Like millions of others, Netflix r̶e̶c̶o̶m̶m̶e̶n̶d̶e̶d̶ autoplayed The Social Dilemma documentary to my iPhone, and it made an impression.

As someone who is involved in the industry of designing digital products and services I thought I knew all the ‘dark patterns’ that user experience (UX) designers use to manipulate users.

Dark patterns in sales

A recent dark pattern I can’t escape is Youtube asking me to become a paying member. It takes over the screen asking if I want to subscribe for a fee and remove ads. …


Imagine designing the UI for Candy Crush Saga — a match 3 game, on the original Macintosh in all its black and white glory.

Minimal Match 3 Ultimate — UI design made in MacPaint 1984
Minimal Match 3 Ultimate — UI design made in MacPaint 1984
MacPaint puzzle game for iPhone and iPad

Pixel painting

I usually spend my time designing beautiful flashy digital products in the latest software, for the latest devices.

But not this time.

I remember designing on our first computer. I spent hours drawing extremely large images in Windows Paint performing a kind of pixel painting (what ever happened to the spay can tool?). I would then print the paintings out on a dot matrix printer inch by inch on an endless roll.

One day while halfway through a massive tiled print (intended to cover my wall), the computer beeped and froze up. It never did turned on again.

But the…


Is that the most important problem in tech to solve?

10 years from now letting people messaging rather other will won’t seem like a good use of tech, it will seem amateur.

The tech we have could help people, it…


Final design recording on device

The Appreciative Minimalist

Sketch designs and Unreal build.

Two years ago I started making a match three game in unreal Minimal Match Three. Here is exactly how that went.

I don’t have any development skills

I’m not an app developer or a video game developer, so making a game all by myself with Unreal was intimidating. I previously used the original unreal editor years ago to edit some maps, but this was a whole new ball game.

I can’t code, I can’t read C++ or understand Unreal’s visual scripting system called ‘blueprints’. I imagine many other indie developer are like this too — not developers but designers and entrepreneurs.

Luckily I do have one…


Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

The Appreciative Minimalist

Instantly free up more time.

If you find yourself in a hole. Stop digging.

Smart phones can now tell you if you’re over indulging in digital media. The issue is not how much time we are spending where we are spending it.

Spend digital time where it matters

I’m a technology person. Always have been. I love using technology to make things, to learn and better my understanding in new topics, and often to indulge for many hours at a time until my eyes go bright red.

In fact my right eye right now is itchy. I’m sure it’s red. I’m using a 15" Macbook with the brightness all the way…


Imagine a life where you only do what makes you happy. A life where the things you dislike don’t exist.

More of what you love, less of what you don’t need. Originally posted on The Appreciative Minimalist

Hi I’m Zakary Kinnaird. I believe we can all live more intentional, deliberate, focused lives doing more of the things we love, and less of the things we don’t. Welcome to the appreciative minimalist.

I’ve always believed that I am in control of my life. I work a nine-to-five job. I relax in the weekends. I make time to do the things I love to do in life. But I still feel like much of my time is wasted, I feel a lack of control and therefore life just happens, without my direct input.

Being intentional, deliberate and focused fixed…


Will service design replace the profession?

Can we stop talking about UX design, and start talking about service design.

Spoilers I’m a graphic designer.

I tell my mum I make websites, which is like an architect telling their step-dad they make buildings.

I don’t get my hands dirty.

I can’t write Javascript or even how to write an ‘if’ statement.

But I still haven’t made a wireframe in over five years.

Hear me out.

This idea of UX design making some wireframes — drawings of what the layout will be like and what content will be there, a basic structure for the design. A thumbnail sketch if you will.

Thing is, I’ve got my thumbnail drawings, I’ve got the structure scribbled out, it’s already done.

Except I missed something.


Pro, rounded corners, full screen, cropped screen, no corners, gestures and bigger screens—how to design for iPhoneX.

Minimal Match Three — Home Screen

Designing for the new iPhone X proposes two new issues:

  1. The screen is obscured where common navigation items are placed
  2. Gestures drive the navigation through the UI.

To solve an interactive navigation like a video game, in this case a match three game, the UI needs to lean into the same interactions of the native apple interface

Story, aesthetics and design.

The design for this match three app is based on the idea that popular app genres can have modern clean aesthetics, simple gameplay design and tell a story without resorting to candy crush-ing or cute animals.


A trend, or a pragmatic response to linked text in div tags.

When I look at a website that uses text as the main visual components it makes me think not of the graphic design posters, but of HTML text and using what we have as web developers and building a visual system out of what we have available.

We sometimes forget about the functional background the web is built on and how a series of HTML links that join pages and sites construct the very fabric behind the bits and pixels we stare at.

It reminds me of building architecture, what is most fundamental to the building? Space, shelter, walls, doors…


You heard about User Experience Design (UX) and want to get more involved. Ok so let’s get started.

A UX designers role is to be the voice of the user, you should always advocate for the users need over all else.

The goal of UX design make the experience of using a product or service as easy and pain free as possible.

To make a pain free experience UX designers must put themselves in the shoes of the user, analyse the process they go through, come up with solutions to make the process easier and test them with real users.

A Four step process

UX design is a simple process as follows:

Each step can be expanded upon or…

Zakary Kinnaird

The Appreciative Minimalist appminimalist.com

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