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Freeish Time: Design Process

At Cube HQ, Freeish Time has become an institution. For those that don’t know, “Freeish Time”, is an opportunity for our Cubes to work on passion projects outside of their role. They have an entire week to identify a problem, build and create a solution, then present it to the rest of the crew during our Friday Happy Half Hour (or HHH as we lovingly call it in Cube speak).


Design Process

Now it’s time for everybody’s favourite innovation blog! Or, “Freeish Time” as we call it internally. At Cube HQ, Freeish Time has become something not only our team looks forward to, but you, our loyal blog reader enjoys following along with! 

We sat down with James Marriott, our Creative Team Lead, to discuss the latest Freeish Time adventure and pick this insanely talented designer’s mind about what his passion project entailed. 

Here’s what he had to say about his Freeish Time…

What inspired your innovation time?

JMI wanted to make our design process a little more efficient and get a more systematic approach for development handover ingrained from the start. Which is easier said than done!

We haven’t ever implemented a fully systematic approach for design, as is de rigueur in design ops at the moment, because these generally pay off more when you are a team which works on one product. For example, ‘design systems’ can have a large setup and maintenance cost and some companies have dedicated teams just to service them. We instead err on the side of trusting our team to apply principles of re-usability and giving flexibility to do the right thing for the user in context. However I wanted to produce a light touch template which put the process on the right rails from the start and would save us time and headspace, a definite win-win scenario!

Talk us through what you did...

JM: My Freeish Time was made up of a day sprint and in that time I put together version 1 of our template in Sketch using symbols and styles (which define reusable pieces such as buttons and text styles) to create a one pager which shows the look and feel for a mobile app.

Going forward, we could use this to create a first look document for the visual design of our apps which can also serve as the foundation to design other screens and interactions. This small slice of design work is something the rest of the product would take a lead from as it would extrapolate the aesthetic feel and re-use many of the elements.

What were the key learnings?

JM: There aren’t too many as of yet! This was a single sprint to get an ‘MVP’ of the template together and I will look to update it in future Freeish Time days with the learnings of having to “eat my own dog food”.

Update: I did have a chance to use it for some pitch work that we did. Generally it was a time saver and using some of the new Sketch features around components, it allowed me to make some screens very quickly.

As with all products though, the cookie cutter approach doesn’t always allow you to do the right thing for the individual product and the specific user and I still had to find the line between what would be more customised and what would be a component. This showed up a few areas where my Sketch setup would need to allow for more flexibility and gave me a list of small fixes to apply to version 2.

Published on July 20, 2020, last updated on July 20, 2020

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3 Sided Cube is a mobile app development and digital product design company. Based in the UK we work with brands all around the world to deliver the highest quality products in the most efficient timeframe.

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