July 25-27, 2018 / Vancouver, BC

An Interview with Yesenia Perez-Cruz from Vox

Written by Shannon Fisher

February 6, 2017

Yesenia

Steve caught up with Vox Product's Design Director, Yesenia Perez-Cruz. Yesenia gave us a sneak peek at her DCC17 talk, her role at Vox, and what she's been learning about flexible design systems.

We can't wait to hear more from Yesenia this summer at DCC17.

Get your tickets now!


Video Transcript

Steve
Well, we're over here for another interview for the Design and Content Conference. And I'm really excited, because today we have Yesenia Perez-Cruz from Vox Media. Why don't you introduce yourself to the DCC crowd?

Yesenia
Hi! Yep, so my name is Yesenia. I am a design director at Vox Media, where I work on the on-platform user experience and design system for the eight brands that are part of Vox Media. So they include the Verge, Vox, SB Nation, Eater, Polygon, Racked, Curbed, and Recode. I'm also based out of Philadelphia.

Steve
Wow, that is a lot to be working on. I know we're big fans of Vox and some of the work that you have been doing. So what are you working on right now that you're particularly proud of or passionate about?

Yesenia
Yeah, so for the past year or so that I've been at Vox, I have been working on kind of building up that design system that is shared across all of the brands, which has been a really interesting design challenge, because each of the brands has a really distinct content and editorial strategy. So typically when I worked on a design system in the past, I would be working for one brand that might have different applications where their brand could live, but a consistent voice, a consistent content strategy. So creating a unified system for brands that are as diverse and unique and have as distinct voices as all of Vox Media's brands do has been a really interesting design challenge to work on.

Steve
Yeah, no kidding. Super interesting. So you're coming to Vancouver to the Design Content Conference and giving a talk. Maybe you could tell us a little bit about the talk that you'll be giving.

Yesenia
Yeah, so I'm gonna be actually talking about that experience of how we can create a design system that is flexible enough to work with a variety of content strategies. I thought that would be a really interesting melding of perspective on the design system that would be interesting for the Design and Content audience. So I'll talk about some of the assumptions that I had from the beginning about what it would take to create a flexible design system and how some of those didn't exactly pan out and how I learned from them and some of the changes that I made in my perspective about how to create flexible design systems.

Steve
Oh, that's great. Are there any teasers that you could give us right now about some of the things you learnt?

Yesenia
Well, initially my thought was since it needs to serve as many content types as possible, as many different voices, let's make this as vague, not vague, but as brand agnostic as possible of a design system. And a lot of what I learned was that in order to actually have that flexibility, there would be certain places where I had to be actually much more specific in how I defined things. So that was one of the biggest revelations in my mindset that I had.

Steve
Yeah, that's really interesting. I'm excited about hearing the rest of the story at the conference. So, I think you told me that you've never been to Vancouver before.

Yesenia
Nope.

Steve
So happy to bring you out there and be your host. I'm just wondering if there's anything in particular that you're excited about about coming to Vancouver?

Yesenia
Yeah, so I actually, a couple of my coworkers went last year and they just took the most amazing pictures. I think they went a little bit earlier and did some hiking. They kind of took a longer drive and kind of explored the surrounding areas, so I was just like wow that looks beautiful. I really like hiking. I love nature and being outdoors, so... And especially in the summertime it sounds like pretty amazing, so I'm looking forward to that. It'll probably be like hot and muggy in Philadelphia around that time, so I'm excited.

Steve
Yeah, it'll be a nice break to come here. The summers here are always spectacular. Sunny, like warm enough that you're like really comfortable in t-shirts and stuff like that, but not too hot. And there is fantastic hiking that you can take city buses to if you wanted to.

Yesenia
That's amazing.

Steve
Or just a really short drive. We'll make sure that you get to experience some of that while you're here.

Yesenia
Yeah, that's amazing.

Steve
Well thanks for taking time to chat with us today, and we're excited to see you this summer.

Yesenia
Yeah, I'm really looking forward to it. The lineup looks so amazing. I'm really excited.