My Philosophy

I believe that the core of design is about problem-solving and communication. In my experience, the best solution to a problem is rarely the result of creative genius but rather a result of subjecting the problem to rigorous iterations of research, design, and testing.

I also believe that everyone on a team should collectively define and own the product process. I feel that I’ve done my part as a designer when everyone understands the problem we are trying to solve, makes decisions intentionally, and feels ownership over the product that is being created.

How I Like to Work

I start with the questions I need answered, and structure my methods accordingly. I turn to data for the “what” and qualitative insights for the “why.” I listen to what users say, as well as take note of what they do. I continue to ask myself and my team what we are trying to achieve, why it matters, and whether we are still solving the right problem.

When it comes to developing solutions, I believe in generating lots and lots of ideas, and turning those ideas into prototypes that can be tested. I test, revise, and repeat until I’ve reached the best solution. I work quickly, and know when to rely on common patterns and conventions. Still, I can identify instances when it’s worth trying something novel.

What Sets Me Apart

I’m flexible. Some projects require more iterations, documentation, and deliverables than others; have more constraints; or have fewer resources. I’m aspirational in my approach, but I adapt to project realities.

I show my work. I don’t believe in the big reveal. I know when and how to create deliverables that communicate my ideas and get buy-in from stakeholders, whether that deliverable is a quick sketch, flowchart, document, or high-fidelity, interactive prototype.

I love stories. I use stories to connect with other people, illustrate research in more compelling ways, and craft a narrative within a product. To me, storytelling is the key to creating products that truly resonate with end-users.

I apply this approach to every problem and every product, be it a design system, responsive site, processstory, app, voice interface, or game. As a designer and journalist, my goal is always the same: understand why people do what they do, and do my best to enrich their lives. 

If you want to talk more, drop me a line at sanette.tanaka@gmail.com.