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Digikala Design Team Restructure

Revamping the design team, its process & tools

About Project

Digikala is the largest e-commerce platform in Iran & has a variety of products. All of these products (including main shopping website, sellers panel, Pindo classified app, Digikalajet on-demand shopping app, and some internal products) are designed by the Digikala design team. I have been responsible for managing this team for the past two years. Adding new product lines, the lack of a proper process to check the quality of the designs, and some important missing skill sets in the team made me think of restructuring this team at the beginning of 2020. See the story of this change below.


2020 to 2021

My Role

Design Manager


In early 2020, the Digikala design team had the daunting task of designing over 10 crucial products with a mere eight designers and one manager. These individuals were responsible for every aspect of the design process, from research to design and UX writing. Furthermore, the tools at their disposal were inadequate for a design team of their size. It was evident that this framework had resulted in subpar product quality and was not a sustainable solution for the future.


Creating a New Design Team Structure

To create an effective design team structure, I began by benchmarking successful design teams worldwide. Next, I sought validation for my ideas by consulting with a manager from Airbnb and a product designer from Google. Finally, I developed a well-designed structure for the team and presented it to department managers and the human resources team for approval.

Expanding the Team

Recognizing that the current team size was insufficient for the workload and volume of products, we developed a six-month plan to increase the team from eight to 20 members.

Forming Design Squads

Given the significant differences between the products, it became apparent that a team of 20 people could not effectively address all of them. To ensure better focus and efficiency, we divided the products into three distinct squads, each led by a dedicated manager.

Design team squads

Incorporating New Skillsets

Prior to the team restructuring, product designers were tasked with UX research, UX writing, and task prioritization. Unfortunately, this multifaceted workload caused a reduction in designers' focus and product quality. As a result, I introduced three new roles to the team: UX Researcher, UX Writer, and Project Manager.

Skillsets inside each squad

Creating the Design Ops Squad

In addition to the design squads, we created another squad, Design Operations, with the objective of developing and maintaining our design system, refining design processes, improving onboarding procedures, and fostering a more positive work environment within the team.

Design ops squad added to design team

Introducing Promotion Opportunities

In the previous team structure, there were no opportunities for career advancement for team members. To rectify this, we created new squads and added a senior level to each job position, allowing for career progression and promotion opportunities within the team.

New career ladder inside the team

Updating Tools, Processes, and Workflows

Following the expansion of the team, we undertook a revision of our tools, workflows, interview process, and onboarding documents to ensure that they align with the new team structure and operations.

Revamping Our Design Tools

Our use of Sketch as a design tool was problematic, resulting in conflicts over library file usage, poor performance, and a lack of prototyping capabilities. Additionally, we were required to utilize a cloud platform and a separate handoff tool. To address these issues, we replaced Sketch with Figma and added Coda to our toolset for documentation purposes.

Changing design team tools

Refining the Interview Process

To prepare for the rapid expansion of our team, we developed new interview tasks for each position, as well as a comprehensive assessment form to evaluate the results of each task. Additionally, we created a feedback document to provide to candidates upon completion of their tasks.

New interview flow

Developing an Improved Onboarding Process

With numerous new team members joining us as part of our restructuring efforts, it was essential to establish a comprehensive onboarding process. To meet this need, we created an onboarding document in Coda that included information on our team's profile, processes, tools, and all necessary items to onboard new members.

Promoting the Team Through Knowledge Sharing

As the largest design team in Iran, the Digikala design team lacked a proper platform to promote itself, share knowledge, and showcase its team atmosphere to outsiders. To address this issue, we created a blog for the design team and encouraged team members to actively participate in Clubhouse discussions and spaces.

Our Team's Commitment to Growth and Innovation

Last year, we embarked on a crucial project to restructure our design team, which aimed to build a more efficient and better team. The project was successful in scaling the team, adding new skill sets, forming new squads, and revising our tools and processes, leading to improved quality of work.

As I am no longer part of the team, I am unaware of the progress made since then. However, I know that these changes are just the beginning, and the team will continue to grow and evolve. New challenges and opportunities will arise, and the team will need to adapt accordingly. The team's commitment to continuously improving its processes, refining its skills, and staying up-to-date with the latest design trends and technologies will play a crucial role in this evolution.

As the team moves forward, I am confident that they will continue pushing themselves to be the best they can be, creating innovative designs that meet the needs of their customers and stakeholders. I am also sure that the team will continue to share their knowledge and experiences with the design community, through their blog and other platforms, inspiring others and contributing to the growth of the industry.

In conclusion, I am proud of the progress the team has made so far, and I am optimistic about what the future holds for them. With the right mindset, skills, and tools, the team will undoubtedly continue to make a positive impact and deliver outstanding results.

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