Handy Tip for Creating Full Length Screenshots

There are a number of tools out there that specialize in creating full-length screenshots of a website, but did you know that you can also use Chrome’s Developer Tool to accomplish the same thing?

Check it out, first pull up any website:

Website Example

Next, right click and select “Inspect”:

Chrome Dev Tool Inspect

Once the dev console is showing hold down command + shift + p and you should see the following menu:

Type “screen” in the top search box and select the “Capture full size screenshot” option:

Chrome capture screenshot

Then sit back and let Chrome do it’s thing. Within a few seconds you should see a full-length screenshot pop into your downloads folder:

🙌

Updated November 28, 2018.

Designing a Great “Close My Account” Experience

When a user goes to close their account, how easy do you make it on them? The folks at Harvest have nailed this user experience.

From settings, when I click the “Cancel Account” button I’m taken here:

First of all, that illustration is adorable, very personable, and unique. It’s refreshing to see illustrations that are way outside the current popular trend of big bodies with tiny heads:

The next thing that caught my eye was the “Put Account on Hold” option. How cool is that! I’ve never seen an app do that. I’d love to know what percentage of people choose that option instead of closing their account.

I decided to close the account anyway. The next screen I’m presented with is this one:

It makes sense that they’d want to use this as an opportunity to gather feedback. I like that they don’t ask a bunch of questions and I like that this portion is optional.

When I click “Close Account”, I’m taken to:

Another really personable illustration accompanied by some really friendly copy and even a list of the team members—which I thought was a nice touch.

Most companies would stop right there, but not Harvest. Check out the email I received immediately after closing my account:

Hot dang! They went above and beyond by auto-sending me a downloadable backup of my account data.

I applaud the team at Harvest for going the extra mile, especially when someone is on the way out the door. Now that is the right way to close an account

What other examples have you seen? Hit me up at its@davemart.in. I’d love to hear your examples

What can Cookbooks Teach Us About Design Systems?

I love to eat (nom nom). 🤗 Cooking is one of my favorite pastimes outside of work.

If I were to break down where I spend my time as it relates to cooking, It would probably look like this:

  • 5% Education – Learning new skills/Expanding my knowledge of food and cooking techniques
  • 5% Discovery – Finding new recipes/Exploration/Experimentation
  • 90% Execution – Cooking dishes that I’m already familiar with

That said, I’ve been cooking for a couple of decades. In that sense have a lot of experience. The percentage breakdown may vary drastically for those just getting into cooking.

Regardless, most cookbooks tend to do a pretty good job of catering to all three of these functions.

Education

Generally towards the beginning of a cookbook you’ll find a section that focuses on education, on how to perform particular skills. Here’s an example from The 4 Hour Chef for how to chop using your knuckle:

Everything on this page is about teaching and education.

Discovery & Execution

The rest of the cookbook (the large majority of pages) are then filled with individual recipes. Here’s another example from The 4 Hour Chef:

If I add some highlights, it’s easier to how each recipe is broken down into two functions:

  1. Discovery in purple
  2. Execution in orange

How does this relate to design systems?

I see a strong connection between how I spend my time cooking and how I spend my time designing/developing. When I’m designing a new feature, typically about 90% of my time is spent executing—or working with pre-existing components that I’m already familiar with. 10% of my time is then split between either education or discovery around new ways to solve a particular problem.

When creating a design system

It may be worth thinking about:

  • Who is the target user of your design system?
    • People who are just getting ramped up?
    • People who understand your principles, process, styles, and components intimately?
    • Or some sort of cross between the two?
  • With that in mind, what percentage of your documentation and your energy is dedicated to:
    • Education
    • Discovery
    • Execution
  • Does that breakout (the % you focus on education, discovery, and execution) match your target user?

Making it easy for users to proactively give you feedback

How easy is it for the users of your app to submit bug reports, or to offer up a suggestions? As someone who has a long history with tech, it’s relatively easy for me to grab a screenshot, or create an animated gif to pass along, but do all of your users find it this easy?

This week we’ll look at a couple of ways to make it easy for users to give you feedback at just the right time.

Make it easy for users to show you what they’re seeing

Here’s a really neat way that Google Domains allows you to send feedback within their app.

Continue reading Making it easy for users to proactively give you feedback

Complete Novice to Full-time Product Designer in 1-2 Years

In this post, I’ll talk about the path that I would take to go from a complete novice, to a full-time product designer—all within a year or two—and land a job that pays at least $90,000/yr.

A few disclaimers:

  1. This isn’t a life hack article. Below, you won’t find a list of hacks, but a list of real work that must commit to.
  2. I’m not trying to sell you anything. This post is not the intro to some paid course that I’m trying to up-sell you on. I don’t want/need anything from you in return. (That said, if you do end up becoming a product designer, I’d love to hear your story).
  3. The path outlined below offers the fastest way (that I know of), for anyone to change careers, and become a product designer. Follow these steps, and you’ll save a great deal of time, and money with your transition.
  4. This is obviously not the only path, but this is the path I would take if I were starting over from scratch, with zero experience as a designer.
  5. Paying for education to become a product designer is NEVER something that I’d recommend. This statement will likely offend some (especially those who have paid for design school), or those who sell expensive design courses, but please trust me when I say that you do not need a degree to become a product designer. We’ll talk about this in more detail below.

Continue reading Complete Novice to Full-time Product Designer in 1-2 Years

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, and apply what you’ve learned to future hypotheses.
  • As much as you’d like to think that you can predict success, humans are terrible at it. There are no exceptions to this statement. That’s not to say that you don’t have a wealth of knowledge and experience that you can leverage. You’re always going to be fairly confident that each test you run will lead to an increase in your core metrics (else why would you run the test in the first place). But just understand up front that half of the designs you release are going to be a bust. That’s just the nature of the game, and if you’re not testing, you won’t know which half.
  • If you launch 6 new features in a month, and as a result, a month later you start to see a slump in your core metrics, which of the 6 features do you attribute the slump to? Or is it something else completely? If you don’t test everything, you’ll be in the dark.

Continue reading Test Your Designs

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 at either end of the spectrum.

In my experience, the sweet spot comes when a designer primarily trusts their gut to design, but also allocates some time to collect data, and to do some testing. These last two things are key, because they help you validate your assumptions, and they add clarity to your design process.

Continue reading Be Gut Driven, But Data Informed

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 stage

Continue reading Start Each Design from Scratch

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 decided to switch careers to become a designer. I’m thinking of either applying to this [ENTER_NAME_OF_2_YEAR_UNIVERSITY] course. There’s also this [ENTER_NAME_OF_HIPSTER_DESIGN_TRAINING_SCHOOL/COURSE] which lasts X weeks, and costs $X000. I’m undecided. Which would you choose?

Thanks,

After a deep sigh, my answer is always the same, “I wouldn’t pay for any of that“.

Continue reading Don’t Pay for Design School