Rethinking specialization: The return of the generalist

This week’s UX roundup has 2 article highlights, 2 design tools, 1 design quote, 1 UX book recommendation, and 1 case study review.

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This week’s UX roundup has 2 article highlights, 2 design tools, 1 design quote, 1 UX book recommendation, and 1 case study review.

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Rethinking specialization: The return of the generalist

Is there any truth to the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none…?” Larger companies and teams tend to have specialists such as UI designers and UX researchers. 

When you’re starting a career in UX design, however, consider being a generalist. Not in the sense that you only know a few things but more so in the sense that you are a big-picture kind of person. The return of the generalist implies that you can work cross-functionally to put together the pieces of the puzzle for optimal problem-solving. 

Working with a diverse team helps train generalist skills. Having team members with various perspectives adds to the voice and representation which in return adds more empathy. I’d argue that this is an important soft skill to acquire as a UX designer. 


When should I test my designs?

If there is a solid relationship between uncertainty and the need for research and testing in your design project, what would be the limiting factor? Well, your budget and resources of course! 

screenshot from Instagram of a linear relationship between uncertainty and need for research & testing


SVG Generator Waves

Play around with some waves in this tool created by @jerosoler to export some groovy SVG background patterns to add to your website designs. 

Screenshot of SVG wave generator


UX vs. UI

“But what if the problem is something looks like sh*t?” Head over to Twitter to view the full comic strip about the relationship between UI and UX. 


075: You Belong Here with Jessica Gaddis

Jessica Gaddis motivates us to realize that we belong here… In UX, on this planet, wherever we call “home”. For career changers, you might be wondering, “did I make the right decision to switch to UX?” And while the job search may be hard, Jessica shares stories on imposter syndrome, tips for success, and books to read to keep us moving along in our journey. 


The UX Conference 2021

The School of UX is hosting The UX Conference 2021 on March 1–2 fully online with morning talks and afternoon workshops. They have an awesome list of speakers from 1Password, Amazon, Babylon, Discovery, Dropbox, Figma, Google, InVision, Shopify, TfL, Uber, what3words, and more! 

screenshot from a LinkedIn event for The UX Conference


Citibank just got a $500 million lesson in the importance of UI design

Ouch… That’s one expensive lesson! 

“In that case, if the creditor doesn’t have prior knowledge the payment was a mistake, it’s free to treat it as a repayment of the loan.”

Long story short, on August 11th, Citibank was attempting to wire money to Revlon’s creditors. The amount was supposed to be $7.8 million but they accidentally sent out a principal of almost $900 million. The mistake was notified to creditors the following day and while some sent back the money, others took the opportunity to keep the profit that was sent. When Citibank sued, they lost because a “sophisticated as Citibank wouldn’t send out such a large amount of money by accident”. 

How might we redesign Oracle’s Flexcube screen to prevent mistakes like this in the future?

screenshot of Flexcube screen


“A good user experience isn’t necessarily that far removed from a poor user experience. It can be small, subtle differences that can have a huge impact.” 

Nathanael Boehm, Senior Designer at acidLabs Studios Canberra, Australia


How to Choose a Font for UI or App Design? Typefaces for Functional Text

“How do you choose a typeface for an app? Just use Helvetica and you’re doneeeeeee!” 

Think again. Think about labels, alerts, navigational elements, captions, and so on. So, you probably shouldn’t go crazy and have too many different fonts on your app but, you want to make sure to have some variety that distinguishes the types of information you are conveying. You also want to make sure that it’s legible and easy on the eyes. If you prefer to read the article instead of watching the video, you can find it on Zeichenschatz


Just Enough Research

Designers do a lot of research before starting a project to understand all aspects and considerations. At some point, it can become very overwhelming and almost limited to have all of the information. This book offers a good set of guidelines to follow when researching top-rated so that you’re not wasting time, money, and effort in research. 



Another SVG creator tool that allows you to select various pre-made designs from the gallery to edit. You can change the color, shadow, frequency, and size before exporting it and using the design in your work!


Helping homeowners understand their home value on Zillow

Designer: Frances Tung

Case Study: Zillow

Zillow is a marketplace that helps buyers and renters find the property within their criteria (price, size, location, etc.) 

Why this case study is awesome: 

  • During the Problem section, there are clear screen captures of what Zillow looks like with comments on how information can be unclear or confusing. The images mimic the experience of a user when they visit the site and do a search.
  • Comparing the old flow with the new flow after thinking about how the process can be simplified for users.
  • Reflection at the end – “Reduce, reuse, and recycle” described how existing patterns could be reused or adapted to better the user flow

Frances does an amazing job setting up the problem by exploring the user and task flows. It’s captured in the case study and you can put yourself in the design process. In the design process, you can also see that there was an indication of the mobile design flow still being slightly more complex than desired due to the screen size. This leaves the case study to end with some challenges for later (as opposed to muddling this case study by trying to solve “all the problems”).  


Typography Fundamentals – Feel confident with type!

90% of design is content…and that content is visualized through typography. This is the top-rated typography course on Udemy that’ll help designers feel confident choosing typography, avoiding common mistakes, and brings your designs to life with effective typography.

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