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We need more Calm Design

Also in this newsletter: Cognitive Bias Codex, common portfolio mistakes, quitting your design job, and more!

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We need more Calm Design

Calm Technology originated in 1995 at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center by three researchers Mark Weiser, Rich Gold, and John Seeley Brown.

The philosophy is rooted in the idea that computing systems should “simplify complexities, not introduce new ones.”

Driving home yesterday, my partner saw a sign that read ‘elderly crossing’ and he asked me, “aren’t there old people everywhere? Why is there a specific sign here?”

To be honest, I didn’t know. I assumed that maybe the neighborhood had it put up by request because there were lots of elderly crossing. But that sign made us think, why it was there.

In digital design, there are similar thoughts and questions. Do we need this icon, how can we convey information without making it distracting, etc. Calm design is intentional design — it calls to action when it is important and doesn’t distract the user from the task at hand.


The Cognitive Bias Codex

This is an incredible infographic that maps out all the major human biases. Cognitive bias work informs Laws of UX that could be applied to design.

I love how this work breaks down the biases into 4 digestible themes:

  1. What Should We Remember?
  2. Too Much Information
  3. Not Enough Meaning
  4. Need to Act Fast

Check out this link for a large, clickable image.


5 portfolio mistakes Junior UX designers make

  1. Lack of projects in a portfolio
  2. Not targeting your portfolio
  3. Placing skills proficiency in portfolio
  4. Relying on certificates
  5. Long process-focused case studies

I’ve seen skill proficiency bars and charts on resume templates but I’ve never used them myself because it didn’t make sense. Reading this bullet point in the article, it all makes sense. Robert Mayer says “this is silly and makes no sense at all, as there’s no way to compare skills in any absolute or even relative unit. For real.” And he’s right. With the advancement of tools and such too, there is no way to be 100% a master at something. I think there’s always room for growth with design tools.




“The dumbest mistake is viewing design as something you do at the end of the process to ’tidy up’ the mess, as opposed to understanding it’s a ‘day one’ issue and part of everything.”

- Tom Peters


I Quit My UX Design Job, In Less Than A Year…Here’s Why!

Wesley Hong quit his UX design at his dream company… Why?!

This is a good resource for UX beginners to watch after you’ve gotten a feel of what it is like to work in the industry. When you are applying to jobs and interviewing for positions, you have imaginations of where you see yourself in that trajectory. But a job is taking a risk both for the employer and the employee.

They are taking a risk with you because they’re not sure if you fit their company culture and fill their gaps. You’re taking a risk because you don’t know if they’re going to help you advance your career or help you achieve whatever wishlist items. Therefore, after 6 months or even 3 months, you can evaluate your experience and decide what the best next step is for your career. Maybe it’s finding something else or maybe it’s riding it out for a few more months to gain more experience. It’s different for everyone so watch videos to hear other people’s experiences but also do what feels good for you.


Design is a Job

Are you a career-changer? This book goes through all the things you need to do to become a great designer. This is a must-read if you are trying to set yourself up for success and do great work by providing you with tips on collaborating, writing good emails, and more. I’d say this is a Holy Grail read so make sure you have your pen and paper ready to take notes!


Site Palette (for Chrome)

Love a color palette online? This tool helps you extract colors from the website and export those colors as an image.



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