Role Models: Una Kravets, Direct of Product Design at Bustle Digital Group

Una Kravets, Director of Product Design at Bustle

Today’s Role Model is Una Kravets. Una is an international public speaker, technical writer, and the Director of Product Design at Bustle Digital Group, where she oversees UI/UX of Bustle, Elite Daily, Romper, and The Zoe Report. Una has written for various online publications such as A List Apart, 24 Ways, Smashing Magazine, and SitePoint, and started both the DC and Austin Sass Meetup groups. She also co-hosts the Toolsday developer podcast and has a Youtube video series which features videos about about life, fashion and tech.

What’s your official title and how long have you been in this role?

I’m the Director of Product Design at Bustle Digital Group, and I’ve been here for 9 months (having started January 2018)

What attracted you to this role?

I was really interested in taking a more involved and overarching approach to product design in my next role (which led me here). I also loved that I get to work on the Engineering team and get to use my multidisciplinary background (in both design and web engineering) every day.

Walk me through a typical day in your role. What activities do you engage in? What types of meetings do you join? When’s lunch?

I’m mostly designing via writing code during the day. I work on both large and small projects. Larger projects include redesigns, the visual aspects of product migrations, or ideating and building new products that will be used by designers and editors across properties. So when I’m doing this kind of work, I’m checking in with product management and stakeholders intermittently.

Some days though, I’m just fixing UI bugs, resolving support tickets, and making sure everything is in place. I don’t have a lot of meetings, but the meetings I do have, I try to keep short, concise, and end with an action item. Lunch is usually in the office, with the engineers getting together to chat and work in the same space for a little while.

What skills/technologies help you succeed?

Having a background in computer science and graphic design (I went to college for both) certainly helps. Continuing to learn web development as its evolved over the last couple of years has been important in keeping up with technologies and trends. Learning new interaction patterns and design trends is critical, as well as having a foundation of web accessibility and the render tree.

What’s the most fun or creative part of your role?

I feel like my role is generally very creative. Designing new features is just as creative as coming up with resolutions for bugs.

What are the biggest challenges you face in this role?

Some of the projects I work on can involve complex visual systems. For example, a part of what I do is make sure every type of component works in every type of containing element, on every type of page, without breaking anywhere. With growing codebases, this becomes increasingly challenging.

What’s an area where you’re trying to grow in your role?

I’m always working on improving my technical skills to make me a more effective developer across the stack. I think in today’s world, having the ability to code gives a designer a lot of power.

Aside from technical skills, what personality traits/characteristics make for an ideal candidate in your role?

The ability to creatively solve problems and be organized is important. I use to-do lists to keep my life in order.

In your role, what metrics define success?

That really depends on the goal of the project! And the metrics that determine meeting the project goals are probably the most important. Time management and shipping on time play a key role as well.

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Introducing Role Models: Career Inspiration in Your Inbox

When you think of the words “job search,” how does your body feel? Anxious? Tense? Uncomfortable? I feel you.

dazed-and-confused

Illustration by Andy J. Miller

Whether you’re switching industries or roles, job searching can be stressful on a number of levels. You need to revamp your résumé and LinkedIn, remember how to write a cover letter, pull together your portfolio, tap your network, complete take-home assignments, and get comfortable talking about yourself ad nauseam. But before you even start looking for jobs, you have to figure out what you’re looking for.

For folks who aren’t in the tech world, job listings can feel like a black box. Tech is about coding, right? But what if you’re an event planner, or you write killer newsletters, or you’re an account manager who loves building relationships and managing all the details?

While you may be clear on your skill set and what you enjoy, how do you look for a job if you don’t know what it’s called?

And for folks who are in the tech world, there can be a lot of inconsistency around what a job title looks like in practice: “Project manager,” “product manager,” and “program manager” get thrown around frequently, but it’s not clear how technical you need to be until you speak to someone at that company.

I want to help demystify job titles in the tech world. Starting tomorrow, I’m launching Role Models, a weekly interview series where tech professionals offer an inside look at what it’s like to do their jobs.

Not a coder? Don’t worry: this series is for you, too. We’ll speak to folks who work in marketing and partnerships, business development, customer service, design, and more. Each interview will clarify the nuts and bolts what it’s like to do that job and will spark inspiration to help facilitate your next move.

 

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