UX Weekly: Design Simplicity, Staying Creative in Hard Times, and Rethinking Bootcamps

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A weekly roundup of UX nuggets to stay up to date in the design industry. Want updates? Sign up for the UX newsletter here.

Make me think! 

“Frictionless” became a popularized term following Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote announcement at the 2011 F8 developers conference. As a result of frictionless experiences, companies created simplicity for their users – easy sharing, video auto-playing, one-click ordering, and so-on. Suddenly, we become blob people from “Wall-E” – Soylent in hand while simultaneously riding our self-driving chairs and consuming the hottest advertising product in the market. 

From too complex, to too simple, this article reveals something important – the problem with “user-centered” design. As designers, we’re very good at our job – thinking about all of the possible pain points of our said users. We take those frictions and transform them into a functional and pretty product. But what happens when it doesn’t work? How can we help users understand why a product isn’t working “correctly”?

Staying creative during hard times—and why it matters now more than ever

The turn of a new decade gave us a shocking surprise – pandemic, civil unrest, political issues, natural monsters. We’ve been forced to make daily adjustments and carry on. 

Through the speedbumps, here’s a perspective on how designers can channel our creativity during difficult times and continue to make an impact. For better or for worse, our current situation provides many motivators for creativity – pain, suffering. After the artist is gone, these evergreen works are still appreciated. Why? We all share these experiences, feelings, and emotions differently. Designers can bring fresh perspectives and give comfort to consumers. This understanding and appreciation process is rejuvenating and healthy for being able to continue powering through what life throws at us.

Should we give the boot to UX bootcamps?

DesignLab, Springboard, CareerFoundry, and General Assembly are just a handful of well-known UX bootcamps. As an alum of DesignLab (read my review!), I’ve wondered why I spent 5 years in college when I could have spent 5 months in a full-time online course to jumpstart my career.

While I don’t want to disregard the valuable experience established by my university, I had a very hard time seeking job opportunities fresh out of college. Once I had my cookie-cutter portfolio with realistic projects and design flows, I started getting interviews and eventually landed a job (well, kinda).

Andrew Schall isn’t suggesting that we outright do away with bootcamps; he’s suggesting that maybe there are ways we can make them better: 

  • Change the teaching formation from what to why – teaching learners how to think like a UX designer.
  • There is no one size fits all process to UX – UX portfolio projects should reflect the real-life limitations. 
  • Make it more competitive to get in – add a design fundamental and evaluate student work to emphasize skills necessary for the field. 
  • Assist transition into UX through internships and apprenticeships – completion of bootcamps don’t evaluate to landing a job because it still requires experience.
  • Position boocamps as a way to get started, and not as a quick fix to a high paying UX job – previous work experience actually plays a huge role in how you can think and design better as a UX designer. 

💎 UX Nuggets 💎

Design tips & tools

Unruly bookmark ribbon? This site is a one-stop-shop for all of those design tool links → bookmarks.design

A 9-chapter guide to design with select reading and watch lists to help you start and continue growing in the field → The Ultimate Guide With All the Secrets You WIll Need to Know to Become A Fabulous Design Unicorn

Looking for a mentor or someone to learn experience from? → UX Coffee Hours

Design quotes

“Design is not a single object or dimension. Design is messy and complex”

Natasha Jen

“Where you innovate, how you innovate, and what you innovate are design problems.”

Tim Brown

UX podcast episode 

Stephen Gates references from a conversation with Jiro Ono “If you ever want to make great food, you need to have actually eaten great food.” →  Lightbulbs are bullish*t

UX video

Milton Glaser’s “I [heart] N Y” logo is iconic – it’s recreated as gift shop merch everywhere → Using design to make ideas new

Design book

Written by Ed Catmull, co-founder (with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter) of Pixar Animation Studios, this book is about managing creativity… Specifically as someone who aspires to lead a team towards new heights while retaining originality → Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

REMOTE UX JOBS:

Visual Designer

HUSL Digital creates digital experiences for forward-thinking companies and organizations. 

Requirements: 3+ years of professional experience designing brand identities, creating wireframes, and visual designs for web, desktop, and mobile; a portfolio of work; ability to meet tight deadlines while working on team projects

#contract #greatperks #flexible


Product Designer

Chili Piper is a scheduling product that helps businesses help their buyers. 

Requirements: has experience using Sketch (experience with Abstract is a plus); very passionate about small details in a product; loves to be challenged.

#greatperks #smallteam #unicornpotential


Junior Designer

Krit is an app design and development studio. 

Requirements: the ability to produce wireframes and high-fidelity, interactive prototypes for new products and features (they use Figma); HTML/CSS skills; experience working cross-teams with developers

#startup #greatperks #flexible


UI/UX Designer

Joyride is a dating app. 

Requirements: 3+ years of experience as a UI/UX Designer for a mobile app; proficiency in design tools such as Sketch, Figma, or Adobe XD (they used Sketch)

#startup #friendlycoworkers #flexible

Remote Senior UX Positions

Senior Designer

Parabol is an open-source meeting app for remote and agile teams. 

Requirements: 5+ years creating interfaces for SaaS applications or games; able to prototype and design in many formations: pen & paper, Figma/Sketch, HTML/CSS, Javascript

#friendlycoworkers #greatperks #flexible


Senior UX Designer

Shopify standardizes and streamlines data infrastructure with a single platform. 

Requirements: proficiency in English and Mandarin at a business level; knowledge and familiarity with a data-informed approach to design; an understanding that great experiences come from collaborative decision-making with other disciplines

#friendlycowroker #greatperks #bigcompany


Senior UX Designer

Mattermost is a flexible, open-source messaging platform that enables secure team collaboration.

Requirements: 5+ years of hands-on user experience and visual design in software industry with a strong focus on responsive design for cloud-first desktop/browser applications; strong visual design sense

#friendlycoworkers #greatperks #flexible


Senior Product Designer

DuckDuckGo is a search engine that ensures privacy protection for browsers. 

Requirements: 6+ years of product design experience with a minimum of 2+ years in senior-level design positions at significant global consumer brands; proficiency with leveraging both qualitative and quantitative data

#smallteam #greatperks #friendlycoworkers

About the Author

Kim Chung

Designer, foodie, and lover of aesthetics.

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