Designs in Various States of Completeness

Here are some things I’ve been working on.

Something more fun than a radio button:

Redirect pages:

I needed to create a page to redirect users to our new documentation site my team built. This was the first version, simple and not the exciting.

This version came from a discussion with my team member, Justin, telling me to watch this music video. This was vetoed because the article isn’t actually missing.

I really liked this one but the color palette wasn’t the exciting. Too dull.

This is my favorite, but the vibe was more creepy then friendly.

This is the one we went with. I actually don’t really love it, but it made other people happy, and that’s good enough for me!

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My Cat’s Life is Perfect

I got to spend a lot of time with animals over the holidays. Having animals companions is almost certainly one of life’s greatest gift. I am constantly in awe that a tiny little creature has any interest in me at all. This had me thinking, how amazing would it be if a giant bear family adopted me as their pet! I could just spend the day sleeping on various overstuffed cushions positioned throughout the house, and whenever I felt like it, hop in bed with two giant, cuddly, fuzzy bears. Sure, I’d have no idea what they were every talking about, and yes it would get annoying sometimes when they cooed and fawned over me when I wasn’t in the mood. I would be frustrated when my attempts to get my needs met were laughed at or brushed off, and I would totally get bored of eating the same thing everyday. But at the end of the day, two giant creatures that were not of my species would pay my rent and let me just hang out! So anyway, if you know of a bear family looking for a human, I’m available for adoption.

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Potential

If someone has ever told you that you have potential, this post is for you.

When someone tells you this, proceed with the following steps:

1) Thank them for not giving up on you. That person is really saying, “I care enough about you to let you know you are fucking up”.

2) Believe them. You are awesome and have everything you need to be the best version of yourself right now.

3) Do the work. Potential, like milk, has an expiration point. Potential does not mean, you are special and different and this will be easy for you because you have potential! Potential means you have a friend, a boss, or a mentor that is not sick of your shit yet and is willing to help you be the best most awesome version of yourself (if you’re interested).

4) Thank them, again. Then find someone else with “potential” and let them know, you’re their number one fan.

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Audible is Changing My Life

Since you have time to read this, stop and go to Audible. Create an account and download your first free book. I suggest Not That Kind of Girl or Creativity Inc. Both books are read by the author and both are outrageously entertaining and insightful. You may be thinking, I have trouble focusing, books on tape won’t work for me, la la la. I am here to tell you that I have more trouble focusing than you and what you have been doing wrong is listening to fiction. Listening to fiction is hard. Unless done well, the different voices and lame background sounds leave too many opportunities to daydream. Listening to memoirs however is like having an intimate conversation with a brilliant human that also wants to be your life coach. I have actually tripled the amount of books I can get through in a month.

Pros: 

Walking, driving, dishes, and folding laundry can now all become life changing experiences.
Your book list will grow at a slower pace (you’ll actually be checking some off).
Your conversations will become exponentially more interesting because you will always be absorbing new ideas.

Cons:

The selection is limited.
I still haven’t mastered taking notes or highlighting passages. I know it’s a feature, I just haven’t figured it out.

Happy listening!
*The post was not sponsored, I just really like books on tape 🙂

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3 Tips for Women in Tech

I think being a woman in tech is difficult. There is an entire history of socio political factors working against you. You have to be twice as good as the men on your team to be considered good enough to be there. A lot of people will disagree, but I think few would be women. Everyday will present different challenges and each woman will find her own voice and style of working through them.

Here are the three things that every woman should strive to do at work:

Trust Yourself

There are times when you are right and you will be told you are wrong. About an idea, about a process, about yourself. Women are raised to be nice and agreeable. Resist the habit of being submissive. Instead, be diplomatic. If you know you’re right, respectfully disagree. Sometimes you will think you are right, and you will be wrong. Be humble and thankful for the learning opportunity, just remember, being wrong once doesn’t forever invalidate your future opinion. Don’t be afraid to continue to own your truth.

Trust your experience

You will be scrutinized harshly. You will be asked to prove yourself more than your male coworkers. Trust what you know and what you’ve done. This does not apply exclusively to your work experience, this applies to every experience in your life. You are the minority and you bring a different perspective. You have experienced the world in a way that the men on your team cannot understand, a way that 50% of your customers do understand. Own that knowledge base and speak to it frequently.

Kavanah 

Kavanah is a hebrew word. It means intention. It’s a word used to explain how you should pray–with concentration, with depth, with everything you have. If you want to be successful as a women in tech, you must work with kavanah. Bring passion and commitment to what you do, to every meeting, to every email, to every design. Kavanah comes from an energy that everyone possesses. It transcends the social constructs of gender. It’s another way to say, great each day with hustle and heart.

If you do these three things, if you love yourself, trust yourself, and work with passion, no one will every say “how did she get that job”. It’s not going to be easy, but we can do it together.

