DesignOps roles on the rise & the latest product design trends

News you can use from Design Twitter

When it comes to critiquing a beloved brand’s redesign or posing the question “should designers code?” Design Twitter can often be a polarizing place. But social media is much like a virtual water cooler on the internet — and it can be a great window into industry trends and what’s on designers’ minds. 

One of the stand-out themes of 2019 was the incredible growth of #DesignSystems. No matter your stance on using hashtags in your own posts, there’s information to be found when you search for “design systems” on Twitter. From conversations around stewarding your design system to real-world examples to brushing up on new vocabulary (WTF are #DesignTokens?) —  the answers are out there. Other up-and-coming hashtags? Keep your eye on #DesignOps and #DesignLeadership

Want to know what the design community is talking about right around now? Here are the hottest topics from January 2020. 

Designers are getting down to business

More and more designers are finding value in telling the story of their work through a business lens. Mia Blume, CEO Design Dept and founder of Within, says design leaders should focus less on the craft for craft’s sake and think about how we can apply that craft to business goals. 

Even if it’s not your cup of tea or it’s hard at first, content consultant Helen Andreou agrees that changing your framing can help get your UX team results.

If you don’t know where to start, Daniel Burka, the director of product and design at Resolve to Save Lives and former design partner at Google Ventures, suggests working backward.

And Erika Hall, co-founder of Mule Design and author of Just Enough Research, asks if there are more ways designers can participate in the process. 

DesignOps roles on the rise

We’re just getting started with 2020, and already we’ve seen a rise in designers transitioning into new DesignOps roles including Lindsie Canton, a former product designer who moved into the newly formed Design Operations Lead role at Prodigy

As the DesignOps discipline gains more traction and as we see more designers shift roles, it’s encouraging to see folks settling into their new positions and sharing their knowledge and processes with others. Dave Cunningham shares what the first six months as a DesignOps Manager at CoopDigital has taught him and he continues to document the journey under the Twitter handle @DoingDesignOps.

Design tools ≠ process

There are more design tools to choose from than ever before — a sign that the design industry is maturing. With so many options, it’s easy to pit tools against each other. 

Tanner Christensen, a product design leader at Lyft, says tools are only as good as our reasons and methods for using them. While tools and platforms can certainly make designing easier, what are the core principles you need to work effectively?

Abstract’s co-founder and CEO, Josh Brewer, also weighed in on this recently and said designers should use whatever design tool gets the job done. 

Design systems need content strategy

If you’ve spent any time in the content strategy space, you know that Kristina Halvorson is a legend. She is the founder of Braintraffic, a content strategy consultancy, and created the much beloved Confab Conference. Kristina urges product teams to think about content strategy when building design systems. Our own Design Advocate Manager, Andrea Burton, has similar thoughts on why your design system needs content strategy


Do you keep up with design news on Twitter? Or do you save your opinions and conversations for smaller design communities? Or both? We’d love to hear your thoughts on these hot topics or other design trends you’re seeing. Share with us on Twitter at @goabstract

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