I want to share a few totally unrelated pieces of thinking that caught my eye. This will be a shorty but I think you’ll find it interesting.


I am taken with this concept of exnovation, which is the counterbalance of innovation. To constantly make something new, you have to dismantle the old; to organize your team around iterating and innovating you need to systematize the dismantling.

You and I are in the business of user experience — because the user experience is often the chief differentiator.

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Photo by Milada Vigerova on Unsplash

This letter began as a primer on what user-experience design looks like deep in the stack, and it devolved into therapy. If you find it a little woo, I rounded-up some things worth your time below.

What I wrote:

  1. You don’t need “UX” in your title.
  2. Sensemaking (a roundup): GPT-3, “Samwising,” and Linguistic Relativity
  3. Metric: first-contact resolution rate.

You don’t need “UX” in your title.

In January I got a title change. It wasn’t from an internal application to a new position, or by otherwise jumping to a ship coasting in the direction of some different shore, but the gradual culmination of something like tides eroding a…

One of the things you’re not doing now — or doing less of — is aggressively trying to understand how the service landscape has changed.

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Photo by Tai's Captures on Unsplash
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When the market’s taken a spill, when your earned revenue is down — people aren’t leaving their homes, folks have lost work, uncertainty leads to spending scarcity — then the easiest line-items to cut are those that involve external consultants. You need to preserve your budget to take care of your colleagues, your business, your livelihoods.

But constraint, especially when that constraint is sudden, unpredictable, and symptomatic of problems widely outside of your control (or even the control of your industry, or your country) — constraint causes…

Let’s be clear, many folks have thrown-in. This question has loads of answers, and this writeup will likely not make it to the top of the search engines. So, what more is there to say? This: it’s not the answer that matters so much as is the philosophy that shapes it.

The answer — and, sure, let me be so bold as to say the right answer — is this: the difference between user experience and customer experience is scope. The customer is a category of user defined by the transaction. …

Without sufficient qualitative research, don’t expect WordPress to self-disrupt any time soon.

Gutenberg isn’t a breakthrough innovation that made WordPress better. It’s a disruptive innovation making WordPress more affordable and accessible. — Mark Uraine, “Disrupting WordPress

A couple weeks ago I read Mark Uraine’s writeup about the disruptive role Gutenberg — the new block-based editor (and system of editor-extensibility) — performs for WordPress, the open-source juggernaut powering a third of the web. It nails why the WordPress community has been so hyped (and it’s in a language I speak):

Why would anyone want to change this? The short answer is expressed best in the quote, “If you don’t like change, you’re going…

54 insights about design from mostly-not-design books

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Photo by Ewan Robertson on Unsplash

In 2019 I read 54 books, coming through the other side of — if I’m remembering correctly — my only resolution made twelve months ago to read 52 books as part of the Goodreads challenge. This was personally ambitious. I learned a lot about how to read, something I’m interested in sharing in another writeup, but my biggest takeaway has been that reading variety is a kind of combinatory play — think: random word association games — and the connections you’re able to draw between totally disparate subjects can be a source of a ton of a-ha moments.

So, here…

The end of year reckoning is often a punch to the gut, but it shouldn’t be.

Ambition means tying your well-being to what other people say or do. Self-indulgence means tying it to the things that happen to you. Sanity means tying it to your own actions.

— Marcus Aurelius

How concerned are you with the sound of your job title? I care. To me, a good job title can act like a key that, in a speaker’s or writer’s bio, at a networking event, on twitter, wherever, can unlock clout. But how much of the job title — let alone you being hired in the first place — is really in your control?

What, if…

The design of a thing is the culmination of a hundred decisions, hard ones.

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

We make up deadlines, sure; we make up year ends, too.

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Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

It’s December 1st, 2019 — the first day of the last month of — let’s be real — an objectively tumultuous year.

I wrote in Metric about “The Temporal Midpoint of the Sprint” after reading Daniel H. Pink’s When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, which has inspired me to think about the role of milestones in life and in design work. The gist is that any time period — a project deadline, a year, a sprint — is defined by at least three milestones: the beginning, the middle, and the end.

When we are thinking about user experience and service design, paradigms like “front end” and “back end” no longer align with an understanding of service clusters, ecosystems, or — frankly — users.

The “front end” is pretty nebulous. What makes a good front end developer? Its definitions, and so its answers, are all over the place. It’s not just the introduction of new front end frameworks that have changed how we talk about it, but in terms of the discipline of designing websites we have begun to think differently: in components, in services.

We can see front end in flux in Ernie HsiungA fictitious, somewhat farcical conversation between me and the JavaScript programming language,” where Ernie as a front end developer — a successful front ender, look at his resume —…

Michael Schofield

User Experience Development Lead @WhereByUs. 🎙 Metric: the User Experience Design Podcast (metricpodcast.com).

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