Jots is a collection of bits from inspiring pieces.

When you don’t want to do something, you often build it up in your mind to be worse than it really is. But once you get started, you get to realistically appraise how long and hard the task is going to be.

Jot 259 : Anne-Laure Le Cunff in The ten minute rule of productivity, from Ness Labs.
Jotted on the 20th of Jan 2020, at 10:25.

A design manager’s energy is better spent overseeing the decisions behind the work setup and managing the teams themselves, unblocking members and bridging gaps across teams, not managing or owning the design output and strategy.

Jot 258 : Tanner Christensen in Where do IC designers go once they peak?, from Tanner Christensen’s Site.
Jotted on the 12th of Jan 2020, at 22:50.

Speaking only helps who’s in the room, writing helps everyone. This includes people who’s couldn’t make it, or future employees who join years from now.

Jot 257 : Basecamp’s Team in The Basecamp Guide to Internal Communication, from Basecamp.
Jotted on the 6th of Jan 2020, at 10:20.

It’s now minute 55 of the 60 minute meeting, you finally have time to ask the two questions you came here initially to discuss. Before you do, however, someone else raises their hand and asks a different question. This takes up the remaining time in the meeting.

Jotted on the 13th of Dec 2019, at 10:05.

When we unbundle a physical retail store, for example, the pleasant nuances of shopping in person and interacting with other people falls through the cracks. […] And while such feelings could be dismissed as mere misremembering of the inconveniences of the past, they also reflect the loss of something that was too subtle to preserve.

Jot 255 : Drew Austin in Bundling and Unbundling, from Real Life.
Jotted on the 4th of Dec 2019, at 10:30.

I routinely skip past pages that are mostly big pictures with short captions. If you’re showcasing professional photography or artwork that’s fine, but for most things, I’m looking for well-written copy with images to complement or expand on the text. A well-chosen image can certainly improve a web page, but it’s the written word that draws me in.

Jot 254 : Barry Rueger in Creating Online Environments That Work Well For Older Users, from Smashing Magazine.
Jotted on the 5th of Nov 2019, at 10:30.

“The longer the loop is, the harder it is for the player to understand the consequences of their actions”, he explains.

Jot 253 : James Batchelor in Learn, reset, repeat: The intricacy of time loop games, from GamesIndustry.biz.
Jotted on the 23rd of Oct 2019, at 11:20.

Although writing code once sounds like a great bargain, the associated overhead made the cost of this approach outweigh the benefits (which turned out to be smaller than expected anyway).

Jotted on the 24th of Sep 2019, at 12:45.

The exploration needs to happen anyway. Asking for visible progress will only push it underground. It’s better to empower the team to explictly say “I’m still figuring out how to start” so they don’t have to hide or disguise this legitimate work.

Jot 251 : Ryan Singer in Hand Over Responsibility, from Shape Up.
Jotted on the 24th of Sep 2019, at 12:40.

Those technologies may seem boring, but boring is fast. Boring is usable. Boring is resilient and fault tolerant. Boring is accessible.

Jot 250 : Jeremy Wagner in Make it Boring, from Jeremy Wagner’s Site.
Jotted on the 13th of Sep 2019, at 11:45.

Are you arbitrarily setting targets to create an artificial sense of “urgency” or “accountability”? Or are you trying to create a supportive environment that is truly helpful for a person getting to where they need to be?

Jot 249 : Claire Lew in How to motivate employees? Don’t., from Signal v. Noise.
Jotted on the 13th of Sep 2019, at 11:30.

Bluetooth headphones are likely the future. But I still have more love for a set of standard headphone with a regular cable and headphone jack that has been working reliably for decades.

Jot 248 : Bastian Allgeier in Simplicity (II), from Bastian Allgeier’s Site.
Jotted on the 13th of Sep 2019, at 11:20.

The basic idea is that verbal communication in a group setting only allows for one line of conversation at a time. You have a speaker, and a bunch of listeners. By not relying on speaking, a “Silent Meeting” can instead offer multiple conversation threads simultaneously, allowing for a greater volume of feedback to be received in a shorter period of time.

Jot 247 : Noah Levin in Design critiques at Figma, from Figma.
Jotted on the 10th of Sep 2019, at 12:00.

There’s no absolute definition of “the best” solution. The best is relative to your constraints. Without a time limit, there’s always a better version. The ultimate meal might be a ten course dinner. But when you’re hungry and in a hurry, a hot dog is perfect.

Jot 246 : Ryan Singer in Principles of Shaping, from Shape Up.
Jotted on the 24th of Jul 2019, at 12:20.

When the scope isn’t variable, the team can’t reconsider a design decision that is turning out to cost more than it’s worth.

Jot 245 : Ryan Singer in Principles of Shaping, from Shape Up.
Jotted on the 23rd of Jul 2019, at 11:10.

Willing to admit when they’re wrong, and aren’t afraid to say “I don’t know”.

Jot 244 : cutenode in 1x Engineer, from 1x Engineer.
Jotted on the 23rd of Jul 2019, at 00:00.

