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For my money, one of the hardest parts about applying for a job is writing the dreaded cover letter. How are you supposed to create a good first impression out of thin air? A good cover letter has to be so many things at once: memorable, impressive, well-written, personalized. It’s daunting.

Most people’s solution is to create a reusable template that they can send to multiple companies quickly, and simply swap out the company name in each. That’s fine, and there’s an extent to which you should be hitting the same notes each time; but you should really take the time to tailor each letter to the job you’re applying for. …

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This article appeared in Smashing Magazine on June 28, 2019.

“Search is like a conversation. it’s a bidirectional process between the user and system. It can be very rich as a real human conversation.” — Luca Longo [1]

It’s hard to overstate the importance of web search. Searching is as old as the web itself, and by some measures, even older. A well-designed search is beneficial to your users and your business; it increases conversions, reduces bounce rates, and improves the user experience.

Search is especially important on large scale sites and e-commerce experiences, where the majority of revenue comes from search-driven sessions. Studies show up to 50% of users go straight to the internal search bar of a website, and that 15% outright prefer using the search function to browsing the hierarchical menu. This means that as much love and care goes into determining the information architecture of a site, just as much has to go into designing the search experience. …

When you think of motion design, you might think of any number of things:

  • Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston’s 12 principles of animation for Disney
  • Flowy, highly kinetic infographics that you find in presentation decks
  • Interaction design for digital products, like the switching of a toggle on or off
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Switcher XXXIV by Oleg Frolov on Dribbble. Built in Framer.

And that’s because motion design covers all those areas and more. It’s a wide-ranging specialty, but one that also exists in a silo — in part because the software best suited for motion design hasn’t always integrated with the software for interface design.

We’ve had basic prototyping in Sketch and Figma for years, but if you want timeline tools or advanced transitions — the kind of things that make an app feel native, responsive, and delightful — you’ve had to look elsewhere. Anyone who puts the time in to learn After Effects will tell you that it’s got a steep learning curve, and that it’s usually overkill for the kind of work a UI designer needs to do. Origami is another option, but it’s an investment to learn and can be cumbersome to add to your workflow. …


Andrew Millen

I do UI, UX, and front-end development at Simple Focus in Memphis, TN.

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