commadot.com http://commadot.com by Glen Lipka Thu, 19 Sep 2019 18:43:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.3 https://i0.wp.com/commadot.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/cropped-siteIcon21.png?fit=32%2C32 commadot.com http://commadot.com 32 32 2075023 How to Resign Professionally http://commadot.com/how-to-resign-professionally/ http://commadot.com/how-to-resign-professionally/#respond Thu, 19 Sep 2019 18:43:12 +0000 http://commadot.com/?p=8493 I really wish they taught this in college. However, since I have recently had people resign incorrectly, I figure it would be a good idea to write down how to do it properly. To be clear, I am not encouraging anyone to resign. I am just saying how to do it professionally.

Step 1: Start early

Months before you resign, before you even start looking, you should give some indication to your manager that you are unhappy. You should say something like, “Hey, I wanted to let you know that I was feeling unsure about my future here.” The point is to give your manager a chance to make life better for you. Maybe even start the recruiting process in advance.

I understand that this is deeply controversial. What people are afraid of is that the manager will fire you on the spot. This is rare, but not impossible. In my opinion, it is better to be a good person and be communicative rather than not say anything, even if it means I get burned on occasion.

In the world where you say nothing, the manager has no recourse. They can’t make anything better. In the world where you say something, maybe they can adjust. In the end, it is a personal decision, but I hope I have at least given people something to think about.

Step 2: Write a letter

It seems obvious to me, but apparently it is not. You must write down your resignation on paper and also send via email. Here is text to use:

Date

Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:

I am writing to announce my resignation from Company Name, effective two weeks from [date].

This was not an easy decision to make. The past ten years have been very rewarding. I’ve enjoyed working for you and managing a very successful team dedicated to a quality product delivered on time.

Thank you for the opportunities for growth that you have provided me. I wish you and the company all the best. If I can be of any help during the transition, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Sincerely,

Your Signature (hard copy letter)

Your Typed Name

Step 3: Take PTO if needed

Find out from your HR department what the policy is regarding PTO and Sick Days. Typically, you get those days paid out to you in your last paycheck. However, if you lose them, you should take a vacation. In other words, use your PTO if you are going to lose them. Again, this is rare. 99% of the time you get them paid to you. (Note: This is in Silicon Valley – could be different elsewhere)

Step 4: Resignation day

You sit your manager down and say “I am sorry, but I have bad news.” Then you hand them your letter. They might try and save you. However, the answer should be a definitive and emphatic No. Statistics show that most people who take the saving offer end up resigning within six months anyway. The time for saving is Step 1, not step 4.

They will tell you how they want to proceed. Ask them, “Do you want to tell the team or shall I?” Give your manager the preference of how to communicate. Don’t jump the gun and blab to everyone. Give the manager time to communicate.

If the manager asks you why you are leaving, you should be honest and forthright. Sometimes people honestly don’t know the grievances you have. It is good to hear critique. Don’t sugarcoat it. Don’t try to spare their feelings. Be objective and honest. You don’t need to be brutal or mean, but it is professional to be honest. If you really, really hate your boss, you can resign to the HR person (Assuming they exist).

People will ask where you are going. You can tell them. Keeping it secret is just being weird. Again, this is a weird phobia people have. They think their dickhead boss will call the new place and yell at them, and therefore they will rescind the offer before you even start. This is insane. This happens less than getting hit by lightning. Just be normal and say where you are going. People are just curious.

Step 5: Keep doing your job

For the next two weeks, do your job. This isn’t a vacation. Try and train other people to know your area. It is possible that the manager says “You don’t need to come in. This can be your last day.” If that is the case, you say thank you and hand in your laptop.

First and foremost, be courteous, professional, and polite. Don’t cause scenes as you are exiting. People need to continue to work. Don’t burn the building down metaphorically (or literally). Don’t rock the boat.

Step 5: Write recommendations and thank you letters

In the weeks when people know, make sure to meet with people and say thank you. They will all want to know the dirt. Why are you leaving? Who hurt you? Generally, don’t get into it. Don’t make the situation more tense. Don’t talk shit about people. You are there to say nice things to and to listen. Hand written thank you letters are especially nice and you should do it for the people you would like to work with again someday.

Also, write LinkedIn recommendations for the same people. It is a really nice gesture to coworkers and we don’t do it enough in general.

