Maybe you’re an avid engineer sending critical business email over our award-winning APIs. Or, perhaps, you’re a time-starved marketer, building and sending beautiful, targeted messages using Marketing Campaigns. You may even drop by our blog from time to time to brush up on the latest awesome content. Regardless, one thing’s for sure—you’ve seen the handy-work of SendGrid’s passionate design team.
Whether we’re pushing pixels for the next powerful product feature, interviewing customers to better understand how they think and act, or diving into the latest design-inspired community event, great design is at the core of everything we do here at The Grid.
While there’s an unmistakably passionate design culture within our walls, there hasn’t always been a single place where our design team is free to share insight and, frankly, our love of design while engaging with the greater design community as one brand voice—until now!
Today the UI/UX team is announcing the very exciting launch of sendgrid.design, a creative place for the SendGrid design team to post stories, case studies, and other relevant content about our field.
The UI/UX team at SendGrid is filled with talented people—people that are hungry to tackle crazy big problems—and the team wanted to share those stories with the greater community.
A dedicated design site isn’t a unique concept in and of itself. Some of the most respected design-forward brands in the world, like Uber, Airbnb, and Atlassian have all launched similar projects. As a design-focused company, launching one of our own was something that our design team felt very passionate about creating.
It’s important to our team, our company, and our brand that the insights we’ve learned from years of experience don’t stay within our walls, and that we have a place to share our process and experiences with other designers and teams.
We have discovered and validated that having a dedicated design site highlighting the team, design process, and culture is a critical component to ensure that our top design talent feel that SendGrid is the place where they’ll be able to grow their career.
We may be biased, but SendGrid has a pretty incredible culture. Another reason for sendgrid.design is to proactively “pull back the curtain” and allow the world to witness that culture in action. You will get to meet the team, read stories about research projects, and learn how designers at SendGrid work together and operate.
What is a design site?
A design site is a great place to share and present the inner workings of a design team. In SendGrid’s case, the UI/UX team has an amazing process we follow to build products that customers love and value. It is important for us to share this information and discuss the lessons we have learned (and will learn as we continue to grow as a team).
Our group is filled with some extremely bright minds that have amazing accomplishments to share. We have a world-class style guide, UI-component library, and brand guidelines. It has taken a lot to get to where we are, and there are lots of stories to share. This is where we’ll do that!
The process: Research, design, build
Here at SendGrid, we keep the user at the center of everything we do, so we treated this like any other project. When planning this sendgrid.design, we followed SendGrid’s own unique process that we use for creating user experiences, called the SendGrid Way, and started with research.
The team interviewed 4 professional designers and even conducted a survey. It was easy to do and didn’t require anything more than one designer’s time for a few hours, but the information and data gathered during the research phase were invaluable when deciding what to design and build.
Research: What we learned
The information we found was really interesting. Every designer we spoke to felt that a dedicated design website was crucial to understanding how the company values design. That’s a huge realization for our brand.
At SendGrid, we knew internally that we value design, so finding the best way to share that with the world was really important. In fact, we value it so much that we have 100% support throughout the company all the way up to our CEO, Sameer Dholakia.
When it came to the content of the site, designers felt that the following were most important:
- Design Process
- Style Guide
- Tips and Tricks
And these content subjects were seen as the least important:
- Design Trends
- Prototyping Tools
This detail helped the team prioritize which type of content to post about first, and what types of content we may focus most on moving forward. We have articles about style guide, our design process, our research methodologies, and more.
Another important research finding was that a design specific website is considered by professional designers and creatives to be very important when considering a new career with a company.
Design: Keep it fun
At SendGrid, each team completes an engagement survey. This is a pulse on how the team is feeling and how engaged they are with work. One theme that arose from the engagement survey was that the team wanted a place to experiment and have fun, such as a dedicated design site. We decided to incorporate that idea into a hackathon.
The entire team participates in our quarterly hackathon, which allows for some great collaboration that normally doesn’t happen in our day to day work. The UI/UX team took a full day to push the pause button, and everyone chipped in a design concept. Afterward, the team held a design critique and discussed the pros and cons of each design, then voted on a favorite.
The team wanted to have fun with our brand, but also explore it more and take it further than may be possible in the actual product. This, after all, is a place for taking risks and experimenting.
- One designer used a custom designed grid layout to display content blocks. The custom grid is a play on the SendGrid name and logo.
- The team also wanted to stretch the boundaries of our very own logo. sendgrid.design’s logo is a nod to the fill and stroke icons found in popular design tools but is also the silhouette of the SendGrid logo.
Build: Try new technology
The team is very invested in testing new tools and technologies, and sendgrid.design will be a great platform for us to continue experimenting and sharing our learnings. The UI/UX team decided to use Gatsby to build our site.
This way we would be using the latest technology for a modern web. We use Markdown for the content, which then goes to Gatsby and is translated into the HTML and CSS you see in the browser. React.js is used as the core codebase, allowing for a modern web app experience that is lightning fast.
We can’t wait to see the sendgrid.design community grow and expand in the coming months and years! Ready to check it out for yourself? Head on over to sendgrid.design.