From trends to methods and inspiration – 9 types of design resources we love at Wolt

We started the search for design interns at Wolt a couple months back, and wouldn’t have believed what followed. This article is our way of humbly thanking the awesome people who applied to work at Wolt.

Thank you design intern applicants

We here at Wolt opened the search for design interns a few months ago.

Even though the deadline for the design intern assignment was far in the future, we started to receive applications in no time.

And that was really great, of course!

Young, bright minds approaching us with their applications. We were, and still are, truly thankful for each application. We’re also humbled by the amount of interest towards the possibility to work here at Wolt. We really appreciate all that time you put in crafting your resume, application and other details.

Thank you. Thank you everyone who sent an application to us.

Giving back tips for future adventures

We went through each application carefully and arranged a call or meeting with most suitable candidates. After calls, talks and considerations, we ended up hiring two designers. First one started in April. Next one will start in May. You’ll hear more about them quite soon!

While going through applications we saw some patterns. Even though you had very diverse backgrounds and skill set levels, your applications were still generally very good.

However, we noticed some things that might help you in general when you think about your next moves or how you’d be able to learn more when it comes to building high-quality digital products.

Because you gave us some of your time and effort by sending us your application, we wanted to put some of our time for you by coming up with a list of resources you might want to check out. It’s nothing super special, but you might be able to find some new places to find inspiration, best practices or case studies.

So, here’s the list:

1. Design tools

Let’s start by listing the easy ones, tools. Nowadays design tools are very easy to learn and that’s quite cool because it gives more time to visualise ideas and solve real problems instead of finding right effects from the menu jungle.

Sketch ·
Probably the most used tool at the moment for building wireframes, user interfaces and layouts. Totally worth checking out. Also, a lot of handy plugins to make the workflow easier and faster. Top speed is nice. Free trial available.

Figma ·
Lately, this tool has received a lot of visibility. You can use this one tool for building wireframes, user flows, layouts and prototypes. Free trial available.

Adobe XD ·
An interesting new choice by Adobe. Not as popular as first ones, but it’s gaining some traction because it offers prototyping and some integrations with other Adobe tools. For some reason, they don’t have a free trial.

Summary of tools: they can be learned and your weapon of choice is not that critical. They all have quite similar approaches to user interface design and when you can use one, you can quite easily learn others, too. However, it’s good to master one tool very well in order to visualise your ideas quickly when needed.

2. Inspiration, tricks and tips

So many inspiration sources, so little time. There are a ton of great sources of inspiration and I’ve listed here only a few ones to get you started.

Pttrns: Mobile Design Patterns ·
If you’re building a mobile app and you would quickly like to see a lot of different executions regarding a specific feature or view, this is a good resource for that.

Site Inspire ·
If you’re building a website and you’re bored with three-column bootstrap templates, this is a good site for exploring a bit more experimentally built websites.

Dribbble ·
This one has received some critique of focusing too much on the polishing part of the design process. That’s correct, but if you’re after execution ideas when you’re trying to finish a certain view, you might find some quite good ideas by using certain search phrases.

Behance ·
There are a lot of great and not so great case studies on Behance. Sometimes it’s a very good source for benchmarking since usually projects over there have also written descriptions of the starting point, challenge, creative approach, solution and results.

3. Online design communities

Sometimes we want to talk about our ideas, share some of our mockups or works, learn from our peers and get to know interesting and relevant people. These communities might be helpful for that!

UX Design Community ·
A Slack community for designers and design-minded people to share inspirations, resources and knowledge to help each other grow. Currently, there are around 7,000 members.

Design Guild ·
This is a community of diverse designers and design students dedicated to helping each other learn and grow. For designers only. Around 13,000 members.

The Designers League ·
An online community full of creative talent from all over the globe. They have over 12,000 members in their Facebook group and together they support and learn from each other.

Local tip: If you’re living in Helsinki, you might want to check out Aaltoes and their events. Also, IxDA Helsinki arranges meetings and other activities about design.

4. Design awards

If you want to be good, you want to learn from the best. That’s why it’s beneficial to follow awards and go through finalists and winners after every competition. Award competitions are not arranged just for the sake of trophies, they exist to give recognition to people who want to make excellent work and raise the bar.

Apple Design Awards ·
This site includes best of the best apps and download links to test out award-winning iOS apps. Try to evaluate why those apps are so good and popular and explore how they are built. Usually, Apple Design Award winners also use newest newness when it comes to Apple tech e.g. 3D Touch, Dynamic Type or On-Demand Resources.

ADC Awards 2017 Winners ·
By going through winners you’ll see that it’s possible to combine digital products, creative ideas, new technology and business goals. It’s not always about building apps and software, it’s also how to communicate big ideas by inspiring the recipient.

D&AD Awards 2017 Winners ·
D&AD Awards recognise beautiful ideas, brilliantly executed. Winning in this competition is proof, not just that you’re making the best creative work out there, but that you’re committed to bettering the industry you work in.

