Legal style balance scale in front of library books
Legal style balance scale in front of library books

One of the first steps I take when I come into an organization with low UX Maturity, is to establish user research as a regular part of the design & development process. At this stage, the goal is to start designing with user feedback in some form on a regular basis. Typically this involves creating a user research panel and introducing the team to the value created by observing and speaking with customers. This demonstrates the value of user-driven design and helps the entire company rally around customer needs.

However, at some point, organizations need to move past user interviews…

Hiring manager looking at resume with a candidate present.
Hiring manager looking at resume with a candidate present.
© memyjo /

Since my first job more than 25 years ago, I have been fascinated with resumes. It is one area in which there’s no shortage of opinions. It can be difficult to wade through all that advice. Here is just some of the advice I’ve been given over the years:

  • Single-page (be succinct)
  • Multi-page (be complete, don’t hide experience)
  • No photo (avoid prejudice in the screening process)
  • Add a photo (be more personal and memorable)
  • Customize resume & cover letter before every application
  • Optimize for “keywords” to get through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)
  • Showcase your visual design skills (for designers)
  • Don’t…

It’s necessary for leaders to not only be focused on what is happening right now, but planning for the future as well. I worked with an executive once who always compared leadership to altitude. He said that a front-line manager needs to live at the 5,000-foot view, a director at the 15,000-foot view, and an executive at the 30,000-foot view. He correlated this to how far ahead each leader should be looking. There are 2 leadership analogies most of us will recognize that fit right in with this concept.

Swoop and Poop

I see it at least once a week on LinkedIn, Medium, or Twitter. Some entrepreneur or business leader posts about how they’re working 60–80 hours (or more) and either explicitly or implicitly states that if you want to be successful, you have to work crazy hours too. They often call it “grit” but what they’re really talking about is working overtime. True grit—or the courage and perseverance to stick with a goal—is vital. But most often when the term “grit” is used, it is used in the context of working long hours for long periods of time and wearing it…

Employees sitting holding papers with question marks over their faces
Employees sitting holding papers with question marks over their faces

You’ve been there. We all have. You have just spent an hour being interrogated on everything from your design approach and defending design decisions to explaining the short stints on your resume. You’ve had to explain what you consider “innovative design” to be and critique the company’s existing products with little to no context. You’ve been asked to detail why they should hire you and been judged on “culture fit” at every turn. You’ve told the same stories multiple times and even dealt with passive-aggressive interview tactics designed to see how you’ll react under pressure.

Then your interviewer turns to…

In 2013, Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden published a book called “Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience”. It quickly spread through the UX community like wildfire. “Lean UX” was the ultimate pep-talk that had much of the design community pumping their fists and shouting like over-excited 17-year olds at a pre-game rally, yet 6 years later many of us are still scratching our heads trying to figure out how to actually implement it in the real world, with real deadlines, and with real product development teams who have near-instinctual aversion to spending time doing anything but coding…

The apparent conflict between customer needs and user needs in B2B or Internal software can be frustrating. Sales often wants us to focus on the Customer’s needs, while every instinct in most designers’ body wants to focus on User needs. It’s easy — and quite tempting — to focus on one at the expense of the other, yet doing so is one of the quickest ways we create an “us vs them” mentality that can destroy our effectiveness and the ability to get value into either group’s hands. As designers, then, what are we supposed to do to help improve…

We’ve all been there. We’ve sat through meetings full of endless debate where it’s obvious that 90% of attendees didn’t review the material you sent out beforehand. Then, by the end, no real decision has been reached and you schedule another meeting to rehash the same things and try to make some semblance of progress. When you reconvene, any decisions you did happen to make are remembered incorrectly, and you’re back to square one.

Even worse are the meetings to prepare for a bigger meeting. Even seemingly meaningful recurring meetings can be a lesson in inefficiency where we block everyone’s…

Design can be incredibly fulfilling when done well, but it can also be incredibly difficult. Design is a team sport and while everyone wants the same thing, there are usually dozens of different ideas about how to achieve results. Success, then, depends on creating a shared understanding of all those ideas and then somehow choosing a direction without hours and days of meaningless debate.

The reality, however, is that most projects start out like this:

It happened again. Your design was perfect. You connected with your users, identified some major pain points they needed solved, ideated through multiple solutions, and even included dev to make sure to account for any technical constraints. Then your world comes crashing down when the executive swoop and poop begins. The CEO wants you release it quicker. The Product Owner wants an “MVP” release first that you know is a neutered version that only minimally addresses any user needs. The CTO has some architecture concerns. …

Jeremy Bird

People-focused UX leader, designer, mentor, & problem-solver.

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