Jason R. Grant
Product Designer

x.ai design systems

Establishing a design practice within a tech focused startup

The project

UX/UI Design

Establishing a research practice in a tech focused startup

My Role

First product designer at AI startup

The Ask

As the inaugural UX designer at x.ai, a New York-based startup focused on building a digital personal assistant for meeting scheduling, I introduced scalable design systems and user-centered research practices to a tech-centric environment. Through establishing a strong foundation for UX design, I enabled the team to deliver more intuitive and impactful experiences.

Design systems

As the owner of the UI-based experience at x.ai, I initiated a streamlined design process by standardizing the visual and interaction design language. With three primary goals in mind, namely creating a cohesive style guide, scalable interaction design patterns, and reducing decision-making for the development team, I reworked the basic design elements and typography. Implementing the Atomic Design System and Type-scale, I established a comprehensive system that redefined core styles and standardized various visual and interaction design patterns on the site. To enhance efficiency, I transitioned to a coded style guide by creating a live microsite reflecting production CSS. Simultaneously, I conducted an extensive audit of the x.ai CSS, identifying duplicated classes, repetitive declarations, and leveraging the capabilities of the LESS preprocessor.

I created the design system in Sketch, but wanted something that could be used more readily by the development team, so I translated this design into a working CSS respository.

The code based was a more easily accessible way for the development team to consume my design system. Ideally, this would have been made in something like Storybook, but we kept is scrappy in the startup environment.

I repeated the success of the x.ai design system, and replicated the effort for a set of internal tools used by the AI trainers.

Establishing User Research & User-Centered Design Practice:

At x.ai, I introduced a robust user research practice, starting with usability testing for internal tools used by AI Trainers. Collaborating with the VP of AI Training, we improved system usability and reduced errors through UI redesigns. Next, I conducted a large-scale qualitative study on customer onboarding, informing prioritization of projects and bug fixes. Lastly, to foster a design-minded approach throughout the product team, I facilitated feature kick-off sessions and ideation workshops, incorporating user scenarios and journey mapping. I created guides for Product Managers to ensure consistent user-focused outcomes throughout the product discovery process.

I conducted multiple rounds of usability testing on many of our internal tools, resulting in findings and recommendations for the tech team to review. While we had a wealth of quantitative data, nobody had made sense of it through evaluative testing.

I introduced the practice of design thinking workshops and various user-centered design techniques to the executive and product teams. They were generally well received...

The Product team found the workshop format especially helpful and continued to use it extensively in their work.