Talking About Design: A Few Words with Aarron Walter

Tell us a little about yourself and what you've been doing recently.

I am the VP of Design Education at InVision. My team's mission is to help design teams become more effective so design as a discipline has more influence in business. To that end, we study design teams to find the practices that make them successful then we publish what we learn on in the form of books, reports, podcasts, and article.

After years of leading design teams, I find it fascinating to see how teams in various businesses work. Turns out, every team has something it's struggling to figure out. No one has it all figured out!

What are some tools you find indispensable to your work?

The tools I use daily are pretty pedestrian: Slack, Google Docs (I love a spreadsheet!), Zoom, Keynote, etc. I love Bear for keeping my notes sorted. I recently got a Electro Voice RE-20 Cardioid mic for my work on the Design Better Podcast, and I love it!

Wait, a podcast? Tell us more!

My co-host Eli Woolery and I explore a theme each season in our interviews with inspiring leaders and designers like David Kelley, IDEO and Stanford founder; Julie Zhuo, Vice President of Product Design at Facebook; and Diana Mounter of Github, among others.

I'm a curious guy and our podcast has been a valuable way for me—and hopefully our listeners too!—to learn how to be a better designer and leader. The people we speak with are at the top of their game, and we love hearing how they got there as there are valuable lessons in their personal stories.

What's current with you, and does it relate to your talk?

Right now I'm very passionate about helping designers make a transition, to become more sophisticated about their work and how it connects to broader business goals. Design teams keep growing, which requires some adaptation and development of new skills: talking about our work beyond craft, communicating how design creates business value, building partnerships.

In my talk in DC, I'll be sharing practical guidance for designers on how to talk about design and bring more people into the process. It's the stuff I wish I'd learned earlier in my career as it would have made me much better at my job. I'm bundling up those lessons from the school of hard knocks and bringing them to the AEA audience!

See Aarron present “Leveling Up Your Design Communication” at An Event Apart DC (July 29-31). Don’t miss this chance to hear Aarron and sixteen other top-notch speakers share their insights!