UX Career Guidance

[ Podcast ] MAKING UX WORK, Episode 02


UX Career Guidance

Introducing the MAKING UX WORK Podcast!

Hey friends! I wanted to let you know that I’ve just launched the inaugural episode of my new podcast, MAKING UX WORK — and you can listen to it right here.

It’s a little different than most of what’s out there, because my guests aren’t the “rock stars” of UX, Design and Tech. I think those of us with high profiles get more than our share of airtime already.

So instead, I want to talk to real people doing real work in the real world — in the tough, often unglamorous trenches and front lines of product development. You’ll hear about


UX Career Guidance

Are UX Interview “Exercises” Crossing the Line?

UX interview exercises

I’m increasingly troubled by stories from young Designers and UXers about UX interview “exercises” potential employers are asking them to do. Specifically, I’m seeing too many instances where, to my eyes, it looks like these organizations are asking interviewees to do real project work — for free.

I personally believe that these exercises are a waste of everyone’s time, but I get it. Organizations want a sure thing; they’re trying to minimize risk and vet a candidate as thoroughly as possible. But here’s what nearly three decades have taught me:



Tips & Advice, UI Design

The difference between amateur and professional design

the difference between amateur and professional design

Today’s fast food for thought re: #design and #UX.

If the conversation is around how good the design is or how it looks, it’s the wrong conversation.

The shift depicted here marks the difference between amateur and professional design.


Tips & Advice

Words matter: why notification messages could kill Dropbox’s UX

Dropbox's new branding won't overcome their frightening notification message issues.

As many of you know by now, Dropbox recently completed a large-scale brand overhaul. Dropbox says of their new branding is about “shifting the conver­sation around work,” offering this explanation:

“Our users run the gamut from business professionals to scientists and creative types. Most of these folks tell us they feel overwhelmed and distracted during the workday, and that this is one of the biggest barriers to creating work they’re proud of. 

They deal with cluttered inboxes,


Tips & Advice

Want stakeholder buy-in? See UX their way.

Want stakeholder buy-in? See UX their way.

A few years back, I read a book (whose title I can’t recall) that delivered this absolutely GOLD nugget of wisdom regarding the struggle to get stakeholder buy-in for UX and Design:

Most people in management or executive positions can’t truly see what’s broken, because they’re usually only looking at the side that’s working.

Truer words were never spoken. I wrote that in my sketchbook on the spot and have never forgotten it.

The thing is, that’s really not their fault. It’s actually a product


UI Design

Design is Design is Design is…UX?

Design is design is design is ux

Look, we all know at this point that UI design is not the same thing as UX, and that doing one well does not guarantee the quality of the other. But at the same time, the two are more closely related — interdependent, in fact — than most “experts” seem to want to admit.

The truth is that, with a digital product, you cannot have meaningful UX without equally great UI design.

And by the same token, you cannot truly call a UI design great unless it


UX Career Guidance

3 things every recruiter looks for in a UX Portfolio

UX portfolio

In my new Build a Powerful UX Portfolio course, I talk a great deal about something that’s become clear to me over the past several months, and that’s this:

Although we are all — whether UXers, designers or developers — fiercely dedicated to delivering great UX in our daily work, we often fail to apply the same discipline, rigor or effort to our personal websites or portfolios.

In particular, there are 3 things that stand out to me, things I see in every UX portfolio I’ve seen:

1. This


Tips & Advice

The (Overlooked) UX Value of Stakeholder Arguments

stakeholder arguments

We’re all on the same side here…aren’t we?

In a previous post, I told you a story about me screwing up — and how I lived to tell the tale 😉

A big part of that failure was not doing the work upfront to learn all I could about all the players involved in the project and the product. I never looked past my initial contact, who was the head of Product Marketing. And as you saw, I got all sorts of unpleasant


UX Career Guidance

UX Career Advice: On Screwing Up, Surviving and Succeeding


Sooner or later, you’re going to screw up.

Doesn’t matter how smart or sharp or well-prepared you are, it’s going to happen. That’s just the way it is. But instead of fearing that moment in your UX career — or running away from it when it happens — I want you to expect and embrace it as a necessary component of your success.

I’ll explain by way of a personal story.

Very early on in my career, I somehow landed a huge opportunity


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