Best Layoff Ever: How a Job Gap Will Let Me Serve the UX Community
For UXNewsMag.com, July 1, 2020
The best blessings are the ones that come in disguise.
This week I received my layoff notice paperwork, giving my last day of employment with current employer, CACI, as July 14, 2020.
At first it felt like a kick in the gut. Nobody likes to hear that their employment is coming to involuntary end, especially in the middle of a pandemic and unemployment levels not seen since the great depression.
It was a scary feeling. But as the fear faded, the realization began to hit me.
This is my chance to finally give as much as possible back to the community that’s given so much to me.
Design Heroes and Designing for Good
For UXNewsMag.com, March 31st, 2020
Author’s note: This is the text of the talk of I gave today at UXCopenhagen. I hope it inspires us all to make a positive change in the world.
When I first sat down to write this talk, I had a vision in my head – a room full of hundreds of designers, brought together to help make the world a better place. And in a room full of people who already believed in the power of design to do good things in the world, what better purpose could I possibly have than giving them the tools they needed to change the world themselves.
It seemed so simple then.
UX Best Practices Every EComm Professional Should Know
For The Ecomm Manager, December 5, 2019
For most people, explaining what it is that they do to their family and friends is a pretty straight-forward proposition.
Usually a title is enough to suffice. People understand when they hear my sister say “I’m a nurse,” my wife say “I’m an archivist,” or my brother say “I cut up dead people.”
Okay, maybe not that last one so much, but only because my brother’s work as an organ and tissue donation collection specialist. This evidently has left him with a somewhat black sense of humor. After a decidedly uncomfortable silence and an eye-roll from any member of his family in earshot, a few words of explanation are all that’s needed to clear it up.
While my brother’s shocking explanation of his work leaves people dumbstruck, my own job-title-based answer, “I’m a User Experience Designer,” often has the same effect, though for entirely different reasons.
Six UX Books Not Written by Don Norman, Alan Cooper, or Steve Krug UX Pros Need to Read
For UXBooth.com, September 4, 2019
Ask any established UX professional what books those new to the field should read and you’re likely to get one of three responses: Don Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things, Alan Cooper’s About Face, or Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think.
And they’re absolutely right – these are the three books, written by three titans of the industry, that have defined a large part of the UX discipline.
But, with respect to Mr. Norman, Mr. Cooper, and Mr. Krug, there is so much more good UX reading out there, especially for new UXers.
I recently asked my Twitter audience of both seasoned and new UX professionals which books they’d recommend to someone starting out in the business. And they came through with so many wonderful recommendations that it made picking just six to feature a hard part.
So here are my six picks below, along with links to pick them up if any of them pique your interest. (Note: Neither myself or UX Booth are making money off of the sales of these books. Our only interest in suggesting them is you.)
The ROI of UX: Why User Experience is a Zero-Risk Investment
For UXNewsMag.com, January 28, 2019
The value of User Experience is undeniable.
The tech industry as a whole is finally catching on the to value of UX and design thinking. Many smaller companies and startups, however, remain reluctant to invest.
But UX more than pays for itself. The math doesn’t lie.
What’s in a Name? UX Job Titles Explained
For UXNewsMag.com, January 18, 2019
There are a myriad of UX job titles out there for our industry. This can sometimes cause issues deciphering what each of the UX job titles might entail.
To help on your career search, here are a few of the more common UX job titles you might see out there. Included are a short descriptions of what might be expected from each one.
Why UX Accessibility Design Should be a Top Priority (And a Checklist to Get Your Site Up to Par)
For UXNewsMag.com, January 9, 2019
Designing for UX accessibility means designing for those with disabilities. Disabilities can be physical, visual, auditory, or psychological. Whatever the nature of a disability, we as UX professionals need to ensure we are doing all we can to make our sites accessible.
Not every UX professional knows the ins-and-outs of accessibility design (and if you don’t, maybe it’s time to update your skillset.) Far from being a secondary concern, accessibility design should be a primary for every UX professional. Here are some of the big reasons, both from an ethical and bottom-line standpoint, that optimizing a site for accessibility is a must.