Want to join me?

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Hustle + Heart

A good workspace is important. I update my monitor backgrounds pretty frequently to change the vibe of my space. I really like the stuff Design Love Space makes but sometimes I need my own inspiration. I whipped this up in sketch.

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People I Want to Work With

I interviewed someone today for a position. I left the interview instantly knowing that he is the kind of person I want to work with. When I was explaining attributes about him to another coworker, they laughed and said “that’s not something I ever think about when deciding if someone would be a good candidate for a position.” So I thought I’d take the time to identify the things I care about in a coworker:

1. They’re deep. They’re interested and unafraid of delving into people’s core motivations. They want to find out what makes people tick. They want to build products for and with people they have an intimate understanding of.

2. They’re fearless. When the world told them they couldn’t, they did it anyway. When a project was too big and overwhelming, they said where can I sign up.

3. They’re better then me. They have more experience and more skills. They can do exactly what I do everyday, but better and faster. Everything they touch is better because of it.

4. They require very little instruction. I can show them a project and say “wtf, help”. They then say, “Cool! I’ll fix the xyz on this page.”

5. They’re cooperative. They don’t create problems, they create solutions.

6. They’re influential. Having them on the team makes everyone want to work harder. Everyone want to be better. They raise the bar.

7. They’re on the level. There is very little pretense. There is very little politicking. There is no fake corporate interactions. Everyone just wants to make cool shit with cool people.

I don’t care what you are wearing or what IT thinks about your search history. If you come to work with a good attitude, good ideas, and get shit done, I’ll want you on my team.

 

 

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Fonts

Have you ever read a word for the first time and then heard it used in conversation the next day? It always seems like the most bizarre coincidence, like everything in the universe is all aligned around your personal experience. In actually, you probably just never noticed that word was being used all the time.

This phenomena is referred to as inattentional or perceptual blindness. UFO and conspiracy enthusiast often rely on it to justify why some people can’t see ghost or that our President is a reptilian. There are a lot of studies about this but the point is, you can consciously unsee things.

I spent a lot of my life blind to fonts. I had a basic awareness of them–some were thicker, some helped make a 9 page paper almost the required 10 pages, some I liked more then others, some were trending in logos or store signs. I interacted with different fonts constantly, but never gave it much thought.

The interesting thing about inattention is once you become aware, it’s becomes impossible to become unaware. Right now, me and fonts are having a moment. It’s like that moment in Pleasantville when the characters begin to see in color. Fonts, a once omnipresent but somewhat irrelevant part of my life have become an obsession. The jump off the page of every book, letter, or website. I see then in every app, email, and billboard. I recognize them, I see their family members.

This, like many moments in my design journey, has been a beautiful awakening. I’m beginning to allow myself to see the threads that hold the physical world together. It’s all very exciting 🙂

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Omnigraffle is My Best Friend

Otter_Omni

 

I’ve always found design software frustrating. My mind overflowing with inspiration, I’d open a fresh canvass, and immediately become annoyed. Nothing worked like I wanted it to. The icons were deceptive. The Youtube tutorials were painful. Then I met Omingraffle.

Omingraffle is the first piece of software that behaved exactly as I expected it to. It was magical. I’d like to personally thank everyone who designed it. For the first time in my UX journey, I felt empowered. I felt like I could really do this.

This is the first thing I designed. It’s actually a screenshot of my design in progress because unfortunately, I failed to save the file and was using a free trial account. Anyway, I’m super proud not so much of the outcome, but that I finally got started. The hardest step is always the first.

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Project Stage 100: The Breakthrough

I’ve been working on a project at work for the past 8 months. For the past 8 months the entire project has been extremely overwhelming, not just for myself, but for my whole team. This is the kind of project that burns people out, that makes people quit, that makes people crazy. While this this project started with a focus, it has lost it’s path. It took on too much promise. It was expected to solve for things that it never was meant to solve for. It was asked to do something it couldn’t do, and so because of that, it could never be finished. Always a work in progress.

Projects take on the personalities of the people building them. They are the literal manifestations of the anxieties and fears of the people creating them. Projects with no goals and restrictions can ruin people, teams, and products. When a project doesn’t move forward, it’s internalized. It becomes a burden on the people working on it, and they become a burden to the people they work with. Aimlessness allows too many reason to never finish. This makes people feel like they are failing, not just at work, but at life. Sometimes people on that project leave a company, looking for more “meaning” in their work. Sometimes they stay at a company, feeling like a victim of the oppression of their own failure. No matter where they go, if they do not find a way to complete things, they will never be happy.

There is always room for improvements. When you are working on a project that has a specific vision and goal, keep track of your ideas in an additional features docs. Second, third, fiftieth iterations. Write them down, think about them later. Don’t let them interrupt progress.

Ship things. Be happy, not perfect.

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