Tom Bradley | Design Director, Code ComputerLove
The rise and subsequent ubiquity of digital has radically changed what it means to be a ‘designer’ and the skills associated with this role. And with the pace of change not slowing –designers are seeing shifts in expectations almost daily – but despite this, in some ways, the more things change the more they stay the same.
Code Computerlove has developed a new ‘personality quiz’ to help today’s new breeds of designers figure out that, if they want to understand the world and the people that they’re designing for (and working with), you first have to understand yourself and how the skills and experiences you have might be affecting your judgement for better or worse.
The quiz aims to help designers become a little more self-aware – which might make them more effective as a result.
We’re at a new horizon for design. The explosion of digital has seen ‘design’ broadened from the classic fields of graphic design and the design of physical products into lots more variation that blends many specialist and generalist skills.
In the early days, job descriptions relating to the role of digital design (UX, UI, IA, etc.) were derived and augmented from graphic design, based on the emerging skills needed to design for “this new medium”, but today they feel a little old fashioned given the continued emergence and varied nature of digital experiences. Consider voice-driven experiences, for example. The skills needed here are closer to script writing than graphic design.
And this continues to change – faster than ever – so the skills that a designer needs is always evolving. And it’s the pace of change that is driving the need to think differently about roles and output.
Across this, there are personality traits and general mind sets that don’t change so much, so starting with an awareness of these things might be a more helpful way of working out who does what and, ultimately, providing better design in whatever guise that may take.
Broadly, regardless of their job description, designers are more the same than different, with lots of crossover between how people work and the expectations for their output. Our quiz is designed to help people think differently about how they work – and perhaps reconsider their relationships and expectations of others too.
We hope that any designer (or non-designer) could find something useful in this. We’re encouraging people to think more about how they approach their work than the output of the work itself – which is not easy for a job role where success has often been focused primarily on delivering a finished product.
The craft of design was always most celebrated when evaluating its impact – but now with the continuous improvement of digital products and services it’s much harder to evaluate a single point in time. Our effectiveness is much more about our ability to influence change over time. Not easy, as it can feel like we’re trying to ‘change tyres while the car is moving’.
We think it’s important that as a designer, regardless of your role, you will bring a unique set of skills and perspectives to a problem and that you need to figure out how to use them in a complementary way to those of the people you’re working with. And this is what this quiz is designed to do.
After all, design is not an exact science – so most of the opportunity for you to make an impact is based on the culture and processes of the team that you’re in. There’s no right way to do things. Through their careers, designers will get the opportunity to try things out in different contexts, with a massive number of variables affecting their success or failure.
In the quiz, the 16 results that form the basis of the quiz come from four pairs of traits that all designers have to one degree or another. Each one highlights a preference of divergent or convergent thinking, production of abstract versus real deliverables, group or individual methods and decisions made with the head or the heart.
The most common ‘type‘ so far (around 100,000 have given this a go since we put it live) are ‘People Watchers’ – these are described as ‘those who are fascinated by people, endlessly curious about what they do and why they do it, trying to work out what makes them tick.’ – but as with all the results there’s probably a little bit of this in everyone.
As well as describing some common traits of the types of designers that we know are out there, our quiz also offers some tips on what to look out for, as well as identifying similar types of designer that you might work well with and others where relationships could be more challenging.
Oh and by the way – I’m a ‘workshop warrior’, which is very unsurprising for the people that know me!
Take the test…What kind of designer are you?