Blog Posts Everywhere, Now Lost In One Place

Hi folks! I apologize for the lack of fresh produce here on User Experience Rocks.

Now that I’m a full time UX & Content Strategist at InVision App, I’m writing for their blog, contributing guest posts to various publications and I have also begun posting some new content (and reposting old content) out on Medium, since many of you requested that I give the platform a test run. (You were right, I loved it!)

I promise I didn’t drop off the face of the earth and stop writing entirely! No search parties necessary. Still here, writing up a storm!🙂

I’m going to start posting links to all of my latest articles here, so you can find all of my content in one place. I’ve pinned it to the top of the blog so it will be easy to find.

I love you guys so, so much and want to make sure that I’m keeping you updated, in the loop and providing you with the fresh new content you deserve!🙂 I can’t even explain how much your support has meant to me over the course of the last 3 years!❤

Guest Blog Posts & Contributions:

InVision Blog Posts:

My Medium Posts:

My InVision Medium Posts:

And then of course, the 150+ posts here on User Experience Rocks as well. More on the way!🙂

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5 Books Every Designer Needs

Recently I’ve been asked for design and UX book recommendations fairly often, so I thought I’d put together a list of 5 of my favorite design books. I hope you love them as much as I do!

And just in time for the holiday season! Feel free to direct that family member who keeps buying you socks to this list for gift inspiration.😉 Enjoy!

The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition


Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (3rd Edition) (Voices That Matter)



Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products



Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems



Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days


 

Bonus: I also adore the A Book Apart Series. You really can’t go wrong with those. My very favorite one in the series is Designing for Emotion.

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Don’t Touch My Screen, Bro

  

Seriously though… Don’t.🙂

Time vs. Love

  

The Absolute Worst: Spending hours or days or weeks or months creating a masterpiece of pixel perfect perfection, and unveiling it to find that no one likes it and/or cares. 

You invested time and energy and love into this thing, and no one is picking up what you’re putting down. 

Then, you throw something together last minute and everyone worships it. 

And this is why we drink. 

Does that mean you should half ass everything you do? Absolutely not. But don’t get discouraged when the thing you love most doesn’t get love from the masses. It happens to even the best designers on earth (on a regular basis). 

Keep moving forward! 

Go UX Planet!

I just had a conversation on Twitter with Elena Schulte and Kayla J that absolutely had to have a corresponding doodle! Go UX Planet!🙂

Twitter___Notifications

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“Why do you love design?”

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Tonight I was chatting with a friend, and he asked a question that comes up with my friends and family on a fairly regular basis: “Why do you love being a designer so much?”

Normally I ramble off a long list of detailed reasons, most of which include design jargon and acronyms. This time I decided to break it down into 8 easy to digest one liners. They went something like this:

Being a designer is amazing because…

  • Creating something that didn’t previously exist is intoxicating
    It’s kind of like having kids. First there’s an idea. Then over time it turns into this amazing thing that exists, and you are its creator.
  • Designing products and features is completely addictive
    Once you been bitten by the design bug, you’re a lifer.
  • Solving people’s problems is incredibly rewarding
    When you’re starting a new feature or product, you’re trying to solve a problem for a specific audience. You research, you interview, you do kick off meetings, all of these things are to make sure that you’re solving the right problem. Once you’ve nailed it down, you start brainstorming all of the zillion ways you could go about solving that problem, until you find the magic one: the square peg to fill the square hole.
  • There is always something exciting to look forward to
    No matter how much you love a design, you’re proud and excited for about 30 seconds when it’s done. Then you hit 31 seconds and you’re consumed by thinking of all of the enhancements/changes you want to make in the next iteration, which is just as exciting.
  • You will never, ever know everything
    As a designer you learn new tips and tricks and find new tools every single day. Trends change, new tech is created, new languages are written, tools are enhanced, tools disappear, you have to enjoy being a life long learner to survive in this profession.
  • Design inspiration is EVERYWHERE
    Everywhere you look, you’re taking in detail and drawing inspiration. There are the expected places, like design blogs, sites like Dribbble, beautiful collections of inspiring design on sites like Muz.li, etc. But the main source of design inspiration comes from EVERYTHING — the shade of the orange on your countertop, the shape of a lamp post, the design on a comforter, the shading created by a shadow on the sidewalk, the vibrance of flower petals — there is a never ending stream of inspiration everywhere you look.
  • You see the world around you differently than other humans, and want to fix all of the things
    As a designer, in addition to seeing inspiration everywhere you look, you see things that need to be fixed. Poorly designed doors are your nemesis. Oddly arranged grocery store layouts give you a twitch. Menu’s with terrible font choices are cringeworthy. Kerning in school holiday performance programs can be painful to look at. And it’s not negativity driving these observations, it’s a deeply rooted need to fix these things that makes them stand out. You constantly imagine ways to improve the world around you. And when you get to act on those thoughts? It’s a great day.
  • You’re always surrounded by a deeply passionate, supportive community of like minded people
    Being a designer means you’re part of something big. Designers understand each other because we process the world around us in similarly different ways. It makes us close knit in a way that other professions don’t seem to understand. The design community is a family that celebrates thinking outside the box, and imagining that the impossible is possible. We embrace this line of thinking because all of the most innovative creations have come from designers making impossible things exist.

After I rattled off my quick list, my friend seemed to really get it.

His response was, “I’m pretty jealous that you found a career that you love so much. Most people never get to experience that feeling.”

He’s absolutely right. Having the opportunity to design for a living is a magnificent gift.

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Good Designers vs Great Designers

 
We’ve all been there right? A client or stakeholder stomps in and tells you exactly what you need to make. If you’re new to the design biz, your knee jerk reaction may be to make it. On command. Immediately.

The longer you spend in the design world, the more you realize that building on command never, ever ends well. People usually ask for things they want, not necessarily for what they need.

Case in point, a buddy of mine works for a major design firm. They have a program in which senior designers mentor newbie junior designers when they first come in the door. At the start of his career, about 10 years ago, my friend was that newbie designer.

His first week, his mentor had a meeting with a sizable client, and invited him to come in and shake some hands, and observe the kick off session.

As soon as they all sat down, the clients immediately whipped out a comp that outlined exactly what they wanted, down to the colors and fonts. They basically predesigned the entire project.

My friend’s mentor looked over the comp, looked up and simply asked, “What are your goals?”

The clients looked a little confused and taken aback. They responded with something along the lines of, “Um… we haven’t really given that much thought.”

My friend the newbie admitted that the sudden left hand turn in the conversation made him squirm a bit. He said the clients were visibly very uncomfortable, and he was sure that they were going to storm out of the room.

His mentor smoothly responded with, “Ok, lets talk about it.”

After an hour long discussion, his mentor had a full list of goals to take back to the rest of the design team, as well as the client’s blessing on taking a week to brainstorm the best possible solutions to meet those goals.

When my friend the newbie designer caught up with his mentor in the hall after the meeting, he told him he couldn’t believe that he “stood up to them” like that.

The mentor just grinned and said, “I wasn’t standing up to them, I was making sure that I clearly understood the problems that they need to solve. Good designers take orders and hand over exactly what a client wants. Great designers dive deep to uncover what a client actually needs.”

My friend said that those 3 sentences completely changed the trajectory of his entire career. He knew at that moment that he wanted to become a great designer. And as it turns out, he did.

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