Deciding to hire your first start-up designer is not easy, but it’s only the first step in the hiring process. With product design going far beyond “making things pretty” and even “making things usable”, how do you find the right person with the right skill set to help your business…


Let’s start with an example of communication skills: they are important for any profession, and you expect any professional to have a decent level. However, excellent communication skills won’t make up for the lack of core expertise. Imagine a plumber who is a great communicator (just look at his sense…


Since the introduction of 5 whys, we know how effective asking “why” is to uncover root causes behind a problem. While in theory everybody agrees it’s important, in practice, it is tempting to jump straight into fixing the problem instead. …


Ever Given container ship is stuck in Suez canal
The Ever Given team knows a lot about being stuck | Suez Canal Authority via AP

While going freelance at the beginning of 2020 turned out to be an absolutely horrible idea (thanks, pandemic), it helped me notice two things about my work. More of my design work happens in Google Docs than in Figma, and I spend more time communicating ideas than coming up with…


As the spectrum of design skills grows — from only visual design 20 years ago to data analysis and user research now — so do the design portfolios and the case studies needed to showcase these skills.

Thousands of near-identical portfolios with near-identical case studies arise. …


Last year’s work with six products at the same time made me realize one thing about feedback. A lot of times it helps, but there’s also a dark side to it. Sometimes it’s just too much. Even excellent feedback can be damaging if it ignores context. …


Here’s a thing no one tells in design schools:
If you’ll choose a design career,

Every day

For the rest of your life

Everybody will have (and probably share) an opinion about what you do.

Feedback might be constructive or not, you might learn to benefit from it or get…


I spent 2020 in design hiring — first half as a candidate and second as a hiring manager, and went from trying to fit to “industry standards” to realizing how little sense they make to assess product design skill set.

Twenty-thirty years ago, when most of the designers were graphic designers, assessing design work was as easy as judging its looks. …


Product decision-making scale
The two extremes of product decision-making

Out of all the cultures out there, I’ve had the luxury to experience (and survive) both extremes of the decision-making spectrum:

  • Decision-making driven by opinion (mostly HiPPO) — a big boss decides what a team (department, company) is going to do, and good luck dealing with it if it doesn’t…


Imagine this: you’re presenting a complex, well thought-through design (which was just updated based on feedback during a usability test). …

Elena Borisova

Product, data, decision-making, philosophy| Learning from everything that went wrong | Digital Product Designer | elenaborisova.com

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