Ryan Singer – Ep. 79

While at the Front End Design Conference in Florida last year we were lucky enough to catch a quick interview with Ryan Singer from 37signals. He gave a really great talk about how he approaches design and it is indeed quite different from design processes i’ve studied or experienced in the past. He is truly a hybrid, practicing both design and programming concurrently. It’s a process defined by exploring what the user needs in real time.


Ryan is a very opinionated designer, for me that’s really a positive thing because having a conversation with someone as confident and knowledgeable as Ryan inspires me. Talking with him is such a great experience and if you’re ever able to have a conversation with him like Giovanni has it just may change the way you approach your work.

Hopefully you got your ticket(s) for next week’s Front End Design Conference. If you’re there, please say hi, we’d love to meet you!

About: Ryan Singer

Ryan SingerRyan Singer is a UI designer who designs and writes code, he’s a product manager at 37signals. You can read his thoughts on design and programming on his blog feltpresence.com and he regularly shares great info on twitter @rjs.


Gene Crawford

With over a decade of experience in the industry he has overseen the design and architecture of hundreds of web sites and applications. An active member in the design community, he's the editor & producer of unmatchedstyle.com, the ConvergeSE, ConvergeFL, ConvergeRVA and the Breaking Development conference series.

  • really glad you shared this one.

    it’s hard to see a project with fresh eyes after spending many hours, weeks, or months working on it. and that’s why user testing can be nice… those are _actually_ fresh untainted eyes.

    but it makes me think of how a very familiar room, your kitchen for example, can be experienced anew if you lay down on the floor, or climb a ladder.

    i wonder if ryan singer has techniques for getting one’s fresh eyes back… (i guess i’ll have to dig into his stuff more). or if he’d say it’s mostly common sense.

    • I have the same reaction listening to him talk about this stuff Jonah. I think he’d mostly say it’s common sense and I think mostly it is, it’s just really hard to do…

    • I know that Cameron Moll likes to blur his images, so that he can scan shapes and value distribution without having to focus on the content. Greyscaling a design is another way of seeing it anew, as is flipping the composition horizontally and vertically. We used to do that a lot with paintings. Seeing the image flipped really changes how you process it.