Cannes Lions 2017 Grand Prix Winners ·
The Lions are probably the best known and most respected awards for the creative industry. Trophies are recognised globally as the ultimate achievement in creativity. So it’s totally worth following the winners and finalists every year.

Local tip: If you’re living in Finland, you might want to check out local award competitions Vuoden Huiput and Grand One (only in Finnish).

5. Design methods

Instead of basing important design decisions on gut feeling and subjective opinions, there are many ways to back your decisions by using certain tools as a part of your design process. Here are a few sources to get started.

Design Better ·
This website is a valuable source for learning the basics of product design, design thinking, design leadership and design systems handbook. Includes a lot of practical information, articles, podcasts, interviews and ebooks. Totally worth reading through.

IDEO Design Kit ·
The Design Kit by IDEO gives you concrete and easy-to-use methods for approaching problems and challenges. By mastering these it’s possible to tackle difficult problems with new answers.

The Design Sprint ·
This sprint method gives teams a shortcut to learning without building and launching. Stop wasting time with 6-month school exercises and start solving problems and get learnings faster by using this method. Please read also the book.

Lean Service Creation ·
This method brings structure and focus to service creation. It can be your guide through all the phases of creating services from early ideation to finishing the last lines of code. And it’s totally free to use.

6. Events worth checking out

Dash design hackathon ·
Europe’s biggest design hackathon in Helsinki on 12–14 of October, 2018. It is meant for 500+ curious minds who aim high and have backgrounds in design or in other creative fields, tech or business. If you want to learn new methods, meet interesting people and test your skill set in practice, this is a great opportunity to grow as a creative professional, gain more knowledge and get to know with design-minded people.

Junction ·
Europe’s biggest hackathon in Helsinki with over 1,500 attendees. It’s a meeting point for thousands of designers, developers and entrepreneurs from around the world. Might be worth checking out or probably even attending the hackathon to learn new tricks and meet nice people. The event will be held on 23–25 November, 2018.

Slush ·
This year Slush will take place in Helsinki on 4–5th of December, 2018. One interesting possibility to experience Slush is to take part as a volunteer. Then you’ll see how the event is built – from the inside. Also, a great possibility to meet new interesting people within the 2,000 member volunteer team from over 50 countries. Fun fact: half of the Wolt’s founding team worked for Slush before founding Wolt.

7. Design trends

A trend is a bad word if you want to build lasting and timeless pieces of greatness. However, it’s good to follow new tech and design phenomena to keep senses open for interesting ideas and possibilities.

The State of UX in 2018 ·
What’s happening in the field of user experience design this year? Check out this site to find out. Designers should learn more about business. Every user interface is a story. Why? The site has the answers.

JWT Intelligence ·
This site is a center for provocative thinking that focuses on identifying shifts in the global zeitgeist. Occasionally releases articles and publications around data, insights, trends and innovation.

2018 Fjord Trends ·
Fjord has chosen seven bigger themes for this year and they have structured each one of them to be digested quite easily. Also, some further readings are provided regarding every theme.

8. Interface guidelines

This is a bit more technical stuff but still super relevant when building digital products. It’s essential to master the basic design principles of major mobile platforms if you want to build world-class services. Also, when you master these rules, it’s fun to start breaking them!

Apple Human Interface Guidelines ·
In order to build high-quality iOS products, it’s beneficial to go through Apple’s design principles and learn the fundamentals of designing great iOS products.

Android User Interface Guidelines ·
By learning also Android’s app fundamentals, you’ll master best practices of two major mobile platforms and next step could be building winning services, perhaps?

Google Material Design ·
Material Design is a unified system for creating digital experiences. It combines theory, resources and concrete tools for you, so instead of struggling with every UI detail, you can focus on bigger questions and problems.

9. Startup blogs

Intercom blog ·
This blog offers many valuable and easy-to-read articles e.g. about design processes, product design methods and how to design products effectively. They have also a bunch of good ebooks about design and marketing topics.

First Round blog ·
There are a lot of valuable articles about building products, how to simplify complex ideas, designer interviews, defining product design methods, etc.

Designer News ·
A good list of articles and links about design, startups and similar topics. Updates very often so you might want to try following on a daily basis.

To conclude

Hopefully you find some of these resources useful. As you probably noticed, there were many links that were not only about designing digital products and their user interfaces.

I believe it’s extremely valuable to follow and understand many industries that touch design, creativity, tech and business so it’s possible to combine best bits from different spots and come up with novel approaches and interesting point of views.

There are no one right path or one right set of skills. However, diverse experiences provide a more promising base for coming up with great ideas and building world-class services that are not only technically robust but also provide value and help people with their daily lives.

Good luck with your future adventures in the field of design!

PS. If you think I missed something important, feel free to add your recommendations in the comments below.

PPS. Thank you Aino, Kerkko and Juhani for giving good tips for this article.

PPPS. Btw. to get design updates from Wolt, you can follow our design team on Instagram and Dribbble!