Translation is not a science; it is an art. One must take liberties with the text to capture the essence of the words, in an attempt to recreate the feeling of the original for a very different audience with a very different cultural background.

Jotted on the 20th of Jul 2019, at 00:00.

All AR experiences have, at their core, some notion of planes and anchors. Planes are flat surfaces on which content sits, and anchors are spatial markers relative to which content distance is measured.

Jotted on the 19th of Jul 2019, at 11:40.

Then it hit me—a content object is defined by two things: (1) its format (the properties it exposes), and (2) where it is located relative to other content.

Jot 241 : Deane Barker in The Content Tree, from Gadgetopia.
Jotted on the 17th of Jul 2019, at 14:05.

The first step was to understand how consultants used and interacted with this data in its native web-based form. The different ways that users consumed the data determined the design of its mobile counterpart.

Jot 240 : Joe Caron in Designing a complex table for mobile consumption (nom), from UX Collective’s Medium.
Jotted on the 12th of Jun 2019, at 11:55.

Humans inherit convictions mimetically from each other—we learn what to value by imitating our peers. As my desire to excel academically grew, I spent greater amounts of time in and around the physics department. The more time I spent there, the greater my desire to excel.

Jot 239 : Brian Timar in Mimetic traps, from Brian Timar’s Site.
Jotted on the 27th of May 2019, at 11:25.

Some of the most worst missteps have involved training data that is faulty or simply used with no recognition of the serious biases that influenced its collection and analysis.

Jot 238 : Stefania Druga in Spotlight: Let’s ask more of AI, from Internet Health Report 2019.
Jotted on the 23rd of May 2019, at 11:25.

Once you’ve identified your key output metrics, build out the constellation by breaking those outputs down into their input metrics. Drill down until you’ve got a set of actionable input metrics that you can impact directly, and then build your experiments to move those.

Jot 237 : Brian Balfour, Shaun Clowes, Casey Winters in Don’t Let Your North Star Metric Deceive You, from Reforge.
Jotted on the 22nd of May 2019, at 12:10.

If you feel like you’re getting hung up on components too early at an exploratory stage of your project, worry about them later—don’t let it hinder the fluidity of your design process.

Jotted on the 21st of May 2019, at 12:00.

Siesta naps, rich in NREM sleep, result in a significant increase in alertness that will be highly appreciated by people in creative professions. By various measures that boost may be as high as 50%!

Jot 235 : Piotr Wozniak in Good sleep, good learning, good life, from Super Memo.
Jotted on the 23rd of Apr 2019, at 14:20.

Programming by nature is functional, reusable, extensible, and version controlled. Modern design systems aim to accomplish much of the same and more, and therefore can take direction from how programming already functions.

Jotted on the 17th of Apr 2019, at 12:50.

Unfortunately, at some point we start to fear failure, but that fear is just holding us back. Failure is really the learning process. Every loss at chess, every falling down when we’re learning a backflip… those are lessons.

Jot 233 : Leo Babauta in The 4 Keys to Learning Anything, from zen habits.
Jotted on the 11th of Apr 2019, at 12:20.

The good side of having a learning plan is focus. I’m not searching for information and I have a plan to follow. All the hard work of planning and research is done.

Jot 232 : Anton Ball in Planning to Learn, from Medium.
Jotted on the 10th of Apr 2019, at 12:15.

On the other hand, telling someone to never give up is terrible advice. Successful people give up all the time. If something is not working, smart people don’t repeat it endlessly. They revise. They adjust. They pivot. They quit.

Jot 231 : James Clear in The 3 Stages of Failure in Life and Work (And How to Fix Them), from James Clear’s Site.
Jotted on the 10th of Apr 2019, at 12:05.

Confined by the limited space on a page, we are often tempted to force all the data we have into a slot that’s way too small. Although this saves valuable space on the page, it has consequences […].

Jot 230 : Sarah Leo in Mistakes, we’ve drawn a few, from The Economist’s Medium.
Jotted on the 1st of Apr 2019, at 12:15.

We have three states for new features. Now, next, and probably never. Whatever we’re working on now is the most valuable thing we can think of. Whatever’s next is the next most valuable thing.

Jot 229 : Ben Rady in Powers of Two, from Radyology.
Jotted on the 29th of Mar 2019, at 15:30.

Like proto-personas, a proto-journey can help bootstrap empathy and team alignment.

Jot 228 : Jamie Caloras in Proto-journey: A Lean UX Customer Journey Map, from UX Collective’s Medium.
Jotted on the 22nd of Mar 2019, at 11:10.

He wasn’t a bad person (he was a lovely person, in fact.) But having him as a boss showed me exactly the kind of boss I didn’t want to become. I took his template of leadership and whittled my own—a relief carving in opposition to his.

Jot 227 : Claire Lew in The Anti-Mentor, from Signal v. Noise.
Jotted on the 19th of Mar 2019, at 11:00.

