As part of the Meet the Courserians blog series, we caught up with Siong Chan, Product Design Manager at Coursera. One of his primary missions is to align products and features developed to meet learner needs. Over the past 13+ years (with the most recent 5 as a design leader) he has helped envision design and products that delight the user while scaling the business up. His roles have focused on digital product design, growth, e-commerce, brand, and marketing.
What led you to a career in product design?
I went to school for Computer Science but couldn’t see myself doing that for a living, so I dropped out in my third year of college to study human-computer interaction.
What is a typical work week for you?
I hold two design reviews per week. The growth team at Coursera oversees a product area with many stakeholders. Our goal is to connect potential learners to the types of content that match their career goals. It’s important to work cross-functionally with other teams to make that happen. Design reviews serve as a venue for marketing, finance, legal, and more to come together and ensure we’re creating the best product possible. Our team is the central point for collecting feedback and producing a tangible output that the engineering team will then build out.
The other parts of my week are spent aligning with product managers on design solutions. I also spend a lot of time with our research and data science teams, identifying how we might obtain feedback to guide the design process and verify the hypothesis.
Do you have any advice for an aspiring product designer?
Be inquisitive! There is no right answer in product design. You want to make well-informed decisions based on a variety of data points, including qualitative and quantitative research. I have also deliberately chosen to work on different types of products in different industries because this experience diversifies your knowledge, craft, and skills. These are all transferable skills you build that can help you be more creative in the design process, which ultimately leads to richer outcomes.
What do you enjoy about working at Coursera?
We have an inspiring mission. I was really drawn to Coursera because I wanted to be a part of a company that would leave a mark in the world. It’s one of the very few companies that’s not just improving the lives of the top 1% of the population. We create opportunities for those who may not have access to higher education.
Explore a career at Coursera here: http://bit.ly/2knBY20