Quotes

  1. If we only observe and imagine those who resemble ourselves, then what we call empathy is merely introspection. The majority of designers are white. There is a privileged ouroboros of customer empathy that leaves so many others out of the loop.

  2. The price of simplicity is eternal vigilance. Building something simple is not a task, it’s a commitment. Unless you’re fighting this battle all the time, you’ve already lost.

  3. Criticism can help you get from your best, to the best. When you think you’ve done your best, offer up your work to your team or peers and get valuable criticism. Then together, everyone produces the best work, instead of just your best work.

  4. The most common anti-pattern on picking growth projects is where a +50% increase on a feature touching 0.01% of users is celebrated, but a +5% increase that touches 50% of your active users feels smaller.

  5. When you change how you buy things you change what people buy. You change the purchasing journey, you change what goes into the basket …You change what kind of categories get bought.

  6. It’s true. User research takes time, effort, and often a bit of money to do well.

    It’s also true that not doing the research at all can often be more time consuming, take more effort, and be more expensive in the long run. Choosing to spend resources on user research is the better alternative.

  7. Traditional wireframe layouts are distracting because they say both too little and too much. They say too little in the sense that civilians often have a hard time imagining how those squiggles will actually look as a website: “Sure, I guess that’s fine, but I’ll need to see the whole thing to know for sure.” (In other words: “you’ll need to design the website before I can approve this wireframe.”)

    Wireframes also say too much. Despite their abstraction, wireframes create expectations for what the layout should be before the layout expert—the UI designer—even starts work. The whole intention of wireframes is to put the focus on content hierarchy instead of visual design, yet the very fact that they embed layout undercuts that mission.

  8. While we still do lots of planning and thinking, we save the high polish for the product itself. That means we spend as little time as possible on wireframes, comps, and motion graphics. We’ll even skip them entirely if more informal communication gets the job done.

    …Our industry builds generations of carefully crafted, disposable facsimiles before even writing a line of code. It’s a waste of time, effort, and resources.

  9. Dashboards are both orientational, like maps, and functional, like containers. They’re also attractive to many leaders who, when confronted with their organizations’ complexity, seek better ways to make sense and manage. But before you get your hopes up, remember that there’s a reason you don’t steer your car from its dashboard. Like any other design metaphor, dashboards tend to collapse as we overload them with features.

  10. I’ve always thought there are a number of things that you have achieved at the end of a project. There’s the object, the actual product itself, and then there’s all that you learned. What you learned is as tangible as the product itself, but much more valuable because that’s your future.

  11. Perhaps in times when everything is remarkably similar and doesn’t really stand for anything, it’s worth striving for our product to be genuinely loved by many people for the price of being genuinely disliked by some people, rather than eliciting no feelings at all.

  12. Design has historically been considered as step in the manufacturing process or a marketing activity. It’s now a powerful instrument for product owners and executives that expands their consideration set by giving visual form to possible futures when making strategic decisions.

  13. A trend with designers I’ve noticed: speed and title inflation. What I’ve come to understand is much of it has to do with designers feeling confident about their progress as creative talent and a sense of progression in their career. This is a intriguing and concerning to me because career growth and development is non-linear and shouldn’t be perceived as such. There’s ups, downs, and gaps in design careers just like any other. It’s ok to go from being a ‘senior’ level IC to a ‘junior’ manager or some other new role. The switch alone is a good progress.

    The development of creative talent and skills over time is also non-linear. Learning is a slow process. Creative talent and learning skills is something that is best nurtured, mentored, and experienced by doing. Inflating your title isn’t going mask a lack of truth development.

    Designers are moving too fast. All of us need to slow the fuck down. I attribute much of this to Silicon Valley’s culture permeating the field of design. Fuck the FOMO of new tech and jumping from one co to the next. It’s ok to spend 2 years on the same team or problem space.

    This need to move fast and grow fast isn’t healthy nor sustainable for a long-term career in design. You lose so much in moving fast as a designer from quality to skills to durability. Speed and title inflation will not make you more attractive or respected. Earn it, over time.

  14. The leg up that designers have in the business world is that we have the abilities to let others see our POV through form-making (visual craft) and drama (temporal craft).

  15. But generalizations about millennials, like those about any other arbitrarily defined group of 75 million people, fall apart under the slightest scrutiny. Contrary to the cliché, the vast majority of millennials did not go to college, do not work as baristas and cannot lean on their parents for help. Every stereotype of our generation applies only to the tiniest, richest, whitest sliver of young people. And the circumstances we live in are more dire than most people realize.

  16. Erika Hall: Much of the most important design requires collaborative systems thinking, yet how we evaluate designers remains static and individualistic.

    William MacIvor: …at shopify we consider 4 key themes: craft, ownership, influence, and team.

  17. Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer. If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.