Step 6: Don’t recruit

Generally, it is very poor form to recruit people from your office to your new gig. The accepted time frame is one year. Don’t recruit from your old job for a year. After that, it’s fair game.

People (when they hear where you are going) will ask you, “Oh that sounds great! Can you get me in there??” Generally, you should say, “I shouldn’t recruit anyone for a year. I love working with you, but as a new employee there I want to get to know people first.”

Summary

There it is. Simple steps. Again, I am not encouraging anyone to quit and I am very happy with my current position. However, after seeing this done poorly, I thought it helpful to tell people the standard steps.

Be professional. Be kind. Be communicative. Bee pollen.

]]>
http://commadot.com/how-to-resign-professionally/feed/ 0 8493
The Design Case Study Paradox http://commadot.com/the-design-case-study-paradox/ http://commadot.com/the-design-case-study-paradox/#respond Sat, 31 Aug 2019 17:02:29 +0000 http://commadot.com/?p=8450 Every designer has a section of their portfolio where they show their work. The typical method of documenting their work is called a case study.

case stud·y
/ˈkā(s) ˌstədē/

a process or record of research in which detailed consideration is given to the development of a particular person, group, or situation over a period of time.

Here are attributes that I notice in most designer case studies:

  1. Very long pages with lots of text
  2. Limited navigation
  3. No progressive disclosure
  4. Emphasis on process and not design
  5. Majority of content is research, not design
  6. Usually static (not animated)
  7. A picture of someone staring at sticky notes on a wall

Paradox 1 – It’s not applicable

Never in my 25 years of designing have I ever had to write a case study for work. Never. Not once. Additionally, I have never even heard of a product designer having to make a case study. The only people I’ve seen make case studies are marketing designers. (And those look very different)

So the question is: Why do we make designers explain their work through a case study? What’s the point?

I’ve heard one hiring manager say that if the designer can make a case study, it shows they can do the research to design something. I think this is complete BS. There is literally zero overlap of skills. A designer needs skills to do the job, but writing a case study isn’t one of them.

In university or trade school UX programs, they emphasize making these case studies. Additionally, they make sure they all follow the same template. In other words, they all look the same.

Paradox 2: Same is bad

As a hiring manager, I look at dozens of portfolios a day. Truthfully, they are 95% identical. It’s very different than looking at books at Barnes & Noble. All books look the same if you don’t read them. It’s the WORDS that make a book better or worse. You don’t judge a book by its cover, right?

However, you DO judge a designer by their designs. As mentioned above writing is not the primary skill of a designer. Design is the primary skill. So the question is: Why are portfolio case studies using the “book” model? Why are they trying to differentiate using words when the primary skill is the opposite of words? To me, this just doesn’t make any sense.

I’ll often describe this as the Zebra and the Peacock. These two animals have very different ideas about “Getting chosen”. The zebra is being chosen by a lion. It means death. A peacock is being chosen by a mate. It means life. Zebra therefore blends in and the peacock stands out. Life or death, which is the right metaphor for a designer case study?

The Zebra and the Peacock

It seems obvious to me that being chosen is GOOD in the dersigner case. It means getting a phone call by the hiring manager. So clearly, you don’t want to blend in. You want to stand out! So why in the world is everyone teaching young designers to blend in?

Maybe some hiring managers want designers who don’t actually have creativity or design skills. Maybe they want to copy other company (Apple/Google) designs, follow the crowd, don’t stand out. This may be the case. If you are a designer, ask yourself, “Is that where I want to work? Do I want to blend in my whole career?”

Paradox 3: Time spent mistmatch

I spend on average 3-5 minutes per portfolio including their LinkedIn page. I think I am a bit above average in time spent. I’ve ask designers and they all say between 30 seconds and 2 minutes is their expected amount of time from the hiring manager.

If this is the case, why in the world would you make a giant long text page? Clearly in 3 minutes for one page (generous overestimation) you have no chance to read the whole thing. So what’s the point?

I have never seen a designer case study where they used progressive disclosure. They could make a 30 second version and allow the user to click on items they want to know more about. The case study could be interactive. It’s a complete mystery to me why people trying to get a job called Interaction Designer make a demonstration site with zero interactivity.

