is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Principal Designer at Adobe, Design Chair at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. Refer to the advertising and sponsorship page for inquiries.+
This is the second installment in my ongoing series highlighting interesting job openings for designers. (See the first one on Toca Boca’s opening for a design director here.) This spotlight focuses on the social news site Digg, which in its hey day was a breakthrough hub for news discovery that drove tremendous traffic. By the time Betaworks Studio purchased the company in 2012, traffic and engagement had declined so precipitously that its top ten was rife with low quality links like “The Top 10 Clubs in Denver.” Since that time, a smart, dedicated team in New York has been able to revive the brand so that it is once again a compelling source of fascinating links. I asked Digg’s Michael Young about their opening for a product designer.
What makes this job a great opportunity for a product designer?
Digg exists in a pretty unique place outside of typical media or social experiences. We’re in a position to really innovate on how people find and share great content. We’ve got a super-talented engineering team, massive amount of data to work with, and some big problems that we’re trying to solve. We’re not looking for someone to just optimize some minor parts of the experience. A really well-rounded designer will be able to come in and make a big impact here.
How does design figure into where Digg is headed?
Design has been really key to reinventing the Digg brand and it’s going to be even more important going forward. When we took Digg over and relaunched in 2012, our goal was to distill the brand down to its essence and make it better. We combined excellent curation with clean, straightforward design to deliver the best stories on the web. We’re building on that foundation now with some ambitious new products. The challenge is to continue to make the Digg experience feel simple and intuitive. Beyond just great visual design, that’s going to require being more user-focused in our design process and do more user-testing.
What relationship will this product designer have with the rest of the team?
We’re a highly collaborative team, and this design role is a real lynchpin to the whole Digg organization. A product designer has to balance our business goals, our engineering challenges, the insight we have from our data, the needs of our users and translate all that into an elegant design. It also just has to be a product that’s fun to use! I think it comes down to this: more than anyone else on the team, a product designer on our team has to be the one that sees things through the eyes of the user and keeps the team focused on making a great experience for them.
If you’re interested, see the Digg listing for a product designer.+