Improve these skills to become the best designer you can be.

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The start of the new year is here. Let’s hope for a better 2021, regardless of the ups and downs we’ve all had in 2020. We often start the new year by taking a step back and reflect. A fresh start. This year, 2021, is no different.

By taking a step back you can discover areas within your skillset that might have been, well… lacking. This can be a difficult and confronting process. Believe me, I know from experience.

Last year, I’ve worked together with over 50 designers spread across 4 projects. …


Spoiler alert. It is not as much as you’d have hoped but enough to make it worth your while.

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Some of the bigger writers make it sound almost too easy. Just write a viral post and you’ll be swimming in money in no time.

Yet, for smaller writers like you and me, getting some reach and exposure with our work can be more of a challenge. Forcing your way to a viral post doesn’t work, but writing about a popular event comes very close. That’s exactly what I tried to do.

Here’s what happened.

Results

To get maximum results, you have to be (one of the) first to get a post online after the event you’re writing about. …


Not every time, at least.

You don’t need a design sprint. Header image.
You don’t need a design sprint. Header image.

Dear non-designer,

Design thinking and design sprints are booming right now. Everyone and their brother either has or wants to have a design sprint for their product. And for good reasons. I mean, design sprints are great!

A design sprint is a period of a few days (usually a week) where you take a deep dive into a design question. You lock yourself in a (digital) room with a designer, facilitator, and a few other relevant roles to brainstorm, do a workshop or two, and test your ideas.

The output? Validated design solutions for your business problem. Sounds great! However……


In fact, it is about more than just design.

Header image that shows a pile of books and the title ‘Accessibility is about more than just contrast’
Header image that shows a pile of books and the title ‘Accessibility is about more than just contrast’

Dear non-designer,

Every now and then, a design project comes along where accessibility, or a11y, is a requirement.

Two interesting things are happening here. First, accessibility should be a part of every design project, not only when it just happens to be relevant.

Secondly, when accessibility is a requirement, designers are often tasked with basic tasks like applying the right contrast ratios and text sizes. Doing just this makes every button, text, and element accessible for people with a visual impairment. Done and dusted.

Or so you would think. There’s a lot more to designing accessible products than just having…


What you can expect and achieve as a side-hustling designer. Realistically.

Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash

Money, how to earn money on Medium, and passive income are some of the most popular topics on Medium. I do no believe this to be a coincidence anymore.

This is in part my fault. I write a lot on this subject as well. In fact, my best performing posts on this platform all have something to say on one of these topics albeit it being focused on money in UX, design, and tech as well.

Yet, I think there’s something interesting going on.

Expectations on what you can achieve are way off due to clickbait titles and authors that…


No lies. No clickbait. Just real insights of what you can expect after your first year as a side hustler

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Don’t you just hate those “I made this much money in such and such time” kind of posts? In most cases, these posts want to sell you something. In other cases, the title is just a clickbait for a post that turns out to take far more of an effort than what the title suggests.

In June of 2020, I wanted to see how far I could get. I’ve started a design side hustle and took the tips these so-called experts shared with the world to heart. …


Actionable tips to make full use of all the working-from-home benefits.

Photo by Sabri Tuzcu on Unsplash

The COVID-19 crisis has forced a lot of us to start working from home. For most of us, working from home is great. Well, to be honest, it has the potential to be great.

There are numerous benefits to your health, mental health, and productivity. Yet, working from home comes with its own set of challenges. Even though it has a lot of benefits, working from home can be hard.

I’ve been working from home for close to a year now. With no specific date to return to the office in sight, I have had the time to experience both…


How to stay motivated and productive as a writing designer

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Every new project you start has that new car smell all over it. Everything you do just works. It is just awesome. However, after some time things will change. Your motivation will change. It is very common within projects.

That inevitable drop in motivation hit me after three months of working on my design side project.

This is update #4 — Motivation, dips & failure

There’s a lot that didn’t go according to my original plan. For example, I wanted to write this post at the end of September. We’re currently at the end of November. My goal was to…


A step-by-step guide for your next game night

Playing board games is a lot of fun. Especially with family and friends. Yet, there’s always this one annoyance: explaining a new game to first-time players. I’m sure you’ve encountered that yourself on many occasions as well.

In a way, playing a game that is hard to understand is like using an application that hasn’t been designed well. It just doesn’t feel right. It causes you to feel frustrated and angry. It is not the way you want your fun game night to go.

As a UX designer, it is my job to design solutions to these complex problems. In…


Best practices on form design.

Photo by Celpax on Unsplash

One of the most common lessons we learn as young (UX) designers is to make everything you design as easy to use as possible by keeping the user in mind.

Well-known sayings from the field of design include “don’t make me think” and “keep it simple.”

We enforce these sayings by applying best practices like the three-click-rule and designing above the fold. Yet, as a UX designer, you could be doing too much in terms of designing easy-to-use products.

By making your forms too easy to use you could hurt the usability of your design. It could cost you tons…

Nick Groeneveld

Designer & consultant. Working on providing designers the tools they need. Join the Designer’s Toolbox at https://bit.ly/jointhedesignerstoolbox

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