Generating ideas is fun — addictive even. I should know. As a design lead, I’ve facilitated many ideation sessions in my career.

You’ve probably experienced this, too: a team gets together for a few hours or days to brainstorm ideas. “Go for volume,” they’re instructed. At the end, there may be hundreds of ideas on the workshop room wall. Success is tacitly measured by the number of sticky notes used.

But volume of ideas is rarely the problem in most companies. I’ve never come across an organization that doesn’t have enough ideas. In fact, most are swimming in ideas they…


“You’ve got to start with the experience and work back towards the technology.”

That’s what Steve Jobs said in a company meeting upon his return to Apple in 1997, marking a shift in business thinking. We’ve been seeing a renaissance in customer centricity ever since. Companies are realizing the imperative of creating good experiences: it’s no longer a nice-to-have, but mission critical.

As a result, it’s a good time to be in design, customer experience, and related fields. Our skills are in high demand. But with this boom come growing pains — misunderstandings, false expectations and confusion.

Part of the…


My book, Mapping Experiences, is about possibilities. In it, I highlight many of the existing tools for mapping experiences from different perspectives. Mapping an experience is not a singular activity, and there are many ways to go about it.

But with possibility comes choice. Which diagram should be used in which situation? How do you select the appropriate model?

There are three key types of models needed to describe an experience:

  1. Models of individuals: Who are your designing for? Personas, proto-personas, and consumer insight maps stand as models of the individual.
  2. Models of current experiences: Maps of experiences come seek…


Why does a website need navigation? After all, with a good search all of the content can be accessed through a single input field. Why not just have site search and be done with the problem of designing and maintaining a complex navigation system?

It turns out that the way people access information makes a difference. People like information that involves sequence. They like to browse. Web navigation provides a narrative for people to follow on the web. Your navigation tells the story of your site.

When browsing a web site, people learn about other available content. This translates into…


All the signs are there: remote work is on the rise, and its upward trend will continue. By some estimates, up to half of all US workers will carry out their jobs remotely by 2020.

There are numerous benefits to remote work: flexibility and better work-life balance for employees, and wider talent pools and reduced costs for employers, to name a few.

Remote work is on the rise

But what about remote design? Surely, designers won’t be required to work in distributed contexts. After all, our work is highly visual in nature. We need to be able to draw and point and gesture. …

Jim Kalbach

Designer, Author, Instructor, Musician

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