YouTube Commercials 2020

Recently, YouTube has increased the average length of their commercials. I dont have a scientific study but I had become used to long ads that I could skip after 5 seconds. Now, they are 10-15 second ads that I can’t skip and usually 2 of them back to back. Plus, there are more mid-video ads…

Roadmaps

Roadmaps are funny things. In my cynical experience, their whole purpose is to make people feel confident that things will go according to plan. The Dark Knight, 2008 This might be controversial, but in my experience roadmaps are deeply flawed documents. Here is a partial list of some of the common problems: They are jumbled…

New Host: A2 Hosting

I have been hosting with asmallorange.com (ASO) for 6 years now. They were a decent host for the most part. I was using a simple shared hosting package. However, in the past year I became a bit disgruntled and disappointed. Complaints Complaint 1: Free SSL Google has long said that they will optimize for secure…

Home Networking Setup

Being at home with a full family means lots of people video conferencing all at once. This is putting a strain on our home networking setup. I have tried a few methods. Here are some of my learnings. 2.4 and 5 GHz WiFi The tried and true Netgear router. It works for a room, maybe…

Tesla Model 3 2020

My lease (Kia Sportage) was over and I needed to get a new car. I know I am just a single car owner, but I believe electric cars are the future and want to do my part. My first thought was the Kia Niro since I was leasing a Kia already. I drove it and…

Figma 2020 Wishlist

I have made many requests in the Spectrum.Chat community. Some are long standing, others have been completed. Here is my consolidated Wishlist for 2020. Built In UI Components Every designer I have ever worked with and every desktop application I have ever seen all have some common elements. Here is a short list: TablesComboboxModalsTreesBullet Lists…

Figma Features 2019

My primary design tool is Figma. Long gone are my storyboard days of PowerPoint design. Right now, my team is 6 designers strong and they are all co-authoring like mad inside of Figma. We use it for everything. Figma has grown steadily in the past couple of years. They are making innovative features that people…

Project Roles and Responsibilities

The Roadtrip Metaphor I love metaphors and this one is one of my favorites. Imagine a project as a roadtrip with some friends. Sometimes you will be driving, sometimes you will be in the passenger seat, sometimes in the back seat. There are people, like your parents, who just want to know where you are,…

Product Value/Effort Explained

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…

I Miss Windows (July, 2019)

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.…

How Essential is WiFi at work?

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…

Adobe XD Listened (mostly)

I have to give credit where credit is due. In April, I complained that Adobe was taking years to build out basic things in XD. Today, they released a huge update. Let’s see how it compares to my complaints. Text Transform. Done!Scale Resize Symbols Independently. Done!Quick Access to Google Font Library – not exactly, but…

A Big Problem #boycottSafari

Note: This post is fairly technical, using (without explaining) many marketing concepts. It has a big impact, but may be complex for many people, especially designers. Many people in the world would prefer that everything online be free AND that their privacy is ironclad. The problem is that this ignores the economics of how everything…

All Roads on Twitter Lead to Hitler

I try hard to avoid Twitter. I use it (and LinkedIn) to publicize my blog posts. I click publish and voila! Insta-tweet. Sometimes, I will tweet a little joke or pun, but I hardly ever participate in the normal Twitterverse. The main reason is that every time I get into a conversation on Twitter, I…

Why is Adobe XD taking so long on basic things?

Designers are one of the worst markets to make products for. We are fickle/disloyal and we are picky beyond reasonableness. I feel badly for people who design products for us. With that said, I have grievances and need to air them. Adobe. What the heck is going on over there? I am going to point…

Asus MX34VQ 34″ UQHD Monitor and Scaling

I was using a LG 34UM68-P ultra wide monitor, but I was having some trouble seeing the edges of the screen. They literally were so far away that they turned blurry to my old eyes. Previously, I had been using a LG 34UC80-B 34-Inch 21:9 Curved UltraWide QHD IPS Monitor and I really appreciate the…

Making Things Worse

No one has the intention of making things worse. All designers have positive intent. However, in reality, there are plenty of services that get worse with upgrades. Recently, I have had a few upgrades that feel like downgrades. Feedly iPad App I am not sure what prompted such a big change, but I am completely…

New WordPress Editor 2018

WordPress has released a new editor. It’s very different than the previous one. This is a little meta, but I am going to review my first impressions of the editor in real time. I will also try out a bunch of the features. Drop cap is cool, I guess, but it looks like ass without…

The UX of Waze Carpooling and Scoop

I tried very hard to make CalTrain work, but I had to give up. It took too long, with too many transfers. I would have to buy a scooter or bring my bike on the train. Ultimately, driving was way easier. Goodbye reading.  🙁 So driving takes between 30 and 50 minutes depending on when…

New MacOS User – Week 2

After using Windows beta operating systems since 1992, I now have a new 13″ 2018 MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar.  I have it plugged into a 34″ widescreen monitor. I keep the MacBook open on a stand to the left of the monitor. Here are my thoughts after using it for one week. Keyboard…

Joining SiteTracker and Designing using Salesforce Lightning

I joined a new company called SiteTracker this month as their newly minted Head of UX. Just to be clear, I am the only designer, so “Head” is a little high falutin. I will post eventually about my interview process and lessons learned. SiteTracker is a Series A startup growing quickly in Palo Alto, CA…

