and says that he used to follow all the blogs very closely when he was younger but has moved away from that as he’s grown as a designer.

He offers a book recommendation if you’re interested in getting into typography, and says that he learns the most from other people. He tries to travel often to be exposed to new people and talk to them in person about what they’re working on.

“I think I just learn the most from meeting new people and hearing what they’re working on — taking a little spark of what they’re working on and seeing if I can include that in my work.”

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Headspin Mobile for their support. 😸

Books and Products Recommended in This Episode

1Password — Save your passwords and logins with one click.

AirPods Pro — New AirPods with active noise cancellation.

Detail in Typography by Jost Hochuli

Headspace Sleep — Sleep section of the popular meditation app.

Magnet — Window manager for Mac.

Simplenote — Simple, lighter alternative to Evernote.