Grabe! One would exclaim in a local language (Tagalog) as exaggeration of a feeling or an event. It’s part of my daily expressions, and exaggeration is one I consider a great tool in my existential musings.
Two persons are in danger, who will you help first?
How do we handle a very long string here?
Will you eat turd for a million dollars?
What would you do if a love one is gone tomorrow?
Yes, simple questions, albeit provocative. The scenario might less likely happen today but what if it does? What would you do? How would you react?
In talks of exaggeration, there’s a pitfall to avoid, though — when facts are misrepresented for manipulation with malice. On the other hand, thinking in extremes helps us in realigning our principles and values with how we think and who we are now. It helps us be prepared for things unforeseen.
Oh yeah, the reading list
- Exaggeration: why we make a mountain out of a molehill
- 8 Design Guidelines for Complex Applications
- Writing Better Self Reviews
- Growing Your Career as a Multidisciplinary UX Designer, Part 2
Do not wait for the perfect career opportunity to come along. It’s often necessary to create rather than find such opportunities. So keeping your career-growth goals locked inside your head could ensure that you’ll never achieve the growth you want.Jonathan Walter
- Designing with the Mind in Mind
Regardless of how well designed a digital product or service is, it won’t be perfect. Even if it were perfect, people are not. They will make errors, both mistakes and slips. To be successful, digital products and services should help their users recover from errors.Jeff Johnson
- Universal-Design Principles and Heuristic Guidelines
- Growing Your Career as a Multidisciplinary UX Designer, Part 2
- Speak Ai
Capture, analyze and share media, research, notes and more to improve communication, awareness, well-being and productivity.
A couple of weeks since lockdown (nearing April), Jaycelle and I made this major decision — for the lack of better words — to level up. It was scary, indeed, because the pandemic surprised us all. Most companies halted their hirings yet there I was with an offer on the table.
Fast forward to six months — this was an eventful week as I have passed the probationary period at Avaloq. The team’s trust and support has been tremendous. It is challenging — this role of a manager and individual contributor — nevertheless, everyone’s willingness in collaboration and their dedication to the craft made the ride rather smooth.
Here’s an excerpt from my third month evaluation, which I feel like will always ring true in my career.
What are your initial impressions of working with Avaloq? Have your expectations been fulfilled?
3 months could very well feel like a year of working in Avaloq — probably because almost every thing was done online. It will even be more challenging if there were physical interactions with people — getting to know their ways of working, finding the right balance between personalities, all in achieving a common goal of championing UX and elevating the knowledge and skills of the Avaloq UX design team.
Each step of the way, I would discover different kinds of terrain in Avaloq — mostly rugged hills and mountains. How to navigate it? Surely, you have to go around them or climb them. Stumbling blocks? You have to clear them for people following your lead. Some blocks can be arranged into stepping stones for us to reach higher levels.
What excites me is the big room for improvement that I am contributing to in filling. Accomplishments, they’re a bonus. There’s always what’s next.
I’m in the right place, at the right time
When I wished to transition to the next level in my career — Avaloq is the next level. It is global — I find myself collaborating with people who have widely different perspectives and knowledge which I learn from. The UX design team in Manila is solid and open for growth. It is a perfect combination of a conducive environment wherein I can grow and support others’ growth, as well.
Oh yeah, the reading list
- How the Best Forecasters Predict Events
- My design systems reading list.
- Creating connections
We spend hours, days, weeks, and months discussing and refining the perfect user experience for an app, yet we’re not that great in designing the experiences of our own lives? One thing COVID has proven is that we need our physical connections and the emotional support of one another.Anton Sten
- making computers better
- Average UX Improvements Are Shrinking Over Time
Recently, I hopped on to Spotify as an artist. I released several electronica singles under the label Weet Weew. The experience was liberating in the sense that I’ve been putting it off for quite some time and finally got to grapple with it. I got to revisit some old compositions and reacquainted with a DAW (digital audio workstation) of choice: FruityLoops.
Preparing for a (rather bleak) future when crazed fans would ask me for autographs, I thought I needed to have one. So I practiced using a big round-tip marker and settled with a 0.6 mm-tip pen.
One of the items in the reading list is about copying and how it is inherent to design (and child development, actually). As designers, we pride ourselves of our originality — personally, to the point of stubbornness. I recall a period in my career when I avoided looking at other people’s works as inspiration — out of fear of being unoriginal. It was pride, as I retrospect.
Collaboration is key to almost anything one wants to accomplish efficiently. All of us rely on each other even indirectly. Copying is inevitable in a world where no person is an island. Legalities and what your conscience says, that’s a different story.
Sharing for free
“Really, you’re giving it away for free?” A mentee uttered in surprise (pertaining to a solicited advice). Perhaps our session provided her with some nuggets of wisdom (as it should be). I could imagine lightbulbs flashing in her mind as we discussed about her career.
“This is also how I got them through the years,” I said, “for free”.
To all the generous folks out there sharing their thoughts, resources, and anything that helps anyone, I’m also paying it forward.
