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Dribbble Interview: Frank Yoo and using design flaws for motivation

We caught up with Frank Yoo while he was working as the Director of Design at Lyft. Listen as he explains how the joys and the pain points in customer stories get him fired up and how they help guide his design process.

What does Design mean to you?

Design to me is anything that’s intentionally crafted or made to help people navigate an experience or a functional object or communicate a message out to the world.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I find inspiration in customer stories. Both, the celebrations, but in particular the pain points. These things are by far the biggest motivators for me. There is nothing like watching a person either, smile with delight or just gnash their teeth and struggle and be frustrated when they’re using your product. It’s like those kinds of stories that really, really fire me up.

Outside of work, I get a lot of motivation from people that doing amazing and creative things beyond software. People that are incredible craftsmen or masters of their skills like, chefs or professional athletes. I just love seeing how these other people can break through their challenges and achieve an incredibly high bar. So, I love to binge watch a lot of food and sports documentaries to kind of stay inspired.

When are you most productive?

I do a lot of productive thinking on my commute both to and from work. It’s a time for me to be away from the constant hustle of meetings of the day where I have this opportunity to just reflect on the day and the problems to come or the problems that need to be solved or that crazy day that just transpired. That quiet, sort of isolation provides really precious moments of uninterrupted focus which is something that I definitely crave.

How would you describe your work?

I would describe the type of design work that I do as increasingly insights and data-driven. Definitely customer-obsessed. Craft, of course, it’s also a big part of the process that you know we have to be mindful of balancing the needs of the business as well. So, for me, I aspire my teams to create artifacts are both of high quality but also drive impact for our company

What role does design play in your life?

Design plays an immense role in my life. I am always looking to optimize and improve things, just design better experiences like, at work and at home. Including the processes that govern both. So it’s just a really hard thing to turn off. You know as like, designers, we notice both the flaws and the amazing details of everyday things so… It might be airport signage or wayfinding. The handle of the coffee mug or the UX nuances in an app. So, constantly I’m doing these little critiques in my head.

What impact has Dribbble had on you?

Dribbble’s importance for me and my team is that it’s a central place to showcase our work as a Design Team, as individual designers as well. But it’s also a channel to attract new talent. Bringing on the best people to join our team is one of our highest priorities. It’s incredibly impactful to the work and it’s, of course, important for team culture.

Obviously, I also seek visual inspiration on Dribbble, as many people do. I find that it’s just as important to know and see who the people are behind the work in addition to the work itself and you can do both of those things on the platform.

Follow Frank on Dribbble, on Twitter, and at www.frankyoo.com.

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