4 ways to be a better designer by becoming a better person

I don’t do new year’s resolutions. However, when the year comes to a close—and what a year 2020 was—I like to reflect on past events and the things I learned. From social unrest, to pervasive misinformation, to a global pandemic, there was plenty to reflect on. First, I want to acknowledge how my privilege as a healthy cisgender white-passing male with a secure job allows me to post these thoughts without fear. In this story, I’ll focus on the friction between our work and life priorities, hoping it might be helpful whether you work in User Experience (UX) or not.

Foster your value, voice and vision to create impact anywhere.

After four awesome years at IBM, I recently transitioned to an opportunity at Google. After leading design teams on my previous job, I became the only UX designer on my new product team. Throughout this process I looked into past failures and contributions and pondered how (or if) I could have an impact in another company. As I changed jobs, responsibilities and teams, would I still be able to make tangible contributions and bring value to the company? Six months into the new role I realized that I’m most influential when I focus on putting three key principles into practice…

As I was getting ready to embark on a new professional journey, after four incredible years at IBM Design, a colleague prompted me to:

Share 3 artifacts that you think will be most helpful to us, or maybe 3 tips.

So I decided to put some thoughts in writing and share them with the hope that they might help someone else navigate their design career. They’re things I wish I’d known when I was first getting started, and they apply to any designer at any type of company. Here goes nothing.

During your career, you’ll hopefully work with people from…

How our feedback-heavy culture is watering down your design point of view.

Feedback galore

Ongoing feedback plays a crucial role in today’s transparent working culture, especially in product design. In the past decades, the design industry has made strides on cultivating great feedback givers and coaching all of us to become better feedback takers (is that even a term?). Accepting feedback without feeling attacked is hard to learn and many people have discussed ways to get there. People like her, him and also her. For today, I won’t dwell into that side of things.

Our pervasive collaboration culture has reaped many benefits…

How shifting away from a feature mindset and focusing on evoking feelings brings you closer to success.

The trigger
Last weekend my wife and I went out for happy hour. As we indulged in discounted appetizers and beverages I started to think — and not for the first time — how we’re willing to pay a premium for things we could purchase ourselves and consume at home for pennies on the dollar. …

The norm: a rupture between designer and developer.

In the software world, developers ask: “How do designers spend their time? Do they care about feasibility? Why do 10 pixels matter?” On the design side we hear: “We need to solve user needs, not to build features haphazardly!” Blame gets tossed around and consequently we deliver inferior products to customers. In this article, I’ll share things that developers and designers expect from each other as counterparts on a team, focusing on five topics from the perspective of a designer (me) and a developer who learned to work well together. Hopefully our conversation informs your relationship with your team, improving…

There will be Post-it notes

Let me be clear, Design Thinking (DT) is not about design nor about thinking and I’m not going to preach about it’s history or methodologies. Design Thinking is about caring about the people who have entrusted us with a problem, our users, and promising that you’ll do something about their current challenges. In this blog I’ll elaborate around six words (and they spell BEEEET) that attempt to explain my understanding of Design Thinking or User-Centered Design (UCD), why these processes are paramount for the success of your your business; and why having everybody in your team — not just designers…

by Andrew Whited, Troy Bjerke and Esteban Pérez-Hemminger

Seattle! Oh yes, and a design conference

What’s this about?

Design is a small world. In late February, designers from IBM Hybrid Cloud Andrew Whited, Troy Bjerke and Esteban Pérez Hemminger found ourselves presenting in the same design conference in Seattle, Washington. Here, at ConveyUX Troy and I presented a talk called, Design + DevOps: what we learned from our dev friends. Andrew was part of the product demo sessions where he showcased his team’s work on the Cloud Product Insights experience including the team’s design process from conception to delivery.

After the conference was done and they experienced sessions, presented their…

Embrace the fear of failure as your design process’ differentiator

Go ahead, scream away.

You’ve heard this before.
As the UX Design practice becomes more prevalent in our daily interactions with technology and products, our shared skills as designers have become readily available. The ability to perform ongoing user research, create design concepts and code prototypes has become a given, a norm across the design industry. Aside from the utopic dream of having a team of unicorn designers what differentiates a great designer (be it UX, Visual or Front-end) from a good one?

I believe a great (dare I say true) designer has the…

Why making less and thinking more is the future of your design role

As the year-end gets close I take time to examine the state of my professional and personal experiences. For fear of writing about puns and dad jokes, I will keep the personal stuff out of this. This year I look at the moments of success and validation alongside the challenges, failures and semi-disasters my team went through. But as I analyze the year one thing keeps creeping into my mind: what role does my position as a design leader play in my development as a design maker?

Esteban Pérez-Hemminger

Puerto Rican, avid collaborator, pun aficionado and designer with a habit of failing. Currently: Senior Interaction Designer @ Google, Austin TX

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