UX Candidate Design Challenge – v3

This was the last design exercise I made for people interviewing for jobs. People didn’t do great on it, like the previous ones, but I keep trying.

Design Challenge

A rich, famous comedian (Louie) employs 4 aspiring comedians. Their job is to write comedy with Louie.

Being funny is often not a solo effort.  Many famous comedians got their start working for someone else.

Design a way for the 5 people to work together on the scenarios above.  They are usually not in the same location/time zone.

There are no budget/training/technical constraints.

Sample Projects

  1. Louie is hosting the Golden Globes – short topical zingers
  2. Louie has an upcoming performance at Carnegie Hall – longer thematic stories
  3. Louie is hired to create a television sitcom – character development and dialog


Delivery and timing matters, so you will need some video component. The text matters, so there is a text component. Plus, all comedy is iterative. You need versions and permutations and plenty of annotations. The annotations could come in the form of other iterations.

It’s actually a very complicated system. Most people stumbled because they took a simplistic approach. Almost all systems used for work have real depth. The devil is in the details. Don’t try to think of this as something you can do in 15 minutes. The point is to see what questions you ask and how you move the ball forward.

Many designers refused to design anything. This is clearly bad in the interview. You need to design. Make something, some interaction. My suggestion would be to zoom in on one detail, like when someone gives feedback on a joke. Draw something.

Some designers just made flows with words. They were stalling and avoiding designing something. I can’t stress this enough…just dive in and try. You aren’t going to get hired by trying to do user research for the whole interview. Don’t worry about doing ALL of the sample projects. Just focus on something.

And finally, ask questions and make some judgments. Like, “Do you think they are going be high or drunk while doing this?” Hmm, maybe I should make the functions easier.

This whole system COULD be a simple Google Hangout. Video and text right there. I could deliver it today. Why redesign something that works? Think out of the box. Think. Act. Design.

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