Weekly Digest - #1

The purpose of this newsletter is to help you grow as a designer and human and increase your chances to get hired in UX. While I am trying to form my voice for this newsletter, I will be experimenting with the content strategy, so bear with me 🙏

Disclaimer: all opinions are my own, just sharing my thoughts.


Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.

by Charles F. Kettering

Q: I only have my school project in my portfolio is that enough? If not, how do I put more in?

No, this is not enough. It may have been ok in the past (only for entry-level jobs), but probably very very long ago. Even before covid, I remember talking to one UX design hiring manager in a tech company and she shared her frustration with the quality of the just-out-of-school candidates’ portfolios. They were indistinguishable from each other and very shallow. All of them were following the same template, which makes it almost impossible to stand out and get noticed. Now, it is even more critical to be different and start branding yourself.

The first thing I would do is to start working on your personal side project that you are genuinely interested in yourself. Think of the day-to-day problems you experience. Choose the most interesting for you and treat it as a real client project. Maybe, the local library app is confusing, or your kid’s school website is frustrating, or the self-checkout process pisses you off every time you go through it. Choose 1 problem, imagine that the business owner of this service/product hired you to identify existing problems with their product and design a better solution, and follow the full user-centred design methodology to come up with a better solution, capture each step and each question or assumption you made to move forward, document the whole flow and explain your rationale for the key decisions you are making.

As a result, you will get another (not cookie-cutter) project in your portfolio, practice design and research skills, practice writing and storytelling for the case study, and grow your confidence, as well. This is a huge topic in itself and could be a whole multi-part series on how to choose the problem, how to choose the right methods, how to prioritize features and dozens of more how-tos.

Top picks

Things to keep in mind when designing complex apps. Good tips on how to promote users’ learning, increase efficiency and productivity, support flexibility for advanced users, and prioritize information to declutter interface. View post

Street user intercept interviews go remote. Practical hands-on guide on conducting short remote user interviews. Relevant for the current social distancing situation, and considering the permanent changes to the in-person interactions, probably makes sense to start adopting and practising more remote methods, they are not going away. View post

Inclusive design 101. Fantastic introduction manual with high-level points about accessibility and designing inclusive experiences. This manual helped me rethink the term disability, and the vast variety of different kinds of disabilities (permanent, temporary, situational). View pdf

Career advice in a pandemic. 3 thoughts from Gary Vaynerchuk on the mindset, not new, but worth reading to get pumped and more optimistic 😎. View post

Resume tips to get through the ATS filters. Practical advice and recommendations on how to optimize your resume and minimize the risk of being filtered out by the applicant-tracking systems many companies use. With the increasing number of applications coming in, more and more companies will start relying more on automated systems. View post

Trends in recruiting and hiring. Growing demand for designers, building relationships with talent, new interviewing techniques, and more curious thoughts from Stephen Gates. Listen to episode

A thing I don’t get 🤔

Occasionally, I see people on Linkedin putting the number of their connections into their title, e.g. 18K, 25K, etc. I don’t understand why this is important info to put up. Feels like such a bullshit metric, same as the number of followers on Instagram, etc. The number of followers does not necessarily mean anything about the person or the quality of their content. It just means somebody puts an effort into growing the number of followers. There is one benefit I see - if more people follow your updates, you may get more eyes on your posts, this just doesn’t feel right. The fact that they brag about this number makes me think they are just chasing this number as an artificial perception of a person’s clout. Won’t be surprised if we start seeing services selling followers on Linkedin, similar to other social platforms over-indexing on these numbers. 😑

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