Cassie McDaniel has been the Design Director for the Mozilla Foundation for the past two years, working remotely from her home in Paris, ON. In addition to her full-time role Cassie and her husband Mark have been running and hosting an event series called Paris Lectures, focused around creativity, technology and highlighting local professionals. They are also behind Women&&Tech, which they began 3.5 years ago while living in Toronto. Preparing for her second child, due to arrive any day now, Cassie shares what she's learned throughout her design career so far, the importance of building community and balancing a strong family life with a fulfilling career.
Tell me about all the different roles and initiatives you’ve been a part of over this last year and what those have involved for you?
I’m the Design Director for the Mozilla Foundation, which is the main thing that I do. It’s a team of 7 including myself. Our team is responsible for building sites and applications to further Mozilla’s mission – protecting the Internet as a global public resource – and we have various initiatives to do that, both in education and advocacy. My role was to lead that team of designers responsible for all the production elements of what we were doing. Every designer on the team has a whole lot of freedom and we work collaboratively to make sure that we’re shipping the best design that we can.
Can you tell me a little more about the differences between the Mozilla Foundation and Mozilla Corporation?
More and more the work has become mixed between the two but I would say overall that the Corporation is more focused on Firefox, and the Foundation supports all the other non-profit, mission-driven work that Mozilla does. In terms of how we are organized as a design team, the Foundation is small, tight and nimble. We do all kinds of design tasks from branding, UX/UI, illustration, and front-end development, whereas the Corporation has much larger design teams often divided by specialty.
The differences aren’t really known to the public and aren’t actually important for the public to know, but it’s a curious phenomenon when you’re working inside the system. For example, we were recently doing a huge branding audit and the same thing was happening on the MoCo side. How do we make sure we’re not repeating work or losing efficiency or overlooking important details that the other side knows more about and vice-versa? For designing holistically, it’s a challenge for sure.