a frontend designer

Skills I Have (and Don’t Have)

I’ve been designing and building web stuff in San Francisco for the last ten years. And during this time there have been some dramatic shifts in technologies, and along with it, job titles. Front-end Designer, Product Designer, Web Designer, UX Engineer — they can mean lots of different things and I often find myself struggling to explain what it is I actually do.

While reading Design Systems Ops I found myself nodding frequently to Kaelig Deloumeau-Prigent’s examination of the sometimes ambiguously defined roles of those who, like me, operate between design and engineering. It’s a great overview of the systems and documentation best practices that are emerging, especially at larger companies, and the problems that can arise from not recognizing their value.

But it’s Brad Frost’s Frontend Design that best captures my experience as a frontend designer when he describes it as a “purgatory” between the worlds of design and development. Though I come from a design background I’ve done a lot of both and at previous companies it wasn’t always clear which team I should be on. To their credit, Optimizely did an admirable job describing how the different roles fit into the organization. But even within those titles there’s a range of experience and skills, so here goes…

What I Do

What I Don’t Do