Tl;dr: By voting among friends at a dinner party, I’ve become a better citizen.

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Nightmare fuel. My Ballot by Daniel X. O’Neil

My ballot used to make me feel like I was taking a final exam for a class I never attended. It starts with a few tricky yes-or-no questions that I have no context for. Then, a bunch of multiple-choice questions where all the answers are people I’ve never heard of. What a nightmare!

There’s a way to do your civic duty and have fun at the same time.

While tests were never fun, the study groups were. To do homework and prepare for tests, we met…


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Image by Flikr user WOCinTech Chat under Creative Commons 2.0 license

Walking in to a job interview with all the confidence in the world is like putting money in the bank. Just by showing up with confidence — shoulders relaxed, eager smile, powerful stride — you’ve got a higher chance of getting that job.

And not just job interviews. Confidence helps in court, in the classroom, in healthy outcomes for patients, and more.

I came up with this model after a friend congratulated me on sending a risky email. I laughed, telling him that I’m frequently terrified, and had lost a lot of sleep about that mail.

He said, shocked, “But…


tl;dr: If a user experience needs an explanation, something is fundamentally broken. Consider redesigning the experience until people no longer need it explained to them.

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As Blaise Pascal wrote, “I made this [letter] very long only because I have not had the leisure to make it shorter.”

In hundreds of languages, over thousands of years, people have known that reducing text takes time. As a professional writer, here’s how I use that time. In my first draft, whether an email or short story or user experience, I usually get to the point I need to make somewhere near the end. I start by moving that point to the top.

Then I examine the meaning in the rest of the content. I remove obvious information —…

Torrey Podmajersky

Author, “Strategic Writing for UX” (O’Reilly 2019), designer of the Pilda Pill Sorter, and teacher of UX writing fundamentals. Also makes shoes.

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