Leading with Craft

Interview with Jess Eddy about her career path as a freelancer and individual contributor in startups.

Jess Eddy
Jess Eddy
Jess Eddy, illustrated by Shreya Damle

Leading with Craft is a limited series of articles where we shed a light on stories of designers with successful careers as individual contributors. We have noticed an abundance of resources out there for designers switching careers to management, but a gap for those who want to continue to focus on their craft.

This series highlights professionals (such as Jess Eddy) who never let their seniority move them away from what made them great in the first place: their practice, their passion, and their craft.

Jess Eddy is a Product Design Lead and the creator of UI Goodies. She honed her product-building skills and process through working as an independent designer for almost six years in New York City, before moving to Australia. …


Leading with Craft

Interview with Maurice Woods about his career path as an individual contributor in a large org.

Maurice Woods
Maurice Woods
Maurice Woods, illustrated by Shreya Damle

Leading with Craft is a limited series of articles where we shed a light on stories of designers with successful careers as individual contributors. We have noticed an abundance of resources out there for designers switching careers to management, but a gap for those who want to continue to focus on their craft.

This series highlights professionals (such as Maurice Woods) who never let their seniority move them away from what made them great in the first place: their practice, their passion, and their craft.

Maurice Woods is the Executive Director and Founder of the Inneract Project, a nonprofit that empowers Black, Latinx and underrepresented youth through design education and links them to opportunities to explore design in career and in life. As a professional designer, his work experience spans over 20 years across advertising, design agency, startup and large tech companies such as BSSP, Pentagram Design, and Yahoo. Maurice is a Principal Designer at Microsoft, and before entering design, played professional basketball in Europe and Asia for seven seasons. In 2016, he received the AIGA San Francisco Fellow Award. This award recognizes seasoned designers and other major figures who have made a significant contribution to raising the standards of excellence in practice and conduct within the Bay Area design community and the AIGA SF chapter. …


Leading with Craft

Interview with José Torre about his career path thus far and how to lead by example

José Torre
José Torre
Illustrated by Shreya Damle

Leading with Craft is a limited series of articles where we shed a light on stories of designers with successful careers as individual contributors.

Curating and publishing hundreds of articles every month at the UX Collective, we have noticed an abundance of resources for designers switching careers to management, but a gap for those who want to continue to focus on their craft.

This series highlights professionals that never let their seniority move them away from their practice and their passion for what made them great in the first place, such as José Torre.

José Torre is a Staff Product Designer at Shopify by day, and also a designer by night, when he works on side projects like Beantrails, and takes the opportunity to keep drawing and writing reflections on our profession. …


Leading with Craft

Interview with Abby Covert about her career path as an individual contributor in a large org.

Abby Covert
Abby Covert
Abby Covert, illustrated by Shreya Damle

Leading with Craft is a limited series of articles where we shed a light on stories of designers with successful careers as individual contributors.

Curating and publishing hundreds of articles every month at the UX Collective, we have noticed an abundance of resources for designers switching careers to management, but a gap for those who want to continue to focus on their craft.

This series highlights professionals that never let their seniority move them away from their practice and their passion for what made them great in the first place, such as Abby Covert.

Abby Covert is a Senior Staff Information Architect and an active organizer, speaker, and mentor within the design community, engaging about Information Architecture and, really, how to make sense of any mess — the title of her book published in 2014. …


It’s time we stopped drawing lines around who is a designer and who is not. UX is a fast-growing discipline, and we need to enlist everyone’s superpowers in order to deliver the experiences people really need.

Illustration showing people working together to assemble a cut-out paper box.
Illustration showing people working together to assemble a cut-out paper box.

The plurality of skills listed on the latest design census from AIGA hints at the future of the design industry, as building digital products become a more complex science.

screenshot from AIGA report showing the wide array of skills that the designers reported, from film to SEO and Social Media.
screenshot from AIGA report showing the wide array of skills that the designers reported, from film to SEO and Social Media.

Every couple of months we see articles submitted to the UX Collective about new specializations — from “UX Writing” to “Video editing in UX”. Every time this happens, we see the design community reacting in one of two ways:

  • By becoming defensive:
    “You can’t do video editing and call yourself a UX designer!”
  • By feeling overwhelmed:
    “Wait, as a designer, do I also now need to learn how to edit videos?!”

Both come from a place of anxiety, something we all experience in our ever-evolving careers. …


As most of our civic, social, and commercial interactions move to the digital space, we need to find new ways to map and visualize the digital ecosystems we create and live within.

Illustration showing people opening a box just to find another box inside, until the smallest box is found.
Illustration showing people opening a box just to find another box inside, until the smallest box is found.

Moving fast has made a huge mess

As we move our lives to digital spaces comprised of information, from streaming services to food delivery, companies are extending the reach of their business and increasing complexity for their users.

Jorge Arango, author of Living in Information, observes, “we now live in a world in which we form our opinions in places made of information. 2020 is a presidential election year in the U.S. We can expect lots of thinking (and speculating) about the role of social networks in politics.”

Understanding and designing for these information spaces is becoming more important than ever: “Designers must understand the structural aspects of these places and how business models inform these structures if we are to respond meaningfully to the challenge of designing ethically.” …


Adding new features to a product is relatively easy. Ensuring we’re solving the right problems is not.

Illustration showing people watering a tree and harvesting the fruits, that are abstract cubes, by the way.
Illustration showing people watering a tree and harvesting the fruits, that are abstract cubes, by the way.

Products start small and focused.

They do one thing really well — and that’s the primary reason they become successful.

But soon, the team behind the product comes to the conclusion that it must do more. Features are added, new use cases are covered, and functionalities become more sophisticated over time.

This can happen for a few reasons:

  • Users are asking for features, and the product team is accepting their feedback directly
  • Business stakeholders create pressure for constant growth, leaving the design team scrambling for new ways to generate revenue
  • The performance of the product team is evaluated by the number of features it delivers as opposed to the relevance of those features for the end…


The old stereotype of the “rockstar designer” is (thankfully) going away. As digital teams grow and projects become more complex, designers are being valued by collaboration and team enablement rather than only individual tasks.

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It takes two to tango

Designers working at smaller companies often sign up for UX-team-of-one positions: a brave endeavor to push the entire design process forward on one’s own while simultaneously creating a culture of design in the organization. A rewarding — but often isolating — role to take on.

At the other end of the spectrum, designers at larger companies are often initially attracted by the idea of being part of a more structured team, only to find out that many of the challenges presented by smaller companies are still there. Designers are isolated in their own product teams (which often belong to different budget centers) with rare moments of true collaboration. …


State of UX 2020

Buzzword of the year, Book of the year, Blog of the year, Talk of the year… Check out the resources and projects that have excited us the most in 2019.

As part of our yearly report on The State of UX, we, Caio Braga and Fabricio Teixeira, always like to take a moment to celebrate some of the most exciting topics, products, experiences, articles, and thought leadership content we’ve seen throughout the year.

The list is obviously not exhaustive, and subjective to our experiences while editing and curating the more than 2,400 links we’ve published or shared this year via UX Collective.

If you have any suggestions of projects and designers that should also be celebrate, leave a comment at end of the article. 🎉

To see the full report:

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Buzzword of the year: Dark mode
For being every designer’s top concern in a year where not much is happening anyway, right? …


“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few” ― Shunryu Suzuki

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illustration by Malia Eugenio

The eleventh time we design a sign-up page, the interface solution comes out almost automatically. …

About

Caio Braga

designer @ SurveyMonkey, editor @ UX Collective

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