De Bono’s “hat” represents a certain way of perceiving reality. Different people are used to “wearing” one favorite “hat” most of the time, which limits creativity and breeds stereotypes.

Jot 226 : Slava Shestopalov in Organizing Brainstorming Workshops: A Designer’s Guide, from Smashing Magazine.
Jotted on the 4th of Mar 2019, at 11:10.

The benefits are strong. You understand the big architectural choices before sinking money into building them. You empower designers by giving them space to explore multiple options and do rapid iterations. This leads to huge progress, quickly.

Jot 225 : Will Myddelton in Three types of user research, from Will Myddelton’s Site.
Jotted on the 26th of Feb 2019, at 11:10.

So it’s often better to encourage the behavior you want, than discourage the behavior you don’t. Instead of punishing a player that is too slow, reward a player that finishes the level quickly.

Jot 224 : Game Maker’s Toolkit in How Game Designers Protect Players From Themselves, from YouTube.
Jotted on the 20th of Feb 2019, at 10:55.

There’s an extremely successful Netflix documentation about decluttering your house—this is directly applicable to software as well. The main essence is that if we did not use something for e.g. three months, it’s not worth keeping it.

Jot 223 : Anselm Hannemann in “It must be free”, from Anselm Hannemann’s Site.
Jotted on the 14th of Feb 2019, at 10:55.

But I think there’s a lot of value in actively questioning the need for complexity. Sometimes the smarter way to build things is to try and take some pieces away, rather than add more to it.

Jot 222 : Max Böck in On Simplicity, from Max Böck’s Site.
Jotted on the 14th of Feb 2019, at 10:50.

Critically missing from the core scrum team, and necessary for the integration of UX design, is a full-time designer on the team. The only way the tactics in #3 can happen in parallel collaboration with developers, product managers, and scrum masters is if there is a full-time designer on the team.

Jotted on the 13th of Feb 2019, at 11:20.

Jeff P advocates for 2 types of work, not 2 teams. The type of work the team is doing fluctuates over time. In some parts of the initiative more discovery is needed. In others, more delivery is needed.

Jotted on the 13th of Feb 2019, at 11:15.

This meant analyzing search trends in order to generate key phrases—everything from “What time is the convention” and “Watch Trump’s speech live” to “How to pick up women”—and assigning those key phrases to a staff of SEO writers, who then reverse-engineered stories around them.

Jot 219 : Adrianne Jeffries in Mic’s Drop, from The Outline.
Jotted on the 7th of Feb 2019, at 18:25.

Facebook is such a big distributor of traffic that no news operation can afford to ignore it, but it is not a neutral distributor. It’s a bit like if the paperboy went rogue, decided to put a gun to the temple of a newspaper editor and barked that unless he gets a cut of the sales he’ll pull the trigger.

Jotted on the 4th of Feb 2019, at 18:10.

In other words, clickbait, personalized to my psychological profile, as determined chiefly by an analysis of my online behavior. Anyone who has followed the recommendation engine on YouTube knows that after delivering one or two innocuous videos, the “Up Next” cue serves up increasingly extreme content. The algorithms push us to become caricatures of ourselves. They don’t merely predict our behavior; they shape it.

Jot 217 : Douglas Rushkoff in Thinking Outside the Black Box, from Medium.
Jotted on the 4th of Feb 2019, at 13:10.

Facebook et al. became the primary sources of news and the primary destroyers of news. And they refused to deal with it because their business is predicated on the fallacy that technology is neutral—Silicon Valley’s version of “guns don’t kill people”.

Jot 216 : Monika Bauerlein, Clara Jeffery in It’s the End of News as We Know It (and Facebook Is Feeling Fine), from Mother Jones.
Jotted on the 2nd of Feb 2019, at 22:00.

As you can see, an important rule of thumb is to personalize around the main content, not the entire page. There are a variety of reasons for this, including the risk of getting the audience wrong, effects on search indexing, and what’s known as the infinite content problem, i.e., can you realistically create content for every single audience on every single component? (Hint: no.)

Jot 215 : Colin Eagan in UX in the Age of Personalization, from A List Apart.
Jotted on the 24th of Jan 2019, at 00:50.

In order to successfully model content, we must create content environments that stand up to the pressures of production.

Jot 214 : Devin Asaro, Liam King in A Guide to Content Production Planning, p. 23, GatherContent, n.d..
Jotted on the 22nd of Jan 2019, at 13:30.

Another exercise is asking the question, “What is the evil version of this feature?” Ask it during the ideation phase. Ask it as part of acceptance criteria. Heck, ask it over lunch. I honestly don’t care when, so long as the question is actually raised.

Jot 213 : Eric Bailey in Be the Villain, from 24 ways.
Jotted on the 22nd of Jan 2019, at 10:55.

Error rates climb with hours worked and especially with loss of sleep. Eventually the odds catch up with you, and catastrophe occurs. When schedules are tight and budgets are big, is this a risk you can really afford to take?

Jotted on the 22nd of Jan 2019, at 10:50.