Oh, yeah, the reading list
- Hindsight bias: the knew-it-all-along phenomenon
However, the hindsight bias can be a barrier to rational thinking, and it can reduce our ability to learn from experience. If we always think we correctly predicted an outcome, how can we draw lessons from wrong decisions?Anne-Laure Le Cunff
- Copying (is the way design works)
Whether you believe that it’s worthwhile or worthless to copy, whether you think that copies are a valuable part of the design community or a scourge, you are using software, hardware, websites and apps that all owe their existence to copying.Matthew Ström
- Bad Design Kills Eight
The solution to this problem is simple: have experts trained in interaction design determine the behavior of these devices during the initial design phase. Unfortunately, almost all of the makers of such products confuse interaction designers with software engineers.Alan Cooper
- 10 Directions to Take Your UX Career
- Compensatory vs Noncompensatory: 2 Decision-Making Strategies
In the spirit of copying
I liked the style of the copying article so I replicated it in the “Libre Sakay!” graphic design. If you would like to spin it out yourself, feel free!
Ever since I was welcomed in Amazing Design People List, I’m having more opportunity to help my fellow practitioners in the tech industry. It is by sharing what I know and what I’m experiencing that coincide with what they are exploring — commonly among them — navigating their way in or into the world of user experience (UX).
Most of them who reached out to me were Filipinos. It makes sense to discuss with someone who has less cultural and language barrier. The conversations went smoothly as much as it could, especially that we both could express in Taglish (a combo of Tagalog and English languages).
Sharing, so far, is what I would call this stage of our engagements. The designers I’ve met on the other side of the screen — most of them are looking to break their way into the world of UX. I’m looking forward to be of help as these journeys unfold.
Brian was very passionate and straightforward in reviewing my portfolio when I contacted him in Adplist.org as my mentor. I highly recommend Brian in being a mentor specially if you want to be in the fintech industry as a UX Designer. He gave me a lot of information on how I can improve my portfolio as I am transitioning from Graphic Designer to a UX Designer.John Patrick Juinio, 10 January 2021
Brian is a great listener and would willingly review your portfolio on how you can improve it. He is comfortable not sugar-coating things which is a good thing for us designers so that we will have a honest feedback from a perspective of a designer. He gave me advice on what are my next step in my portfolio and on what are the things I should have improve in the future.JP, 22 October 2020
Sharing his own journey in UX with me and helping me get a better understanding of UX team structures. He also pointed me towards new resources and opportunities! Helped me better understand UX in the Philippines.Lindy, 7 October 2020
Since we were both new in our roles, Brian was able to help me craft a strategy on how to approach my first few months of work as a UX Strategist. We were able to cover the tactical aspects on the approach and layout a game plan.Carlos, 5 October 2020
Prior to our session, I reached out to Brian on LinkedIn simply to connect and say ‘hi’ and he kindly offered to passively chat about questions I might have. He is an excellent listener and gives insightful and practical advice. He asked questions that made me ponder about my career.Jean, 18 September 2020
He gave me a boost of confidence and a clearer view of what to expect upon career transitioning and the industry!Rendell, 28 August 2020
You’re on mute
A related experience that I had with regard to the oh-so-important “mute” button: so, there was this big presentation for a big local banking client wherein I would present this white-labeled web app mock-ups to the stakeholders. And I was on mute.
However, no matter how I set the visual state of the WebEx button, I was still on mute. Tinkering on the audio settings did not save me from the awkward silence of everyone in the call.
It ended up that I asked a colleague to save the day and present the designs while I became the slide switcher.
Right after the call, I noticed that a button on my keyboard was lit. Yep, it was the mute button and it was active. WebEx failed to deactivate it. What a learning experience in the expense of users!
The truth is
Sure, truth is subjective. We, humans, when we go out of our heads and into the world, we must share a common truth — the same things that we believe to be true — that will hold its ground for an indefinite time.
In user interface design, there’s this thing that we call “single source of truth”. It is a design artifact that everyone refers to when needed. For example, what is the single source of truth for our brand color red?
Surely, if that red’s color value exists in one designer’s safekeeping, they might have missed (whether they missed the news entirely or missed updating their own instance) that the branding department have already updated the shade of the red which they also have in their safekeeping.
Then we can surmise that the benefit of having a single source of truth for the color red boils down to efficiency. Efficiency of maintaining only one instance (works well in the digital world) and efficiency of communications because everyone trusts that the instance is aligned with everyone.
Oh, yeah, the reading list
- State-Switch Controls: The Infamous Case of the “Mute” Button
- In search of the truth, and a song…
- On compromise in product design
- The Psychology of Misinformation During the 2020 U.S. Elections
- The hermeneutic circle: a key to critical reading
- Daniel Ek on The Observer Effect
This comes back to how you view your role as a leader. My job is to try to be value-add. If you think about a pyramid, there’s a fellow Swede who ran SAS, Scandinavian Airlines, who said the right way to think about leadership is you’re not at the top of the pyramid. You should invert the pyramid and envision yourself as the guy at the bottom. You are there to enable all the work being done. That’s my mental image of what I’m here to do at Spotify.