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Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Zoom fatigue is real. It’s also possible to use Zoom, or any other platform, to create and connect communities. Here are three simple suggestions for creating a sense of community online:

Set everyone up for success Are you effectively using the time before a call to ensure your attendees are ready to participate? Before your next call, check out the whiteboard feature in Zoom. You can share expectations and help attendees get in the right mindset. For example, if learners need to have a stack of Post-It Notes and a pen at hand, we tell them so they can grab…


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Before going to design school, I would have told you that I prefer to work alone. I’d rather not rely on anyone else to make things happen or slow me down. I’ve got this. But after design school, a look at my portfolio confirmed the work I had done with a team was better than anything I ever attempted solo. The more the work was rethought, critiqued and remade, the stronger it became. So, it took me by surprise when I realized how many of my ambitions were secret, solo endeavors. Why was I soul searching/job seeking/daydreaming/side hustling alone? Wasn’t…


Heuristics are key to good product design.

If you’re not familiar with heuristics, they’re rules of thumb that humans use to make decisions within contexts that are difficult to understand or not well understood. Don’t confuse heuristics for specific usability guidelines, instead see them as methods for helping whoever you’re designing for to solve problems and make decisions.

It’s very easy to find Jakob Nielsen’s list of ten heuristics online, but there are a variety of other academics and practitioners who have researched heuristics for interface design.

Smith and Mosier (1986)
Bastien and Scapin (1993)
Gerhardt-Powals (1996)
Connell and Hammond…


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Photo by Adam Jang on Unsplash

Recently a friend reached out about how to deal with receiving difficult feedback at work — the kind that cuts deep because you recognize the grain of truth and feel the sudden shame in what you’re being told. It’s a toxic combination that can leave you reeling for days, even if the person providing the feedback is thoughtful with their delivery and has your best interests in mind.

If you’ve just received some advice/criticism in a professional setting, and it’s really hitting an emotional place or opening old wounds/baggage, give yourself the gift of time and space.

  • First, get a…

The first time I heard a designer mention craft was during a graphic design critique at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. The student was told she needed to focus on craft. I never heard craft mentioned during my own MFA program. This concept felt foreign and electrifying. The idea of improving my own craft struck me. The right words at the right time.

I now think about craft constantly. Craft is what we make it: wisdom, tradition, rebellion, practice, femininity, universality, self-reliance, materials, technologies. Craft fascinates because of its depth and breadth, its current relevance and timelessness, both in…


Strategies for tooting your horn while keeping your NDA and secret clearance intact.

Even if you’re working on a confidential project, it’s important to continue to build your portfolio, maintain your reputation and show your work. But when you work in a visual medium and you’re bound by confidentiality, sharing recent work can be a challenge.

I understand the frustration. I work in government, and because my work is internally focused, it’s very difficult to share current and past work without getting multiple approvals and sign-off. So, I’ve had to get creative when I want to talk about my work.


What would you learn if you made and shared a piece of art everyday for 100 days in a row?

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Day 14

This year I attempted and completed a #100dayproject. The project originates from Michael Bierut’s assignment to his students at Yale School of Art to make something everyday for 100 days and then share the results. Now, a community of artists, writers and other creatives comes together online to share their own 100 Day Projects every year.

I decided to experiment with designing in 3D for the first time. I wanted to try something totally different from my day-to-day work as…


This blog post is adapted from a talk at the 2018 Government UX Summit at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There are many ways to adapt agile to work with user experience (UX) — but it’s not always clear just how to tweak the process. That’s where experiments come in. Our team of designers and developers at the Federal Reserve Board (FRB) have been subtly adjusting the agile process to work better for our team, and we think others can learn from our experimentation.

To understand our experience, it’s also important to share context about our team. It is made…


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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Designers must constantly confront conflict and tension throughout the design process, it’s inevitable. But conflict is not something that’s explicitly part of a typical design curriculum. How do designers and design teams get better at dealing with misunderstanding and disagreement? Understanding the philosophy and methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution is a place to start.

Not many design teams have the privilege of having a trained Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) lawyer on staff. But when I joined the Lab at OPM, I had the opportunity to work with Michael Rawlings, JD BCC, who was a Senior Advisor to Innovation Programs at…


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photo by NeONBrand via Unsplash

It’s a case study — and a microcosm of design-based innovation within U.S. Federal government.

We all know that government can be an easy target for examples of less-than-thoughtful design. We tend to headline negative stories rather than successes like Massimo Vignelli’s Unigrid graphic design system for the National Park Service, created in 1977, and still used — and celebrated — today.

Design in government is a new approach to a 250-year challenge to provide optimal policies, programs, and services to the nation’s citizens. Government designers are starting with fundamental questions — for instance, how do the process and ethos of design have the potential to support effective public policy execution and the management of…

Meghan Lazier

Exploring design + public service. IXD adjunct @EubieBee. @AIGADC Boardie. Formerly: @TEDxKabul @BridgeIntlAcads + @LABopm + @BRCKnet + @svadsi alumna.

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