Working Sessions vs Executive Meetings

My time is generally split between two different kinds of meetings. One I love, the other not so much. Working Sessions A working session is a group of 2-5 people who are talking about a specific design or problem. They are brainstorming ways to improve it or fix it. In short, it’s a meeting to…

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Told You So Failure

I’ve wanted to build this app for decades. Last year, I finally got up the nerve to go to Upwork.com and get a freelancer to do it. The project is now over and I have to call it the worst project I ever worked on. Complete nightmare. Total failure. I spent $4,000 and got exactly…

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Giving and Taking Feedback

This is a little long. I wrote it up to answer the question, “What is the best way to give feedback on a design?” I hope its helpful for you. GIVING feedback Feedback on the deliverables/decisions This should be the most common and best forms of feedback. You should: Identify a logical error. It may…

Remote vs. Onsite

Working from home started out pretty rough for me. No exercise, gaining weight, and other issues plagued me. Then slowly something started happening. I started getting used to it. I am clearly a creature of routine. I like to let my mind wander as I take a shower, brush my teeth, etc. I can be…

Video Conferencing Thoughts

Obviously, we have all been using video conferencing way more than usual. I have some thoughts on it, of course. Video conferencing is harder than meetings It’s way more exhausting than talking with people. I feel like I can’t take my eyes off the screen. In meetings, I can look away and not feel guilty.…

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2020 Calendar

Here is my summary of 2020 and how it will unfold. It gets pretty hairy, so buckle in. Good news is that if you love pasta, it will turn out well for you in the end. January: Constitutional CrisisAhh, remember the good old days when we argued about impeachment and Russian interference? It feels quaint…

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Symptoms

⚠ This post is mostly for journaling purposes. In the past 36 hours, I have developed a mild cough and some wheezing. Also, I am super dehydrated. Yesterday and today, I drank nearly double my normal intake of water. Lastly, my nose has been running more than usual. It’s possible this is just due to…

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Silver Linings

Cloud: We are basically under house arrest.Silver Lining: If Corona hit three months ago, we would have no showers, and only one toilet for 5 adults. We would have lost out minds. Cloud: Our savings have lost a third of their value. Retirement seems like it will never happen.Silver Lining: We paid for the bathroom…

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Working from Home

Well, it seems like I have to work from home for at least a few weeks. Plus, all colleges are sending students home to work from there. So the house will be full of disgruntled people itching to get out. Unintended Consequences Whenever something weird happens, there will always be winners and losers. For example,…

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Post Apocalyptic Nightmare

There are many movies about the “end times”. They are fairly popular because we all have this fear, deep down, that our civilization, our society, everything we know, could all collapse. Whether that is a meteor like the dinosaurs, or Climate Change drowning us all, or aliens showing up and waging intergalactic war, we all…

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A Conversation with God

I recently had a full conversation with God. Here is how it went down. Me: God, why are people so mean to each other?God: (silence) …Me: Is it because we are evolved from aggressive primates and violence was always the answer in the jungle?God: …Me: Or maybe it is because we don’t teach empathy in…

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Portfolio as Product Site

If you are a designer, you shouldn’t think of your website as a portfolio. You should think of it as a product site. The product is your time. You are selling your time for money. That’s what employment is. Instead of looking at every other designer’s portfolio for inspiration, you should be looking at product…

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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…

I’m not for everyone

Surprise, neither are you. There are people and places where you are going to fit in well and thrive. There are other places where people will dislike you, ostracize you, and generally make your life miserable. We are not one-size fits all. Part of our human journey is finding the people and places that fit…

The Crux

crux (krəks, kro͝oks)the decisive or most important point at issue. The figurative use for “a central difficulty” (1718) is older in English than the literal sense; perhaps it is from Latin crux interpretum “a point in a text that is impossible to interpret,” the literal meaning of which is something like “crossroads of interpreters.” But Century Dictionary…

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Just Jared 2020

My 17 year old son just released his first album on Spotify. He gets paid a fraction of a penny for every stream, so if everyone listens 20 times, it may pay for 12 minutes of college. Just Jared – Self Titled, 2020 https://open.spotify.com/album/5jebBNCZ2vhEluowUQieeY?si=2Y-mtCCETXCxi1vlItb-pA My Review The album is really eclectic with a variety of…

