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Imagine the sweet, sweet freedom of being a freelancer — no boss, no office, and hours of your own choosing. It sounds like paradise, and for some people it is, but the funny thing about a professional life built around freedom is that it requires a lot of organization and discipline. As an employed UX designer your main concern is doing good design work, and that’s already challenging enough for most people. As a freelance UX designer, you’re also a business owner, which comes with the added responsibility of administrative tasks and sourcing future clients.

I believe almost everyone can…


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Before we talk about techniques for being a leader, it might be a good idea to ask yourself why you want to be one. For that matter, what do you think a leader is? Is a leader the one in charge, or the person recognized by the team as being the smartest and most capable — or maybe just the loudest? Does it mean you get paid the most or get to make all the decisions? …


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Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

We’ve all met nice, seemingly friendly people who for some reason, go mildly insane once they’re behind the wheel of a car. You might have even been that person on occasion. Blowing past a cyclist who was slowing you down, honking and maybe shouting a few obscenities out the window. Emotions are funny that way and at work they can be just as amplified, and for equally strange reasons.

If you’ve ever had a confrontation at work, you can probably identify with the intense feelings that can come on. Maybe you don’t lose your temper right away, but you find…


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Illustration by Kyle Webster

I lead the experience design practice at my agency so I see a lot of job applications, from senior hires to design interns. The competition is fierce and I sometimes think about the challenges that new practitioners face today and how different it was for me when I started out.

After university I was broke but wanted to travel, so I got a job teaching English overseas. Unfortunately that coincided with the collapse of the Southeast Asian economy I was working in, so I came home ever-so-slightly poorer than when I left. …


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Illustration by Tracy Dai

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…


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…


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.’” …


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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…


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…


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…

Kurt Krumme

Product strategist, designer, writer, public speaker, urban rancher. @burtbrumme | linkedin.com/in/kkrumme

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