I’m still trying to overcome that barrier of “unachievableness” with UX and design. The tech industry is huge and competitive and I’m constantly bombarded with thoughts of “damn, I’m so tiny.” But as I talk to friends who are successful game designers and web developers, they also feel the same from time to time. I do need to overcome that anxiety and I know that the tech community (at least in New York) is friendly and open and I really appreciate that. Here are some of my picks for articles that I read this week.

1. Critical Things Ridiculously Successful People Do Every Day
By Dr. Travis Bradberry from LinkedIn
What I liked so much about this article is how realistic these “secrets to productivity” were. In fact, I already feel like I can apply a lot of these to my life at this moment whether it is with work or my personal projects. I agree with Richard Branson’s point of keeping a notebook wherever you go. I’m always coming up with ideas for new blog posts or questions I need to ask someone. Writing it all down is cathartic and extremely productive. I’m not constantly reminding myself to remind myself. It’s on paper and done.

2. Useful, Usable, and Used: Why They Matter to Designers
By Nick Kellingley from Interaction Design Foundation
First of all, I love many of the articles that the Interaction Design Foundation publishes. They break down concepts in understandable ways and writers give solid examples of what each mean. This article was interesting because I already understood the values of “useful” and “usable” but it didn’t hit me that “used” is also something I should consider. A product can be great when it comes to being useful and usable but if people aren’t using it, then it fails. There’s truth in “neither usability nor usefulness guarantees that a design will be used.”

3. Simplicity in Design: 4 Ways to Achieve Simplicity in Your Designs
By Euphemia Wong from Interaction Design Foundation
I am such a sucker for articles like these. I thrive in simplicity. The ironic thing about designing for simplicity is that it can get extremely complex. Simplicity requires designers to understand the users and what they prioritize. This article gives examples of designs that have been simplified so that products can help users achieve their goals. I especially appreciate designs where I don’t have to think. I don’t mind thinking because I’m a philosophical person but I don’t want to think about filling out forms or anything mundane. Help me philosophize more by taking out the cognitive work in your designs, please.

4. Improve User Experience With Real-Time Features
By Lauren Plews from Smashing Magazine
This is such a great in-depth discussion on why real-time features are valuable. I personally believe that real-time features are becoming an absolute necessity in our lives. Being connected allows people to build businesses and get involved in multiple projects and transactions so valuing time is becoming more and more of a priority. I also believe that users value real-time features because they will feel like they are part of the journey even more.

5. Making adversity your friend: three UX lessons from collaborative design
By Vera Kravchuk from UX Mastery
I was initially drawn to this article for the title. I’m constantly reminded that any challenges and struggles that come up in the design process are allowing those involved to be more creative and innovative. This article is a reminder that with every challenge, there are opportunities to innovate and overcome. There are great examples supporting the points and the author keeps the readers engaged. I’m sure it’s tough when collaborative efforts break down and people disagree on things but it’s necessary to remind each other that those obstacles are actually great things.

6.4 Behavioral Styles to Know When Networking
By Ivan Misner from Entrepreneur
This was informative and useful. I am still intimidated with networking but I try to attend at least one event every week to network with the tech community and learn as much as I can. I have been to events where the networking portion is literally just people thrown into one room and talking to each other. I have also been to events where the networking portion was incorporated into the presentation and people set up topics or categories so that participants can meet people with similar interests. This article definitely helped me learn the various behavioral styles to keep in mind when networking.

7.UX Design Blog and Resources to Follow Religiously
By Chris Bank from Awwwards
This article gives a breakdown of the best UX blogs based on their function. Some blogs go into the design of the mobile interface. Others talk about UX trends. I really like how these blogs are broken down into categories because that’s how I look for information. I’m bookmarking this article permanently. It’s going to be my ultimate UX blog dictionary.

8.4 Techniques of Successful UX Executives
By Tracey Lovejoy, Gayna Williams from UX Magazine
What an encouraging piece! I didn’t realize that as I build myself into a UX designer who cares about the users needs and desires, I also have to “design myself” to be that person for whatever business or project I’m involved in and be aware of their needs and desires. I also value the third point of building relationships. I agree that customers don’t just have relationships with the products but with the whole experience. That’s why my favorite products (physical or mobile) are all enjoyable from every angle.

I recently picked up another copy of Henry David Thoreau’s collection of essays that include “Civil Disobedience” and “Walden.” I’ve owned so many editions of this book in my lifetime. I mentioned Thoreau briefly in my recent article about defining organic. I want my next article in this segment to go further into Thoreau’s philosophical ideals so I decided to revisit his writings. I began reading it and felt so much nostalgia over the discussions I had with my classmates and professors while I was a university student at SUA. I’m still drafting it but I definitely have a lot of points I want to go over so please be on the lookout for that.

Have you read anything good recently? Please share in the comments below. Also, please let me know if you’re going to any cool events in the upcoming weeks. I’d love for you to share those with me as well.

Cheers,

Riri