Since it’s the start of a new year, I thought it would be good to begin my 2018 essay series with an aspirational message. No, I don’t mean things as silly as resolutions that you won’t keep. I want to talk about the importance of being a designer and making a difference.
I have failed. I set out to write one essay per month and I missed one for November. I actually had it in the works, but I got wrapped up in a consecutive string of long work days and I just couldn’t get myself to sit in front of a computer at home after sitting in front of a computer all day long. I know… Weird, right? So here I am, at the end of 2017, in the midst of our annual company holiday shutdown, still trying to finish the year strong.
To preface, the general nature of my job requires me to always confront the unknown. These are not the small unknowns of most company’s product launches; things like “is this sign up flow actually easy to use?” No. What I’m talking about are the big unknown things; things like “when all vehicles are autonomous, how will society be changed?” This is the nature of R&D work, to answer the big questions. I find this kind of work fun and exciting, and most of all really, really challenging — to apply a designer’s mindset (note that I didn’t say ‘design thinking’ 😉) on challenges that people haven’t conceived of yet. But not everyone is up for this kind of thing, and it actually takes some getting used to, because it’s just so different than the types of things designers typically work on. So this month, I thought I would spend some time breaking it down. Continue reading “ambiguity & innovation”→
My friend Alex pinged me about an article about ‘unpleasant design’. It’s worth a read if you haven’t seen it before. I promised to put some thoughts down about it because I thought I should devote more time to this topic than 140 characters worth. I can’t say that I’ve ever intentionally tried to design things that were unpleasant, and it didn’t occur to me to even try, but apparently there is quite a lot of stuff out there that is designed to be intentionally unpleasant! Continue reading “Intentionally Unpleasant Design”→
I honestly don’t really like talking about it. Never have. So why talk about it now? I’ve always felt that I’ve done things a little differently than other designers and none of the articles I’ve read on process really get at the way I tend to approach problem solving. Especially since my job right now is not necessarily for a product-driven environment, writing about this also perhaps gives people a glimpse into some different ways of thinking (maybe?) about how to go from idea to mockup. Continue reading “The Dreaded P Word!”→
Lots of articles about design try to put a positive spin on things and that’s ok. “Just follow these 5 easy steps…” and everything will turn out great. You’ll be lauded as a hero, maybe get the key to the city with a nice ticker tape parade… But I want to be realistic. In design, just like in life, you simply won’t win every battle.
To be honest, designing for cars is not something I thought I would be doing in my career. Personally, I’m more into bicycles than automobiles, so on the surface, I’d probably not make it through most interviews in this industry. But having worked for a few years now as a designer for the automotive industry, I think it is the most interesting industry to work in as a designer today, and I thought that it’s about time that I wrote about why I think this way. Continue reading “About Car UX”→