Bottom Line

The bar is actually pretty low. Most designer websites are awful. They spend all their time writing long case studies and no time creating a good design for their buyer persona (the hiring manager). Wix and Squarespace sites are a dime a dozen and honestly, the experience is terrible. Webflow is gaining in popularity, but I haven’t seen enough of it. I’ve been intrigued by this tool that sits on top of WordPress called Divi. It looks like a full blown design tool. I would suggest designers really take a good look at their site and ask if my paradoxes (paradoxii?) are true.

Either I am completely wrong or design websites are. We aren’t both right.

]]>
http://commadot.com/the-design-case-study-paradox/feed/ 0 8450
Product Value/Effort Explained http://commadot.com/product-value-effort-explained/ http://commadot.com/product-value-effort-explained/#respond Fri, 23 Aug 2019 22:09:39 +0000 http://commadot.com/?p=8438 I often like to think of things in a spectrum or on a line graph.

A junior designer asked me how to convince the product management team to increase the scope of the project to add in all of the usability features. He said that it was a better product that way. I drew him the following chart.

Click to zoom

Let’s break it down from left to right.

  1. Products are not valuable until you build them. This is why there is zero value until you can deliver something. That is called the MVP.
  2. Sometimes (often), you can put in a little bit more effort and almost double the value you get from a feature. I call this the MLP.
  3. Of course, you can put a ton of effort into a feature no one cares about. It goes without saying that none of us has ever done that before! (Sarcasm). Anyway, this is labeled “Dumb“.
  4. Finally, with a ton of effort, you can get to the highest level of value. This is labeled “Flagship”

I believe you should decide in advance if a particular feature is a MLP or a Flagship feature. Not all features are going to yield the same value to the organization. Sometimes you want to do the minimum and check the box.

However, I strongly believe that the level of effort to get the feature to MLP (from MVP) is almost always worth it. Put the little details in!

Lesson 1: Don’t do MVP if you can get MLP for minimal effort.

Additionally, it makes no sense to do the dumb thing – to put a ton of effort into a feature that people won’t use very much. This is labeled dumb for a reason. I really wish companies were wiser about this item. Way too often a dumb feature is built taking way longer than it should have.

Lesson 2: Don’t be dumb. If it isn’t going to give significantly more value, don’t put in significantly more effort.

Finally, when you are working on a flagship feature – something that will be used in every demo. Something that will have analysts talking… that is the time to invest serious effort.

The key point here is: Decide what kind of feature it is and design it appropriately. Designers should be part of this thought process. Don’t just leave it up to the product managers. They aren’t gods. They are human beings just like the rest of us. Talk to the engineers. Find out how hard things are. Prioritize. Be strategic.

Designers should be proactive strategic thinkers. Not reactive tactical thinkers.

I like this chart. Hopefully you found it helpful.

]]>
http://commadot.com/product-value-effort-explained/feed/ 0 8438
Recruiting Two Product Designers (2019) http://commadot.com/recruiting-two-product-designers-2019/ http://commadot.com/recruiting-two-product-designers-2019/#respond Tue, 20 Aug 2019 02:35:26 +0000 http://commadot.com/?p=8395 It’s time to hire again! I have two open headcount for product designers. Woo hoo! Senior Product Designer and regular Product Designer.

We aren’t Google with fancy free food. We aren’t Facebook with crazy money for every employee. (Although we do pay quite well) We aren’t Twitter with 330 million users. I need to have a good reason for people to want to work with me. Let’s see what we got…

What is Arm Treasure Data?

We are an enterprise software company. We service a few thousand people in Global 2000 companies. The software is big and has a lot of complicated parts. Simply put, Treasure Data is a SaaS system to collect data within a large organization so that you can manage, clean, and activate it. It’s generally called a CDP (Customer Data Platform). Originally designed for data engineers, the product is transitioning to be focused on marketing users. There are a plethora of major features to be designed.

Why is this a good place for designers?

We are not subordinates to product management or engineering. We are full-fledged partners in the development and ideation process. We have space to conceptualize and design forward-thinking features. Those designs are used for demos to get feedback and directly influence the product roadmap.

We are not the Usability Research Lab. We are the Product Design team. You can always talk with customers, but our job is to design Figma specs to be built. We are the voice of the customer, and sales, and marketing, and product management, and engineering, and QA, etc. We balance all of the voices into a coherent design to be built.

