Meta Refresh 2016

The web in your pocket

Noopur Varma


What I wish I knew as a newbie designer

Submitted Aug 29, 2016

As designers we see ourselves as problem solvers.

Users are the center of our interest, the kingpins, and the bedrock. We work closely with them and try to find the best possible solution for their problems. But, as newbie designers, we tend to give a backseat to other (almost equally) important things. Namely, processes and stakeholders.

As we wet our feet in the industry with our first design tasks, we’re faced with unfamiliar challenges:

  • There are other stakeholders, decision makers, even designers. We need to understand what they’re good at, what our role in the process is, and find a good way to collaborate with them.
  • There’s the business perspective, the perspective of our fellow designers, and time-lines for getting things done. We need to get into other people’s heads more often.
  • Design feedback is difficult. Sometimes, we get a lot, sometimes, hardly any. Sometimes, it’s difficult to put even good feedback into perspective. Sometimes the feedback is only an opinion.
  • We might feel caged by processes that appear to be rigid. Despite this, we need to find our own space, and prove ourselves as capable designers.

We need to know how to plough our way through these challenges. And this talk will provide insights into how. I will be talking about things like:

  • How to synchronize a designer’s process with the team/company to ease collaboration
  • What are some techniques we can leverage to understand different perspectives effectively
  • How to regulate, organize, and prioritize design feedback, and the processes around receiving feedback?

This talk would be most beneficial to junior designers, trying to find their place in the industry, but would apply to almost everyone working in a product company facing some of these challenges.


  • I’ll pick a few categories of challenges faced by newbie designers.
  • For each of these categories, I will:
    • Detail the perspective of a designer fresh out of grad school, or a designer new to the industry
    • Contrast this perspective with what is expected in the industry.
    • Enumerate and explain some techniques that one can default to, when in doubt.
  • Talk about the things that we can do to help newbie designers learn and grow.

Speaker bio

Noopur is a designer at nilenso. An engineer and NID graduate, she has been a consultant and designed both web and mobile applications for various clients, small and large. Over the last two years, she’s worked on media publishing platforms, fintech, e-commerce, parenting and education.

She is a partner at nilenso, a hippie tree hugging bicycle riding cooperative based in Bangalore. She also maps trees over the weekend, volunteers at Datakind and is always doodling.



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