The first presentation I ever gave started with a lie. FITC had been a favorite conference of mine for years and they’d been good enough to offer me a spot so I wanted to do well. I tried to think of a catchy title, landed on UX Doesn’t Exist, and then tried to build a talk around the idea. When I went to present, I was in a smaller room at the venue, which made it worse when a hundred people showed up to hear me explain something that obviously wasn’t true.

I did my best and the people were kind enough not to throw their bottles at me, but I learned a lot from that talk — and from every presentation since, whether I’m in a boardroom, a conference hall, or just showing work to my peers. …

First published on Adobe XD Blog

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Illustration by Tracy Dai

The first presentation I ever gave started with a lie. FITC had been a favourite conference of mine for years and they’d been good enough to offer me a spot so I wanted to do well. I tried to think of a catchy title, landed on UX Doesn’t Exist, and then tried to build a talk around the idea. When I went to present, I was in a smaller room at the venue, which made it worse when a hundred people showed up to hear me explain something that obviously wasn’t true.

I did my best and the people were kind enough not to throw their bottles at me, but I learned a lot from that talk — and from every presentation since, whether I’m in a boardroom, a conference hall, or just showing work to my peers. …

A long time ago, I worked at a small agency where the project managers weren’t organized enough, sales people promised silly things, developers wrote buggy code, and designers were confused about the differences between print and digital. It was so frustrating that I became a prickly, judgy, sighing, pain-in-the-butt and eventually decided that no matter how much I liked some people personally, I was burned out and had to get out of there.

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Illustration: Justin Cheong.

Amazingly, I could have avoided most of the negative bits if I’d just realized one simple fact — that it was my fault. They weren’t incompetent, they were failing for reasons that I was contributing to. I didn’t know that it was my fault and worse I didn’t understand why that was good news, because when something is your fault, that means you have the power to prevent it from happening again in the future. You can’t do anything about the random potshots life takes at you, but the more things in your life that you’re responsible for, the more things you have the power to affect. When you avoid accountability, you’re basically taking away your agency to create better outcomes. …

Making imposter syndrome work for you in the world of design.

‘Imposter Syndrome’ is sometimes used as a catch-all term for self-doubts that can plague us at work. According to the International Journal of Behavioural Science, 70 percent of us suffer from the feeling of being a fraud. Take Nobel laureate Maya Angelou, who once said, “I have written 11 books, but each time I think, ‘uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’” …

Originally published at blogs.adobe.com

My first job making a digital experience consisted of using a piece of software that was the precursor to the precursor of Dreamweaver (CyberStudio? Anyone??) and explaining to clients that putting text and graphics on the same page was harder than it looked… Since then I’ve been a front end developer, a designer, a dozen other jobs with transient titles, and now a product designer and strategist. I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of people more talented and certainly smarter than I am, but I’ve kept my eyes open and feel like I’ve hit that grey-beard point in life where I can share some of these tidbits in the hopes they’re pearls for someone else. …

Let’s be clear: there are many, many ways to design a product, and none of them are perfect for every situation. Your method will depend on the maturity of your organization, the resources on your team, the complexity of the project, and your own skill set. In a larger organization there is likely already a process and/or mentors to guide things but smaller companies often have people with with more experience making things as opposed to strategy work.

No one seems sure how many startups fail each year, but the general consensus is that it’s a lot. Having a well designed product that meets a genuine need is a great way to increase your chance of success. This article outlines a few basic steps that should help you create your own product strategy, customizable to your needs and situation. …

Originally published at blogs.adobe.com.

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With the continued evolution of design patterns and development frameworks, usability and UI seem to have become more commoditized. The scope of UX work has responded by moving even farther into the realm of strategy and research and our industry being what it is, any change should be celebrated with a shuffling of job titles and an eruption of buzzwords. I’m not the only person noticing this trend.

These days I’m a Product Designer (sometimes when I’m feeling fancy I use Service Designer and strut around a bit). The work is a natural progression from what I did before but it took a lot of learning and experimentation to get to the point where I’m confident about the value I can provide. …

Originally published at blogs.adobe.com.

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For much longer than was in any way reasonable, my Mom described my vocation as “Webmaster.” While it made me grin every time I heard it, it was also true that I didn’t really have a better description that made sense outside of our industry. “I’m an experience designer,” was generally met with blank stares and occasionally, eye rolls.

While I wasn’t too worried if Aunt Midge understood my career, I do believe that if you can’t explain something simply and clearly then you probably don’t understand it that well. …

This post was originally published on the Creative Cloud Blog.

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When you think about making a great product there are probably a few tools and methods that come to mind, like JTBD, Lean UX, and Agile development. I joined CrowdRiff as their Head of Platform Design a few months ago, and we think there’s another ingredient that goes beyond process that absolutely has to be there. For a product to truly be great there needs to be a culture of collaboration and design thinking supporting the team that’s making it. So how do you create and maintain one?

Obviously there are a lot of ways to go about this, and the intent here isn’t to cover all of them. Recently, Jon Lax wrote a great article about the idea of having plays that you can run at different points in your product development. In that spirit, I’d like to offer up one of my plays for increasing collaboration and spreading design thinking when I join a product design team. …

About

Kurt Krumme

UX designer, writer, public speaker, urban rancher and all-around nice guy. @burtbrumme

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