We use Figma as our design platform and pair-design whenever possible. This is not the place for solo sketch consultants who want to be left alone.

Good designer qualities

  • Experienced with web application design (Not just mobile or marketing website design)
  • Curious
  • Engaged
  • Creative
  • Empathetic
  • Team oriented
  • Familiar with engineering realities
  • Ability to learn from mistakes
  • Talented
  • Self starters
  • Kind
  • Energetic

Finding the right job (or the right candidate) is a difficult process. You try and make the best decision you can after just a few hours of interaction with the other party. I don’t mince words or serve “shit sandwiches“. I will mentor you and help you develop your career in exchange for hard (creative/detailed/inspired) work.

This is an individual contributor position working directly with me. If you think you might be a good fit, apply today. Hopefully, it will be the beginning of a terrific working relationship. If you questions, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.

]]>
http://commadot.com/recruiting-two-product-designers-2019/feed/ 0 8395
New Designer 1st Month Checklist http://commadot.com/new-designer-1st-month-checklist/ http://commadot.com/new-designer-1st-month-checklist/#respond Fri, 02 Aug 2019 00:17:44 +0000 http://commadot.com/?p=8374 I have 3 new designers starting next week. Here is how I conceptualize their first month of work.

Day 1: Fill out paperwork. I just assume that it takes all day long. Thanks HR! (Sarcasm)

Set up your desk and computer: Everyone likes to put their monitor and chair into their proper place. Everyone has a few programs they like to use. Lots of stuff to set up. A Mac was new to me, but probably will be normal for the new designers.

Meetings: I introduce new designers to a series of people for 30 minute sessions. They should ask “What do you do?” and interrogate them to get their point of view. A great question is “I am on the design team…if you had a wish for me to design something, what would it be?” or “What thing in the system is terrific and you want to make sure I don’t mess it up?” Generally, just meet lots of people. Roughly a dozen people is about right.

Learn Figma: This is our tool of choice. Learn how it works. Learn components, constraints, design system, naming scheme, etc etc. I’ve given all three designers a heads up about this so hopefully they will hit the ground running.

Learn the Product: It’s amazing to me how many designers don’t actually know how their product works or why its used. Treasure Data is a fairly technical business product, so it takes a while. I’ve been working on how internal employees are trained so these three designers hopefully will have more intro than I had a year ago.

Learn the Personas and Market: Similar to learning the product, this is understanding what kinds of companies use us and what kind of people are our users. We have nice personas. They should learn all of them and ask questions. Clarity is key.

Learn the Design Principles: We have a series of design principles. They should learn the nuances of them and internalize them.

All of these items will take a while. I typically give designers 4 weeks to do all of them. I don’t give them any specific design tasks for their first month. Too often, employees are thrown into the deep end on their first week and drown. Starting a new job shouldn’t be stressful. it should be educational and welcoming.

How much time do you give people before you load deliverables onto their plate?

]]>
http://commadot.com/new-designer-1st-month-checklist/feed/ 0 8374
Never Ask Permission http://commadot.com/never-ask-permission/ http://commadot.com/never-ask-permission/#comments Tue, 30 Jul 2019 18:15:00 +0000 http://commadot.com/?p=8369 Most people think that you should ask your boss for permission to do something out of the ordinary. I think this is a terrible idea. Here is why…

When you are asking permission for something, there is usually some risk associated with the action. Something could possibly go wrong. You don’t ask permission to do safe things. You only ask permission when you think you could possibly get in trouble. The risk is the risk of it going badly.

When you ask permission, the manager fundamentally has to assume all of that risk. In other words, if you fuck up, then you can say, “But my manager told me it was OK!” Now, you aren’t to blame. Your manager is.

So ask yourself, Why in the world would a manager want to assume risk for something they didn’t ask for and can’t control? There is no reason.

Asking permission is a selfish act. You are protecting yourself instead of protecting your manager. Your manager doesn’t want your risk. They have their own risk to deal with.

So what happens if things go wrong when you don’t ask permission? Well, you get in trouble, that’s what happens. It’s not magic. Someone has to get chewed out for fucking up. Take responsibility and act like a grownup. Own your mistake, learn from it, and do better next time.

