Issue #16

I've been challenging the status quo most of my adult life. Why are things like this? Why do I have t
Issue #16
By Ross Chapman • Issue #16
I’ve been challenging the status quo most of my adult life. Why are things like this? Why do I have to do this? Once I discovered that everything is designed - from the roads and railways to office culture and Sunday trading hours, it all started to make sense. Decisions and design are intrinsically linked. 
While “design thinking” maybe gaining popularity recently, many businesses will wait for the proof that it delivers improvement before they commit. Companies that embrace change will reap the rewards sooner, surpassing competition. No one wants to be the next Blockbuster, but they do want to be the next Netflix. Guess who waited to see what would happen and who got designing?
If everything is designed, then everyone needs to design. Just hiring a designer isn’t going to solve your problems, but they can champion the change that organisations need to make. No wonder then that the CEO of Netflix is a computer science graduate and learnt design.
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UX Design
Is UX valued where you work?
Is UX valued where you work?
“When organizations fail to place value on UX, it’s hard to be successful.” Designer Jackie Fong dissects the myth and explores the real value of design in business. When asked to make things “pop”, consider subtle animations. Designing mobile first helps us avoid the problem of showing too much information at once and overwhelming the user. InVision has become a key industry voice over recent months and I relish every new story they have to share.
Kill the designer
If you are making an application, you’ll need everyone, including your CEO to be a designer They need to think of design in every choice that they make. Av Raymond Julin shares his view that in a market that is increasingly driven by design, everyone needs design thinking. Just hiring a designer isn’t going to solve your problems.
How I became Head of UX
Richard Lewis is currently Head of UX in one of the UK’s largest financial institutions. Richard spoke to UXswitch about how to get ahead in UX and how you should never stop learning.
User Research
Uber. Why did they re-brand?
Uber. Why did they re-brand?
Isioma Daniel shares a few thoughts on the re brand that divides opinion. Her key argument - this was a change that was CEO driven, not user driven.
Content is King, But Context is God
There’s a lot we can learn from digital marketing - we’re communicating with users after-all, in a language native to the platform they are on. Gary Vaynerchuk says “respect the psychology of what people are doing when they’re on the platform. I know a forty-year-old woman is in a different mindset when she’s on Facebook than when she’s on Pinterest. And that is how I storytell to her.” Context is key for engagement.
Sony's Sharing Its Early Prototypes With the World
Sony intends to share the company’s early prototypes with the world in order to refine its ideas. Why? My guess is to save money and develop products differently. Trying to out innovate in-house like Apple is a strategy where they will always be following, never leading. This might just work.
UX in eCommerce
Fixing elements in the user interface can help users
Fixing elements in the user interface can help users
Sticky or fixed eCommerce elements are the features that appear to follow you down the page as you scroll. These can be particularly useful to ensure the user knows what they’re looking at and the price. You can use them in mobile too.
How We Design on The Uber Growth Team
Another Uber story! Having a successful business requires growth. Design plays a pivotal role in the Uber growth team’s mission to accelerate the growth of the business. Using data, delivering less and moving fast are key policies to driving design and growing a business.
On handling stress and creative projects
“Stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing” writes Jon Lay at remote design agency Hanno. “Each new client means you have to start all over again and win their trust. While we talk a lot about the need to fail fast on our internal projects, it can sometimes be difficult to get comfortable with failures and missteps when you’re working with a client.” Giving up the pursuit of perfection and knowing that this is an iterative process will reduce long-running stress, leaving it best served when creative breakthroughs occur. I find stress can often help me prioritise on a project, but know when there’s long-term stress, I need to re-evaluate more broadly. 
“Meetings pull people off of important tasks and slow productivity. If people aren’t on the same page, I would look at project management and other management techniques being used in the organization and have team leaders convey important information. I would use the all hands meeting for only big things like a merger, change in benefits, serious HR issues.” John Cutler writes about how all-hands meetings can disrupt productivity, so when you do meet, share learnings, don’t waste time communicating financials or dry progress-to-goal updates and let it be messy. Great observations.
Fuck changing yourself
“I began shedding all the layers of bullshit that I have accumulated through my 30 years that are NOT mine.” Be yourself. Being someone else is a waste of your time and talent. Ultimately, you’ll fail.
A 5-Step Process for Prioritizing
I believe setting priorities are important, otherwise you end up in a place where you’re not happy, not in control and you could potentially loose years of your life doing the wrong stuff to get you where you want to be. This story about Warren Buffett shares an exercise that helps prioritise the stuff that matters.
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Ross Chapman
A weekly collection of product design, user research, cycling and coolness from @rosschapman of @etchuk
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