Three lessons from the man who leads design at Facebook

All the thoughts.
All the thoughts.
Image: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

This question originally appeared on Quora: What are the most unique lessons learnt from designing something as ubiquitous as Facebook? Answer by Luke Woods, Head of Product Design, Facebook.

I’ve learned a lot of lessons while designing at Facebook. Three of the most important are:

1. Be Bold
When you’re making a product, you can take a more bold or a more cautious approach. There are benefits to both and each can be the right approach for a particular situation. When designing for over 1 billion people there’s a risk of becoming overly cautious. What if I make a mistake and it affects so many people? I look at this differently. Because we have such an important mission and reach such a large community we have a special opportunity to make big changes happen. And if we’re not bold then our community might miss out.
2. Data improves design
Sometimes people think of data and design as in conflict with one another. I don’t see it that way. I see data, testing, and analytics as an exciting new resource for designers. We can learn more about how the products we make are really working for people now than ever before. Embrace data in your design process and you’ll be able to ship better products.
3. Products are never finished
When making a physical product there’s a clear state of completion when the designs are sent into production or the product hits the shelves. When making digital products we’re really never finished. Many of the things I’ve designed have already changed—and always for the better. The things that haven’t changed in as noticeable ways can always be improved to work better for people in different contexts—say on networks with low bandwidth and intermittent connectivity. People’s expectations also keep changing as technology changes and as new products come to market. That’s one of the reasons we say that our journey is only 1% finished at Facebook.

You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

More from Quora:

What excites you most about Messenger?

What are you most proud of from your time at Facebook?

Does Facebook have designers that write production code?