methodology: how we design at make.org

Methodologyhow we design at make.org

how we see design

Design is often perceived as the user interface, which is actually just the tip of the 🧊 iceberg. People who don't really understand design often end up saying that a product is "looking good".

Well, design is actually much more than that. 🕵️ Design is about solving problems, it's about aligning visions around 🎯common goals through workshops, it's about unleashing creativity to find innovative solutions, it's about creating experiences that exceed user expectations to create 🤩 aha moments, it's about trying to understand people to better fulfil their needs, it's about creating a product that will eventually (hopefully) achieve product/market fit.

our values

😍 We design with passion and care, always trying to create the most pleasant, seamless and 🥳 fun experience. Who likes to get bored anyway?

😚 We try our very best to bring simplicity in a 🤯 complicated world. And God knows how "simple" is a complicated thing to achieve. We're not trying to reach simplicity for the sake of the simplicity itself, we believe it's a better way to highlight what's essential for the user. What's unessential is actually just clutter and clutter often leads to confusion.

🤜🤛🏾 We value team work, inclusivity, communication and sharing knowledge. Whenever someone on the team is working remotely, we're always on Discord to make quick sync easy. We share links about upcoming trends or inspirations. I like to recruit people with different backgrounds, who may add value and a different perspective to the team. Think different, as they say 🍎

🤭 We work iteratively and we're not afraid to be wrong. Designing a product in an agile environment means we're actually building a product through iterations. We rely on data and user feedbacks, but we also need to have a vision and to make assumptions to move forward. While trying to validate or invalidate these assumptions, we might end up wrong from time to time, and that's totally OK. Being a designer is actually a risky business for your ego, so leave it aside.

🗓 We're organized. We plan in advance to meet the headlines. We keep track of feedbacks on every request so any member of the team is able to understand, follow up or help whenever needed. We also try to have the most organized 📂 Drive with a certain way of organizing folders and a naming convention.

our favorite quotes

"Design is not just what it looks like. Design is how it works."
Steve Jobs
"Never assume, always check."
BlaBlaCar motto
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
Leonardo da Vinci
"Your brand isn't what YOU say it is. It's what THEY say it is."
Marty Neumeier, The Brand Gap
"We must learn what customers really want, not what they say they want or what we think they should want."
Eric Ries, The Lean Startup

our tools

Having a vision of where we're heading is essential. How would we know if we're going forward or backward if we don't even know where we're going? But there are many ways to get to one destination and, while working in a start-up, you might have to change the destination from time to time.

We're result-oriented. That's why we rely so much on data. We want to make sure that our designs are not based on unverified assumptions, we want to know for sure that the problems we're trying to solve are actual problems, and that the solutions we're crafting are the most solid answers.


We use Trello to log every Design request. Everyone at Make.org has an access to the Design Board. They add their requests with a deadline and a briefing in a Inbox column. The designers check the new cards and add them to the Backlog if the briefing is fine and nothing's missing. Otherwise, we have a Blocked column for uncomplete requests. Every Monday morning, we have a team review of the Trello backlog and decide what can be handled this week.
Design Trello Board at Make.org
We use Sketch as our main design tool. We love how simple it is, and they're always adding amazing new features. We haven't had the need for a multi-user real-time designing tool for now (but we did try Figma). We have built a design system to make the design process faster and more consistent (that is part of Nicolas Gautier's work).
We use Principle and InVision whenever a prototype is needed, whether it's to better explain what kind of animation/behavior is expected, or for user test purposes.
Webflow is one of our favorite tools. It's an amazing CMS builder, that produces clean code. The designers at Make.org use it to create pages that don't necessarily need to be on the main app. It enables to create pages pretty fast, without needing a dev.

We also use Webflow when we need to test new features and want to get a quantitative feedback. We don't have an A/B testing tool on the main app, so we prototype pages on Webflow and track users' behavior to draw conclusions.

For instance, we had this local consultation that was supposed to be launched soon and which required our users to either select their county on a map or enter their ZIP code before they could start their experience on the product. We were unsure how this would impact our acquisition cost and how many users would give up. We tested different solutions on Webflow and got ourselves the most efficient solution. We were then able to better estimate the acquisition cost for this consultation.

We use both Slack and Discord. Slack is the chat the whole company uses. It's really useful, but since we don't pay for it, messages get deleted quite quickly. That's why the Design team likes to use Discord. It's free (even the message history) and has these vocal chats that we love. As far as we're concerned, a quick vocal chat is more efficient for us to sync that 20 written messages. So whenever someone or the whole team is working remotely, we can easily solve issues or answer each others' questions.

Hangout Meet
We love to have our user test sessions in real life. But they happen to be quite restrictive, since only people from Paris can attend. That's why we use Hangout for our remote user test sessions. It saves time and gives us access to people from all over the country.
We use Zeplin to share our designs:
Stand up
Just like the dev team, we have a daily stand up meeting with the designers. Every morning, every designer explains what he's been working on yesterday and what he'll be working on today. She/He can explain the issues she/he's encountered, so the other designers can help.

Whenever we're launching the design of a new feature, a new page or whatever, we setup workshops with the team. We always bring people from different departments in the loop. We really see workshops as a great way to share the problems we're trying to solve, listen to others' insights and create a collaborative solution that will be better understood and accepted.

From time to time, we also try to organize Design Sprints.
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