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:



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


UX Career Guidance

How can my UX portfolio speak to ridiculous job post skill sets? (Tuesdays with Joe, Episode 11)

In this latest installment of Tuesdays with Joe, I tackle the ridiculous UX job postings we’ve all seen: strange mashups of titles, conflicting qualifications and unicorn-like combinations of UX, design and development skills. How can your UX portfolio possibly address all of this?

I’m sure you’ve seen those job listings, which tend to read like this:

“Jack-of-All-Possible-UX-UI-Design-and-Development-Trades-Wanted. Must know everything there is to know about anything and everything related to all of these disciplines. Two brains (left and right) preferable. Must also be able to do this work with one hand tied behind back


Tips & Advice

Adobe asked: what do I look for when hiring a designer?

While in Chicago speaking at HOW DESIGN LIVE recently, the good folks at Adobe cornered me and asked me to weigh in on what I looks for when hiring a designer, my number one rule for talking to clients about design, and considerations for designing for a diverse audience. I was completely honored, and I hope you find some value in what I had to say!


UI Design

Signal vs. Noise: Removing Visual Clutter in the UI


When I was a kid, terrestrial radio was pretty much our only option for listening to music on the go. Small, portable transistor radios (like the one you see in the picture) were essentially the blueprint for iPods and today’s smartphones.

And if you were a music fanatic like me, the hallmark of this traveling listening experience was the need to be ever vigilant — because at any moment the signal might grow weak and that favorite song you’d been waiting to hear


UI Design

Simplify UI Data Visualizations – in 7 Simple Steps


To give you some context as to the importance of designing effective data visualizations, I’d like to give you a scenario to consider.

Imagine that you’re standing in a room with 100 other people, all of whom are shouting at you at the very top of their lungs. Now imagine that you are expected to:

  1. hear every word of what each person is shouting,
  2. fully understand what each person is shouting, and
  3. recognize all the ways in which each person’s diatribe is related to all the others.

Impossible, right?

Of course


UI Design

The Right Way to Use Icons in Your UI

Back in 2005, a young man by the name of Jensen Harris was an intern program manager at Microsoft. During that summer, he says, he learned a key UX lesson — on the use of icons — that carried over into the DNA of the now-ubiquitous “Ribbon” toolbar.

In a post titled “The Importance of labels,” he explains a user issue that had come to the Outlook 98 team’s attention:

“Part of the user experience effort around Outlook 98 was improving the menu and toolbar structure.  One of the problems noticed again and again among non-expert users was that people


UI Design

The Power of Progressive Disclosure


Interactive design of any kind means walking a very fine line between not enough information and information overload. At the core of that balancing act is one of the most important principles of UX and Design: progressive disclosure.

Progressive disclosure means that everything in the User Interface should progress naturally, from simple to complex.

This mimics the natural way the brain processes information, successively; we build upon each subsequent step of experience and learning, adding to what we know.

In terms of the


Tips & Advice

We Need This ASAP: ending unrealistic deadlines

unrealistic deadlines

“We need this ASAP.”

There is no doubt in my mind you’ve heard this at least once, twice, or six hundred times. Your client, boss or other stakeholder says this has got to be done now, immediately. And in most cases, the team members just shrug their shoulders and roll with it.

But rolling with it is not only counterproductive, it’s dangerous.

You’re not doing anyone a favor by agreeing to something you know can’t be done — and you are most definitely


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