A designer’s impact is limited by how much influence they have on the team around them. You can uncover valuable insights, but if you can’t frame those in the correct way to convince your team to act on them, they’re not so valuable.

It’s easy to get fixated on design process. This is where designers feel comfortable and familiar. And it’s important too — designers should care about the design process. The process will impact the quality of the insights or ideas that are generated. But exerting influence is the limiting factor.

If no-one acts on your insights, they aren’t valuable

Derek Sivers talks about how ‘ideas are just…

Mistakes were made but here’s what I learned

Photo: Tom Werner/Getty Images

Late last year, I moved from a role as an individual contributor into a new job as a people manager. I have made a lot of mistakes in a short space of time which, of course, also means I have learned a lot.

Based on a talk I gave at Design Leadership 2019 in Melbourne, Australia, here are some of the things I have learned:

Mistake 1: I underestimated the role change

Your day will start to look quite different as a manager. I had always spent time in meetings but moving into a management role added at least six hours a week of meetings onto my…

Map icon from NounProject

I used to tell my colleagues that if they wanted to make money, there were many easier ways to do it than drug research. How wrong could I have been! In business as in science, it seems that you are often most successful in achieving something when you are trying to do something else. I think of it as the principle of ‘obliquity’.

- James Black

Sometimes the best way to get from A to B is not a straight line. And sometimes the best way to achieve your overall objective isn’t the obvious way. I think there’s a lot…

Thanks Fahmihorizon at Noun Project for the icon!

If you want a concept to stick, give it a name. With objects, we can see them and touch them. A cushion is a cushion. But concepts can be abstract and hard to discuss.

In the ‘User Experience Team of One’, Leah Buley discusses ‘listening tours’ as an activity to complete. A listening tour is essentially walking around your office and talking to different people. It involves gathering people’s thoughts by, well, listening to them. There are some rules around how to do this effectively but in essence it’s talking to a bunch of people.

Giving it the name ‘listening…

Out of all the reading, watching, listening I’ve done to people in the design industry over the last year, this Paul Adams talk from UX London has been the one that’s altered my perspective the most.

You should watch it or read the summary on the Intercom blog, here.

Here are the three key things I’ve taken from it.

There’s no such thing as UX design

It’s clear someone read Sapiens. The main point here is that everything we know as ‘UX’ is something someone made up at some point because it gave some kind of value. …

Chocolate bar modified from QualityIcons on the awesome Noun Project :)

I used to be a slave to the chocolate overlords.

In my old job, every day at 3pm, I’d make a quick coffee. We had a Nespresso machine at my office, so when I started making my coffee I’d have a few seconds to kill. I would open a drawer right above the machine and grab a mini chocolate bar as I waited. Usually a Mars. When the coffee was done, I’d grab another bar and head back to my desk. Lovely stuff. Sugar high in tow, I’d be good until the end of the day.

So, at this stage, I was eating two mini chocolate bars a day. Let’s…

Thanks to @Ignat at Noun Project for the icon

As I’ve worked in design, my focus has moved from the practice of design work and “nitpixeling” (thanks for this word Jon Moore) to focusing on the bigger picture.

By the bigger picture I don’t just mean company objectives, or working with the executives. I’m talking about the team I’m working in. The products we are making. The experience our customers have in and around our products. This could be a small startup with a couple of developers, or could be a cross-functional development team in a large organization — essentially a small group, working towards the same outcome.


The ol’ red dot.

15 years ago, I made two major choices before I went to school in the mornings. I picked what cereal I would have (how good were Ricicles?), then sifted through my CD collection before popping one into my Discman for the day.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been writing a couple of Medium articles and putting together some content for a new eBook that I’ve been creating called ‘UX on a Budget: The Practical Guide’. I’m pleased to say the eBook is now ready to go :)

I’ve made the book free for the first week, and after that I’ll charge a small amount which I then hope to re-invest into creating the next book in the series (pay for illustrations etc).

If you enjoy the resource, any small donation would be appreciated and it would be even better if you could share it far and wide.

I welcome any feedback and hope you enjoy!

This is a continuation of my series on ‘UX on a Budget’. If you haven’t read part one, I’d strongly recommend giving it a read before getting into this article. You can find it below.

In part one, I discussed the first stage of IDEO’s circular design methodology, ‘Understand’. In this article, I’m going to walk through the next two stages, ‘Define’ and ‘Make’.

In part one, I discussed the first stage of IDEO’s circular design methodology, ‘Understand’. In this article, I’m going to walk through the next two stages, ‘Define’ and ‘Make’.

In keeping with theme of this series…


Love ⚽️⛳️🚲🎸. Design Lead at MYOB, helping small businesses succeed. Norn Irish.

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