Feeling is believing.

The blurred neon light shimmer through the condensation on the window.
The blurred neon light shimmer through the condensation on the window.
Photo by Wenniel Lun on Unsplash

One of the most important aspects of any great design is the empathetic understanding of and connection to the user. If a design is ‘selfish’, as in when a product designed with the designer in mind and not the user, it will ultimately fail because it does not provide a solution to a very real and present problem.

Empathy vs sympathy

In my experience, it is common to find that people confuse empathy with sympathy. Although the two are close in their meaning there are some vital differences. Let me explain.

©David Lundgren @Unsplash

The visual design of a product is one of the main factors in affecting user experience, of that there is no doubt. Yet if we delve deeper into this subject, more and more experts and designers are turning into the techniques of copywriting as a way to influence user experience.

What most people outside the design space do not realise is that there is an overlap between UX and copywriting. Design and language are the two most important elements on a web page. Both have the ability to inform, guide and provide solutions to the user. One compliments the other.

When design & copywriting collide.

Photo by Yulia Gadalina on Unsplash

Have you ever thrown yourself into researching a topic so hard your head spins? Well, it happened to me. Recently, I adopted the pleasurable task of studying UX writing. As I set off on the long road to learn this specialisation, the metaphorical mountain of new information in front of me was looming. Imagine the delight in my eyes when I discovered that copywriting and UX design have much more in common than it first seems. In fact, there is a whole specialisation of copywriting that plays with many of the same elements and skills of a UX designer. …

How to lose the fear and write your first article.

Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash

I have always been someone enjoys getting lost in their own thoughts, yet rarely did I place those thoughts on paper. My fears were twofold, not being confident that I could express myself to a good enough degree and having the fear that my words would interest nobody. This fear is so much more common than you realise and terribly natural. Yet self-doubt kills creativity. It should be fought at all times, with every ounce of effort in our minds.

Win Some, Lose Some.

I am not sure if I was lucky or if the stars were shining for me…

How I Arrived at the End of the World.

Wast Water. The English Lake District. Cumbria. ©Matt.W.Newman.

I recently moved to the countryside. When I say I, I mean myself and my lovely wife Laila, along with our little dog, Bear. I have never lived this far away from the intensity of the city’s streets before.

Our journey over the last year has been an interesting one. We ended our life in Vietnam as English teachers and moved to Brazil to get married (My wife is Brazillian). Six magical months we shared there. The love I was shown by new friends and family was unparalleled in my life. It was there in Brazil that we formulated a…

The race is off.

Photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash

Manufacturers want to make you feel like it matters. The number is everywhere. Front and centre. Pride of place on advertisements aimed at the mass market. ‘Fuji XT-3 26.1M’. ‘Sony A7iii 42.2M’. ‘Hasselblad X1D 50M’. It’s megapixel madness. We are inclined to feel like our camera is inferior if it has fewer megapixels than the competition. But who actually wins in the ‘megapixel race’ and is this number as vital we are lead to believe?

A good quality camera in today’s market has between 20 to 40 megapixels, with prices that vary significantly. …

Being creative in peace.

Photo by Francois Hoang on Unsplash

I am often described as a loner. It doesn’t bother me and I somewhat agree with the statement and take no offence from it. I am a man that enjoys his own company. It is easy for me to spend days alone with my work.

I often think about why I am like this. The main reason is the fact that I was an only child to a single mother, with most of my cousins much older than me. I had to adapt. Adapting means being good at keeping busy and finding interesting ways to pass the time.

These situations…

See. Shoot. Repeat.

Photo by Alif Ngoylung on Unsplash

“ I don’t take photographs. It is the photograph which has to take me.” — Henri Cartier Bresson

Reacting quickly in photography requires the skill to perform and shoot faster than we can be reasonably expected to think. The only way we can achieve this heightened Zen-like sense and skill level is through training and preparation with the artform.

Here are some useful concepts and practices for training ourselves to react faster, without thinking;

Familiarity with the camera is vital. Becoming accustomed to the settings of your particular body, it’s menus and button layouts will shave seconds off the speed…

With photography, we are our own worst enemy.

Matt Newman. HCMC. 2018.

I missed a shot today. Not any old shot mind you, it would have been the greatest shot anyone had ever seen, a shot to end all shots. It would have gone down in History, placed straight into ‘The Big Book of Amazing Photography’, page 1. Foreward by me.

Or at least that is how it felt, like the end of the world. Not like me to be overly dramatic. Seconds after it dawned on me that I had failed. I had broken the photographer’s rule #1: never hesitate.

“When it’s too late, then you know with a terrible clarity…

Learning to see again.

Matt.W.Newman. 2019. Fortaleza, Brazil.

There are numerous resources online about the technical aspects of photography. As humans, we find it easy to recite facts and figures. They are definite, palpable, tangible. “The new mirrorless has 64 megapixels”. “The new f1.2 lens is out of this world!”. There are so many resources in fact, that some fall into the trap of believing that being technically adept is all it takes to make great photography. Now, if that were true, why is it possible to look at a technically perfect shot yet not feel passionate about it? Why does some photography speak to you and yet…

Matt W Newman

Writer, photographer, UX enthusiast and learner of harsh lessons. Hire me to write: www.mattwnewman.com

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