Independent UX consultant Jenny Shen explains why and how to create digital products for international users and reveals some — often surprising — cultural nuances that can make or break a product

Translating a digital product into different languages is no longer enough to expand into new markets these days. To really reach international users, companies need to be aware of cultural differences and ensure they adapt their products accordingly. This is where Jenny Shen comes in, a UX consultant who specialises in cross-cultural design and localisation.

The business value is immense: According to the Localization Industry Standards Association, the potential return on investment for localisation is $25 for every dollar spent.

“Actually, only nine percent of the world’s population speak English,” Jenny points out. “Most of the customers who can’t read…


Shopify’s director of UX, Verne Ho, reveals how he helps build virtual assistant Kit and the most important lessons he’s learned about conversation design

Photo by Cynthia Nguyen

Verne Ho loves making things that enable others to make things. It’s the common thread running through all the projects he’s involved in.

“Education and empowerment are a deeply rooted passion of mine,” he explains. “I find myself constantly chasing opportunities where I can accelerate more creative ambitions. If I don’t feel like there’s a strong sense of purpose behind the work that I’m doing, I almost lose a little bit of motivation.”

Most recently this purpose has been focused on Kit, Shopify’s digital assistant. It helps merchants, especially smaller ones, free up time by taking care of complex tasks…


Software engineer Cassidy Williams discusses designing for voice, the value of side projects, why she lives by the motto ‘lift as you climb’ and how playing an active part in the developer community can open doors

Cassidy Williams’ career path is a great example of the importance of networking and the opportunities that can come your way if you put yourself out there and create a personal brand. It’s an especially inspiring story for young women wanting to get into the tech world, women who Cassidy is very active in supporting.

Straight after graduating from Iowa State University, Cassidy joined a New York startup as a software engineer and developer evangelist and was featured as one of ’35 Women Under 35 Who Are Changing the Tech Industry’ in Glamour magazine. …


Sophia V Prater explains how you can use her object-oriented UX methodology to create intuitive digital products devoid of clutter

Photo credit: Jordan Prater

“When we go into a digital environment, the laws of physics are completely blown out of the water,” exclaims Sophia V Prater, UX coach, consultant and founder of Rewired, a studio in Atlanta, Georgia. “We do crazy things. It’s often confusing and not rooted into how we perceive reality.”

By way of an example, Sophia tells the story of how a hosting company recently emailed her to let her know that two of the URLs she owns were about to renew. She decided to turn off auto-renew for one of them and clicked ‘Manage Renewals’ to do so.

“So I…


Joe Toscano⚡️explains why he left his life in Silicon Valley behind in order to educate the masses about what’s really going on in the tech industry and how we can create a better, ethical future

Until mid-2017, Joe Toscano was an experience designer for an R/GA team embedded in Google. He and his team helped oversee and manage the Google product ecosystem to make sure products met its brand standards as they went to market. He also consulted on non-Google projects, as a member of the R/GA global network.

“I got an incredible breadth of experience in the industry and got to see a lot of amazing technologies from different companies — it helped me understand their business strategies and how they plan to move forward,” he recalls. …


Creative networking platform The Dots is a prime example of an ethical tech company. Here founder Pip Jamieson explains what had made it so successful and how it helps businesses build diverse teams

Previously, The Dots — dubbed ‘the next LinkedIn’ by Forbes — removed the ability for companies to search the platform for talent based on where people went to university. Now the London-based startup has gone a step further and launched a bias blocker tool. Recruiters can toggle it on to hide personal data (such as name, photo, and educational background) from profiles, so people are judged solely on their skills and the quality of their work.

“It came about because one of our clients, AKQA, who have a blind recruitment policy in place, sent us a photo of how they…


What happens when we’re done with a product or service? According to Joe Macleod, founder of the world’s first business dedicated to helping companies end their customer relationships, overlooking the closure experience is a huge wasted opportunity. Here he tells us why

As an industry, we’re obsessed with the onboarding experience. We study it extensively and refine it to perfection. Everything is about attracting new customers. So it’s a surprise that Joe Macleod, formerly head of design at digital product and service studio ustwo, wants us to focus on the offboarding experience.

“We have lost the ability to end consumer relationships with meaning,” he explains. “I think it’s the cornerstone of all the consumer ills that we have. There are profound meaningful endings at the end of stories, films and games, but at the end of consumer experiences we have nothing. …


Self-taught front-end developer and UI designer Ire Aderinokun on building sites for the next billion users, enabling Nigerians to trade cryptocurrency instantly, and going from tinkering with a fan site for online game Neopets to speaking at events all over the world

Photo: Frontend Conference

Unlike many of us, Ire Aderinokun experiences first-hand what it’s like to develop websites for the much-talked about next billion users — people who are coming online for the first time in countries such as India, Indonesia, Brazil, and Nigeria, where Ire lives.

“One of the most annoying things about Nigeria is the lack of consistent internet,” Ire explains. “If it rains heavily, for example, the internet will not work very well, and you just need to accept that. I have four or five different ISPs in my house. When one doesn’t work, I just use another one. …


The design team at the UK’s biggest telecommunications company BT (which includes the EE and Plusnet brands) firmly believes that all great design must be user-centered. This means putting their 34 million customers at the heart of everything they do and involving their perspective in all steps of the design process, straddling human-centered product design, content design, inclusive design, service design, user research, SEO, and DesignOps.

Illustration by Erica Fasoli.

We sat down with BT’s director of design Conor Ward to find out more about the evolution of the company’s user experience — one of the world’s biggest digital transformations — and how to…


Designing intuitive products is more important than ever. We talk to customer experience consultant Gerry McGovern about the Top Tasks methodology he created to identify, measure and improve what matters most to an organisation’s customers

“Anybody can code and wireframe, but having a genuine ability to put yourself into other people’s shoes and really understand them is the most valuable skill any digital team can have,” exclaims Gerry McGovern, founder and CEO of Customer Carewords. “And it’s so rare to find: there are many UX people who don’t interact with their customers — what the hell is your purpose?! They know all about tools and methods, but the percentage of actual time that most digital people spend with customers — getting to know and understand them — is tiny. …

Oliver Lindberg

Independent editor and content consultant. Founder and captain of @pixelpioneers. Co-founder and curator of GenerateConf. Former editor of @netmag.

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