Letter to a Junior Designer

When you’re starting out in design you hunger to fix all the things. Your imagination and passion are boundless. So what turns a junior designer into a seasoned pro? It’s more than experience—it’s an ability to be in the moment and be a whole person.

Shades of Discoverability

Many modern digital products enable complex, emergent behavior, not just pure task completion. We’re building habitats, not just tools; yet we often think of discoverability only in terms of task execution.

On Changing the World

We hear it mostly from proud CEOs and recruiters, as a sweet nothing designed to tempt candidates to drop their counter-offers, or a statement in a desperate pitch deck. We’re changing the world! All it takes is a few hundred fearsome intellects and laptops. Are you in or out?

Hellish Other People

Childish, inaccurate, bizarre, and condescending? Perhaps—but you can’t just ignore articles like that. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic’s Seven Rules for Managing Creative People sets lofty standards for missing the point. At its nadir—“Creatives enjoy making simple things complex, rather than vice versa”—it ranks among the most baffling things ever written about creativity.

Better Navigation Through Proprioception

Close your eyes and touch your nose. How did you do it? How did you sense where your hand was, and direct it to the right point? You’re not using sight, hearing, taste, smell, or touch (except right at the end). Instead, you’re relying on proprioception: the sense of your body’s position in space, and the position of various parts of the body in relation to each other.

Looking Beyond User-Centered Design

User-centered design has served the digital community well. So well, in fact, that I’m worried its dominance may actually be limiting our field. The terms “user experience design” (UX) and “user-centered design” (UCD) are often used interchangeably. But there’s an important distinction.