May 1, 2017
This post was published in full on uxdesign.cc
In a world that is increasingly digital, human connections are as likely to happen online as offline. Social apps play a crucial role in society’s evolving norms around identity, and one component of this is the imagery used to represent individual users on various platforms, generally known as avatars.
Since this is a favorite subject of mine, I decided to create an all-in-one guide to better avatars. This article covers some common missteps, shows why good avatar design matters, and lays out real-world examples of better avatars in action.
Why should we care about avatars and inclusivity...Read more…
Dec 20, 2016
It’s that time of year when everyone is putting together end-of-year listicles. Best new web frameworks of 2016, top 20 highlights, most interesting UX books of 2016 etc. One version of this trend that I always look out for is book lists - it’s interesting to see what other people are reading and get a few ideas for my own list.
So, in proper end of year spirit, here are my 10 favorite books that I read in 2016 in no particular order.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Fiction
After reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s short work “We Should All Be Feminists”, I knew I had to read her full-length novels. Americanah centers around...Read more…
Nov 28, 2016
Tutorial for using Google Spreadsheets and Slack to create a reading group bot
Since the election, there’s been a noticeable uptick in activism and engagement around important issues that shape our country. A lot of people in more liberal communities woke up to the fact that they’ve been living in an echo chamber and are actively looking for ways to expand these boundaries, often through discussion or reading. I want to share an open-sourced tool I built to help facilitate this kind of organizing.
Last week, Angelica Coleman reached out to her network about wanting to regularly read and discuss history, culture, and race with other people...Read more…
Nov 14, 2016
I started the #loveislove project after the 2016 election, in response to the fear felt by individuals in the LGBT community. In support of the fact that everyone deserves love (and all the rights that come along with that), I'm making free digital illustrations of LGBT couples in hopes of providing a tiny moment of happiness and support.
Couples or friends and family can request an illustration. These make nice sentimental keepsakes and gifts.
What to expect
One illustration of the happy couple, delivered digitally. You will get the opportunity to request changes. Wait times vary based on availability...Read more…
Dec 28, 2015
It's not every day you run across a genuine, deep friendship. I've been lucky enough to have a best friend for the past 22 years; we grew up across the street from each other, and her family continues to feel like an addition to my own family.
I wanted to find a way to celebrate all our years together. My mom was always very trigger-happy with the camera, which means we have tons of amazing photos documenting many years together. I decided to pick some of my favorites to illustrate and turn into a Friendship Matching Game.
I just posted a case study with full visuals for the game. Visit the case study now.Read more…
Jun 3, 2015
I’ve been wanting to write a post about design processes for a while now. I wrote a full case study about a specific design sprint at thoughtbot, which you can view here, but I wanted to continue the discussion about ways to iterate on this process and how to apply design sprints to different types of challenges and projects.
Very often, I’m not in a position to run a full sprint for a new project, or for a new problem that comes up mid-project. I also generally don’t have the time to go through an entire sprint with side-projects and personal projects outside of work. For these, I’ve started adapting activities from a traditional design...Read more…
Jun 1, 2015
For the landing page of this website, I thought it would be fun to create some of my illustrations in erb and SCSS so they could be more fun and interactive. Today, I wanted to share a brief tutorial about how to create a CSS keyboard with keys that get "pressed" when the user hovers on them. I did this first in HTML and CSS, and then with erb and SCSS.
Try it out - mouse over the keys:
(Doesn't work on mobile devices)
I recreated the effect above - note that the code in this post is slightly different than the landing page, since...Read more…
May 22, 2015
I've started putting project case studies up on the site, and I just finished writing one for the re-design of the Middleman website.
Middleman is a static site generator using all the shortcuts and tools in modern web development. It's built on Ruby, and can be used to get static sites up and running quickly and painlessly.
