Five simple reasons why designers quit your company.

woman staring at her computer screen
woman staring at her computer screen
Image by Leni_und_Tom from Pixabay

I’ve spent the better part of the last 5 years deeply involved in the UX mentoring and coaching scene here in the United States. These many conversations with managers and design leaders reveal something alarming. Leaders in these management roles are watching their designers leave for other organizations and opportunities…and they can’t figure out why.

The “why” isn’t complicated.

In no particular order, I’ve outlined 5 reasons why your designers quit, put in their two weeks, and move on. It could be one of these reasons, or all 5, but the truth is, it’s likely at least one of them…


NASA just gave the design community some serious homework.

Source: NASA.gov | Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

There’s been a lot of hype in recent days about rovers, interplanetary travel, Mars, and the astounding technology behind all these advancements. If you’re like me and the millions of others gawking over it, you’ve got a dedicated monitor at your work station to watch it all play out — it’s hard not to!

It’s truly fascinating what we as humans have been able to accomplish.

In a new NASA video detailing the latest images and video footage from the Perseverance Mars rover mission, Allen Chen, NASA’s Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) Phase Lead for the mission, just gave a…


The key to designing delightful products isn’t in software, it’s in the experience others have of us as individuals.

Photo by Jopwell from Pexels

We’re getting pretty good at UX — that is, User Experience. The demand for UX Design, UX Research, Product Management, and similar roles continues to grow across the globe. We’re conducting design sprints, working on agile teams, applying Lean UX principles to our work, writing bestselling books on design thinking, and crafting stunning user interfaces that please our customers.

UX is in a pretty good spot. Yes, there are still advancements to be made and companies that need more UX maturity, but it’s fascinating to see what we can create when we put humans at the center of our designs…


PRODUCT DESIGN TIPS

Knowing when to move on from brainstorming.

Photo by ThisIsEngineering from Pexels

From brainstorming to action

I’ll keep this short, because, by its nature, that’s the point of this article.

How do you know when it’s time to move on from the brainstorming phase in a project? What key event happens or what trigger goes off to tell you and your team that it’s okay to proceed to the next step? Oftentimes, we talk too much. Quite often, in fact, our brainstorming sessions and initial concepts receive way more time on our calendar than they need to.

A colleague recently shared his frustration with me after wrapping up a 3-hour Zoom call with his co-worker. On…


UNLOCKING CREATIVITY

Quit giving it what it wants.

a misty dark scene with a fantasy spirit hovering over the silhouette of a man
a misty dark scene with a fantasy spirit hovering over the silhouette of a man
Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

If there’s one thing our attachment to perfectionism will cause, without question, is a backlog of creative work we’ll never ship. Perfectionism convinces us of a narrative that we can’t put our work out there until it’s “just right”. Unfortunately, perfectionism is always hungry and we’re notoriously good at keeping food on perfectionism’s plate.

When we give perfectionism what it wants, which is typically a heaping pile of junk food, it strips us of the vital nutrients we need to get our work out to the world. The press of the “Publish” button is halted by thoughts such as, “no…


Experiences from your past hold the key.

If you could place your current creativity level on a scale from “in the dumps” to “exhilarating”, where would you put it? How excited are you about your craft? Often when we’re trying to break out of a creative slump, we’re either battling the fear of what others will think or we’re truly searching for inspiration to get us going.

If it’s the latter for you, you might try looking into your past at the experiences that got you excited about design in the first place.

Background Image — Photo by Thibault Trillet from Pexels

It was 1997 and I signed up for my first graphic design class in…


You’re spending too much time caring about what others think.

a phone and 3 notification icons floating above it
a phone and 3 notification icons floating above it
Photo by Cristian Dina from Pexels

Janine is my friend.

She’s an exceptionally talented product designer and a powerhouse of grit and tenacity. 2020, the year of COVID, proved to be the most challenging year in her professional life. She was fortunate enough to keep her job, didn’t lose anyone close to her to the pandemic, and is in relatively good health despite the stress and difficulties in her personal life. Nonetheless, it was a year that obliterated her motivation and creativity.

Why, Mike?”, she asked me.

Why do I have zero drive and zero energy to be creative when that’s all I felt like I…


UX RESEARCH

A little inspiration if you’re drawing a blank on questions to ask your research participants.

a woman wearing glasses looking at her laptop
a woman wearing glasses looking at her laptop
Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

I find that even though I’m quite familiar with and comfortable conducting research during the UX process, I still draw a blank somedays. This is a list (and definitely not a complete one) of questions I’ve asked participants in the past. These go a little beyond the “yes” or “no” questions, although there’s a time and place for those too when gathering data.

I’ve created this list first to serve as a reference to all of you, and second for when my mind goes blank and I need a refresher! 🤣

Closed-ended questions

Closed-ended questions can be a good, objective place to…


MANAGEMENT 101

A 5-step, easy-to-follow guide any manager can use, with indicators to measure progress. Read to the end.

In a world of self-help listicles and how-to life manuals, very few touch on how we can effectively & systematically cripple our direct reports at an emotional level. If you’re a manager who’d like to sap creativity from your employees and dismantle their self-esteem, welcome aboard.

while there is satire in this story, it is not my intention to encourage the practice of domoralizing employees and destorying their self-esteem. This story does, however, contain real-life experiences as told to me by my colleagues. …


5 powerful lessons taken from a World War II survival guide.

December 7, 1941 — what an extraordinary day in history. My dad was seven when the U.S. Pacific military fleet was decimated by a surprise Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor. On that Sunday morning, thousands of lives were lost. Not long after these events, the United States formally entered World War II.

black and white image of a sinking battleship
black and white image of a sinking battleship
Image by WikiImages from Pixabay

Before his passing in 2017, I recall many occasions when my dad would share the events and feelings that came over him when he learned of the tragedy at Pearl Harbor. My dad, even at that young age, was an expert at looking up into the sky and…

Mike W. Curtis

UX Designer | Mentor | Teacher

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