We believe that everyone is a designer. Because we hire generalists, there is no expectation that every project should start by running through design first. It is up to you when to involve our product designers in your work.
You should start by identifying the stage and goals of your project.
v0.1 or v2?
As the feature owner, you should make a choice if you're building a very basic first iteration of something, or if you're improving the experience.
There are two paths for creating the first version of a product: v0.1 or MVP (even earlier).
If we're attempting to reach parity on a product or feature with other competitors in the space – and there's a clear path toward how a product should work or look – there's no need to loop in a designer. You should make your best judgement, while leveraging our design system to build your feature.
If you're shipping an entirely new feature (i.e. SQL for PostHog), then you should figure out if any users even care (!), which usually means creating an MVP and releasing it behind a feature flag to some friendly users. (Pro tip: make friends by being support hero.)
During both of the above approaches, designers are happy to provide light recommendations that will improve the user experience without becoming a blocker to shipping.
If you're improving an existing feature that is popular, you are probably creating v2. Typically when we decide to "Nail [a specific feature]", it's worth working closely with design to figure out how we can 10x our product vs. competitors.
However you're building, please communicate to product design what your expectations are!
The more complex a feature is to implement, the more likely it is that involving product design will make you faster.
Your design skill
We generally hire full stack engineers, but some people think more like designers than others. This is fine - you should play to your strengths.
The less strong you are at design, the more we'd encourage you to involve a product designer.
If you're unsure about your skill level, ask a product designer for direct feedback. This is a book we'd recommend if you want to learn the mindset.
Scenarios for looping in product design
If you built something and just need some polish...
Feel free to share a link (or screenshot) of what you've built. We can provide UX or design feedback for your consideration.
If you built something and realize it needs some UX love...
Share a link (or screenshot) of what you've built. Depending on the state of the project, we can either go back to the wireframe stage to rethink some things, or figure out a phased approach to incremental improvement.
If you designed your own wireframes or mocks...
Sometimes if you have domain knowledge or have been thinking about a project for a while, it might make more sense for you to start the design process. Feel free to share with us for a second opinion, or if you think certain UIs or flows are suboptimal.
Need help brainstorming a flow? Pair with a product designer
If you'd like the help of a product designer on an MVP/v0.1-type project, a 30-60 min Zoom working session is a great way to brainstorm and sketch out ideas. Since our design team is small, we try to avoid too much "homework".
Usually during quick syncs like this, it's enough to help an engineer work through complex UX issues. Reach out to Cory if you're interested in a synchronous session like this.
Product design capacity
Sometimes product design may push back if they simply don't have capacity. It's subjective when this may happen, and it'll usually be in cases where they feel they won't be as helpful based on the above.
Read more about how product design works at PostHog - it's very unique!