When you’re designing for mobile – for the nooks and crannies of someone’s life – you need to have a deep understanding of who you’re creating for. For most products, that knowledge will help close the empathy gap between your team and your users. But for service marketplaces (Thumbtack, Airbnb, Lyft), that knowledge will also help you close the empathy gap that exists between your individual user groups (pros & customers, hosts & guests, drivers & riders). As design lead at Thumbtack, a marketplace that connects customers with local professionals, Audrey Liu and her team spend a lot of time thinking about how to minimize these gaps in a startup environment. She talks about common obstacles, how to overcome them, and best practices for designing more meaningful user-to-user connections through empathy.
A product design leader and director, Audrey has over 7 years of experience helping Fortune 100 companies (including Starbucks, IBM, and Deloitte) bring their ideas to life in both physical and digital form as interactive experiences. As part of her achievements, she designed and shipped SYPartners’ first self-branded digital app, Unstuck. This award-winning app, earned two Webbies and an Appy, has over one million downloads, and has since evolved into a content brand with over 100K weekly newsletter subscribers. Audrey helped to build the Product group at SYPartners from the ground up including hiring and mentoring the design team, developing and codifying the design process which uniquely blends the companies roots in consulting with the agile demands of digital design. Audrey joined Thumbtack where she is building and leading the design team there, as well as guiding the product and brand design vision.