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Facebook Head of Design, Luke Woods, on design's true impact and creating for 2 billion people

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Luke Woods has worked as the Head of Design for Facebook since 2015. Here is some of his advice and insight on design in the 21st century.

People often underestimate the importance of design

  • The apps we use everyday are the products of design.
  • Design teams are responsible for shaping these products and making them easy to use.
  • A variety of backgrounds are welcomed in the design industry.

Developing “Social Good” for Facebook:

  • Ultimately Facebook provides information and connects people.
    • It has the power to bring people with opposing views together.
  • Social Good includes “safety check” feature for crisis response.
    • Hopes to build infrastructure and keep people safe.
  • Important to always try new and different things.

Lessons learned from designing a product for 2 billion people:

  • Facebook’s growth team focuses on global challenges to people
  • Designers must learn how to design a product for people who aren’t like themselves.
  • Learn how to use data in design.
    • Start the design process with data.
    • Allows you to be more empirical in your approach.
    • Data allows you to see what works and what doesn’t.
  • Stay open-minded.
    • When working with a big team, you must be willing to let go of ideas when they aren’t what’s best or most important.
  • Understand, Identify, Execute
    • Understand what you’re trying to achieve and how to achieve it.
    • Identify the biggest challenges you may face.
    • Execute your plan.
  • Bring your whole self to work, not just the professional designer self.
    • All of the aspects that make you unique will help.

Skills for leading a team:

  • Put others first – do what’s right for your design community, company, and users.
    • Make a priority list and put yourself and the bottom.
  • Understand the context that you are designing in.
    • Learn about the company’s values and frame the work you are doing within that context. 
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