Google Assistant with a Foreign Accent

I’d like my Google assistant (and Alexa) to speak American English with a foreign accent. Specifically, I’d cycle through different dialects such as Jamaican, Australian, British, Irish, and maybe even Spanish. Again, I don’t want them to speak a foreign language, just speak my language in their accent. It just sounds nicer to me. It’s…

Chat and SMS Tools

Let’s start with my list of requirements for the perfect chat tool: Mobile, Browser, and App form factors Easy images (especially memes) Video conferencing on demand Group chat SMS Integration End-to-end encryption Broad distribution (Everyone has it) Ultimately, I want a one-stop shop. Alas, I cannot find exactly what I want. Some of the candidates:…

Designing with the Salesforce Lightning System

I’ve started designing a product in the Salesforce Lightning System. There is nothing extraordinary about it. It’s a perfectly reasonable design language, similar to Google Material in many ways. Of course, there are a few things I wish they could improve. How could I use a tool or system and NOT have requests? Have you…

Giving Adobe XD a 2nd Chance

Everyone deserves a second chance, don’t they? I’ve been using Figma for a while and have generally been happy with it. However, I also love to try new software. Adobe XD is a design tool that I discarded due to being unable to make the components I needed. I have been watching their “what’s new”…

First Try: LimeScooter

In case you haven’t heard, Electric Scooters are the new “disrupting” thing in cities, especially San Francisco. Today, I had a lunch with a recruiter in the city and CalTrain was running very late. The walk would have been 25 minutes and I only had 20 to get there. Previously, I had used Lyft to…

UX Review: Calendar Schedulers

In talking with lots of folks, I have been using Calendly.com to help coordinate schedules. The back and forth of scheduling is a real pain and these systems make it much better. I tried three today. For language sake it can get confusing, here is a legend: Host = Person who has the subscription and…

Hello PowerPoint, My Old Friend

Figma had been doing a decent job of letting me specify the product I am working on. However, there were some pretty serious gaps. Performance was a constant problem. First time load: 20 seconds. Freezing the screen, about 20 times a day. Community is ridiculously slow to load/use Strange behavior pretty frequently Also, a more…

Cutting the Cord – Conspiracy Theory

After going through the long process of cutting the cord, I realized the term is wrong. Here is my general logic. It’s kind of a long proof, so bear with me. Most television and video is produced to make money. The money only comes in two varieties: Subscription and Advertising. Network (Antenna) TV is all…

Cutting the Cord Part 4

Ok, cutting the cord isn’t going to work for me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJxCdh1Ps48 So let’s recap: Had DirecTV with Comcast Internet Switched to no DirecTV and just Android TV streaming (Netflix, Amazon Prime) Added Amazon FireTV Added Hulu at various levels (including the new beta) Added YouTubeTV Switched from Comcast to Wave Added Tivo Bolt with Wave…

Cutting the Cord Part 3

My journey has taken a negative turn. My youngest son wanted to watch Adam Ruins Everything, which is a fun show on the TruTV network. The problem is that TruTV is not on Hulu or YouTubeTV. Sidenote: Google Branding is Broken For your understanding: YouTube is everyone’s videos uploaded YouTube Red just removes the ads…

Cutting the Cord Part 2

I did not realize it, but I actually have a choice on internet access. I just assumed that Comcast had a monopoly on my house. I have been waiting patiently for fiber, but it has not been available. Luckily, Grant commented about Wave Communications who provides internet access for a very reasonable price. Here is my current…

Cutting the Cord Part 1

Warning: This has been an insane journey, so I might be ranting a bit. Once DirecTV changed their interface, I decided to suspend the service and see if I could live in the streaming only world. It’s been an insane journey which will likely be impossible to journal. I’ll do my best and at some…

UX Tool: SubForm

These two guys apparently set up a kickstarter to build a new design tool, named SubForm. I just watched a few videos. It’s not available for download yet, but rather than go “stealth” the two founders decided to build tool in broad daylight. I have alot of respect for that. It jives with my personal value…

Concurrent / Collaborative Editing

Metcalfe’s law states that the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system. In other words, the more people using something, the more valuable that thing is. My first few computers in the 1980s were islands, completely isolated from the rest of the world. It…

Design Tools 2018 Prediction

I think the market for product designers stink. We have no real loyalty and minimal budget. I would never join a startup that targets me as a customer. However, there are plenty of players out there. Here is my prediction for 2018 in the space: Adobe The category king in many ways. Photoshop and Illustrator…

Removing Backgrounds from Photos

I have been an ongoing customer of Photoshop for the life of the product with steady upgrades every year. However, today, I canceled my Photoshop subscription. My main reason is that I just don’t use the program frequently enough. I basically use it to crop images or eliminate the background on photos. It’s not like…

A proposal for improving artboards in design tools

In Sketch, Figma, Adobe XD and others there is this concept called an artboard. It’s basically putting all of your different screens on one mega screen and you organize it as you see fit. You zoom in and out to go to where you want to go. Unfortunately, although its the new cool thing, I…

Design Tool Sadness (2017)

I want the best of all my tools. Here is my perfect mashup: Powerpoint Table Editing Text formatting Ease of use Storyboarding Figma Symbols Constraints Concurrent editing Cool-factor Adobe XD Performance/speed Large community Stable financial resources Yesterday, I was trying to wire up the prototype of the system I am working on and Adobe XD…

Figma or XD (again)

I’m all set up at my new desk. I have a riches of monitor space. They are attached to arms so I can lift it up and show the work to someone standing next to me. My new laptop is the Dell XPS 13-9350. No USB port! Crazy, but its working well so far. I’ve been…