Test Every Assumption

Let’s say I’m at work and we’re discussing a potential change that we’re thinking about making to our product (or even the marketing site). If the phrase “best practice” or “common knowledge” get’s tossed out, a little red flag always pops up in my head. “common knowledge” is just an unproven assumption It’s a mirage […]

Test Your Designs

Every public facing design you push live – which has the potential to affect core metrics – should be A/B tested. Period. But, why? A couple of reasons: Data helps you make informed decisions. You test to learn. You’ll find out what works, and what doesn’t. You can then share what you’ve learned with others, […]

Embrace Process, Avoid Ego

This chart shows the level of “process” a typical designer will incorporate into their designs over time. As a designer, you’ll start off with very little process. (beginning of the wavy line) Over time, you’ll pick up some process here and there, mostly out of necessity (that’s that first hump). Then, after you’ve got some […]

Don’t “Growth Hack”

Can we lay this term to rest? It just feels… tainted. To be clear, growth in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. But somehow “growth hacking” has earned itself a bad reputation. Why is that? To figure this out, let’s journey back to the very beginning. Doomed by definition When Sean Ellis coined the […]

Be Gut Driven, But Data Informed

Many organizations are either all in on data driven design, or zealots about listening to their gut. It’s natural to feel polarized toward one side or the other. You already know from the title of this post where I stand. I believe pretty strongly that there’s a sweet spot, and I don’t think it lies […]

First Iterations Always Suck

And that’s okay… In fact, that’s the way it should be. There’s so much involved in designing a product. As the design lead on a project, you’re responsible for: The need to understand who’s using your product The need to understand what users are trying to do. The need to understand what scenarios the UI […]

Always Work on Side Projects

Finding your motivation Side projects fall in the same category as eating well, and excerise. We all know that these activities are good for us, but it can sometimes be hard to motivate ourselves to do them. There are lot’s of great reasons to work on side projects: Because you enjoy the process of building […]

Start Each Design from Scratch

Let’s say you’ve done a little research, you sit down at your computer, and you’re ready to start a new design. What’s the first thing you do? Well… If you’re like a lot designers you immediately head over to Dribbble or some other site for inspiration. Trust me, you don’t want outside inspiration at this […]

Reduce Time to Clarity

Time to clarity is the amount of time it takes you to establish a clear/confident picture in your mind of how to go about designing the best possible solution for your users. What activities can lead to clarity? Using a clear design process. Digging into analytics to try and discover existing insights. Chatting with happiness/support […]

Don’t Pay for Design School

You don’t need a degree to become a designer. I regularly receive pings from friends and family for advice on how to get started in a new design or front-end coding career. The emails usually read something along the lines of: Hey Dave, I was hoping I could hit you up for some advice. I’ve […]