david young

Experience design leadership and team building

How I think

There is really only one stakeholder

Design is not about where buttons go, or how long the content needs to be. It is defined by the intent of the audience, always.

If it is not in their service, it is not user experience.

Give people something to react to

If design is hypothesis, it has tolerances and variables. Those produce measurable points. Measurement shows gap and alignment. That allows adjustment via iteration. Iteration makes improvements to the hypothesis.

Get something IRL as soon as you can.


Separating user experience from customer experience isn’t possible if we are honest with ourselves about what we are to deliver.

Every customer had a UX moment before they became a customer. Too many bad UX moments on either side of that conversion and the loyalty is damaged.

Done > than perfect

It will never be perfect, no matter the design rigor. Perfect is a moving target. If it were fixed, it would lose all the magic and we would have nothing to chase.

Get things done, get them in front of who needs them.

Your team is your measure of success

Leadership is judged on the success of their team and the growth of the individuals therein.

How I lead

Let them be professionals

Knowing when not to interject is as important as giving input for teams. Give them room to solve before presenting your own solution.

No ninjas, superheroes or unicorns

If a team is to succeed, donning one of them with the favorite child crown places the others at disadvantage and breaks chemistry.

Help them grow too big for the team

Train your replacements and help them build measurable, intangible skills that are portable for the rest of their careers. 

Share the success, own the mistakes

Nothing will break a team unity faster than un-federating the group with blame. If something goes sideways, it can be fixed. No one should work with the fear of punitive action for mistake

Make doing the work the norm

Meetings are not where ideas thrive. For a design team to make, they need dedicated time to silence the IMs and make real things that others can react to, and that information drives the next set of ideas.


A leader with 20 years of experience in visual narrative and interaction design. 12 years experience in UX fundamentals. 10 years experience in pitch and pursuit. A leader by example with the expectation of teams to learn and teach from and to one another. Too much time is spent trying to be perfect and that hampers the spontaneous creativity of the things delivered, leaving less time to respond to the voice of the user. Start with assumptions and adjust those as you go.

Success is helping a team become better aligned, more resilient and more focused on delivering fast so we can begin iterating and adapting assumptions to improve products, experiences and outcomes.