The future of UX will be defined by the alliances we invest in. Here are 5 key alliances every UX designer should be building.

Photo by Rodion Kutsaev

What value does UX bring to teams trying to build great products?

UX designers continue to play a broad role in the research, design, and testing of digital products hitting the market every day. But UX is always changing. It isn’t what it was in the past, and in the future it wont be what it is today.

More and more, UX is fragmenting into specializations. Where in the past a UX designer would be hired to do all that UX stuff, we see more and more dedicated researchers, interface designers, product managers, and content designers center stage. …

On having an open relationship with process

Background photo by Ryan Stone

Lot’s of designers hold their process dear. But in practice, does it ever look as good as it does in our heads?

We learn about process and we think about process. We get advice to show our process in interviews and through case studies in our portfolios.

For the design industry as a whole—and UX in particular—process has a sacred status in the holy temple. A lot of the time it feels like a thing that people aren’t comfortable questioning in public. But in private, our relationship with process is complicated, at best.

Maybe not for everyone. Maybe some individuals…

The annual UX industry predictions you didn’t know you needed.

No matter how much I cringe at end-of-year trend articles, and predictions for the coming year, I always click them. Last year, I wrote this article to take a new spin to looking ahead.

This year, we’re looking to 2019. Each entry asks you to vote for whether you think the prediction is Too Real, Plausible, or Absurd. Use Medium’s highlighter to leave your vote, like this:

And why I’m bored

neon creds to Scott Webb, robot creds to Franck V

The public conversation on artificial intelligence, and its relation to the design industry, is shallow.

There’s a camp made up of the fearful—those that are confident that AI will inevitably bring destruction to our world. Then there’s a camp up of the hopeful—those that believe AI is making our present and future bright and prosperous.

And then there are designers. From what I’ve observed, the conversation around AI and design is concerned with a very basic question:

Will artificial intelligence take my job?

I get it. It’s natural to have this concern. But if this is our primary concern about…

The #1 reason to proceed with caution into a UX career.

Photos used here by Jeremy Lapak and Hans-Peter Gauster

UX is a great field to be in.

There are lots of reasons for this. It often pays well, it’s a creative field that also has practical value, and it’s still very possible to break in without a formal design background. It’s an obvious career choice for anyone wanting to get into design and technology, or side-step into a new challenge.

But real life as a UX designer is very different than many portray it. Not to say the hype is a lie—it’s just not the whole picture.

Outside of all the positives of a career in UX is something…

Working with the forces that pull us

Forces are everywhere.

Every direction has a force, pulling us towards it. Sometimes forces team up to be even stronger. Other times they oppose each other, and nearly split us in two trying to overcome them.

Fighting against these forces exhausts us, and often set us up to fail. Learning how to be ok with them, recognizing them as part of the game, and using them to our strategic advantage.

Journeys are full of unknowns. Getting from point A to point B is never easy. …

How UX is more of a religion than you’d like to admit.

👩‍🎤cue the synths 👨‍🎤 (hands photo credit to Milada Vigerova)

[User Experience Design] may be defined as a cultural system of behaviors and practices, worldviews and books, places, prophecies, and personalities, ethics and organizations, that relates individual adherents to transcendental elements that make meaning of their place in a larger system.

Just kidding.

But, that wikipedia definition of religion describes the UX industry in surprisingly accurate terms.

Before I was a UX designer, I studied religion. In fact, some time before embracing the good news of user experience, I was on a path to do a PhD in religion, and dreamed of being an academic.

Leather arm chair, a distinguished…

Partnering for the good of the world

8 years ago two people walked into a bar in Dublin. Nothing about the evening was particularly special. It was Ireland, so it was probably raining. Or, about to start raining. There was a cobblestone street not too far away.

The two people struck up a conversation. They both worked in video related industries, and got to talking about things in their heads. The conversation led to an idea that would alter the course of both their lives.

What if you could interact with video? Like really interact with it. …

The sacred pairing for a successful design career.

Original photo by Iswanto Arif

Craft and confidence make today’s designer.

People like you and me who inhabit this industry, from a mix of backgrounds, carrying with us fuel that feeds our fire, and baggage that weighs us down.

Imagine your magic mouse has a genie inside. And that it’ll grant you one of two things: perfect craft or perfect confidence.

You can only choose one.

What would you pick?

Eponymous laws express truths in concise, interesting, and sometimes funny ways. They reflect — and induce reflection — on the human condition, as well as the workings of science, math, and technology.

In this four-part series, I’ll share some of the most interesting Eponymous Laws I’ve come across. Ones that are relevant for designers, but that speak to the disciplines of business and strategy, human behavior, management, and technology. Disciplines we designers engage with on a daily basis.

I didn’t add commentary because they speak for themselves.

I’d love to know the ones you like. Share others I missed in…

Craig Phillips

ux/product designer, cohost of Opacity podcast, writer, creating a course to help outsiders break into UX at

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