23rd June 2020No Comments

Balancing input and reflection for the best thinking

I was listening to Cal Newport's Deep Questions podcast today. In this episode he talks about the need for letting the input of others into your mind—through reading books, listening to podcasts etc.—but then taking the time for your own reflection in solitude.

This is something I thought about recently:

And I think it's worth exploring a bit more. I'll talk about different forms of input, how we might best reflect on it and what it enables us to do.

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14th May 2020Comments are off for this post.

Lessons from 6 years of designing in agencies

I spent 6 years of my design career in agencies. The first four I designed mostly websites. The last two I focused on mobile apps. This is the time that shaped me as a designer. I have learned a lot about the agency life.

In this post, I'll try to sum up a few of the most important lessons I learned. Some of them might be agency-specific while others might apply more broadly. Feel free to cherry-pick what's useful for you.

Let's dive in.

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2nd April 2020No Comments

How habits and anxieties keep people from using your product

Your product matches or even exceeds your competitors. People know about it, some even purchase it, but they don't use it. What's going on? It's likely that you didn't take people's habits and fears into account. I will show you how these two forces keep people from using your product.

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17th March 2020No Comments

Becoming a maker

I previously wrote that I'm learning to code, because I believe the future of design tools is based on code. Well, I didn't tell you the whole truth. There's also a second powerful reason why I embarked on this journey. It's the idea of being a maker.

I believe that coding gives you superpowers. It can take you from being "just" a designer to being someone who can release actual products into the world.

I want to have a bias toward action. Coding is a way there.

To prove that point, here are two personal stories of how I used my ability to code—albeit very limited—in the past.

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10th March 2020No Comments

Prototype with live data: Include developers & get better results

This article was originally published on UX Planet.

Live-data prototypes can step in when classic prototypes with real data may not be enough. They also bring developers into the design process. Are they decidedly a superior way to prototype? We’ve tried them out a couple of times in Kentico and here’s what we learned.

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18th February 20201 Comment

Deep work in practice

Cal Newport argues in his book Deep Work that this skill is increasingly rare and valuable. Those who master it will thrive. I've been trying to practice working deeply for a while now. When I first read the book, I missed some personal accounts from people who adopted deep work.

How does it look in practice? What works and what doesn't? Here's what I do to work deeply. Maybe you'll find some inspiration in this.

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7th February 20201 Comment

Why I’m learning to code

I am very excited about the design tools of tomorrow.

Tools like Framer, Modulz or Clutch.

They're all transforming the design tool landscape away from the pixel-pushing paradigm. And that's great!

Pushing pixels is nice. It's also wasteful. When you're designing a mockup, you're creating an image that someone will take and spend a lot of time recreating in code from scratch. And thus render that image obsolete, left to be updated again and again.

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9th January 20202 Comments

What I learned as a designer from building an app

It's been well over a year now that I released a small app called Collect after months of doing something I've never really done before: coding and actually developing software. That can be scary territory for a designer—it definitely was for me. And although the app is no longer in the App store (I decided to learn other skills instead of maintaining it), I thought it would be beneficial to reflect on some of the lessons I learned while building it.

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3rd January 2020No Comments

Getting good design feedback

When people talk about design feedback, they usually focus on how to give better feedback. While that's good, I believe it's a two-way street and we should also talk about getting design feedback.

I'll outline several ways of how designers can better request and receive feedback.

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23rd November 20192 Comments

On being a good designer

"What does being a good designer mean to you?"

I was asked this question a while back and I've been pondering it recently. I also asked that question on Twitter to see what others think about this. There are as many answers as there are designers and it was interesting to read different perspectives. The answer I liked the most was this:

"[A good designer] must have results, we are not artists."

This especially applies to less experienced designers, who, in my view, tend to focus on pixels over people and outcomes of their work. I used to be the same. Being a good craftsman is nice, but solving problems for people is more important than getting that shadow just right.

I would like to explore the question of being a good designer in a bit more depth and I'll use the rest of this post to explore my thoughts on this.

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Whether you just want to chat about design
or you want to discuss an opportunity, I’m all ears.
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(c) 2020 Adam Amran