What cash trips in Mexico taught me about designing for international markets at Uber

As a product designer at Uber working on the Money team in Amsterdam, it’s my job to help come up with design solutions for Uber products across the globe. Designing globally presents a lot of challenges that don’t come up if you are creating products for a more limited market. We constantly see how cultural context, infrastructure, and on-the-ground realities matter to good design.

The problem

My team recently dealt with a good example of these challenges. On its face, the question was a simple one: How could we better collect the service fees for use of the Uber platform on trips…


It started off with a tweet.

After two years of talking about starting a YouTube channel, I had a dream. In that dream I had a channel, was creating videos consistently and engaging with viewers. My mindset was already at the finish line. In my mind I had already achieve the goal. I just needed reality to align my mindset.

But how?

I woke up and shared my dream on Twitter. Unintentionally I’d created an accountability partner for myself — my 5,000 twitter followers — and promised them that videos were coming, soon.

Slowly, reality began to align with my mindset. I had a YouTube channel…


A few weeks ago I attended Confront conference in the quaint city of Malmö, Sweden. On the stage was Paul Hamilton, a design lead at Ustwo, who reminded us that as designers we are constantly making choices.

Making choices is seen as labour, after all it’s what we as designers paid to do. But how do we make these choices, and who are we making them for? Are we making them for users, or humans?

On the screen, Hamilton showed Ted Hunt’s concept of Users Are.. / People Are.., which challenges us to think about who we’re designing for. To explain further, Hunt created the following:

I parked the above away in my mind, saving it for a rainy day. Unexpectedly, that rainy day came earlier than I expected and I found myself in a…


Eight weeks ago I set myself a goal to run 5km.

As a regular yogi I felt I was missing more rigorous exercise in my routine. I wanted to pick up a sport that would allow me to work at my own pace, in my own time and set my own goals.

So, I decided to try running.

Saying yes is easy but actually doing the work is hard. In order to fully commit to running I knew there was a few things I needed:

I purposefully stayed focused on the goal and ignored shiny things like new headphones, shoes and running gear — things that are easy to think you…


What table tennis champion and Uber Designer Adil Dhanani learned about sports and how it relates to his career as a designer.

Spotlight is a series of Q&A sessions with the multi-talented creators on Uber’s design team. In this session I chat with Adil Dhanani— a table tennis champion, Silicon valley veteran and product designer on Uber’s Rider Team.

Adil Dhanani at Uber HQ in San Francisco

Hi Adil! Thanks for sitting down with me. Let’s start by getting to know you a bit more — what’s your story at Uber, and what are you currently working on?

My journey in Silicon Valley started over ten years ago. I started at Uber in 2016 as a designer on the developer platform team which is focused on building tools and API’s for integrating Uber into other services. My technical background in computer engineering and prior experience working with technical teams helped me bring a unique perspective to the team.

I spent a…


Figma’s Design Education Manager Zach Grosser on finding his place, collaborating with other designers and design education.

Figma’s Design Education Manager Zach Grosser recently left the Valley on a mission to help educate those interested in design, all the way from the canals of Amsterdam.

You have a very non-linear career path! From studying glassblowing in College to working at Apple, Square and now as Design Educator at Figma.

Do you think it’s important to find comfort in embracing change?

Absolutely. Adapting to ever-changing situations is super important. I think it’s helpful to try to take the stress out of change and see it for one of the positive effects it has: preventing personal and professional stagnation.

My path to finding comfort in change was — and is — quite a struggle. I especially never did well with navigating the, “What am I going to do next?” moments in my life. …


UX Designer Marie Schweiz on using watercolour, uplifting women in tech and having good design principles

Based in Berlin, Marie Schweiz works as a freelance UX and Interaction Designer. Her hands-on approach to the design process sees her embracing watercolour and inviting developers to join right alongside her.

You’re a freelance interaction designer, yet it doesn’t stop there! You also paint watercolours, sketch in procreate, help other designers learn how to use design tools and the list goes on. How do you pinpoint your passion?

Building access. I don’t want to pursue a career as artist, however I do enjoy sharing my knowledge and giving people access. My colleagues, who are mostly developers, really enjoy participating in my design process. I consciously make sure I don’t exclude them from designing. Instead, my approach focuses on educating them.


“As a design student, how do I make my work/portfolio stand out from the tons of other design students when applying for a design job?”

Graduating is an exciting time, but it can also be stressful. You and hundreds of other design students have been released into the wild and are simultaneously applying for the same jobs. Standing out from your peers is essential if you want your work to be noticed or considered for a position.

There’s already a lot of advice online for creating a good portfolio. These articles often recommend what to include such as your personal story and process.

In this article I want to dive a bit deeper and focus more on the work specifically. What is the best way…


Recently I attended a workshop hosted by Tom Greever on articulating design decisions.

As a recent newcomer to field of product design, I’ve been feeling an absence of confidence amongst my peers. It’s been well told that a key skill of any designer is the ability to communicate.

At the surface this sounds easy — anyone can talk, but talking isn’t the challenge. The challenge is in communicating well.

How can you communicate in a way that convinces your stakeholder(s) that this is the problem to focus on? The meaning behind a particular decision? The goal you’re trying to achieve?

Tom opened the workshop with some food for thought:

Knowing the goal is…


Shivam Thapliyal on how he went from engineer to designer, on his own

From the design team at Flipkart, Shivam Thapliyal is a multi disciplinary designer. Shivam not only explores 3D and illustration, but also tinkers in hand lettering.

You studied Computer science engineering. How did you end up in design?

When began studying at college I became fascinated with design and illustration. I began to work on developing my skillset in my own time. Since I wasn’t in a creative environment, I taught myself by mimicking what I saw on Dribbble, contacting other designers and gathering resources and learning material to study.

Eventually I took course on Lynda. While I’d been learning and growing as a designer in my spare time, once I graduated…

Femke van Schoonhoven

Kiwi in Canada, Product designer at Uber, Podcasting at @DesignLifeFM, Videos about design: https://t.co/Dh2EpDr6jT?amp=1

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