Design as Improv

March 19, 2015

Jordan Klepper (correspondant on The Daily Show) talks about improv and writing on episode 4 of The Daily Show Podcast.

He hits on the idea that in the writers room you may throw out a dumb joke that would never work, but people start riffing on it which leads to the polished joke.

The same thing happens with design. You may put together a design that doesn’t work. But you keep iterating on it which leads to the right solution. I’ve also put together designs that I know would never make it into production because they’re too far off the style guide or unrealistic to implement. But often ideas come out of that work that I wouldn’t have gotten to otherwise.

Executing on an idea is never a waste of time. The only waste of time is never executing.

Why Didn't We Think of This Sooner?!

January 2, 2015

These words can be dangerous. They can create a culture where designers are punished for not coming up with the perfect solution the first time.

A better response would be, “Great, we found a solution!” A healthy process understands that you couldn’t have arrived at the great idea without going through the work of exploring other ideas first. All the ideas that get thrown away aren’t a waste of time, they’re the path that led you to the right idea.

As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. It’s easy to look back and say you should have realized the solution sooner. But there is simply no way to jump to the right solution faster than trying an idea, seeing what doesn’t work, and iterating. Over time as you solve more problems you might be able to get to solutions with fewer iterations. But when you’re solving a new problem it’s hard to say how many iterations it will take or what the direct path to the solution is.

Breaking Up with Hover States

December 29, 2014

I published a satirical piece on Medium today about my breakup with hover states.

Just to be clear - I’m not saying that hover states should never be used. They’re fine to accent interactions for non-touch users (button color change, menu item highlights, etc). But when a hover state is relied on for users to know something is clickable or for a major piece of functionality to work - it becomes problematic. As we move into an era where touchscreen devices are the primary way people access information, I don’t think it’s acceptable to have a broken experience because the designer didn’t take the time to come up with a non-hover interaction. There are always other options. We just have to re-train ourselves to not rely on hover states like we used to. It’s part of being in a mobile-first world.

On an unrelated note - this was my first time posting on Medium and I have to say it’s really nice. The authoring experience is really clean. And I was impressed with how it cleaned up my hyphens.

Comparing Prototyping Tools

December 10, 2014

If you’re new to prototyping, the number of tools that are now available can be overwhelming. But now you’re in luck.

I wrote a post for MoneySummit comparing the prototyping tools I’ve used. I break down what each tool is best suited for and the upsides and downsides of each of them. Merry Christmas!

Managing Creativity

November 27, 2014

[T]he most likely way to get the work you seek is to earn it, to have people bring their best ideas forward because of the leadership and guts you bring to the table.

Brilliant post from Seth Godin

*It’s really short and I wanted to copy the whole thing. But in the interest of not plagarizing, I didn’t. So take 30 seconds and go read it.