I always need to remind myself that “pain is weakness leaving the body.” My first race is on Sunday, June 5th so I’ve been actively training this past week. Let me tell you, so far so good but so far so tough too! I am not able to run at my university pace (oh, those glorious 8-minute milers) so I’m trying to build stamina to at least finish the race. My feet already has some new friends and by friends I mean blisters. Keeping up with these 40-minute runs has been a challenge but #NoPainNoGain, right? Here’s what I’ve been reading this week.

1. The Future of Design: When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It
By Don Norman from LinkedIn
Anything that Don Norman says about design makes me think hard about its role in technology and people’s lives. I learned a lot about the history of design and human-computer interaction from this article and the implications that they have in the world. As a liberal arts graduate, I view the world holistically and believe that as we head into the future, design will become all-encompassing, bringing professionals from every industry together. What is your future vision on design?

2. The 5 Best Books on UX Design
By Meredith Allen from General Assembly Blog
This is an excellent and well-curated list of books for user experience designers. I want to read as much as I can to learn about UX and adapt the skills I need to succeed. I’m adding each of these books to my already long list of things I need to read. If you have any more recommendations for books and blogs, please feel free to share them with me in the comments below.

3. UX Reality Check: 14 Hard Truths About Users
By Robert Hoekman, Jr. from Co. Design
I found this to be informative in regards to understanding the user’s point of view. I like how this piece was written and it hit a lot of excellent points. I especially found number five to be intriguing about how users usually don’t use the software the way it was intended. However, there are situations when that’s okay. People should use tools in a way that works for them even if it isn’t exactly what the designers and developers anticipated. The ultimate goal is for a software or a website to be used, right?

4. The ethics of UX: when is it good design and when are you just tricking people?
By Mimi Launder from Digital Arts
The title of this article caught my eye. What is the ethics of user experience? The answer to that is “dark patterns.” As I read this, I was reminded of my experience with Air Asia. When I lived in Vietnam, I used to book frequently with them because their flights were cheap. Or so it seemed. They offered low-cost flights but when it came to checking out, the add-ons got ridiculous. I hated that part and believed that made the experience negative. As a designer, I’ll make sure users don’t feel that way. I really like the examples provided in this article and how it flowed. It was a great read.

5. Designing A Dementia-Friendly Website
By Laurence Ivil & Paul Myles from Smashing Magazine
Smashing Magazine has great articles on advanced topics but their writers still manage to communicate them even to a UX novice like me. The most powerful line from this piece was “Many websites provide services, products or information for people living with dementia, but are effectively useless if they aren’t designed with this user group in mind.” It’s important to consider designing for those living with dementia to give them access to services and include them as an important group of users. I support inclusiveness so I appreciate articles like these that open my eyes on things I previously never considered.

6. How to Calculate the Return on Investment of a Design Education
By Teo Yu Siang from Interaction Design Foundation
Out of all the articles I read this week, this one felt the most relevant to my situation. I’m currently contemplating whether or not I should invest my time and money into a user experience design bootcamp course with General Assembly. Going out to design events and meeting General Assembly alumni have helped me understand the program more. I’m convinced that it is a good investment but I’m not done evaluating the potential benefits. This was a great read to help me with that. If anyone else has done it, I’d love to discuss that with you.

7. Designing with Kindness
By Eric A. Meyer from UX Booth
Ellen DeGeneres always ends her daily talkshow by saying “Be kind to one another.” Kindness isn’t a skill that I’ve personally mastered yet but I appreciate articles like these that teach me how to design with kindness in mind. I absolutely agree with the point that being straightforward and displaying calmness is crucial in designing for software that handles crisis. I recall Canary, the home security system, gives users a choice of quietly alerting the police if the device detects suspicious activity or sounding the alarm. Incorporating kindness also involves empathy and I find this topic tremendously interesting.

Learning about user experience through various online content has been interesting. There seems to be more and more things to consider as a designer. I really like how designing is becoming more and more holistic and inclusive. As I learn about it, I am able to apply what I already know about the sciences and humanities and create designs that are more than pretty and joyful to use. Sometimes I wish I studied computer sciences in college so I can understand technology more but then again, I love being a humanities graduate.

Cheers,

Riri