Bathroom Remodel

We recently embarked upon a bathroom upgrade. We had never done something like this before. Certainly, we learned some lessons. In the end, I give us a B+. Here are the lessons and story of the project. Problem and Floor Plans We are actually remodeling two bathrooms. The kids bathroom was too big and the…

Ode to the Spreadsheet Designer

What is the greatest user interface ever conceived? In my opinion, it is the spreadsheet. Yes, there are plenty of great interfaces, but this is my favorite. Specifically, what is amazing is the leap of faith the designer made to create this incredible UI. First a bit of history. Dan Bricklin conceived VisiCalc while watching a…

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Notes for my UX Recruiter 2020

About me I am not good for everyone. I know this. A colleague from the UK said I am like Marmite. Usually, I get hired in places that want to innovate and shake up the status quo. I get hired when they want to have a strong, active, design team. On the flip side, I…

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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…

2020 Predictions

What is a successful percentage to be right on yearly predictions? 30%? 75%? I was looking back at old predictions and I have a pretty mixed record. The Jets have never once won the superbowl! Anyway, it’s that time of year. We should all make predictions. It’s worth seeing what you thought a year ago…

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2019 In Review

One of the nice things about blogging is that it creates a journal of your life. I know when I got my dog. I know when I visited Japan. I know when I met Hillary Clinton. To a degree, if I didn’t blog it, I am not sure if it happened or not. On that…

Differentiation

Design Principle #12Always create space between you and the competitionGlen Lipka, 2019 Whether you are building a tech product or writing a resume or giving a presentation at a conference, it is important that people remember you. The only time you don’t want to differentiate yourself is when you are trying to blend in, like…

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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…

Tennis Level: 4.5

I currently play tennis about 2 times per week. I started around 12 years old and played through my teenage years. On the east coast, you play more in the summer and less in the winter so my play was erratic. My game was OK, nothing special. I played middle of the pack. And then…

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Clean and Modern

Internally, I have a bullshitometer. It’s a technical device that detects bullshit. It looks like this: My Internal Bullsitometer, highly accurate One of the things that pushes this finely tuned device to the extreme right are when designers say the words “Clean and Modern”. This is just a stupid Jedi mind trick. It’s a way…

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Inspiring Design: Google Doc

A designer asked me the other day what application design I thought was great and I happened to be working on a Google Doc. I thought it was a terrific design in many ways. Just as an aside, Google Slides is one of my LEAST favorite Google applications. It’s awful and everytime I use it,…

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The Default Design

I give a design exercise to candidates to bring in for their onsite interview. The point of a design exercise is shed light on the following: Are they masters of their tool?Are they productive?Are they creative?Are they logical?Are they detail-oriented? One thing I advise candidates to avoid is the “Default Design”. The default is the…

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Passion for Your Craft

My mother-in-law, Penny, is a retired nurse. After retiring, she took up weaving. For those of you who don’t know, weaving takes up alot of space. There are baskets of wool everywhere. The loom itself is enormous. Penny’s loom is roughly as big as this one. Looms are big! She used to have a dining…

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Designer Review Cheat Sheet

When I review a new applicant, I look at their information and decide whether to set up a zoom video conferencing call or not. The truth is that I WANT you to succeed. I want you to have multiple lucrative offers. So to help you, here is a cheat sheet to get past my review.…

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Tips for Designers 2019

Some of these tips are going to seem obvious. Like “Duuuuhhh” obvious. However, I can tell you that I am getting candidates who fail on every single one of these. Master Your Tools The job is to be in a design tool and make stuff (and go to a bunch of meetings). Meetings and design,…

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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,…

Uppercase Lowercase

I enjoy thinking about how things evolved, especially words. Like for example the word uppercase comes from the original printing press. If you don’t know how a printing press works, I’ll explain quickly. There were all these little pieces of metal that had letters cast into them. A person would put those letters on a…

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How to Resign Professionally

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…

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The Design Case Study Paradox

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…

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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…

Recruiting Two Product Designers (2019)

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…

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New Designer 1st Month Checklist

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…

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Never Ask Permission

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…

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Different Approaches to Managing My Growing Team

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…

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