Fwd: Re: Holiday Experience Issues
For UXMas.com, December 21, 2018
In lieu of something original, I wanted to pass along this chain from my friend Bushy Evergreen, who has just started work as a UX Researcher at the North Pole itself.
He said that although they’ve always focused on customer satisfaction, the North Pole is only now building a UX team. This chain gives some great insight into the team-building process and the working conditions up at Santa’s place (the chain is in reverse order, so maybe start from the bottom and read up).
Stepping Up Your Game: Updating Your UX Skills
For UXNewsMag.com, December 17, 2018
We are what we do. It seems like such a simple and trite phrase, but nowhere is that mantra more true than in our professional lives. In the world of User Experience, concepts, best practices, and trends are ever-evolving. Remember that updating your UX skills is key in staying in front of the pack and relevant in the industry.
The only way to stay up-to-date with our world is to commit to a lifetime of learning. The best UX designers are constantly learning from both the academic landscape and the world around them.
UXperts Weigh In: Designs We Love, July Edition
For Adobe.com, July 27, 2018
I love to hike, but I hate hiking apps. Too often, excess functionality and data combine in a poor UX that makes finding and exploring new trails more grueling than the hike itself. Inexplicably, most hiking apps suffer the most when taken offline. When access to cloud data disappears, their functionality goes with it.
Enter Hiking Project, made by REI Co-op. From Andorra to Vietnam — and everywhere in between — Hiking Project has information on a staggering 38,936 trails, totaling 147,881 miles of trails all over the world.
How to Survive as Your Company’s Solo UXer
For UXMastery.com, February 6 2018
Landing a job as a company’s only user experience pro is an amazing opportunity. It means having the ability to shape and guide the design of an entire organisation. As a UX team of one, you’re part of a small group of pros at the coal face of an entire organisation’s design strategy.
Leading an organisation from this role is also a major challenge. It’s hard work implementing a UX focus in a company where none exists. There will be battles against corporate biases, conflicting business needs, and results-driven culture.
In such a difficult position, how can a UXer go about creating a culture of great user experience?
The Hotel of Doom: The World’s Worst Building and Its Valuable UX Gift
For UXMas.com, December 15, 2017
In the heart of the world’s most secretive dictatorship, a mysteriously abandoned hotel the size of Chicago’s John Hancock Tower has spent 30 years lurking over the capital city like an evil Christmas tree.
That’s the draw of the Ryugyong Hotel – the never-opened, daunting, deserted monolith in the heart of Pyongyang, North Korea. An Esquire magazine article dubbed it not “just the worst designed building in the world—it’s the worst-built building, too.”
Nicknamed “The Hotel of Doom,” it has a design only an evil overlord could love—and a gift for UXers everywhere.
Why UX Professionals Must Be Good Communicators
For UXMastery.com, July 11, 2017
I use my red Swingline stapler every day, though I can’t recall actually stapling anything in years.
The colour of the stapler is no coincidence, as my first encounter with a red Swingline was the cult classic Office Space. In the movie, Milton Waddams defends his prized piece of office equipment from theft and destruction at the hands of unscrupulous coworkers.
For Milton and millions of office workers worldwide, the red Swingline has become a symbol of those pieces of our work life for which we would, if ignored, set the world on fire.
My stapler’s daily use is as a reminder that everyone has red-stapler issues in their work life, and that a failure to communicate on those issues could have dire, unforeseen consequences.
It’s an important reminder, to be sure. Our placement in our company’s organization and workflow means that communicating as a UX professional is both imperative and, at times, extremely difficult.
Here are a few important lessons to learn to help avoid those red-stapler situations.
5 UX Design Trends from Smashing Conference San Francisco
For UXMastery.com, April 25, 2017
San Francisco is design. Seemingly everything about the city—from the simple elegance of Coit Tower looking down on the city to the distant beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge—is a masterclass in beauty and form.
It’s no surprise then that Smashing Magazine chose one of the city’s most beautiful and noted locales, the Palace of Fine Arts, to hold one of its conferences this year.
Smashing Conference San Francisco 2017 was full of amazing speakers and concepts that could benefit all UX designers. Here are five of the key trends from the conference.