CategoryDesign

Why You’re Going to Hire the Wrong Designer

“We are not UI experts but do know when we see a good design.” I saw this on a mailing list I occasionally read, in a post where a company was looking to hire their first design employee/contractor. I think it’s a big part of why hiring designers is a process that often ends in failure: because most people who aren’t UI experts (heck, most UI experts fall into this camp as...

A Designer in Support of Design Contests

15 years ago, you couldn’t even BEGIN to look for a house without a real estate agent (who takes 6-7% of the purchase price from the buyer). Today, the internet has changed that. 10 years ago, someone starting a small business had to eat a cost of thousands of dollars to get a solid looking logo– often more if they didn’t want to roll the dice on just using a solo designer (of...

It’s not what you say… It’s what they hear

Long ago, when I set up this blog I read a few primers on blogging. One of them suggested that you have a picture of yourself on your blog. There were lots of good arguments for doing it, so I dutifully hunted among my photos for a picture of myself. Turns out that I didn’t have too many (I tend to be behind the camera rather than in front of it). I did find one that I liked. It was on a...

#1 Mistake by Coders who Are Doing UI Design

I think that common sense goes a long ways in UI design… But not all the way. It’s a learned skill like any other. I was reading up on calendar controls today (which I’m obsessed with, by the way) and caught a great post by the curmudgeonly Jakob Nielsen. Here’s the snippet I like best (he’s describing the top application design mistakes): “Affordance”...

Why I Don’t Like Calling Myself a Designer

This Tuesday, I’m going to get a chance to meet Kevin Hale, who is the designer behind Wufoo and proprietor of ParticleTree. Kevin wrote a blog post last month that I think is one of the better summations of what it means to be a web designer. While I don’t want to dwell on the negative, Kevin has a pretty good description of why I hate to refer to myself as a designer (whether...

Design’s Place in a Startup

A reader took the time to shoot me an email with a few questions about design and startups… His questions were interesting enough that I thought they might be worth blogging about. So here goes: Question #1 – What is the priority balance between programming and design/UI? In my opinion, it totally depends on your startup, and where the core of your innovation lies. Take a hard look at...

Bootstrap Design for Geek-Powered Startups

One of my brethren at YCombinator sent out a request to the 2008 Winter Founders list a request for information about design services for his startup. He and his co-founder, like many YC founders, are hackers. In my career I’ve been a web designer (although I’m only moderately good at it), I’ve hired web designers (for a consulting firm I used to run), and I’ve hired...

The Fuss About Macs, Priming, and Racism

Alan Steele (ex-Jobster colleague) tweets: “using a mac for the first time in many years. so far i don’t see what all the fuss is about. it’s just another desktop…” I tend to agree. A computer is a means to an end, and an XP Windows box usually gets me to my “end” just fine. There are certainly some differences among the platforms, but I think it mostly...

Do Designers deserve a “seat at the strategy table”?

One of my favorite “design” bloggers out there is Josh Porter of Bokardo. In his most recent article, Josh contends that “designers need a place at the strategy table because their work depends on and is a direct result of it. If it’s not already, realizing the business strategy of the organization in an interface should be the designer’s primary job description.” If...

Mutual Awe

The best teams I’ve ever worked on have had a peculiar vibe of “mutual awe”. When I saw what my colleagues could pull off, I was dazzled. When I pulled off something cool, THEY were dazzled. At the same time, I think it’s tremendously valuable to be a hobbyist in the areas where your partners are experts. I’ll never be a programmer, but I’ll always...