Does this mean you might even be fired for fucking up? Yes. It means that. But it also means that you tried something you believed in, you took responsibility, and executed your solution. You were decisive and proactive. To me, you were an excellent employee, not a screw up. If your company is the kind of place that frowns upon that, you need to ask yourself if that is the kind of environment where you can grow as a professional. Do you want to work in a “chain-of-command-top-down” military structure? Or do you want to have some ability to make some decisions and run with it?

There is a special term that is often used to avoid asking permission. It goes like this:

Unless otherwise instructed, I am going to X, Y, and Z. – The non permission

– A good employee

By framing things that way, you give the opportunity of your boss to put on the brakes. However, it doesn’t block you from action. This does not count as “Asking permission”. It does eliminate plausible deniability, but also keeps them in the loop. Be strategic of when you choose your communication strategy.

Maybe this advice is harsh and doesn’t work 100% of the time. However, too many people are just doing as they are told and need to contribute more creatively and decisively. What do you think?

]]>
http://commadot.com/never-ask-permission/feed/ 2 8369
Different Approaches to Managing My Growing Team http://commadot.com/different-approaches-to-managing-my-growing-team/ http://commadot.com/different-approaches-to-managing-my-growing-team/#respond Fri, 26 Jul 2019 17:47:06 +0000 http://commadot.com/?p=8365 I have three new designers showing up in the next few weeks bringing my team at Treasure Data to 7. Generally, I feel that doing 1:1 development of an employee takes time and trying to accomplish that for more than 5 people once is difficult. So I am faced with choices of how to structure the group.

For reference, I managed a diverse team of about a dozen (including PM, UX, Docs, and PMM) at the height of my Marketo tenure and smaller teams throughout my career. I try to maintain some of my time dedicated to design work, but as expected, when you manage alot of people you don’t have large blocks of time to design.

I’ve been thinking about how I want to manage this growing team and what kind of employees to keep adding. Here are some thoughts with pros and cons:

The Detached Guru

I’ve experienced this kind of management myself. I could rise above the fray and just make sure the people are happy and growing. I would give principles and north-stars, but not the details. This gives maximum responsibility to the team to self-organize, prioritize, and execute.

The upside of this approach is that senior people feel that they can run free without constraint. They feel delegated to and that makes them happy. However, it can also feel chaotic, especially if the team members have different visions of the details. This only works if the team is talented AND really get along together. In those cases, it’s actually pretty great.

Junior people will often get themselves into trouble because they just don’t know what they don’t know. Sometimes, being thrown into the deep end builds character. Other times it just creates a losing situation where people feel ineffective and insecure.

I don’t love being in this role because I take such direct responsibility for the design outcomes. I don’t want to say, “Well, I let my team do it and they didn’t do a good job.” Ultimately, I am more hands-on.

The Dictator

On the other side of the spectrum is the micro-manager. This is the opposite of the Guru. In this model, I would descend into the particulars. I would get into the details of every project with every employee. Every interaction could be reviewed. This gives the least amount of power to the team to organize, prioritize, and execute.

I have had CEOs before who worked this way and the truth is that it can be somewhat freeing. It sounds bad at first blush, but a dictator can let you ignore many of the fringe elements of the job and just focus on execution. It’s often the endless exploration that ties up designers. We can explore until the cows come home but sometimes we just need to execute. Additionally, this model can often perform quicker with more unison that other models since there is a singular vision in charge.

However, most people don’t want to work this way all of the time. A dictator takes away your personal agency and doesn’t let you bloom. How are you going to learn if you aren’t able to make decisions and mistakes along the way? We learn by doing and by reviewing what happened. We learn by experience. A dictator really limits team growth, plus it generally doesn’t feel good to most people.

The Architect-Coach

I’ve been trying to think of a phrase that captures what I attempt to do. On the one hand, I want to maintain a single point of approval/sign-off on the specific designs. The reason I want to do this is because I am much more detailed that all of the designers I have ever hired. I think I learned this trait from Phil Fernandez (Marketo CEO) who would find every flaw in a design with incredible accuracy. I honestly don’t do it as well as Phil, but I try. In the end, someone needs to hold the line on quality and consistency. If I meet a designer who does it as well as me, I will gladly delegate. Please email me for a job if you think you are that person.

On the other hand, I need to delegate responsibility and create an environment for people to make mistakes and learn. I don’t want to be the dictator all of the time. So I try to wear the coach/mentor hat whenever possible. I find tremendous enjoyment when I see a designer grow and become better. When I can personally help them on that path, I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment.

