Product Designer at Height


WilliamBout (Product Designer at Height)

French designer & developer based in San Francisco working at Height, the all-in-one product management tool.

San Francisco, United States • June 18, 2024

What led you into design?

I've always been curious about understanding how things work. As a kid, I was more interested in disassembling toys and objects than just using them (whilst not being very good at reassembling).

Growing up, I became increasingly interested in computers and technology in general. At some point, I remember getting a Creative music/video player and starting to customize the UI by replacing the icons and installing new fonts. That's when I realized that anything visible on a screen was designed by someone at some point and could be modified.

Soon after, my dad gave me my first Mac: an old Power Mac G4 Quicksilver — I vividly remember watching the Mac OS X Leopard intro video after the first startup. On that Mac, I started to learn how to write HTML & CSS, got into RSS feeds, and started to host websites that I would share with some friends.

A few years later, Sketch 2 got released, and it completely changed my perspective on icon and UI design. Around that time, I also discovered Designer News and started to follow many designers.

What does a typical day look like?

I usually wake up around 7:30 am. I like to go on a walk and chat with friends and family from Europe.

Then I make some coffee (usually Blueboon from Sightglass) and start catching up with the rest of the team. First, I focus on blocking items for engineers to make sure there aren't any designs that need adjustments.

Height's design team is spread out across New York City, Honolulu, and San Francisco, so I generally start addressing the feedback about the work I shared the previous day. Then I dive into Figma until my first meetings, late in the morning. During the second half of the day, I organize and refine the work I started in the morning.

By 6 pm, I like to go on a run or a bike ride. It helps me clear my mind and can often spark some new ideas.

What's your workstation setup?

Where do you go to get inspired?

I've been in California for almost eight years now, but I'm still amazed by the beautiful landscapes and the incredible light here. Driving along Highway 1 never gets old.

Photography is another big source of inspiration. I've been collecting photobooks over the years, and from time to time, I like to (re)open one and rediscover someone's work.

I also like to collect inspiration on Savee

What product have you recently seen that made you think this is great design?

It's been a few years, but I still absolutely love my Leica M6. It's a relatively simple camera; all you need to do to use it is to advance the film and press the shutter button. It will provide some light measurement, but you're responsible for setting up the camera correctly. The build quality is remarkable; every button and dial feel great. Because you need to manually adjust the camera before taking a photo, it makes the shooting experience very intentional.

A little detail I love: There is no on/off switch. It might sound like a trivial detail, but it makes this camera feels frictionless.

What pieces of work are you most proud of?

I released Émulsion — my first iOS app — last year, and I'm super proud I was able to publish this side project on the App Store. Working on a project that combines my passion for photography, programming, and design was truly special.

I couldn't ship all the features I envisioned initially, but looking back, that was the right decision (I didn't want to compromise on my mental health)

What design challenges do you face at your company?

Being part of a small team means we must constantly adjust design decisions based on their impact on end users. It can be very tempting to spend time and resources on a very specific detail, but you should always ask yourself whether or not right now is the right moment to tackle that particular problem.

What music do you listen to while designing?

Any advice for ambitious designers?

Stay curious. Stay humble. Stay hydrated.

Anything you want to promote or plug?

You can find me on Twitter & Instagram.