By David Zandman, Senior Content Designer

Historically, hiring someone required a bit of a leap of faith. You could talk to them, like them, be impressed with their resume — but still not know whether they could actually handle the day-to-day work for the new role. So-called ‘take-home’ assignments were designed to fix that. Still rare (or unnecessary) in many industries, they’re a standard step in the interview process for many roles in tech, from coding to writing to design.

Used primarily to evaluate a candidate’s craft, these assignments have become polarizing among the parties involved. Recruiters and hiring managers…

By Dan Shilov, Senior Product Designer

Each day, Instacart customers rely on getting their orders delivered to them promptly. Getting an order from a store to a house is no small feat. Behind the scenes, careful coordination and hand offs mark every step of the process. Throughout this journey we want to help our customers feel confident and secure about their order. At the same time we need to strike the right balance in showing just enough info without being overwhelming.

In late 2019, myself and John Salaveria joined forces to tackle this project. This was a massive undertaking and…

How the Instacart research team adapted to the unprecedented challenges of 2020.

By Shreya Gupta, Research Manager

Delivering groceries in a new normal

At the beginning of each year, our research team takes time to reflect on the things we need to achieve, and what creates the most value for our customers and business. 2020 began the same way — we planned out the year ahead and created our roadmap on what we needed to accomplish.

But you don’t need me to tell you that 2020 was different.

As the world began to quarantine, everything that comprised a typical day or week became an unexpected obstacle…

By: Stephanie Massucco

After one full year into a pandemic that’s changed both the world at large and the world of work, there are many lessons to look back on. One of those lessons is that you don’t need to bring people into the same physical space to foster a sense of connection.

During the last 12 months, we’ve been working hard to serve our customers and maintain team cohesion as we shelter apart. Instacart Design Talks, a virtual interview series between innovative trailblazers and our own Design leadership team, has been a welcome constant to look forward to. …

by Himani Amoli

Image of bananas with a step counter indicating that the customer has ordered 10 bananas for the Instacart Shopper to purchase.
Online shopping for offline goods.

Shoppers are the backbone of Instacart’s business. Every day, we’re energized by being able to help them serve customers more effectively and support their learning and development to build a long-term relationship.

In their offline workflow, they encounter back-to-back, real world variables. For instance, a grocery store can carry as many as 50,000 products in its inventory at any given time, many of which change day by day, minute by minute. In stores, shoppers carefully choose customers’ requested items and make quality replacements that align with what the customer is looking for.

Acknowledging that parts of their…

By Cody Reppert, Product Designer II

Coworkers working virtually together

2020 hit us all differently. For me, the most immediate effect was on my career. At the beginning of the year I was working in my first job out of college as a designer, where I had just been promoted. Just as swiftly, though, I was laid off when the company realized it would have to downsize due to the pandemic.

Today, I’m working remotely as a designer at Instacart. …

By Sandhya Talwalker, Product Design Manager

Visual representation of collaboration through remote technology.
Team culture in a remote/hybrid world

As we slowly emerge from a global pandemic, it’s become increasingly clear that “going back to normal,” at least the way we knew it, is somewhat of a mirage. The way we work has changed, some of it permanently so, and more workplaces than ever are embracing fully or partially remote workplaces for the foreseeable future.

Throughout my career as a designer and then as a manager, I’ve built a number of frameworks and practices for different design teams. In doing so, I’ve realized that ultimately, the operational framework remains the same. …

By Dan Shilov, Senior Product Designer

In January 2021, in addition to designing at Instacart, I took on a new responsibility — teaching a graduate level UX Portfolio course at University of Maryland. Having mentored designers previously and written a book about design interviewing, I was looking forward to expanding how I was contributing to the design community.

One of the things I enjoy about working at Instacart is our support and sponsorship of the design community. Many of our designers are active mentors outside of work. …

By Stephanie Massucco

A lot has changed this year at Instacart.

As the Covid-19 pandemic forced us all to rethink how we buy groceries and essential goods, our business has undergone structural, operational, and cultural changes to adapt and continue to serve our customers.

Internally, we’ve navigated several shifts as well. Like many companies, our employees used to work together, face-to-face at our office. And like many companies, the pandemic has required us to learn how to operate 100% remotely. …

A Q&A with Elizabeth Ferrall-Nunge, Instacart’s Head of Research.

We just welcomed Elizabeth Ferrall-Nunge to Instacart Design as our new Head of Research. Elizabeth comes to us from Twitter, where she led the company’s research team, and Google before that, where she was a UX Researcher on Google Maps. At Instacart, she’ll scale the research team that gets to the heart of what busy families, dedicated shoppers, retailers and advertisers want from our products and our brand.

Research at Instacart has a direct and meaningful impact on our mission to create a world where everyone has access to the food they love and more time to enjoy it together…

The Instacart Design Team

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