Dan Ritzenthaler

Digital product designer (formerly at HubSpot). 12+ years of design. Slowly learning to write. Follow me on @danritz or go to http://wurkit.com to learn more.


What Does it Mean to be Simple?


All designers say simplicity is important, but what does it really mean to make something simple? Most of the time we think it means less, that by removing stuff we achieve simplicity. We think by keeping content above the fold we’re helping people focus, or by using bullets instead of paragraphs more people will read it, or by cutting text in half it becomes…


How to attract, and keep, good designers

Tweakers gonna tweak, tweak, tweak, tweak, tweak.


Update: this ended up being a very curious post for me. Much lower traffic and sharing online than usual, but has started more conversations in real life than anything I’ve recently posted.

I’m not entirely sure how to interpret that…but I do think I…


A rough draft is an idea prototype

“Writing and learning and thinking are the same process.” — William Zinsser

I didn’t make a New Year’s resolution about writing this year. I usually do. It never sticks. Which doesn’t make any sense because I’m a huge believer in writing as a form of learning and thinking — and I love learning.


Design is a Team Sport

And we keep forgetting the most important member.


Photo by Pierre Metivier


Asking why is not always the best strategy

Pushing toward a deeper need is good, but you need to know when and how to draw the line at productive questioning.

Untangling Management, Leadership, and Making Cool Stuff

How I learned to embrace (eventually) my inner leader.


For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been the person in my group of peers, colleagues, and friends avoiding any kind of management or leadership role. Managers and leaders always seem to get in the way of making cool stuff. Now, I’m…


We’re Only Swiping the Surface


Archiving an email by swiping it to the right feels so, so good. I can scroll a little, swipe to archive, scroll a little more, swipe to archive. Wow, I am cranking though my inbox. What did I ever do without this application? Scroll a little more, then swipe another email to the warm, cozy archive.


The First Level of Consistency


As designers, we want all of the interfaces across a product to feel visibly coherent, but different interfaces typically have different purposes. An interface used to write blog posts shouldn’t look like the interface used to analyze blog posts. We apply the same visual style to each of the interfaces in an effort to ‘be consistent’ without realizing the real…


The Angry/Happy Spectrum of Product Design

Most software sucks — here’s why


It all comes down to something I like to call it the angry/happy spectrum. It’s easy enough, just put angry on one side of the spectrum and happy on the other.


Speed V. Quality is the Wrong Argument

Mo’ variables, mo’ problems


At the risk of ostracizing myself from the design community, I have to disagree with the commonly held view that speed directly affects quality. If your company is on the extreme end of prioritizing speed, then yes, this will likely interfere with the the quality of your product. I just don’t believe…