The Architect-Coach requires alot of context switching. This is difficult, but well suited to me since I can switch fairly quickly.

Summary

I think it all depends on the people you have on the team. Some people are more suited to delegation than others. Some people want specific direction and others want more “north star”. Different people have different skills. I need to adapt and make each person successful in their own way. Generally, I love designing, but building a team/coaching has its own rewards.

One other thought, my success metrics are:

  1. At the 1 year anniversary of each employee, if I could go back in time, would I tell my younger self to hire or not? So far, I am batting about .500. Good for baseball. Not sure for work. What’s your percentage?
  2. Is there tangible evidence that the team is respected and credited with helping the overall mission/vision of the company? Is my team considered essential?
  3. Lastly, regrettable turnover. Do I lose people whom I wanted to keep?

It’s useful to have metrics for yourself as a manager and to think about your style. Feedback welcome.

]]>
http://commadot.com/different-approaches-to-managing-my-growing-team/feed/ 0 8365
We are all of us http://commadot.com/we-are-all-of-us/ http://commadot.com/we-are-all-of-us/#respond Tue, 23 Jul 2019 17:11:48 +0000 http://commadot.com/?p=8361 It’s so easy to say, “I didn’t break the law, he did!” or “I am not racist, those guys are!” or “I wasn’t unkind, they were!” It’s finger pointing at its finest.

It’s easy to avoid responsibility for things we didn’t explicitly do ourselves. However, we didn’t do anything to stop them either. We didn’t create an environment where those misdeeds were infrequent or impossible.

I see people on the right side of the political spectrum say that poor people should just work harder — and then also cut funding to poor people’s schools. I see people on the left side of the spectrum say President Trump is a racist — and then also move to the suburbs to go to “better schools” (a.k.a. whiter schools).

The President of the United States represents all of us whether we like what he does or not. When he signs a bill into law, we all sign that bill. When he nominates a Supreme Court Justice, we all nominate that justice. When he is racist, we are all racist. When he is unkind, we are all unkind. He represents us for better or for worse.

It’s easy to say, “Not my President.”

In a company, it’s easy to say, “Not my department.” There are tons of problems a company faces and most people are totally willing to point their fingers at the other departments and dole blame out to everyone but themselves.

I have a personal value that I try to live by. It’s not doing the easy thing. It’s actually doing the hard thing. It’s harder to take responsibility for a bad situation. It’s harder to admit that I am complicit in the problem. It’s harder to admit that I stood by while bad things were happening.

If you think these children being separated from their parents at the border and left in a horrible prison to rot for weeks is not OK, I have a question for you: What have you done about it? Have you given money to help them? Have you driven down to Texas with supplies? Have you voted? Have you marched in a protest?

We have a bunch of jokers planning to storm Area 51, but no one is planning to storm these detention centers and free abused children. We complain. We point fingers. We are disgusted. But what are we doing to stop it, to improve it?

Whether it’s helping another department in your company, helping a neighbor in need, helping provide social justice, or just voting, we all have a responsibility to the group. If we stand by, we have to live with whatever we get. It might sound weird to equate social justice and helping another department in a company. However, I think it’s the same root behavior. Stop pointing fingers and get involved.

More people skipped voting that voted for Trump/Clinton combined. We are apathetic and lazy. We point fingers.

We are all of us. We are our best and we are our worst. That is democracy and civilization, for better or for worse. Does thinking this way change anything for you? Does it make you feel any more empathy? I wonder sometimes what words would change the world. I know they are out there.

]]>
http://commadot.com/we-are-all-of-us/feed/ 0 8361
I Miss Windows (July, 2019) http://commadot.com/i-miss-windows-july-2019/ http://commadot.com/i-miss-windows-july-2019/#respond Fri, 19 Jul 2019 18:18:52 +0000 http://commadot.com/?p=8356 I’ve been using a new top-of-the-line Mac as my primary desktop for the past 11 months. Although it was not by choice, I made the best of it. I installed the Beta of Sierra and now Catalina. I experimented with different apps and ways of organizing my desktops. Lately however, I have been missing Windows. Here are the things I miss:

A decent dock (start bar)

The biggest problem for me that it’s annoying to find the window you need. I have my work browser, my home browser, Figma, and other files/programs open at once. I want to flip back and forth without getting lost.

