They are writing code but they're also using design tools and have a deep understanding of the user experience and the aesthetics. Design engineers are new and emerging roles that aim to close the gap between the worlds of design and code.
Today we're talking with Sofian and Latte, two members of our design engineering team who are going to share with us more details all about that.
What are design engineers basically, design engineers have the skill set of a front end engineer with a good grasp of UX principles. In other words, we bring together the know how of design with the technical knowledge of front end technologies.
Yeah, to put it simple we are front end engineers that into into the design language. We trying to understand what good user experience and we keep that in mind when we develop something.
Hello, and welcome to the design explorers podcast by the agoda design team. agoda.com is a global digital travel platform where you can book hotels, vacation rentals, flights, and airport transfer. In this podcast, we'll be sharing the awesome work of our design team discuss interesting trends in relation to design and travel and talk about product design in general. My name is Nahum and I will be your host for the show.
They are writing code but they're also using design tools and have a deep understanding of the user experience and the aesthetics. design engineers are new and emerging roles that aim to close the gap between the worlds of design and code. Today we're talking with Sofian and Latte, two members of our design engineering team who are going to share with us more details all about that.
Before we begin, we would like to apologize for the audio quality in this episode. Since we are working from home due to the current situation with the pandemic. We didn't want this to stop us from continuing sharing our design team knowledge. And so we have recorded this session remotely. We hope you can still enjoy your listening in the show despite that and appreciate your understanding. Let's start
Welcome to our sixth episode of the design explorers. My guests today are Sofian and Latte two of our design engineers, Sofian and Latte Welcome to our show.
Hey, Nahum. Glad to be here.
Hey, I'm excited to be here too.
Before we begin, let's give our listeners some background about who you are, and how long have you been at Agoda.
So for me, this is Sofian I joined agoda in 2017. As part of the enterprise UX team, I was working primarily on the YCS extranet for my first three years. YCS is the platform on which our hotel partners go to to manage their properties on a Agoda website. After a while I transitioned to help provide UX solutions for Agoda's internal tools such as our fraud department and customer experience group. Then I got the opportunity to start contributing to the design system that was built internally called KiteJS. And then I had the other opportunity to join the design technologist team that was then converted to now being design engineers.
Hey, I'm Latte. I've been working at Agoda for three years. Before that I was in University studying IT. I had a chance to intern here for a role prototyper. I would work with designer to create interactive prototype for a time. And then I had to go back to study for another term. And then I decided to come back to this role design engineer.
Awesome. Now let's talk about your interesting title. As you're saying both of you are design engineers, what does it actually mean? And what are you guys are doing?
I'd say what are design engineers basically, design engineers have the skill set of a front end engineer with a good grasp of UX principles. In other words, we bring together the know how of design with the technical knowledge of front end technologies. And as for what we do I would say through our role, we try to promote the value and adoption of design system throughout the organization and also facilitate collaboration and communication between engineering and design teams.
Yeah, to put it simple, we are front end engineers that into into the design language, we are trying to understand what good user experience and we keep that in mind when we develop something.
Most of us are familiar with traditional engineers and developers, how is your role different from that?
So traditional engineer will focus on more the functional side of what they have to incorporate or the design they have to work on rather than really dwindled too long on the UI details or technicalities. When in terms of patterns, what makes sense or not really? Like, of course with experience, developers get a good grasp of UX and what are the most common patterns? But yeah, that's the main difference between a UX engineer and a standard swa software engineer.
I think we trying to put more design thinking beforehand, before we you know, develop something, I think that's very different.
