I once had a chance to work with a designer who would refuse to commit to any timeline for his deliverables. Every week we’d meet on Monday as a project team, together with the PM, and give our feedback and voice our concerns about the designs. And then I or someone else would ask, “so when will we see these changes?” …
Jacob Neilsen famously said: “there are no mysteries of usability, no more than there are secrets of astronomy.” I always encourage designers to present designs internally as much as possible, precisely to remove the air of mystery and confusion that frequently surrounds the design process. Although the actual breakthrough “aha” step in many designs is often messy and hard to define, the rest of the team must see design as a craft, a job, much like any other. Design is something real. It’s not voodoo — it takes effort and time and brings tangible value to the enterprise.
Perfectionism is like a fine sword — you need to temper it if it’s to be of any use in your UX work. Or, to put it in the fine words of Mark Manson (the author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck): “give too many fucks about everything, and you’re the one who’s going to get fucked.”
This installment is on deciding how many UX fucks to give or how perfectionist you want to be about your particular aspect of the design project to maximize your impact in the world. …
Perfectionism is a common trait among designers. Our profession attracts people who obsess over every single aspect of the interface or gadget. The pursuit of perfection has even achieved legendary status among design nerds with the success of products like the Apple iPhone.
The truth is perfectionism, like strong drink, needs to be applied in moderation. Both will interfere with your ability to execute, and too much of either will make you want to vomit.
The essence of the issue with typical “designery” perfectionism is perfectly expressed in the following passage:
“You and everyone you know are going to be…
I once worked with a design manager who was fond of saying “my job is to bring beauty to the world.” He and his staff of seven designers took 6 months to create a UI consisting of half-pixel psychedelic bright glowing lines on a black background.
Which the customers would be using on Toughbook CF-19.
With a 10.1 inch 1024 x 768 display.
In bright desert sunlight.
Once, my best client gave me a heads-up that a juicy strategic project was coming. It will need “my team’s best work” because they wanted my agency, DesignCaffeine, to think “out of the box” and provide “vision for the next 5 years” and as much as possible to provide “patentable ideas.” I naturally expressed excitement and eagerness and let the client know that I will ideally need 6 months, and a minimum of 3 months to do the work.
In anticipation of the project, I continued to retain key contractors for as long as possible while the new project kept…
This blog is the culmination of more than 20 years of experience as a consultant and UX leader, in a variety of environments: from Silicon Valley startups to giant multi-national corporations, government, and non-profits. Although specific methods for getting the most from your DesignOps practice are often quite different, the practice usually delivers three key benefits:
Just today I saw another existential #UXcrisis unroll on Twitter. TLDR of the rant went something like this:
I went to college to change the world, so picked UX design as a major. UX Design! I was so wrong because now I’m cracked up on capitalism!
You can’t go a day without hearing someone having an existential crisis of a similar nature. And let me just say: I understand.
Design is the soul of capitalism.
There, I said it.
Designers make things that are for sale useful and desirable — (occasionally even coveted if we get very very lucky).
Are you afraid of your best talent walking out the door? You should be. Our profession is competitive and the best people are perpetually in great demand. So why should you follow this counter-intuitive advice, and help your designers create spectacular portfolio pieces? There are many compelling reasons, which we’ll get to in a moment. But first off, I’m not recommending they do it in secret, but rather make it quite a public exercise. Whenever the project is delivered, I ask the key perpetrators of its success create a sample portfolio piece, answering “UX” questions such as:
Someone recently asked me, “What is the most inventive thing you’ve done?” Woa. Full stop. Talk about a total brain freeze. You mean out of over 100 projects, patents, client engagements, talks, and workshops… I had to pick just one?
But after only a moment’s hesitation, I realized that there was simply no debate.
It was late 2007, and Steve Jobsian iPhone craze was in full swing. One day, on my way to a client who was developing his first iPhone app, I left my house without my Moleskine notebook, which contained all of the ideas for the meeting. Rather…