My dock doesn’t show what window is currently showing

The problem is that the dock doesn’t show what window I’m looking at. With a windows start bar it is very obvious. It groups things logically and has a quick UI to switch. (I use Alt-Tab frequently on Windows, but hardly ever on Mac) With the Mac, I am constantly losing windows underneath other windows.

I think one of the problems is how the windows are managed in general. See next section.

Maximization and Snapping

It’s easier to show than explain, but when I maximize a program on the Mac, I can’t also put a finder window floating on top of that. There are lots of times that I want to do this. One is when I want to drop icons on top of Figma. In Windows, Maximizing doesn’t stop you from floating something on top of it. It’s much more intuitive and functional for me.

The ability to drag a window and snap to the left or right or top is so great. I totally miss it. With Mac, I have to fiddle with windows until it’s just right. I know I can maximize more than one window in a space, but then the dock goes away. I want the dock to stay regardless of if I maximize a window. It just doesn’t work for me.

Start Menu

I think spotlight search is generally fine, but I find the windows start bar to be more functional and useful. It has more built in functionality and I find it is a convenient anchor for me.

Keep in mind, that Windows and Mac are really similar. They are 95% the same. Anyone who says they are more different than that are not paying attention to the details. I am pointing out small differences that (for me) make a difference in the UX.

Screen scaling

I have a nice big curved 4k monitor. Unfortunately, my new MacOS can not perform scaling on it properly. So I get this terrible mix of font sizes and have to constantly change the zoom to make it work depending on if I am in a conference room or docked at my desk. This is probably my number one annoyance. In Windows, the scaling works much better.

In Conclusion

I still am not allowed to use a Windows laptop, but the minute I am able to, I will switch. I miss the UI and think its objectively better. I will continue to make the best of the Mac, but I just don’t see how it is better.

]]>
http://commadot.com/i-miss-windows-july-2019/feed/ 0 8356
How Essential is WiFi at work? http://commadot.com/how-essential-is-wifi-at-work/ http://commadot.com/how-essential-is-wifi-at-work/#comments Mon, 15 Jul 2019 22:51:04 +0000 http://commadot.com/?p=8289 We had some WiFi problems at work. It went on and then went off. On and off, back and forth. I think the problem is that we have added too many people in the room and the hardware is getting overloaded. It raised the question in my head, “How much do we need internet to work? Could I work without it?”

Meetings

I am often in meetings. Usually, I don’t even bring my laptop to sit in a meeting and contribute. I find the laptop distracting and always hate when people are typing during a meeting. The problem arrises when the meeting is boring. If I am in a boring meeting, I might as well get some work done. No WiFi makes that impossible.

Some meetings have people video conferenced from other locations. A good phone system can dial them in, but if you are screensharing, you are SOL. This is assuming you have internet for phones, but not WiFi. No internet and your phones likely won’t work. Welcome to the future.

Designing

Luckily, I still get to design as part of my job. (Sometimes) When I am designing, I USED to be fine without internet. I used PowerPoint on the desktop and could work in a vacuum. Figma isn’t so happy without internet access. In the collaborative model that Im working on with my team, I need access during the entire design period.

My only workable tool in these situations is the trusty pencil and paper. I actually can get alot done that way. I can mentor people and to whiteboard designs.

Communicating

Slack, Email, JIRA… Without WiFi, I am pretty screwed on these. There are no ethernet ports anymore. They make USB-C ethernet converters, but they are rare. My dock has an ethernet port, but none of the ethernet ports near by desk are active. Remember the days when EVERY computer was connected via wire? It wasn’t even that long ago!

Testing

Since our product is a web application, no WiFi means no testing. I can’t login or do anything useful. Sad trombone noise.

Managing

As long as the employee is in the office, I can manage. On a good day, I leave people feeling motivated and productive. On a bad day, I leave people feeling frustrated and confused. Hopefully, my good days will outnumber the bad.

In conclusion. I need WiFi at work for 75% of all of my tasks. It’s pretty important. Oh, and blogging…I can blog using a text editor, but can’t publish without WordPress.

Is this the most insightful blog post ever? No. But Im publishing anyway.

]]>
http://commadot.com/how-essential-is-wifi-at-work/feed/ 2 8289