Democratizing publishing and commerce for over 43% of the web.
At WordPress.com, I support teams of product and brand design, research, and ops who work horizontally across the business to craft world-class experiences that serve people.
We develop useful, usable, desirable, and responsible experiences across all platforms—web browsers, iOS, android, and other devices—for 450m+ people globally.
The team is organized as a centralized partnership model (a combination of centralized, and decentralized structure). Multidisciplinary teams are structured across the customer journey to own and support the different segments of the experience. Designers are embedded within each area, while research and ops supports all areas horizontally.
We work cross-functionally (XFN) with product, development, and other functions (depending on areas) that help the business serve solutions to customers.
Design team setup across landscape
I work directly with other members of the executive/leadership team to help shape the broader strategy, and guide the business. The W framework best captures the dynamics involved with shaping strategy. Within the leadership team, we analyze qualitative, quantitative, technological, and industry insights to determine where things need to head based on WordPress.com’s mission, vision, principles, goals, and core metrics. Note: This isn’t accomplished in a black box. Shaping strategy is an org wide effort—both top down and bottom up—Leadership provides the context and broad strategy, while teams owns the tactics and guidance to accomplish initiatives.
The design and experience team helps to shape and inform direction across all levels by leveraging design thinking methodologies. We bring in the users’ perspective with methods like interviews, surveys, and observation. We provide clarity and definition through personas, maps, user flows and journeys, user stories, principles, and jobs to be done.
User interview, and testing sessions.
We better understand the business and find pathways to align intentions through activities like stakeholder interviews, remote workshops, competitive analysis, and a lot of different internal data analysis.
All that helps with context and provides direction for the team when designing. Thinking divergently helps us explore many ideas through activities like crazy 8s, and paper sketching. Converging through discussions, dot-voting, and refinement helps us lock in on the best ideas.
Getting ideas out on paper
The brand/marketing design team in-collaboration with the content team helps define the visual identity, style, and tone of WordPress.com. The results are well composed marketing material, ads, email templates, landing pages, and other items that help drive engagement, adoption, conversion, and brand narrative.
The brand/marketing design team also work on customer facing designs called themes, templates, and pattern” which are packaged web designs components that offer out-the-box solutions to help people get their sites close to completion. These components are part of the product experience, and serve the different verticals and horizontals folks come to WordPress.com to build sites for.
The product design team owns the end-to-end product experience, and work closely with a cross functional team of product, marketing, development, content, brand, and other functions to deliver well composed experiences that serve customer needs, and help move our business core metrics.
The team moves through different fidelities to communicate direction, balancing short and long term strategies to deliver solutions for now while shaping what’s next, and later (now/next/later framework). We use methods like writing future press releases, and north-star prototyping to articulate future states.
The team rolled our an illustration refresh. Creating a style that allows for systematization for scale.
When I began leading the team it was ~6 people. There was little psychological safety, the team felt like 2nd class citizens, disenfranchised, unsupported, lacked clear vision and direction.
Today, through working closely with the hiring team, I’ve helped grow the team to >20 people.
I introduced a recurring bi-weekly user research session where we talk to a minimum of 5 people per week, testing prototypes and gaining insights on hypotheses.
I improved team culture, psychology safety, velocity, and the design critique process.
Through focusing on team health, transparency, and collaboration, I increased team morale, improved workflows and cross-functional collaboration, grew leaders, and up-skilled individuals interested in growth.
The team’s efforts directly impact core business metrics; increasing MAU/DAU, total # of signups, free to paid converse, subscriber growth, and average recurring revenue per subscriber.
We continuously refine our process and design systems to support scalability, increase velocity, and improve the product experience for all.