Like any good web framework, Middleman has a documentation site that aims to help people understand the tool, use the tool easily, troubleshoot problems, and contribute changes to open-source features. The existing documentation site needed a brand-overhaul, as well as some attention to the overall organization of...Read more…
May 14, 2015
I've been reading some articles about Dribbble's impact on the design community. Some call it the "Dribbblification" of design; designers who post finished illustrations and slick animations tend to get the most response on Dribbble, leading young designers to think that design is fundamentally tied to beautiful illustrations. This leaves out a large discussion about process, user-centered design, product design, and product thinking, which are all integral parts of designing products that people use.
That being said, Dribbble is a fantastic repository of inspiration, especially when it comes to illustrations. I'm constantly inspired by...Read more…
May 1, 2015
There are a lot of prototyping tools out there for designers. Some of the tools I've used in the past include Pixate, After Effects, and Flinto, all of which provide different ways for designers to show interaction and test their designs.
However, after completing Codepath’s iOS for Designers bootcamp, I've started using Xcode as a prototyping tool for many projects. There are a few reasons why I think it can be a great process for designers working on iOS projects to get comfortable with.
1. Designers benefit from understanding app development
By using the same tool that engineers use to build apps, designers can become more comfortable...Read more…
Apr 28, 2015
This year, I was fortunate enough to go through Codepath's iOS for Designers bootcamp, where I learned the ins-and-outs of Xcode, created animations in Swift, and even learned how to hook up Parse and create fully-working apps. You can read more about my thoughts about using Xcode as a designer on the thoughtbot blog.
After a few weeks of regular homework assignments where we prototyped existing apps, we all split into small groups and built our own apps. My group created an app called MiniMeet, which lets people create small, intimate meet-ups about any topic at any time. We got to present at final demo day as one of the top three apps...Read more…
Apr 25, 2015
I love how interactive web apps can be, and the amount of creativity and control you can have over a system when you know how set it up as an app. However, if you’re new to the process of creating web apps, sometimes all the moving pieces can be a bit overwhelming. In this tutorial I’ll be walking through my basic process of getting an app up and running.
Tools I Use
Here are the tools you’ll need to complete this tutorial: Terminal, Rubymine, Ruby on Rails, Git, Github, Heroku, and Heroku Toolbelt.
Ruby On Rails And Github
Ruby on Rails is a great framework that is fantastic for quick prototyping. It’s a favorite of mine when doing small...Read more…
Apr 5, 2015
It wasn’t until I moved to California that I realized most citrus is best in the winter. While fruits like oranges do well in cold storage, citrus tends to peak and be freshest in winter months. I used to think of oranges and lemons as summer fruits, but now the orange displayed in a Japanese New Year kagami mochi makes a lot more sense.
I’m sad to see citrus slowly leaving the markets. It’s already hard to find meyer lemons and limes. As a goodbye, I created this blood orange and meyer lemon cocktail, which is nicely set off with a thyme-infused simple syrup. You could make it with a valencia or a navel, but you can’t beat the red color...Read more…
Mar 1, 2015
At thoughtbot, we use design sprints when trying out scope and brainstorm direction for new ideas and products. The concept is adapted from Google Ventures, and is a 5-day structure that helps answer business questions through design activities, prototyping, and user testing. All of thoughtbot's design sprint structure is available on Github.
While I've mostly used sprints to scope and brainstorm directions for products, the structure of a sprint can be used for all kinds of problems. Recently, I worked with a small group of designers at thoughtbot to create a coaching program, and we used a sprint to validate the initial idea and scope...Read more…
Nov 28, 2014
Also known as the-thing-you-never-knew-you-needed-but-now-can't-live-without.
I'm really excited to announce the launch of a fun side project I've been working on with Marie Lucas over the past month. It's an all-in-one tool for getting more nutella into your life!
The site, called "7 ounces" because that's roughly how much nutella we eat in one sitting, gives users two ways to find more nutella: searching local restaurants that have nutella on their menu, or searching for recipes that are nutella-based. We used APIs from Yelp and Yummly to source our data and worked...Read more…