Exploring accessibility to sound through color, light, and texture.

TL;DR — just visit Sound Color Project.

I’ve been a musician for as long as I can remember, and a designer for almost as long. I grew up listening to Kris Kross and Crystal Method. I also grew up making spinner paint art and drawing Dragon Ball Z characters. Music and visual art have always evoked feeling for me. As a professional designer and hobbyist musician, sound and color continue to feed my spirit every day.

In 2019, I began experiencing ringing in my ears and what I thought could be progression of hearing loss I was diagnosed with after…


A personal budgeting story.

TL;DR — just visit the newest version of Halfdollar.

Halfdollar Transactions GIF

Becoming an Adult

In my early-to-mid twenties, I began managing many expenses like rent, utility bills, software subscriptions, etc. and multiple sources of income like a full-time job and freelance contracts. As a very organizational person, I needed a way to understand at any time how much money I might have left over any given month, since some months I might be in the negative, and others I would be in the positive. …


Some things I’ve learned over time

  • Just because I’m a perfectionist, doesn’t mean I should expect anyone else to be.
  • My work ethic is my work ethic, not anyone else’s.
  • I shouldn’t set expectations on people, let them set those for themselves.
  • My phone on silent means IRL conversations and relationships are not interrupted by a vibration or ring. Even a vibration pattern can be recognized, meaning a certain app, person, and conversation might come to mind, resulting in a large distraction.
  • There’s nothing wrong with the way others function. That’s who they are.
  • I can only control how I respond and react.
  • You can’t please…

Don’t let anyone tell you what’s best for you, but read this for another non-opinion.

Q. Should designers code?
A. If they want to. And if they would rather learn to cook, they should do that.

Q. Should designers create non-solicited redesigns?
A. If they want to. If they feel thats the way they can best grow and learn new things.

Q. Should designers use this or that software?
A. If they want to. And if that’s what helps them do their best work.

We’re always so quick to tell others how to do things. How best to use their resources, their knowledge, their experience. …


c. 2018

Context

In 2018, I joined Alarm.com to help them build a library of components for the product design team. Alarm.com provides hardware and software products that help people manage their home or business security systems and connected devices.

Introduction

When I joined, the design team was using Sketch to build mobile interfaces for Android and iOS apps by creating shared designs, synced through Dropbox. As one designer would need to use a component, layout, or styles that were previously used, they would open another Sketch file to grab those assets and drag them into their file.

This process works, but the efficiency…


c. 2018–2020

Context

In 2018, I joined the Oracle Data Cloud design team as a fully remote employee. With working remotely comes the importance of being intentional about communication, and being on the same wavelength as your teammates.

When I noticed that the design and engineering languages didn’t communicate well with each other, I looked a little deeper at what could be causing this divide.

Introduction

As a part of my onboarding was the learning of style guides, and the way the design team approached a new project. While doing this, I found that the design team did not have one single source of…


c. 2018

Context

In 2018, I worked with Alarm.com on a mobile feature for ADT in their Control app. Alarm.com works with property security companies to manage the software and hardware that operates home and business owners smart devices to help control their property.

For many clients of Alarm.com, their mobile app uses the default styling, with only a change of brand color and logo, to bring some brand familiarity to the user. In the case of a client like ADT, the entire app is white labeled and designed specifically to fit the brand of the client.

Introduction

The feature I worked on was…


How can we encourage better communication between diverse parties using technology?

Not One the Same

We’ve all been in the scenario where we are trying to communicate something to someone. Either they don’t understand what we’re intending to say or you find yourself pausing to try and put it in their terms. While the latter is very considerate of you, it isn’t always clear.

Maybe you’re messaging a coworker in a different time zone trying to coordinate a video call. Or maybe you want to let a family member from Europe know what the forecast will be for their visit. …


How discovering my Red-Green color blindness changed my workflow

That’s right, I said it:

I’m a Designer with Red-Green Color Blindness.

It took my a long time to own this and feel comfortable sharing this in my career, so ✊.

Here’s an example of how I found out one day at the eye doctor getting contacts:

Color Blindness Visual Test

To some, the above image is a picture of numbers inside of circles. To others, including me, it’s just a group of colorful mosaic patterns. Actually, I can see about 50% of the numbers shown here. This is why I have partial color blindness…


One of my first “new hobby” photos I published on Unsplash

Things that have helped me continue my journey as a product designer

Since I published the first part of this series of Tips & Resources for Product Designers, I’ve continued to learn a bunch, push myself, and grow as a designer and human. So I figured I would come back, write a new article, and share some new tips and resources. Some of the things here might be repeats, if I found that I still reference and learn from them as I progress through my career, but most are new since the first article.

Hopefully you can find something that…

Derek Torsani

Systems designer @Gusto http://derektorsani.com

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