Posts

A collection of my writing since I began writing on the web.



Do you speak businglish? Or designese?

I’ve just finished a long stint working within a large, risk-averse organisation. Being product-side for a change has been an incredibly eye-opening experience. It’s the first time in more than a decade that I’ve been fully ‘on the inside’ and it’s afforded me some real insight and empathy ... Read it →


Conducting project retros as customer journey maps

The retrospective is — in my opinion — one of the most important activities in any project. Routine post-sprint retros are a great indicator of project health, but end-of-project wash-ups are where the real gems for learning lie. In most cases a retrospective helps the immediate team understand where things went well and what can... Read it →


How can designers get better at learning from their mistakes

Our ability to learn when things go wrong is what helps us grow. Not just as individuals but as an industry. By better understanding when our ego clouds our better judgement, when we’re pointing fingers, or when we have to kill our darlings, we can always improve. This is th... Read it →


Learning from failure in the design industry

Our industry’s penchant for showing semi-fictional, utopian case studies has always rankled me. No project goes smoothly. There’s always something that goes wrong, and it’s often those moments where we grow the most. The preamble Over a year and half ago I had the pleasure of meeting Bertra... Read it →


Crafting your origin story

My first salary job out of university was working as an Accounts Receivable manager. I somehow managed to get companies across Canada to pay their overdue invoices for my employer: a clothing company in North Montreal. By all accounts (pun intended) I was good at it. I recouped a lot ... Read it →


To stop ‘sign off’ you need to dig a little deeper

Sign-off. As Andy rightly points out in his recent post, it’s a thing that shouldn’t be part of the modern digital designer’s lexicon. I totally agree, and in some cases this is the reality. But sadly it’s not always as clear cut or easy to just say ’no’... Read it →


Leaving Clearleft

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. The same has to be said for leaving an agency that felt more like family than a job over the last 6 years. Truth be told I’ve meant to write this post for a while now, having left Cl... Read it →


Happy Places

Back in 2013 I visited NYC to attend the wonderful Brooklyn Beta conference. It was Autumn. There was a slight nip in the air, the leaves were turning, and the weather was amazing. During one of our non-conference exploratory days we strolled through Central Park. We meandered through some of the ... Read it →


Design systems don’t start with components

I’m all for design systems. I’ve designed and created many, and they’re a great way of unifying patterns, usage and language. They reduce time, save on costs and promote modular, systems-based thinking. But I’ve noticed a growing bias towards design systems focusing on the components first. This sug... Read it →


Is the T-shape evolving?

Are designers evolving from just UX designers or just visual designers into multi-disciplinary generalists? There seems to be higher-quality design all-rounders coming back into vogue. Jack-of-all-trades When I was a freelancer it was in my best interest to be a generalist. To do everything. Being able to do more meant ... Read it →


Visual inventories for agile design

As a visual designer working on agile projects, I’ve said before how it’s easy to lose sight of the larger visual language in agile sprints. When you’re tackling user stories with your head down, it’s hard to come up for air and take stock of how your vis... Read it →


When loading fast means learning fast

A few years ago when Mark wrote his article on performance budgets, we were working together on a redesign for a luxury travel holiday website. The use of large images and typography to create a richer experience required the capping of a page’s weight so that I (the designer) di... Read it →


Is marketing being reborn as CX?

A decade or more ago, digital marketing was more of a blunt instrument. It was like the first stone axe - crude, but it got the job done. I started my career in digital marketing. I’ve witnessed its growth both first-hand and now from afar, and as some aspects of... Read it →


Strava made me do it

A look into my use of Strava and how it's positively affected my behaviour over time. My name is Jon, and I'm a Strava user. I never thought I could be as fundamentally affected by an app as I have been by Strava. Other apps can affect your behaviour in ... Read it →


When agile's not creative

When designing a site, app or digital product, all of the elements on screen need to work together. They need to sing together, harmonise with one another and form something greater than their constituent parts in order for the a user to start and finish their task. Agile as a ... Read it →



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