What I read this week #16

This week, I spent more time than I should contemplating my LinkedIn headline. The best piece of advice I got was, “Don’t aspire. Just be.” I asked someone what his process on becoming a developer was. He said that he didn’t necessarily have the skills yet but would accept assignments from clients, Google around for a solution, figure it out and apply that information to the project. Do you realize how brilliant that is?! I mean, you need to have phenomenal problem-solving skills and know hacks here and there but that’s still genius. I might steal that idea myself. This inspires me to not sell myself short and be confident that I’m a great UX designer/researcher.

1. You’re Not a Junior Designer – You’re a Designer
By Jennifer Aldrich from InVision Blog
On the note of not selling yourself short, I present you this article on practicing confidence as a designer and knowing your self-worth. I’m a firm believer that everyone should value themselves highly, no matter what. Rather than giving yourself that “junior designer” label, it should be about using your portfolio as a platform to showcase your potential. As stated in the article, that label indicates to hiring managers that you are not confident so it’s best to drop the “junior” and strive for for growth.

2. How to Design Think One of the Toughest Challenges out There—Your Personal Life
By Gabrielle Santa-Donato from The Design Gym
I love that the concept of design thinking is catching onto the way people reframe their life. Two weeks ago, I posted a piece on how I design the UX of my life. It’s interesting to see how design principals can be applied to anything. I like testing things out and figuring out what works and what doesn’t. If something doesn’t work, then it should be scrapped. People seem to get attached to one way of life and continue to do things that don’t work but design thinking provides a fresh perspective on how I can reframe my mindset and enhance my life.

3. What is the algorithm for success?
By Francesco Marconi from Medium – The Mission
As someone who is in the middle of a career transition, these types of articles speak to me. Francesco breaks down the algorithm that led him to success and why each step in that process is crucial. This piece is rich with incredible advice for anyone going through a career change. Some of the advice is stuff I heard before but what I liked is the amount of examples that were provided to back up the information. I do wish that this piece could delve more into psychological aspects and why these things work but overall, it was a great read.

4. The No-Nonsense Guide to Mapping the Customer Journey
By Hannah Alvarez from User Testing Blog
This article takes the complex process of the customer journey and breaks it down extremely well. Many businesses forget that they exist for the sake of customers so creating a map of their journey is a great way to stay grounded and build empathy towards them. I also think this exercise is useful for people to recognize what areas of the customer journey they should use to increase business even more. This piece has fantastic visuals that help get the points across and charts that I can use in for my own customer journey mapping activities.

5. The Ingredients of Interaction Design
By Nick Kellingley from Interaction Design Foundation
There are many factors involved in good interaction design. This piece talks about the fundamentals of the fundamental. The first and most important is the goal. I hear over and over (and over) how crucial it is to stick to a goal. Yet, it is extremely easy to get deterred away so designers must constantly remind themselves of what they ultimately want to achieve. I also agree with Nick that invisibility is a great indication of good design. I would probably have worded this as intuitive but invisible is also appropriate. Users don’t have to experience any cognitive burden and can use the interface flawlessly.

6. 5 ways to ace your next UX design interview
By Rosie Allabarton from UX Mastery
It is never too early to start preparing for UX design interviews. At this point, it’s not enough for me to just take online classes and go to Meetups. I also started focusing on developing the mindset of a hireable UX designer and this article provides a lot of great tips to help me do that. Oftentimes, I heard that the process is one of the most important aspects of being a UX designer and creating a compelling narrative to express that is high on my agenda.

7. How, When, and Why to Benchmark Your UX Research Findings
By Ki Arnould from User Testing Blog
I saw the term “benchmarking” when I was reading something on usability testing so I looked it up and this is what I found. Benchmarking is the process of gathering data over time so that all stakeholders could understand the successes and failures of a product. Ultimately, the goals of all benchmarking studies go back to improving the design so that users can have better experiences and businesses can reach their goals. I love seeing progress, both good and bad, so I’m sure that I would enjoy getting my hands dirty in projects like these.

8. It’s not you. Bad doors are everywhere.
By Joe Posner from Vox
UX can be traced back to doors, bad doors to be exact. Don Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things, originally published in 1988, was inspired by the abundance of terrible doors. This short article, along with a video, talks about two key principles of design. The first is discoverability and that is to discover what operations the users can do. The second is having feedback that shows a result of an action taken. It’s remarkable how these principles apply to everything. The moral of the story is that despite the fact that many people are taking iterative approaches to human-centered design, we still have bad doors. “But the tyranny of bad doors must end!” It will, soon.

I heard recently that Tekserve will be closing their retail shop. What does this mean? I have attended some of their events in the past, including Powerful Communication Skills, and was looking forward to more. I never experienced their customer service but everyone who has loved it. I’m sad to see them go. Onto more positive news, I’m officially signed up for seven races and a volunteer shift to complete my 9+1 journey with NYRR to qualify for next year’s Marathon. In addition, I’ll be volunteering on Marathon day at one of the fluid stations in the Upper East Side (of course). All my events, races and volunteer commitments are on my calendar.




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