1. Designers also copy in not-so-direct ways. The bell-bottoms craze of the 1960s and ‘70s started with women raiding their local thrift stores for naval uniforms. British and American sailors at that time wore bell-bottom cuffs so they could roll up their trousers while swabbing a deck. Counterculture types, however, knew they could wear the same pants to razz their parents, honor the working class, and strike a bohemian pose. By the time Sonny and Cher donned them on their popular TV show, bell-bottoms had entered mainstream fashion – not because everyone was shopping at thrift stores, but because designers had copied street culture. 

  2. Whatever a user’s natural usage is, our notifications strategy should align to this. Notifications shouldn’t be used to force users into behaviour that doesn’t make sense to them as notifications can’t change behaviour. Notifications should amplify and encourage natural behaviours and reinforce existing behaviours.

    Too many notifications feels like spam. Too few notifications and users forget about your app.

  3. Getting promoted is usually more nuanced than just nailing a series of discrete tasks (like shipping a particular project for example). It also requires consistently demonstrating impact across a broad range of competencies that are often more amorphous (like learning how to think strategically, for example).

  4. This transformation in the way companies buy design is making designers realize they are selling a process, not a deliverable.

  5. Who needs these big toolchains? Generally, it’s the big sites. It’s a bit tricky to pin down what big means, but I bet you have a good feel for it. Ironically, while heaps of tooling add complexity, the reason they are used is for battling complexity. Sometimes it feels like releasing cougars into the forest to handle your snake problem. Now you have a cougar problem.

  6. Talking about creating “delightful” user experiences is actually user-hostile when it wrongly presumes that your customer wants to be emotionally involved with your service at all. Fast and invisible are often the better parts of delight.

  7. Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises, don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful. Be concerned about doing good work. Protect your work and if you build a good name, eventually that name will be its own currency.

  8. Securing ‘full employment’ has become a bipartisan goal at the very moment it has become both impossible and unnecessary.

  9. When work disappears, the genders produced by the labour market are blurred. When socially necessary labour declines, what we once called women’s work – education, healthcare, service – becomes our basic industry, not a ‘tertiary’ dimension of the measurable economy.

  10. We are no longer living at human speed, but instead, are living in a world moving and beating at the speed of the network.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.