Approaching software design like math and mountain climbing to fight the routine.
Our most enjoyable time in life is productive hyperfocus. We are happier at work than on a beach with a cocktail, and there’s research to prove it. This idea and the supporting research belongs to the papá of the positive psychology, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. (His parents must think they’re very funny.) I felt gleefully high at work lately and it got me wondering why and how I can get me a fix of that again.
a) a challenge b) one that matches our abilities c) with clear feedback d)…
What will the world look in 50 years if we reverse climate change, get our shit together, keep our hands off the nuclear bomb launcher, and not get into petty civil wars. In design, we call a prediction like this the “happy path.”
Meet Suzy. She works for a small company of 10, where she’s the only writer on the team. A year later the company hires another writer. Now, whether or not Suzy mastered anything in her role, beyond missing the accountant’s head when playing darts, she is now a Senior Writer. She’s been there longer and her boss didn’t mind. Suzy ships a lot of work unsupervised and has come to believe she doesn’t need peer review. It’s fine as is. In a few years she gets bored of the work and decides to look for a different job.
I’m a UX Writer. It’s a designated human on the software development team who writes words for interfaces. All the words. From the tiniest tooltips to navigation, to buttons, to errors, and so on, ad infinitum. UX writing is less writing and more solving puzzles. For instance, try naming a button that allows the user to close the current window in order to be able to return to the page later OR edit the information they just entered. One button. Good luck!
UX writing is a fairly new phenomenon, as it took the industry a good decade to realize that…
The earth submerged in summer rain
My feet collecting grass and treading lightly
On air, or almost, if it matters.
Splashing the sand in puddles,
Warm and rushing down the street
I have no headphones, music ringing
Born in my head, loud, perfectly composed
To fit the storm, to feed the sense.
The rolling hills, the roaring winds, the pines upon the tops
I see a tree, snapped by the force of former summer storms
The broken tombstones, dusty angels, digging their halos into ground
A flowerbed with dirt on flowers, abandoned, vandalized, and browned.
A pair of…
Six years ago, Ukraine had its first violent revolution since independence. More than one hundred people died near the central street, shot by Russia-backed snipers and our own policemen. The protesters burned old car tires and smashed police shields with pavement bricks they cut out right from under their feet. We lived in hell for some time.
Once we were through with toppling the government and driving away the pathetic monster of a president, our neighbor decided that we have it all too well. He annexed Crimea and invaded the Eastern territories, all while taking a massive shit on international…
The line between feedback and trespassing in design is hair-thin.
Our feedback culture and the torch-wielding debate around it has bothered me for a while, and I could never pin-point why it had felt so important. Why everyone jumps out of their pants trying to prove that giving feedback in this-and-this way is correct. And why accepting feedback in this-and-this way is how it should be done.
Then it hit me.
The debate is not about feedback at all. It’s not about the product, nor the vision, or the company. Not even about the notorious form that the feedback should…
It doesn’t happen overnight. Your teammates don’t wake up, yawn, and decide it’s about time for you to write some interface copy.
UX tasks usually sidle up to you bashfully, one at a time. Front-end needs a notification that tells the user their payment fell through. Another time there’s a new pricing plan in production and someone has to fill in the blanks for a switch flow—that someone happens to be you.
Slowly but surely, developers and designers adopt the idea that it’s probably not their job to write copy within the app. Maybe, maybe, someone knowledgeable in language would…
You scroll through the daily feed and an image catches your eye. It’s really good, bordering on beautiful, and yet something’s off. You stare at the image and it stares back at you and there’s a palpable, growing tension.
You’re boring, you mutter to the screen as it casts its bright, feverish light on your face. You’re nauseatingly, painfully boring. The subject is boring, the angle is boring, the editing, the formatting, the fade-outs, the colors — all of it such a dial tone.
You seem to like it, and yet you never want to see it again and it…
Setapp is a floating boat in the open waters. Our team is a pack of weathered sailors trying to navigate it in the right direction with variable success. Seems to always be like that with new products in search of their fit.
We recently developed a messenger bot as an experiment to see if people would get more engaged when onboarding gets more personal. We decided the bot should be amusing, authentic, and useful. That’s a lot big words.
Setapp is a collection of Mac apps for an innumerable amount of tasks. It’s convenient, well-designed, and financially practical at $9.99/month…
Content designer at Shopify