“Designers often want to control their own world,” said Eric. “But my team and I ask product teams, ‘why are we designing the same [interfaces, interactions, icons, etc.] over and over again?’ Every one of our products is solving amazing new problems, every day, and it’s very easy to get a designer excited about that. I think that is really where designers want to be working, on new things that no one has ever done before — not on how to share a file. Some of those battles have been fought already, so let’s learn from our own intelligence and focus on innovation.”
When it comes to your designs, has anyone ever done this before?
At a 35+-year-old company, the answer is often yes; someone has probably thought about the design problem you’re solving before. The world may have changed since then, but Eric says this question stimulates designers to seek existing models and tools other teams may have created that can be used to speed up production and innovation.
If the answer is no, and the product team is truly doing something that has never been done before, the Spectrum team encourages design teams to ask themselves if anyone else in the company needs their solutions. In the end, it’s about asking who else can benefit from the learnings and discoveries of each team, and making sure they’re part of the conversation.
Key examples of this, which have led to product teams working closely together, involve two of Adobe’s newer apps: Lightroom and Adobe XD. Lightroom is very cloud-centric in its approach to photos — that team’s discoveries about working with cloud-focused file systems have now influenced all of Adobe’s apps and services. The XD team, on the other hand, designed a highly intuitive workflow and UI system that now serves as a template for all new apps and changes to existing ones.