Improving legacy systems is often like restoring an old farmhouse

A farmhouse in the middle of a green field. The red barn is need of some paint, and there are a couple of improvements to be made.

“Sorry, some of the screens look like they’re straight from the 90s.” The client said she showed me the project I’d be designing for. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard that, and it probably wouldn’t be the last.

Working for large organizations, especially those in the federal sector, means…

A great reputation as a UX Designer matters more than an okay product release

Man with oxygen mask on in an airplane is moving to attach the oxygen mask to the child next to him.

Sometimes it’s necessary to watch your company release badly designed products rather than trying to help them. If you don’t, you might sabotage your chances to make a real impact.

Most UX Designers I’ve encountered tend to be enthusiastic about helping people. Our job revolves around empathy, understanding users, and…

Understanding a better approach to network as an introvert

This past year was one of my most successful years networking as an introvert.

I advised people and organizations across the United States, attended online events, and had one-on-one conversations with interesting people in New York, London, California, and parts of Asia.

I didn't set out to do this. Like…

If you show something shiny, they’ll assume it’s done

A table filled with paper sketches of varying completeness and fidelity.

One irony of being a designer is that the shiny interfaces you put in your portfolio aren’t what you work on daily.

Your portfolio pieces are the end result of a lengthy design process. Generating that level of visual fidelity at any other point usually leads to trouble.

This is…

Design what scenarios matter most, and then link to existing documentation for others

Two sets of hands sitting looking at a paper document in between them. One set of hands has a pen and it pointing at something.

Have you ever been tempted to ignore documenting your Designs for your team?

It can be understandable, given that you might have a lot of responsibilities or projects on your plate. But what if you often didn’t have to do a lot of extra work to get your point across?

How to adapt user testing to serve as a limited card sort

Two hands pointing and creating post-it notes and sorting them into different categories. Pens, Post-Its, and markers are in the background.

UX often wears many hats, and sometimes that includes Information Architecture.

One of my first big projects as a solo UX professional had bad Information Architecture. Like many of you might, I had limited IA experience, knowing just a little about designing headers, side navigation, and footers. But sometimes, the…

Visibility of System Status improves design and also decision making

A person holding green and blue flashlights at night with the background of a starry sky to try and raise attention.

The most persuasive argument I ever gave for UX research was a piece of paper pinned to the hallway next to my office. I had created an organizational map to understand how the organization grouped different teams and had stuck it to the wall on a whim.

But because of…

What you can do to improve the UX maturity of your organization

3 people standing on the sidewalk, two women, one male. Both women are talking to the guy in the center, who is holding a folder with some sort of plan. The woman on the left is gesturing towards something to explain something, and the woman on the right is pointing to something in the plan to give emphasis. The man in the center is smiling while looking at what the woman is pointing at.

There’s no getting around it: sometimes life sucks as a UX Designer in a low UX maturity organization.

There may be frustrations as teams shoot down your ideas or even ignore UX, and it may seem like there’s nothing that you can do.

There are techniques to address this problem…

Kai Wong

6xTop writer in UX Design. UX, Data Viz and Data Science. Author of Persuading with Data: https://tinyurl.com/rndb9bw. Substack: dataanddesign.substack.com

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