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This is part two of two in a series about the mapping and pruning process for innovation strategy. If you haven’t read part one where we outline the basics of the the Mapping and Pruning process head over there now to take a look.

Step 1 — Collect Data

First things first we collect our data. In this case we have a small bit of demographic information and for the sake of a short article our own experience of shopping as the basis.

So lets start by defining some start and end points.

Sometimes these may be fixed and unmoving. In our case it is because we aren’t looking at an ecommerce experience. In some systems it might be that your product has to end with certain data being sent to certain systems. …


Overcoming Fear and Becoming a Design Writer

Man or Woman Jumping between two ledges
Man or Woman Jumping between two ledges
Photo by Sammie Vasquez on Unsplash

“You don’t really finish anything” said my friend. “You tend to dabble and float around but you never really commit to something and finish it” I wasn’t really sure how to handle that. I could think of plenty of arguments but at the core of it he was right. I tend to be an explorer. I try this and that but once I have satiated my curiosity I usually am happy to discard what ever it was and move on to something else. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear but it was true none-the-less. I had been listening to a lot of motivational folks like Gary Lee and Chris Do and felt I needed to do something. To set a goal and make it happen. So I thought back to an article that Matt Tanner wrote and said “I can do something like that!” …


The Opportunity Costs of Bad UX

I was sitting with some friends recently and the topic of UX and enterprise software came up. While the conversation started on the nature of UX it quickly descended into stories of terrible software updates and features that were lacking or poorly executed. These are UX blunders for sure but it occurred to me that we were discussing business software outside of the office, outside of work-hours and outside of the usual professional context. We were friends, eating dinner and catching up on a weekend. …


A love letter from a reluctant artist

Staring down the aisle of a school bus
Staring down the aisle of a school bus
Photo by the Author — Damascus, VA, USA (10/31/2020)

About 6 months ago at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic I bought my first camera. A Fujifilm X-T3. In the grand scheme of cameras it doesn’t do anything particularly unique. You point it at something, hit a button and it captures the scene as as digital file. Its a camera. That’s what it does. The big surprise for has nothing to do with the camera’s capacity to create images but instead the camera’s capacity to create change in me.

Like many others during the pandemic I was looking for hobbies and activities I could enjoy and like many others I picked up photography. I looked around at various manufacturers’ cameras and the various styles. I looked at all the usual suspects like Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax but when I came across the Fuji X series something clicked in my brain. All the other DSLRs and even mirrorless offerings looked like equipment out of a sci-fi movie. They were big, dark-grey and black with plastic grips laid over smooth wind-tunnel formed curves. They were sleek and stealthy pieces of engineering mastery. Then I saw the X-T3 and it took me back to the moment I stared in fascination at my grandfather’s old Olympus OM-1 or Nikon FM2. It had a magic that is rather difficult for me to describe. It looked less like an object from the world of engineering as it did from the world of art. I felt that the camera wasn’t designed just to take photographs but as a companies love letter to the art of photography itself. As I did my research on the camera I would learn that I was not alone in this feeling. Fuji fans were an avid bunch and they shared my sentiment and heard the siren’s song.


4 steps to get out of the weeds and engage in strategy.

A black and white tangle of yarn. Not too dissimilar to many of our work environments.
A black and white tangle of yarn. Not too dissimilar to many of our work environments.
Photo by Noor Sethi on Unsplash

Thank you Jill Levenson for proposing the idea for this article.

UX is a tough business. It is great and I love what I do but it can be really tough to manage expectations and balance all of the various tasks that we are asked to do. For many of us we enjoy being generalists. We enjoy the whole process. Starting with the research and understanding the problems, through the solutioning phases ending and iterating through the dev cycle and testing. It’s great.

The not so fun side is the side of being a generalist that finds us in the weeds and out of the decision making process. It’s a common phrase to hear from many a burned-out and unappreciated…


Lessons in Japanese convenience.

