Using “Last Thursdays” to Discuss Exceptions with Users

Most people call them “exceptions.” We call them “Last Thursdays.” I’ve mentioned this term in a couple of my previous blog posts, and I think it’s important to touch on it one more time, to better explain what it means, and to discuss how changing the name has helped us communicate more effectively with our clients. Read more on Using “Last Thursdays” to Discuss Exceptions with Users…

Writing Context Scenarios? Start at the End

If you’ve watched as many YouTube videos as I have, you’ve inevitably seen some ads for Master Classes. These are online classes taught by some of the most renowned names in their respective industries—Ron Howard on directing, Gordon Ramsey on cooking, Steph Curry on dribbling and shooting, etc.

In the ad for Malcom Gladwell’s class about writing, he offers this bit of advice: Don’t start your story at the beginning. Start it at the end, because when you have the end figured out, you know what you have to do in order to get there.

This same idea can be used for writing context scenarios: With the end goal in mind, work backward, step-by-step. Read more on Writing Context Scenarios? Start at the End…

Why Your App/System Rewrite Will Probably Be Bigger Than You Think

If you’re doing a major rewrite of an existing app, you may be hoping to simply duplicate the existing app’s basic features. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

Your users have come to rely on the set of features they use in your current app. And if they can’t accomplish all the same tasks/goals as they did in your rewrite’s first release, they’ll be very disappointed.

Don’t believe me? Let me give an example from the world of video games. Read more on Why Your App/System Rewrite Will Probably Be Bigger Than You Think…

How to Present Your Portfolio at a Software Design Job Interview

I recently had coffee with a young professional designer. She was lacking confidence after leaving her current position and needed a bit of encouragement. We talked for over two and a half hours about her portfolio, interview skills, and the industry in general.

While every person is different, I find myself giving young designers many of the same pieces of advice about interviewing for a software design position. Read more on How to Present Your Portfolio at a Software Design Job Interview…

Using “We” Language to Build Bonds with Clients

My wife and I typically visit family on the weekends, which involves a couple-hour drive and spending the night somewhere. She loves to have the house cleaned before we leave. That’s her goal. My goal is to leave on time. Those goals don’t line up very well unless there is a strong partnership effort. Read more on Using “We” Language to Build Bonds with Clients…

The Case for Starting Your Project with an Ecosystem Map

At the start of every software project, we spend a few intensive days gathering information about the client, their business, and what they want to build. We have a toolkit of exercises to choose from when we’re planning a customized kickoff. One that always starts us off on the right foot is the Ecosystem Map.

Read more on The Case for Starting Your Project with an Ecosystem Map…

The Guide to Being a Pessimistic Designer

Whether it’s marketing, advertising, web design, or software, designers as a whole have gotten a reputation for being a bit too optimistic. We are supposed to be the ones who always have our heads in the clouds—the ones who think about the details later. We are supposed to generate thousands of ideas, and throw a fit if any of the ideas are expensive, impossible, or just terrible.
Read more on The Guide to Being a Pessimistic Designer…

Get Caught Up in the Small Victories on Big Projects

Oftentimes, we think of projects in terms of two statuses: in-progress or complete. As software designers who work on complex, long-term projects, “completing” a project is not a daily occurrence. Getting to “finalized,” shipped software is a process, and the end of that process is usually filled with jubilation and celebration. I mean, it’s not mission-control-landing-someone-on-the-moon every time, but it’s close.

Lately, I’ve learned that it helps to look for the small victories that happen throughout the life of the project. And more importantly, to embrace those victories and let them affect you—significantly. Read more on Get Caught Up in the Small Victories on Big Projects…

Should UX/UI Designers Code? Finding a Balance Between Yes and No

“Should software designers code?” I have heard this question asked over and over again within the design community. There’s not a definitive answer, but if we extrapolate the question and ask it in a few different ways, I think we can better understand the role a designer plays in writing code for projects. Read more on Should UX/UI Designers Code? Finding a Balance Between Yes and No…