Warm Gun: Etsy’s Principles of Product Design

by November 22, 2013

In his presentation at the Warm Gun Conference in San Francisco CA, Cap Watkins shared how Etsy's design team works together to create great experiences. Here are my notes from his talk:

  • How does a 20 person design team scale and still build great products?
  • Be a product designer: full stack designers can do visual, interaction, and write code. These are called unicorns but Etsy hired 25 of them so they can't be that rare.
  • Design is not just limited to one part of the process. It's part of the whole thing.
  • Get involved early: design is not just how things look but how they work and who they are for.
  • No silos: work across the entire product. Share what you are working on so people know what the complete picture looks like.
  • Getting out of your projects helps you bridge user experience gaps.
  • Celebrate failure: perfection is a pursuit. We're wrong a lot. We don't know everything when we start a design process.
  • Breakup your process over multiple timelines. This allows you make mistakes and learn faster.
  • Version one will always fail. Plan for it. Collect data and fix things while you are learning. Accept your designs are imperfect.
  • Etsy made & shipped 21 versions of the product page over 6 months to find the best performing one.
  • Everything is subject to change. Plan for your designs and your processes to change.