Letter to a New Designer

I feel like I am writing this letter to myself. Everyday I find myself learning and enjoying the shine of new ideas.

Revel in the opportunity to share with colleagues and partners alike. Try, make, do and fail as often as possible and do not take the discovery of new ideas for granted.

You will form a point of view that will reflect your values. Listen to everyone so you can understand how your values effect your work. Always be kind, courteous, curious and humble. This is being a professional designer.

When is an Experience Too Much?

Facebook has the tendency to devour all of your free time. I have heard story after story of people “wasting hours” on Facebook and admittedly I can easily see how that can happen. Connecting to people on Facebook comes with the implicit agreement that we will read every update and share from that individual. This results in an unmanageable stream of content and Facebook has attempted to answer with the ability to filter or hide content. I’m sure many us appreciate the ability to hide content, but that begs analysis of the content strategy and experience. As soon as controls for the user is introduced we are burdening the individual with having to manage someone else’s content. Why not make the person sending the content manage their own content with indicators of how much information is already being sent to their friends. This hopefully will give someone pause to think about what they are sharing. The fact that content control is a topic for Facebook means that it should be eligible to be re-thought. It’s a perfect opportunity to ask Facebook members what they want or expect out of the content on Facebook. Then re-architect to meet those expectations and solve the pain uncovered from human-centered research.

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Stop Being So Simple Minded

Recently I have been hearing a lot of talk within large companies about the creation of beautiful experiences for their customers and as a UX strategist, I listen closely when people mention anything to do with creating beautiful experience. In the coarse of these conversations it’s only natural that we try to define what a beautiful experience is in order to measure success. This is where I hear things like “make it simple” and “remove clicks.” There is nothing wrong with wanting to make someone’s experience simple, but when you start with research methodologies and dive into the human-centered problem then we quickly come to the realization that what people want is clarity over simplicity.

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The REAL Walking Dead

The other day I went to eat lunch with my wife. I got up that day grabbing the t-shirt at the top of the pile, which happened to be my favorite Walking Dead shirt. I’m a huge fan of the show, so just wearing the shirt makes me feel good. This shirt has a little bit of history in that whenever I wear the shirt I usually get a few compliments, so I subconsciously prepared myself to receive a few comments. That’s probably one of the reasons I like wearing the shirt.

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Making Design Connections

When I first became a designer it was during the beginning of the world wide web. Looking back, I romanticized the idea of designing for a global audience and when it came to design my focus was on creation. The latest PhotoShop and HTML techniques and trends occupied the beginning of my design career. Of course, as time goes on the challenges become not so challenging and in doing so the work becomes less satisfying. This made me restless, which begged the question “what next”?

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