Episode 11

Aditya Patel and Building Better Design Practices as a Product Director


October 19th, 2021

39 mins 37 secs

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Special Guest

About this Episode


Aditya Patel


Eriol Fox | Richard Littauer

Show Notes

Hello and welcome to Sustain Open Source Design! The podcast where we talk about sustaining open source with design. Learn how we, as designers, interface with open source in a sustainable way, how we integrate into different communities, and how we as coders, work with other designers.

We are very excited to have as our guest today, Aditya Patel, who is the Director of Product at HotWax Commerce, a startup company. He does a lot of stuff with designers and he’s a designer himself, so today he explains to us his approach to design. Aditya goes in depth about what HotWax Commerce is and how it works. He fills us in on the design system he created in Figma, and more about Storefront UI. Eriol brings up an interesting topic about “Heuristic Analysis.” Also, we hear Aditya’s approach to finding the balance between creating innovative designs and managing implementation challenges. There are so many interesting conversations today, so download this episode now to find out more!

[00:02:22] Aditya talks about what he does, how he ended up in HotWax Commerce, and more about the product for retailers.

[00:04:52] Aditya explains his idea for his approach to design and what he considers design at HotWax Commerce.

[00:07:28] We find out more about how HotWax Commerce collects feedback from consumers and how the key performance indicator (KPI) is used.

[00:11:44] We learn Aditya’s thoughts on the topic of sometimes not ever knowing who is using your open source and how this could be improved, and Eriol gives us their thoughts on this as well.

[00:14:08] After Aditya shares an example of what he does when he’s in that situation of “how do you tell if what you’ve done is useful without people coming back to you,” and Eriol talks about “Heuristic Analysis” which they recommend to designers to do on open source projects they want to contribute to.

[00:17:21] Aditya wrote a UI framework that’s part of a UI kit that he put into Figma and he explains how that works. He also tells us more about the Storefront UI made by Vue Storefront.

[00:22:06] Eriol asks Aditya to talk about how long it took him to do all these things with the framework, some of the conversations he had with his team about doing the work and implementing it and using it, and how beneficial this is for open source organizations to do this themselves.

[00:28:14] Richard wonders what the balance is between creating “innovative” designs and managing implementation challenges within this framework and how does he balance that.

[00:32:12] Aditya expands more about Behance and Dribbble and how they don’t functionally make sense with dead end workflows. Eriol wonders how these two things interlink.

[00:35:09] Find out where you can follow Aditya on the internet.


[00:04:56] “Well, what’s interesting is, I find that if you kind of have to have the same mental approach of designing because your consumer’s a consumer no matter if they’re the end consumer or if they’re using it to deliver something else.”

[00:05:44] “So, essentially the way I think about it, I think which is pretty broad, but I guess it has to be, which is: it’s how your consumer or your user fulfills their tasks.”

[00:06:12] “Your design has to stem from: is it really helping them do this better?”

[00:08:40] “And the good thing about B2B software which is different from end consumer stuff is there’s a KPI tied to what you sold to this person.”

[00:15:21] “But when you come back to it two months later, you’re like, wow, this is not that easy to use!”

[00:15:30] “So that’s just a way without feedback, you can kind of give yourself feedback by becoming a third person by stepping away from it for a while.”

[00:24:07] “And so you end up writing this endless cycle of cut some technical debt of code and that’s the real thing that we were hunting to figure out, like we have to stop this.”

[00:26:56] “And then the real magic or the real bliss happens, it’s like you put two atoms together and your molecule comes together with auto layout and it’s just like a dream come true.”

[00:29:22] “I can’t make my left foot happy and have my right foot be shot because my development is hell.”

[00:30:04] “You do a small 5% innovation, you figure it out so now you have that in your tool belt, and you do another 5% of innovation in design. That’s when you eventually get to like better innovation and you get to figure out how to do more and more innovation in your design.”

[00:32:16] “You know what’s funny is the first thought I have is the exact opposite of what I wrote, which is these people out there making designs that don’t actually do anything are probably the inspiration inside of when you’re thinking within the system.”

[00:32:40] “I think it wouldn’t be interesting if there were more people out there that were using all of these Dribbble and Behance designs if they were more like, oh, I use this design system and use it in a way that you’d never thought of.”

[00:33:33] “I think what you’re described is a really tricky problem. It’s a design culture problem potentially where wouldn’t it be beautiful if we celebrated designers using systems and using frameworks.”

[00:34:53] “I’m a bit of a dreamer when I think about these kinds of things, but the balance that you bring is much more like, this is how things could be, this is how things should be, this is the way in which this could be done, which is I think, fantastic!”


  • [00:36:12] Eriol’s spotlight is vermontcomplexsystems.org Ocean Awards Program.
  • [00:37:25] Richard’s spotlight is Talisk, an amazing band from Scotland.
  • [00:37:48] Aditya’s spotlight is Storefront UI.