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Themes across a design career

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If your’e just starting out, or at a relatively early stage in your career as a designer, the commonly perceived evidence of potential ability & quality is your portfolio, the body of work you’ve done for clients & teams. This is certainly still true as you develop a significant career path with 10, 15, even 20 years worth of hard-fought experience. As a former mentor once said to me (I...

Reflections 2015 / 2016

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A new year already! Wow. How time truly flies when you’re busy… prototyping your career? Hmm. The final months of 2015 found me in the midst of a post-startup sabbatical, re-assessing my career trajectory after some unexpected changes, and taking time to shift things around in terms of personal and professional priorities. Lots and lots of coffees and conversations and “catch-up” meetings with...

Mechanics, mindset, and alchemy

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Let’s say that one day, I wrote out the steps of a typical UCD-based process on a whiteboard (just pick any reputable textbook ;-)…and then someone walked into that room, memorized this process as a template or recipe and then executed it accurately — is that person now a designer?    That’s exactly the question a professor asked our class, in the final weeks of a graduate design seminar at CMU...

Reading List: Fall 2015

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Various books and articles are keeping me busy with useful ideas and perspectives this Fall, such as the following: • Articles on Product Management: I must admit I’ve had some rather poor experiences with Product Managers lately, so I’ve been digging deep into what it means to be leading the product function of an organization. What are their goals, drivers, criteria for success? Indeed, these...

Designing with/for “people”

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It’s a truism to say that designers in the broader UX practice must have well-developed “soft skills” to be effective in the field. I gotta say, that trite phrase irks me, if only because it implies something less-than-substantial, almost an afterthought of ephemeral squishiness to tack onto the “hard skills” of… exporting precisely cut Retina-optimized graphics? Hmm. Dubious. Whether slicing...

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