Cool. Let's, let's talk a bit about your interesting and unique journey to arriving into this role. So Sofian you're working as a designer before that, and decided to transition to this hybrid role. Tell us a bit about you know what led to that decision,
so for me, before joining agoda. I've worked at various design agencies and as a freelancer mostly as a generalist designer. And I taught myself how to code mostly as a hobby throughout the years, and I was able to apply what I was learning on the job. And step by step I eventually started implementing my my designs using popular frameworks such as a framework, such as WordPress, and Shopify, which led me down the road of wanting to modularize my designs, so that I wouldn't have to develop everything from scratch every time, which would also help me save time. And as I got better with experience, I also became fascinated with design systems. And I got my first chance at trying to build my own while I was working on a startup we had created with a group of friends from college was pretty fun, insightful experience, and made me want to learn even more about design systems in general. And I'll say that, I always thought that I would have to decide between design and development since most companies nowadays tend to prefer hiring specialists and never really saw job listings that would cover both fields. And about two years ago, while I was trying to figure out which path I wanted to take for my professional career, I found out about the UX engineer role. And at the time, I saw that Google had a listing on their carrier website with a description that was fitting to a T, what my dream position would be. So eventually, I brought it up with my managers. And I had actually multiple discussions with design and dev managers at agoda, which gave me the opportunity eventually to start taking on more hybrid projects that would help me evolve into the UX engineering role and design experimentation, design engineers team.
And Latte you're coming from the opposite direction, right? You studied to be an engineer, but had a very strong interest in interest in design.
Yes, so, when I interned here at Agoda I made prototype and a lot of them built by code from sketch. I used frameworks like, Framer.js, and even React. So, that was very much front-end development and as I was an intern in design team. I’ve learn a lot about interaction design, and being real close to the designers helps me widen design perspective. Even now, I’m still learn so far. I’d say I enjoyed being hybrid. At the end, I decided to come back and join in Design Engineer team.
Can you tell us a bit about what are you doing? at Agoda? What are what are some of your responsibilities part of this role?
Our main responsibilities as design engineers are to help transform the design language into reusable component library. We also as I said earlier, promote the adoption of the design system throughout the organization, and help onboard other engineers to it. And we try to improve communication and collaboration between engineering and design teams. And more recently, our team has been mainly focused on design experimentation. We take on projects that would normally not always be prioritized by product owners, product managers, but that we consider necessary to improve the user experience and visual consistency. Across our products, and basically working on design systems is more of a perpetual task than it is about looking to reach the end of the line. You're constantly trying to improve and optimize to provide the best UX and try to keep things visually consistent overall.
Yeah, we try to improve the existing product, we're trying to, you know, improve performance. User Experience. Yeah. By doing you know, a lot of experiments,
how would you define yourself? Are you an engineer that wear designer hat or designer wears an engineer hat?
For me, I think I am developer that wearing design hat.
For me, I think that reflecting on on that question for a while. I think I'm neither more I try to be both because like, I don't want to, if I'm going to embrace the UX engineer role, like, to its fullest extent, I think I want to wear both hats at the same time continuously.
Yeah, yeah. Have to think more on that.
You don't want to be too unbalanced. Yeah.
From the industry perspective, this role is relatively new. And like you mentioned, Sofian you saw it back then at Google just started and only a few companies are actually having this role. What's what is your take about, you know, the future of this role? Where is it going?
To me like, like you said, it's a relatively new position. And again, you'll mostly see job offers for that kind of position at companies from the Fang group, which is Facebook, Amazon, apple, Netflix, Google, companies like that. And I think that, as the position become more prominent over time, it could eventually trickle down throughout the rest of the industry, and could become just as important, especially with roles such as designers or developers. And I think this might happen sooner, sooner than we think.
Yeah, I think a lot of people have been, you know, doing more on the both sides, design developer. So I think this role will, you know, be more vary in the industry.
some of our listeners might be curious. You know, some of them might be like, designers that want to explore more of the engineer, side or engineer will explore more of the design side. What will be your advice for these guys?
I'd say, if you're interested in becoming a UX engineer, well, just go for it. start learning about how design systems work, the benefits they can bring to a product. Be more curious, ask questions. And if you come from a design background, try taking a developer bootcamp course, to get the basics of how front end technologies work, and how you can use them. And if you come, on the other hand, from an engineering background, then you could study your experience principles, look into UI trends, to sharpen your aesthetic senses, and design skills so that you can apply this new knowledge and use it, use the thought process that come with it in your coding strategies or while on the job. Either way, I think you'll benefit from what you've learned throughout your journey, regardless of with which path you end up choosing in the end,
I would say being open minded, and you know, if you're curious in, you know, agreeing, different, you know, side of perspective. So, go for it a try.
All right, this wrap up our episodes, Sofian, and Latte. Thank you so much for sharing your insight about this new and exciting role.
Thanks Nahum, it was nice being here
Thank you. Thanks Nahum
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