Welcome, friend. You are here because you are an exceptional creative dynamo able to synthesize complex business requirements into effective, usable, accessible, attractive user interfaces. You know how to manage stakeholders, stick to a deadline, and keep your focus on the user. In short, you rock. We are interested in working together, we know you are too, and in order to make a final determination as to whether we are the right fit for each other, we want to try a realistic exercise.
The exercise should take around 4 hours. If you hit 4 hours and , we encourage you to stop and let us know, as we don’t want to waste your time.
You can complete the exercise whenever is convenient for you. You can do it all at once, or in chunks. Because it is not interactive, each stage may not make total sense with regard to the last. That’s OK. Roll with it and if something is too confusing, feel free to reach out to us.
You will receive a $400 stipend to complete the exercise. If you do not feel that this is a fair stipend for your time, let us know and we can figure something out. We want you to feel fairly compensated for your effort, as if this was a real-world gig. We are happy to pay in advance if you prefer.
Once you agree to do the exercise, please complete it within one calendar week.
At each stage we have provided light instructions for how to move forward. Our handbook provides guidance on how we work, our approach, and our communication standards at Cantilever, which you can certainly take into consideration, but we know you haven’t had time to read and absorb all of that. So please interpret the prompts however makes the most sense to you.
Please note that this exercise also puts you in some tricky spots. We endeavor to create an uncommonly smooth experience for our staff, but sometimes, curveballs appear. We’re curious to see how you would respond.
Part One: Planning
You are a product designer at Cantilever. We have recently been hired to work with Google on the product design of YouTube. Wow! Great gig, right?
We’ve been onboarded into their design team and have learned the basic principles of their product. You are acting as the “Artisan” on the project. The current team consists of you and a project manager, Fritz (A.K.A. an “Organizer”), with light support from Sandra, the Head of Production.
Today is Monday, July 1. You open your computer in the morning and find the following email from the Client:
Hi Cantilever team, We have had a lot of requests for in-video reactions. You may have seen something similar on Instagram, Marco Polo, Zoom and other products. They usually have some interface to open a tray of emojis, and when the user taps one of those emojis, that becomes the reaction. The idea is that while a video is playing, users can trigger different responses to indicate how they feel about the content. The reactions play some kind of animation on the screen, often to the side. The reactions of one user should be visible to everyone else who watches the video, but each user should also be able to turn them off. Content creators should also have to opt in to allow reactions on their videos. We may want to tie reactions in with Liking/Commenting in some way, but we haven’t thought much about that yet. Do you folks have time to work on a concept for this under our current hourly agreement? We have a pitch meeting with our CTO at the end of the week, and would like to present the work to her. If the pitch is accepted, we would definitely want Cantilever to design the feature, and we’d pay you a bajillion dollars in Alphabet stock. Let us know how long it would take to work on this concept and what times work for a review with us on Thursday. Best, Shaz Pumpernickel Head of Product, YouTube Pronouns: They/Them
This image is attached:
Fritz immediately follows up to the client, saying:
Shaz, Thanks so much for reaching out. We would be thrilled to take on this feature and can get started right away. We’ll get back to you with an estimate for the concept stage and some good times for the Thursday meeting.
Actions (Est. 1-1.5 hours)
firstname.lastname@example.org the following questions:
- What are your initial thoughts on the feature? What would make it successful? What are the big unknowns you need to solve? What would your steps to finding good solutions look like?
- Pretend that you already had a full slate of work scheduled for this week. How would you react to this opportunity coming in?
- Write back to “Fritz” (aka
email@example.com) with your initial thoughts – whatever you would write in real life.
- Spend ~30 minutes doing some initial concept sketching (Low fidelity) for the feature in whatever medium you prefer (digital or paper). Send the results to
Part Two: Concept
Fritz has cleared your schedule so that you can focus on the project this week full-time. It is now Tuesday morning. The meeting with Shaz is set for Thursday at the end of the day. You have done some initial sketching and research, and now it is time to work on some design. Normally we would have more time to gather requirements, meet with stakeholders, etc, but this time we have to improvise a bit (Editor’s note – this should be uncommon, but is a convenient premise for an exercise prior to you actually knowing our client’s products). If we can show the client enough on Thursday to get them excited, we’ll likely get to design the full feature and bring Digital Hospitality to billions of YouTube users. Wow!
You know that you should stick with their existing design system, and try to come up with some interesting ways to tie in the feature with it. You also kn
Fritz has also asked one of our trusted freelance collaborators, Demarius, if he is available to help. Demarius is an excellent UI/UX designer with lots of experience. He says he has around 4 hours a day to help. You have worked with him before and trust him and his skills.
Shaz says they are standing by to answer questions today by email.
Actions (Est 2.5-3 hours)
- Spend some time on initial design concepts for the feature, at whatever level of fidelity you can manage in this short time. We realize there is not much time in the exercise to do much, and we’ll be forgiving. We just want to see what strikes you. We know designers don’t like showing incomplete work 😀
- Please do your concepts in either Figma, XD, or Sketch, depending on your preference.
- Please record a ~5 minute screen capture video walking Fritz through the concepts. Use Loom or your screen capture tool of choice.
- We want to see how you use components and how you name and organize things.
- Please answer the following questions:
- What would your gameplan be for preparing for Thursday?
- What kinds of materials would you use in the presentation meeting?
- What further research would you do?
- What are the five top questions you would ask of Shaz by email today to help inform the work?
- What would you ask Demarius to handle? How would you prefer to collaborate with him?
Please email a link/file for your concepts (Depending on the medium you choose), the walkthrough video, and the rest of the answers, to
In this email please also include payment information so we can send you the stipend for completing this exercise.
Thanks so much for taking the time to perform this exercise, and we’re so excited to see what you come up with!!