Image for post
Image for post

In a recent episode of NPR’s Hidden Brain, the host asks Stanford psychologist Jamil Zaki, an expert on empathy, if he thinks that technology has made society less empathetic. This question made me consider the role designers play in creating more empathy through the products we create.

It’s no secret that the word empathy gets used a lot in the design industry. Empathy is a way for designers to understand users so that we can design products that produce better outcomes.

However, we rarely consider if the products we build enable users to have empathy for one another.

Digital products…


Image for post
Image for post

At the beginning of most software development projects there is usually a sense of excitement and optimism. However, that energy can quickly turn into stress when you can’t make the transition from research into ideation. In other words, you don’t fully understand the problem you are trying to solve, or you can’t choose which to work on first. There are usually two reasons why this happens. It is either that you haven’t collected enough research, or that you haven’t crystalized your insights into clear and actionable statements.

When we are gripped with this kind of analysis paralysis, problem statements can…


Image for post
Image for post

If you’re like me, you like to finish something before you start something else. Jumping from one thing to another can really disrupt my flow and overall productivity. It takes effort to regain momentum. Here are a couple of things I do to make the transition less taxing.

Reflect

Context switching can feel like your brain is pumping at full steam and all of a sudden — like a gazelle — have to change direction. The problem is that your brain isn’t a gazelle, it’s more like a passenger train. First you have to slow it down, let everyone off and…


Image for post
Image for post

When you hear “design critique,” what comes to mind? You might think of a group of designers wearing all black huddled around a wall discussing some intangible design qualities unbeknownst to the average person. While this might be the type of setting you’d expect to find at a traditional art school, it’s likely not what you will see at most product companies. Most companies have teams that are made up of individuals with varying amounts of design experience, like software engineers, product managers, or even junior designers. …


Image for post
Image for post

Have you ever considered leaving it all behind for a few months? It might not be as far-fetched as one might think. Often taken by people in academia, sabbaticals are traditionally meant for a person to accomplish a goal or conduct research. However, research shows an increase in employers offering extended time off or sabbaticals to their employees. Companies do this as a way to mitigate burnout, sometimes even partially compensating them. Do you think it’s time you took a break to write that book, learn that language, or travel the world?

I have always loved to travel, but vacations…

Erick Arias

Designing better experiences for developers at VMware.

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