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Rob Chappell

Sr Director, UX Design, Digital Experience / Raleigh, NC


What is your role and what team do you work on?

I lead the Digital UX team in Red Hat Marketing's Digital Experience org. We are focused on delivering a cohesive, digital-first experience for Red Hat's evolving product portfolio that differentiates our brand, enables customer and partner success, and makes it easier to engage and transact.

How do you get inspired first thing in the morning?

My wife and I have three young boys, so mornings start early to get everyone ready and out the door. Once it is time to drive in or log in to Red Hat, I'm ready for the transition to work! Every day is different, but I get a lot of inspiration from several group chat spaces across our team where we regularly share our latest project updates, ideas, insights, and releases.

What makes leading a design team at Red Hat unique?

Aligning our design work to ensure a relevant, consistent experience for our customers comes with unique challenges given the design practice is distributed across Red Hat. It has been especially rewarding to usher in a new era of cross-company collaboration across design teams at Red Hat—we are building stronger bridges internally as a self-organized, global Design program and renewing our shared commitment to creating a unified experience across everything we do.

How are you incorporating open source principles into your designs or design processes?

One example is our web components UI library, where we've open sourced the accessible, adaptable building blocks of our digital design system as a community project on GitHub. Another example is our growing UX research community at Red Hat.

Rob Chappell

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We are building stronger bridges internally as a self-organized, global Design program and renewing our shared commitment to creating a unified experience across everything we do.

How do you prioritize collaboration across teams in your design process?

Design is a team sport. And we emphasize co-creation as core to our team’s approach. When we are designing and building digital experiences, we include feedback loops with stakeholders, adjacent functions, and even end users. Prioritizing this collaboration hasn’t been a tough sell, as there’s a general view at Red Hat that more perspectives make the work, thinking, design—all of it—stronger.

How do you think diverse voices and perspectives make the design process stronger?

Design requires a strong level of trust for team members to share new ideas and challenge the status quo. We are more likely to solve problems and be innovative when our design process has increased team engagement. Trust starts with a sense of belonging and a process that's open to multiple perspectives - that's foundational for building a healthy team, too.

How does your design work contribute to the creation of helpful and accessible experiences?

Building a unified customer experience requires connected, accessible touchpoints that are delivered across many teams and environments. To connect the concurrent work across marketing, customer success, product, and IT teams, we’ve developed a shared user journey framework and UX design toolkit to help us focus on empathy for the people for which we are designing and consider their needs across their end-to-end experience. This shared journey framework orients our distributed work within a customer’s holistic relationship with Red Hat, giving us a broader view of what’s helpful or what needs to be improved.

What does open design mean to you?

Open design practices connect and align our many teams working together to build a unified experience for Red Hat. That’s about finding ways to share ideas, frameworks, systems, and insights early, as they are being developed, to invite contribution. And making it easy for anyone to reuse or remix design assets.

Any last thoughts?

Things are always moving fast in our design team. It is easy to become reactive or manage the pace with a fixed approach. There’s already an emphasis on design system adherence and repeatable patterns for how we scale our collective design work in the enterprise. That’s all very important. But equally important is exploring new ideas. Find time to reflect, observe, and dig deeper. I really appreciate designers who come to the table with a range of inputs they’ve gathered, new angles they’ve considered, and inspirational “what if…?” concepts to help us see differently and envision what’s possible.