The author is shocked to see many people don’t wash their hands in public rest rooms.
The author is shocked to see many people don’t wash their hands in public rest rooms.

Before this pandemic, I used to go to cafes quite often. When I did, I would do my work, read books, or just chill out, with a nice cup of coffee. When I stay at a cafe for some good amount of time, naturally I need to use a restroom. That gave me quite a bit of opportunity to experience and put my thoughts on UX of public restrooms.

From my perspective as a UX designer, public restrooms have so many UX problems that can go wrong, and it’s a really interesting opportunity space to think through user experience at…


Conceptual diagram showing the side A of the coin is knowledge and skill, while the side B is traits and mindset.
Conceptual diagram showing the side A of the coin is knowledge and skill, while the side B is traits and mindset.
Traits and mindset are the other side of the coin in terms of what’s required to become a UX designer

Many people seem to struggle to find out whether UX is the right fit for them, especially when considering a career switch from a different field. Since UX is such a large umbrella field that includes so many different disciplines within, it’s hard to understand from the outside what it’s like to be a UX designer and what makes you a good fit to pursue a career in UX.

Aside from more obvious practical knowledge and skills that you need such as UX principles, methodology and research fundamentals, there’s another side of the coin which is more about traits and…


An illustration showing a UX designer working on competitive analysis.
An illustration showing a UX designer working on competitive analysis.
You can learn a lot from UX competitive analysis

Competitive analysis — I am not talking about competitive market analysis such as market share, revenue, value proposition and number of customers, which are typically done by PM, a product manager. I am talking about a competitive analysis of a user experience of competitor products as a UX designer.

If you do it with the right approach, you can learn a lot of things, which will greatly benefit your UX work.

In this article, I would like to share one of effective approaches to conduct a competitive analysis in a UX project.

1. See a big picture first


A conceptual diagram showing that a process documentation is in progress as the author work on a UX project.
A conceptual diagram showing that a process documentation is in progress as the author work on a UX project.
I found it important to keep up with a process documentation as I work on a project

When I am working on a UX project, things can easily get messy with bunch of sketches, flows, wireframes, user research data, notes, prototypes and so on. While I feel a strong temptation to just focus on the current UX work, I learned overtime that it’s actually really important that I always keep up with my UX process documentation as I go. I’d like to share my learning with you.

Why document your process?

Here are the reasons why I think it’s important to keep up with process documentation based on my experience:

1. It helped me see a bigger picture of a project.

While I am deep in a UX process, I focus on…


A diagram conceptually showing a criticality of UX/PM/engineer collaboration.
A diagram conceptually showing a criticality of UX/PM/engineer collaboration.
UX/PM/engineer collaboration is critical for success

Many UX educations tend to put UX in isolation, and disregard the importance of UX/PM/engineer collaboration. But in reality, a success of a project/product from a UX perspective is more affected by how well a collaboration among these three disciplines is executed, rather than what a UX team or a UX designer alone can do.

When I was younger, I used to think that a UX designer has a tremendous power and influence on a user experience of a product, and thus it’s the quality of UX designer’s design output that ultimately impacts the quality of the final product’s user…


An image of AppAssist mobile app on Apple’s iPhone.
An image of AppAssist mobile app on Apple’s iPhone.
Veritas AppAssist mobile app, 2016–2019

Aspiring to-be-UX designers tend to focus their attention on fancy, shiny user interfaces of popular products and services from Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, or amazing futuristic cutting-edge technology opportunities such as A.I., virtual reality, and so on.

While many UX designers are involved in such high-profile products and services for sure, the reality is that far more UX designers deal with not-so-fancy (but meaningful) works. I wanted to talk about one of such products called AppAssist. Hopefully this gives a glimpse of how UX designers work in some of those non-fancy projects and what that means.

AppAssist was a mobile…


A conceptual diagram of a low-fidelity prototype created in Google Sheets.
A conceptual diagram of a low-fidelity prototype created in Google Sheets.
A low-fidelity prototype on Google Sheets

Google Sheets is a spreadsheet, just like Microsoft Excel.

Most people associate it with calculating numbers. But Google Sheets is actually great for organizing your ideas, making lists, even creating a low-fidelity prototype.

When I come up with an idea for a product or a design concept, I want to capture that initial vision in my head by writing it down in text, or visualizing it in sketches.

Once my vision is written down as a statement, a sketch, or a description of some sort, I need to further break it down into a set of high-level features in order…


A diagram of “stitch screens with wires” interaction model and transition dropdown menu, with logos of 8 prototyping tools.
A diagram of “stitch screens with wires” interaction model and transition dropdown menu, with logos of 8 prototyping tools.
Today’s trends in prototyping tools are “stitch screens with wires” interaction model and auto-animate transitions.

Although tools are not the most important things to learn as a UX designer, inevitably you need to use it in order to achieve your more important goals, to solve user’s problems. This article covers today’s 8 popular UX prototyping tools including Sketch, Craft, Axure, Adobe XD, InVision Studio, Principle, Framer X, and Figma. First, it compares key aspects such as price, basic prototyping features, Sketch compatibility. Then it covers a high-level overview of each software program in terms of pros and cons and uniquenesses.

I understand there are many more tools out there, and other people may have different…


History of Pandemics recreated based on the data from Visualcapitalist.com

Designers have tremendous power and responsibility to handle data and communicate the message visually through various media. The way two designers slice and present the data could make the stories in the two graphics look completely different. This hugely affects the perception and understanding of the viewers.

Today, we are flooded with all sorts of COVID-19 related information, visualized in various different ways. While it’s important to stay up to date with the latest information, I felt many visualizations that I see are often short-sighted, and lack a holistic perspective. Among the majority of these, I was able to find…


A collage of major prototyping tools’ logos placed on a rough timeline from 1987 to 2018.
A collage of major prototyping tools’ logos placed on a rough timeline from 1987 to 2018.
Modern-day prototyping/authoring tools

Prototyping is critical part of UX process. Obviously, prototyping tools play significant roles, and we have seen various software programs throughout the past decades. Among these tools, I would like to focus on Adobe Flash (now called Animate), and share what I learned from using it for years, and why I think a lesson from Flash holds a future of prototyping. Let me dive in.

History of modern-day prototyping

When we think about the future of prototyping, it’s worth looking back in a history. A chart below shows major prototyping and authoring tools from 1987 to 2020. On the bottom, I added key product/service…

Ryu Sakai

An experienced UX designer, who wants to help aspiring to-be-UX designers who don’t know where to start. Ryu is a founder of https://products.realworldux.co.

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