“Shakespeare wrote King Lear during a pandemic,” say the various productivity gurus. “Why can’t you?”

Aside from the utter silliness of each of us having a Lear in our heads just waiting for a once-a-century plague to break out, I have been shocked to find so many people believing that the COVID year of 2020 should have been more productive for them.

This is the first time I’ve opened this writing program (iA Writer) since June. I’ve been utterly incapable of putting anything together since then.

And it’s OK.

I was surprised the writing stopped. It made sense, though, given…

A year ago, I took on working remote for the first time — not just being a remote designer, but a remote design manager.

I figured after a year I needed to write the prerequisite “here’s what I learned” piece. Here’s the thing, though — there’s not a lot I can tell you that every other “here’s what working remote is like” article does. I mean, they all essentially say the same things. Communicate well. Check in on Slack or Microsoft Teams or whatever. Get out of the house when you can. …

Image for post
Image for post
https://pixabay.com/photos/hands-trunk-creepy-zombies-forest-984032/

I just passed through the fifth anniversary of a career low spot: The day I was essentially pushed out of my design job for letting myself burn out. The Great Burnout, I’ve come to call it.

After five years, I can look back and see where the trouble began.

When the project started, I thought I could be the company’s savior. …

Image for post
Image for post
“Actually Karen” has become shorthand for the condescending, passive aggressive response the IAI leadership gave concerned IA and community leaders in the wake of Lynn Boyden’s open letter.

Lynn Boyden posted her open letter to the IA community on January 21. In the days following, that community roiled in response.

The IA Conference took a firm stance, reaffirming their demands to ban a known serial harasser of women. They’ve been honest, forthright, and out in front of the crisis, clearly showing their support for victims of conference harassment.

At the same time we’ve seen behavior out of IAI president Marianne Sweeny that angered so many it’s led to a recall petition drive. The IAI took a decision to investigate and review the ban while never informing Lynn. They…

Once upon a time, going to web conferences meant a lot to me.

The early Event Aparts changed my career direction. I watched Jeff Veen speak in his story-telling narrative style and thought, “I can do that. I should do that.”

Khoi Vinh’s SXSW presentation on the grid was the seminal moment that put me on the path towards UX and away from the web as I knew it. Learning I could bring visual order to context and content… it changed things. To a lesser extent, Richard Rutter’s talk at the same SXSW walking through typographical vertical rhythm put me…

A point of sale terminal with the new chip reader.
A point of sale terminal with the new chip reader.

Saturday afternoon at Target. I swear that my extended family is singly responsible for 10% of the company’s lifetime gross earnings.

In line in front of me is a gentleman who looked to be in his late 70s or early 80s. Next to him is whom I presume to be his daughter, looking to be in her 50s. He’s buying staples: Cereal, milk, some canned food.

It’s time to pay, so with trembling, slow hands, he pulls out his debit card. And he stares at the credit card reader.

Now, for those of you who haven’t had to endure the…

In 2018 the politics have been in our face, tragedy after tragedy, farce after farce. Mass shootings by men motivated by racism and anti-Semitism in Louisville and Pittsburgh. Family separation camps at the border. Our president obsequiously bowing before Putin. The collision of Kavanaugh and #metoo. White nationalism getting platformed by high-powered politicians. The vilification of the trans community.

It’s exhausting. We’re under a denial-of-service attack by the politics of our time.

These times ask a lot of questions of design– and designers. Will we build the tools of fascism like IBM did? Developers and designers at Microsoft and…

Sorrento-Gillis: “Why didn’t you ever run for office?”

Avasarala: “I like getting shit done. And I like to keep my head attached to my neck.”

— The Expanse, “The Seventh Man”

When I was newly in the workforce, I just wanted to make enough money to pay rent, eat, and buy music. The further I went, though, I saw that the power to make the decisions rested with managers and executives. These are the leaders, I thought. I want to be one of them.

For the next few years, as I transitioned into the world of web design and then…

Image for post
Image for post

A year ago I started Hêtre and struck out on my own.

I learned a lot.

I learned I can lead and speak with authority.

When people expect me to step up, I can and do. More than that, I’ve learned I’ve always been like this, but I’ve always been tentative to express it. I have spent a long career being deferential; now I’m learning how to lead without believing it makes me a pompous ass.

I think we have a poor idea of leadership in the design world. We promote designers into management positions entirely on the basis of their design skills, not on the basis of the…

It was a simple question: “When reviewing a portfolio of a designer, researcher, or content candidate, what things trigger a red flag or concern for you?”

I got pushback from Rachael straight away.

So let me explain my thinking around misspellings.

Text editors nowadays have spell check built in. Even Adobe Illustrator has a spell check now. In modern times, it’s really hard to get the spelling of a word off. (Of course, we also have to deal with auto-correct, whose predictive power is akin to a bad carnival fortune teller.)

When I see misspelled words in a…

Dylan Wilbanks

Artisan tweets locally foraged in Seattle. Principal @hetredesign, cofounder @EditorConnected. Accessibility, UX, IA. Social Justice Ranger. ᏣᎳᎩ. 🌮. He/him.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store