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All Posts in Thoughts

03/31/2016 - No Comments!

Leveraging Benchmark Usability Tests, part 1/3

Internal User Experience Training

pablo (1)

In last week’s edition of my Product Design Newsletter, I wrote in detail about conducting regular benchmark usability tests. The described process worked quite well within my agile software development team to ensure the ongoing high quality of our software. If you haven’t read that article just yet, go here and read about the process behind monthly benchmark user testing.

As the data from months of these benchmark tests accumulated, my team realized there were some additional positive, though unintended, consequences of the new testing schedule. Once these were realized, we were able to leverage these and attain even more results from the regular testing schedule. These results included:

- 01 — Internal User Experience Training
- 02 — User Testing Awareness
- 03 — Increased Team Empathy
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03/17/2016 - No Comments!

Soft + Hard Skills = Professional Designer.

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 11.13.40 AM

Tie optional.

The development of each skill set is equally important

Hard Skills

Let’s first discuss the hard skills, as these are the more commonly talked about and taught in the design industry and thus easier to define. I’m defining hard skills are those of a more technical nature. This is what you need to do your job as a digital product designer. These can be learned in both formal training via schooling as well as self-taught through tutorials and dedicated practice.

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03/10/2016 - No Comments!

5 Career Insights from Learning to Snowboard

What a newbie learned by falling down the mountain

Slack for iOS Upload

New friends and first-time snowboarders at the Montues event in Tahoe.

I’ve just returned from the stunning mountains of Tahoe where I was lucky enough to participate in the first ever Epicurrence Montues event. Epicurrence is a design non-conference by Dann Petty aimed at getting creative folks out of their offices and into inspiring situations in nature.

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03/03/2016 - No Comments!

The tools don’t make the designer

pablo

The process distinguishes the designer.

Designers are makers. As tinkerers and craftspeople, we’re always hungry to try out the next and newest tools that enable our work. While this can be a driving force for good and continuous personal improvement, the constant pressure to understand tools can get in the way of the bigger picture.
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02/18/2016 - No Comments!

What makes a product designer?

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While titles in the digital design space continue to be a hot topic of debate, some things remain constant. Designer’s primary disciplines are less and less clear cut as our industry shifts and there is increasing demand for those who can spread themselves thin and touch many aspects of the creative cycle.

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02/01/2016 - No Comments!

A Designers Best Friend: Reason

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As a professional designer, you are a key asset of the team – not simply a tool for last-minute polish.

The term Creative has long plagued the professional designer. When we speak of a designer in this light, one conjures the image of a whacky, unkempt “creative-type” that comes in late to work and skips meetings. ThisCreative slacks lazily at their desk, pushing pixels around until inspiration strikes, or some combination of colors and typography happens to click.

Today’s thriving professional designer is anything but this. Today’s designer is an analytical problem solver who can explain clearly how and why she got to the design solution she is defending. How does she do it? Reason.

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01/08/2016 - No Comments!

Choosing & Charging Clients

If you’re in a product design or strategy role, this article should help you to hone in on who to work with and how to charge them fairly. This applies to those that have made the switch from a simple user interface design role to one who provides product design services.

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Letterpress poster by Erik Spiekermann – website.

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01/07/2016 - No Comments!

Leveling Up: From UI to Product Design

Setting arbitrary titles aside for a moment – this article is really about the transition many designers make between simply designing for beauty and designing for something more. It’s about the true role of a designer in problem solving and how that relates to communication with the client and user.

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07/08/2015 - 6 comments

Branding Meets Material Design

material design

Since Google's release of their Material Design visual language, the mobile design industry has been experiencing a quick pivot towards somewhat universally adopting to these guidelines. As a product designer, I'd like to challenge this pivot and urge other designers/organizations to do the same. I've noticed an unfortunate trend wherein organizations are sacrificing their branding and voice in exchange for standardization. While the trend may indeed lead to an improved mobile experience overall, I think that blindly adapting to the guidelines set forth by Google without some deep thought is a mistake.

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05/23/2015 - No Comments!

I am a Product Designer.

product-designer

Job titles in the tech/software industry (with an emphasis on design) are quickly becoming a pet peeve of mine. I recently came across Chris Coyier's archived blog post on the subject which inspired me to complete my own post which I've had in draft-mode for many months.

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