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Photo by Hao Pan on Unsplash

Writer’s Note: I don’t claim to be an expert on Japanese culture, people, or practices. I wouldn’t even consider myself well versed. This article reflects my own experiences in Japan and nothing more.

Well, it happened again. I had dreams of Tokyo. Not the futuristic mega-city out of Akira or Ghost in the Shell nor the bright robot powered nightlife of Shinjuku. Its funny that when I dream about Tokyo I dream about the more mundane aspects of the city. I dream about the subways, the vending machines and the convenience stores. I guess in summary; I dream about how convenient Tokyo is. …


How UX can establish, inform and clarify measures for success.

A trending line graph showing the changes in data over time
A trending line graph showing the changes in data over time
Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Today every aspect of a business relies on its people to be data literate. This may not have been the case even 10–15 years ago but things have changed. It's not uncommon to have SQL queries be written by business analysts, sent to engineers and tested by product managers. So what is UX doing? How do we stay involved in this rapidly evolving landscape? Let's take a look at 3 roles that UXers can leverage to improve the various measures and data practices of our teams.

Role #1 — Establish Meaningful Metrics

There is lots of data. At best this can be an informative asset to teams but at worst it is a menu of ways for teams to lie to themselves. In most business environments the name of the game is not fail fast and learn things. More often than not its protect your neck and be positive. Sure you didn’t sell anything but visits were up so, Yay! Session duration increased by 100%. That’s fantastic as long as you ignore that it is because you built a product built with express purpose of exploiting the habit forming section of the human brain. UXers are often the influential types in one way or another and can help teams define not just vanity metrics but meaningful metrics that are true signals of progress for our teams. From the mirad of measures we can help find the ones that are the best indicators. Secondly we can work with teams on their change management and commitment to going where the data leads and being more comfortable with pivots. This is the long game but one that UX people are especially well positioned to influence. …


Educate yourself. Practice your craft. Network like crazy.

Runner crouches at the starting blocks
Runner crouches at the starting blocks
Photo by Jonathan Chng on Unsplash

UX is a popular career right now. It feels that everyday there is a new webinar or bootcamp popping up. With all of this storming around it might be in your mind that its time to make a change. It may be time to pivot into this growing field. How do you do that though? It can seem like a really long putt to get into UX especially if you don’t have experience in technology. It is possible though and here is how.

  1. Educate Yourself — Learn about UX
  2. Practice Your Craft — Go do UX
  3. Networking — Meet people who can guide you along the…

It isn’t as hard as you think.

Pen sits on a notebook among crumpled papers
Pen sits on a notebook among crumpled papers
Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

TL;DR
Your writing is unique to you and the world could use more of you in it.
You just need to get out of your own way and get to it.

It’s a good time to be a design writer. Design is at the forefront of a lot of peoples minds and writing, with the power of social media, can go further than ever before. It’s a really good time to be a writer.

I’ve noticed a trend in some of my design colleagues though. When I publish and share a new article I hear things like “I have so many ideas” and “I have dozens of articles that I just haven’t published”. It makes me sad. Writing has been a helpful practice for me and I think it can be for anyone. …


You can’t afford to not engage with data anymore.

Water with a surface that is disrupted by ripples
Water with a surface that is disrupted by ripples
Photo by Jordan McDonald on Unsplash

You can’t afford to not engage with data anymore. Maybe 10 years ago it was considered to be a real competitive advantage but these days its par for the course. Over the last few decades we’ve seen online business evolve drastically. In 2003 it was seen as a fairly niche market to sell scented candles and cheap imports from your garage. Now however it is home to some of the world’s largest companies like Amazon, Google and Facebook. This move to the internet is not a fad as some predicted. In 1995 Rober Metcalfe, the inventor of Ethernet, predicted that the Internet would “catastrophically collapse” in a year or so. This didn’t happen and the internet is here to stay. As this marvel has evolved and progressed we have seen the rise of mass data collection coupled with easy to implement and affordable analytics tools. …

About

Alex Gregorie

A UX Designer in Atlanta focused on mentoring, modular UI and using python as a research method. www.alexgregorie.com

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