I realized I was nonbinary before I identified as a designer.

I was lucky to have a few transgender friends at the time, who I confided in and sort of tested out the proposition of a new-to-me gender identity. “I think I might be non-binary,” I said to them. “How did you know?” “What does it feel like?” I asked. I had never, until that point, considered that I may not completely resonate with the gender I was assigned by my parents as a newborn. …

You’ve already spent hours on user testing. You’ve sourced your ideal users, and put them through the paces of your perfectly-planned tests, most of all usability tests, keeping track of their comments and their actions using note-taking templates to keep everything consistent and easy-to-interpret. The results seem obvious — and changes to the product are perfectly clear in your mind. Are you ready to prototype these changes? Not so fast!

It can feel redundant to create a report after a well-executed usability test, especially if you’ve involved the rest of your team from the start. However, usability reports are a strong method for communicating your results to your team and your wider organization in a clear, professional way, in order to build support for your research efforts. …

You’re excited. You’ve spent the last month finessing your prototype, asking for feedback, and integrating your team’s ideas. You’ve asked your mom, your best friend, and your dog for their impressions. You’ve made sure your interfaces are buildable by the dev team and that all the necessary features are represented in your design. Is it time to launch? Not so fast!

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We all know the importance of user testing; usability testing may not be the sexiest part of this aspect of the design process, but it can provide you with a new perspective and help you improve your skills — not to mention, it’s absolutely necessary to do before sending your prototypes along to the dev team for implementation. …

A brief history of cognitive walkthroughs

A cognitive walkthrough is a usability testing method in which designers ask key questions and work through the tasks of their intended user to identify how usable their product is. Cognitive walkthroughs essentially task a UX designer with walking a mile in their user’s shoes; they will help you ensure that your interface is easy to use for anyone interacting with it for the very first time, and to ensure your future users are able to realize their end goal.

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In 1989, cognitive scientist Don Norman published “The Psychology of Everyday Things,” which posited that any error that a user makes when using an interface is the fault of the design, and not of the user. …

Content Warning: Sexual Assault

Everyone was telling me it would be hard. I was saying this to myself. I was about to spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, as a 16 year old girl who was abducted, tortured, and raped for 2 1/2 years without trial by a military government in Argentina. Patricia Isasa was going to attend the premiere of this new opera about her struggle, and I was going to meet her.

They didn’t prepare me for these sorts of experiences in music school. The kinds of contracts that hold me in the rehearsal room because I signed my name at the bottom of a paper, when the material I am responsible for is turning my heart inside and out and my stomach over and over again. How do I embody a character fully, fall in love with the character, learn its idiosyncrasies, when that character must undergo torture daily on stage, sometimes multiple times, with increasing detail, depth, and dramatic timing? …

  1. Hear other people sing. Feel it in your gut. Hear their voices rise from their guts. Be moved to tears. Know that you can do that, too; that you have already done it in your life, once; that your life depends on doing it again.
  2. Deprecate yourself for thinking self-deprecating thoughts. Doubt that anyone would ever want to hear you. Know that you’ll never be the best. Compare yourself to everyone else. Live in your head for a while, and feel your throat close up. …

Content Warning: Sexual Assault, Childhood

The reason you don’t believe me

Is that I’ve learned, since childhood,

To smile. To laugh. To make the best of things.

Keeping peace was my girlhood work.

Making sure Dad knew he was right.

Making sure Mom knew she was loved,

And that we thought she was beautiful.

The reason you don’t believe me

Is because, deep down, you must know

That we saw the consequences of our truth-telling.

It was always mom who drove away

When things got too rough between them.

Her life, played by his rules. Maybe

It would have been different if she earned…

One year ago today, I took my last drink.

I had spent 10 years of my life drinking almost every day, 5 years of hiding how much I drank, 2 years telling myself that I wouldn’t drink that night and failing, and 1 month of almost succeeding at quitting, only to fall back into the addiction harder than ever.

I would drink before going on stage and at intermissions. I would drink and get drunk the night before early auditions because I had convinced myself that I was a better singer when I was hungover. I drank before social situations to be “more myself.” My drinking got worse when I realized my desire was much queerer than I had previously expressed. I drank to overcome my fear of rejection in queer spaces. I drank to connect with my mom and my dad, even though it only brought out the worst in us. I hosted wild parties to secure my place on the social ladder and avoid having to be vulnerable with people. After the guests were gone, I would gulp down the leftover wine in the glasses, because my substance was so precious to me. I drank my money away and considered wine more important than food. I drank to avoid feeling my feelings, and the feelings of everyone around me. I drank so people wouldn’t think I was better than them — to shock them out of thinking I was innocent, sheltered, “Miss Perfect.” I drank to write. I drank to tell the truth, and the truth was, I couldn’t get sober alone. …

Everyone’s thinking about how to thrive, how to live, or how to pay the rent and keep from going hungry. Those that care about the current human rights discourse also see the connection between the authority of capitalism and oppression of the subaltern. Is it possible to receive the resources needed to live and thrive, while simultaneously working to destroy the way we currently acquire those resources on an individual level? Is it possible to overcome our “money blocks” while blocking the growth of capitalism?

One way to engage with capitalism is to participate in it without resistance. With total trust in the system, willing to take advantage of all the benefits it promises and absorb, personally, all the ways that it does not support us. …

About

RC Woodmass

They/them. Nonbinary lesbian sober writer & techie endlessly advocating for inclusion and justice. 👑 at queerit.co, Product Design at getcrescendo.co.

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