What Design at a Startup Actually Looks Like

Screenshot 2015-11-03 12.46.45

We recently recorded a design review at YesGraph. We share these discussions internally with the team to help build shared context for a project. The result is an interesting snapshot of what design actually looks like at a startup. We decided to share an example, and if people enjoy it, we can continue to openly share how we build YesGraph.

The review was done while our designer, Guillermo Torres, was working from home. This makes it a good example of how remote teams can collaborate. We used Screenflow to record a Google Hangout, shared with Dropbox internally, and then published on YouTube.

There are a few things that stand out. To those that haven’t done design, it might be surprising to see how many details are covered. The kinds of questions that need to be answered are wide ranging, from the prominence of a message to the notifications sent in the background.

During this short discussion, we uncovered a half dozen issues we hadn’t yet considered. Getting these details right is an important part of creating a smooth experience, and it is often only in going through the process that all the edge cases are discovered.

The specific product feature we discussed revolves around upgrading to a paid tier of YesGraph, so there are sensitive issues around trust, transparency, and collaboration.

We’d love to hear what you think in the comments! If people like these, we’ll record and publish more of them.

  • https://www.yesgraph.com/at/ik Ivan Kirigin


  • https://www.yesgraph.com/at/ik Ivan Kirigin

    There are some great comments on Hacker News: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6881795

  • Salman Ansari

    This is awesome, was a nice throwback to early days in my last startup. Thank you for posting this — your transparency is admirable, and I’m sure that many will find it educational from an internal process perspective.

  • Matt Luedke

    Found this through the HN post. Very cool. In fact, I signed up for your email list, just because of this ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m a designer / developer too – and it’s pretty cool to get a candid look at other people’s processes.


    • https://www.yesgraph.com/at/ik Ivan Kirigin


    • http://dthink.ashaelizabethgupta.com/ Asha Elizabeth Gupta

      Ditto (signed up for your newsletter because of this)!

      I think building great products is about being able to make a thousand great decisions — deciding what details matter, what details should be overlooked, what edge cases should be taken care of, how information should be prioritized, etc.

      Other than working directly with someone, it’s really hard to learn how other people make these decisions (you only see the end results when you look at a product). In a way the only way you can become great at this is by being fortunate enough to work with other greats. Please do more and I hope you’ve started a transparency trend in the product world.

      p.s. I also think these videos are a good recruiting resource for both employers (gain exposure), but especially for recruits (as a potential hire, it’s really hard to see into a company at this level).

  • Terry A Davis
  • http://www.twoodo.com/ Andrea Francis

    Cool that you showed a live video! I tend to write about it rather than record it ๐Ÿ™‚