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A Day in
the Life of a
Drivemode
Designer

One of our designers, Johnny Ting, walks you through a typical day at the Drivemode office. Let’s jump into his Chuck Taylors!

8:15AM – 8:40 AM

I wake up, read the morning headlines on Google News, and drink a glass of water. I do some light stretching before hopping into the shower and getting ready for work.

8:40AM

I leave the house and walk to the King Street Caltrain Station to make the 8:57am train. Today I’m lucky and get mostly green lights on my walk over so I grab a cup of coffee at Philz (Filtered Soul!) on Berry Street.

8:57AM – 9:30AM

I’m on the train from San Francisco to our office in Redwood City with a half hour of uninterrupted quiet time. I go through Slack to see if there are any messages from our engineering team in Tokyo since they are 17 hours ahead. I answer an email from one of our project managers at Honda asking about a motorcycle switch assignment, and when I’m done, I read a few pages from the book “Quiet” by Susan Cain.

Johnny tries curling for the first time at a Drivemode team retreat.
Johnny tries curling for the first time at a Drivemode team retreat.

9:30AM – 9:45AM

I walk from the Caltrain Station to the office. I see my buddy Steven who works nearby and we make plans to get lunch together in a few hours. Redwood City has great restaurants so going out for a meal with friends and coworkers is an excellent way to enjoy the city.

10:00AM – 12:30PM

I arrive at the office and get my day going. First, I have a design review with Harper, one of our product designers. We discuss a new messaging prototype she built, and quickly agree that the new feature is ready for testing. We jump into one of our test vehicles and get on the road! We choose to drive around Woodside, since it’s such a beautiful area.

12:30PM – 1:30PM

Lunch. Steven and I have decided to grab pizza at Vesta, a nearby restaurant with nice outdoor seating surrounded by trees. We always have the carbonara and margarita whenever we’re there!

1:30PM – 4:30PM

Back in the office, I use the next few hours as uninterrupted design time. I draw a few diagrams and screen flows by hand, and then design on my computer using Sketch.

Today I’m trying to figure out a new design system for onboard entertainment systems that work with multiple vehicles. It’s difficult work, but will definitely help with the technical debt our team currently faces.

Sometimes the best design discussions are away from the desk—Oftentimes we go for a walk around the block.

4:30PM – 5:00PM

I take a short break and go with my coworker to the park. We play fetch with Julie, our UPS-truck-hating company dog. We get slobber all over our hands but it’s totally worth it.

5:30PM – 6:30PM

Next up are the evening meetings with our Tokyo team to align departments and refine products. Today we get to investigate the results of the data we collected for a new music interface we tested with several thousand users. We’re excited to see that our KPIs were met—which warrants an upgrade—so we decide as a team for a larger release.

6:50PM – 7:33PM

I leave the office to catch the 6:50pm Caltrain back to San Francisco. On the train I answer a couple of end-of-day emails and Slack messages. When I’m done, I catch some football on YoutubeTV since it’s Thursday night. Go Packers!

7:45PM

Home. Time to decompress and have dinner with my wife. We watch the movie “Old School” and laugh our night away.

10:30PM

Before bedtime, I check over tomorrow’s schedule. I’m excited to see that I’ll be doing a design session about a new digital interface with our head of product, Jeff Standard. I get ready for bed and then I turn my phone to silent. I read a few more chapters of “Quiet”, and then off to dreamland!

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