Journal

Restructuring the web

I recently changed job, moving from Head of UX at a large company of over 130 people to Creative Director at a Hoxton-based startup, import.io, with less than 20 in the entire team. There were a number of triggers leading to my decision to move. I’d been at my previous company for over three years and slowly found that working in a larger company gradually meant less accountability for what I was doing and I felt very under-challenged. It eventually seemed like I could have done an amazing job or an utterly appalling job and it would have made no difference...

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Are we cultivating a fear of failure?

Designers should know how to code… (yawn) Recently I tweeted “A [web] designer who doesn’t code is like a print designer who doesn’t understand bleed, creep, halftones, trapping and paper finishes.” It instantly got retweeted and quoted around the design community, for a few brief exhilarating moments of wonder my push notifications were going crazy. It generated some good responses, some negative comments and provoked some interaction with a few trolls. I lost a bunch of followers but I gained a lot more a few hours later. Of course, my opinion is that I firmly believe that a digital product...

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API-first approach

API-first design allows you to deliver a consistent User Experience across multiple platforms. I’ve been thinking a lot about new processes of late. We’re constantly thinking design “content first” – but in digital product design, why not design API first? It’s like designing content in it’s rawest form and provides a perfect guide for future work. APIs and Information Architecture are closely linked, in some ways they’re the same. If you don’t understand one you can’t fully understand the other. In User Experience terms it gets your team thinking about actions, not interfaces and establishes a data driven product. In...

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Humility

Design is a form of art. Art is a form of expression. Design involves expression but expressing yourself, your goals and feeling fulfilled in something visually beautiful and compelling is a personal thing. When it comes to problem solving design can’t be so selfish. Design is not about you, you flipping narcissist. A good designer needs humility. But remember, humility isn’t a weakness. It doesn’t mean you’re being walked over or giving in to something. Pride juggles with her toppling towers, They strike the sun and cease, But the firm feet of humility, They grip the ground like trees. G.K....

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Learn by doing

“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” Aristotle I’m a kinesthetic learner. I naturally learn by doing. I recoil at the concept of books, lessons, courses and training. When I try learning this way I fail badly. I started learning the guitar by picking one up and listening to Hey Joe by Jimi Hendrix and kind of clumsily working it out. I started learning Spanish by making a complete fool of myself. The first time I learned how to build a website was when I built my first paid website....

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