DESIGN

Learn about the unexpected ways design systems are impacting the design process

Photo by Roseanna Smith on Unsplash

Caught in the rat-race: We’ve all been there, caught in the hamster wheel of production design.

You’re churning out comps without so much as a side-eye toward the persona you crafted months ago.

In the moments between frantic mouse clicks and sipping coffee, you spot the personas slouching on the wall. In all of their abandon, they are hanging on with a thread of tape and are slowly fading with sun damage. Not even the researcher has looked at them in weeks.

Indeed, all too often, production design sits under the thinly veiled title, “user experience design”. Orders are disguised…


INTERIOR DESIGN

We all long to live in a home with a luxe feel. Not many of us know how to actually curate one.

Photography by the Plant Charmer
Photography by the Plant Charmer
Photography of the Plant Charmer by

I used to be proud of how little I used Instagram — too focused, too busy, too content in my own little world to be looking out at others. But since I started working from home, I have found so much more time for Instagram and Pinterest.

It isn’t something I am proud of. If anything, I have less time to be productive. But it also leaves me envious of all of the perfectly manicured spaces my virtual network gets to work out of. I’ll sit in meetings and wonder, Who are these humans who manage to keep their homes…


CAREER

7 actions to take before your next performance review — so you can ace it.

Photo by Timothy Dykes on Unsplash

There is no such thing as a flawless employee. And there is certainly always space for development. But that doesn’t make performance reviews any easier. I’ve agonized over performance reviews for hours. I have had sleepless nights and delayed completing them until the last minute. In my career, I have also experienced periods of stagnation.

As a result, I’ve become a person who helps others navigate the mental blockers they have around performance reviews — so they can get the visibility they deserve.

I can’t tell you how many of these conversations start out with people telling me they are…


Travel

Visiting home refills your soul, even if it is just a trip through memory lane.

Since leaving Australia in 2015, I have been living and working state-side. I am a product designer, which keeps me pretty busy. But during this time abroad, I have learned there is nothing like distance to help you gain a perspective.
The doorway to the deep was left ajar recently after I stumbled upon some notes I took in 2019 while visiting home. As I poured over them I found myself drifting back in time and far across oceans, to recall my stay in suburban Sydney — and all of the things I miss most about living in Australia.

The thing I first noticed

The…


DESIGN SYSTEMS

Our industry is saturated with first-class design systems to marvel at. So why default to the obvious examples for inspiration?

Photo of a woman in awe
Photo of a woman in awe
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

I started working on design systems four years ago. At this point, I have worked on design systems in many different capacities- from a design lead to a proxy scrum master, a product strategist, researcher, and QA. (Wearing different hats is all part of the fun of building a design system.)

And while I’d like to proclaim that I am an “expert” now, every design system I have worked on has been completely different. Through moments of familiar territory, the shadow of “imposter syndrome” still lingers, just out of plain sight. Every time I think I know how to do…


PRODUCTIVITY

It’s just one of many tactics we can leverage to navigate team challenges. But it is one that I have grown to love.

Woman looking at her laptop.
Woman looking at her laptop.
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

In early 2020 I accepted a new role as a product designer for a large enterprise. Among the throws of new remote work environments and acquainting myself with new colleagues, I rediscovered the agony of waterfall methodology. Indeed, they were trying. But they were a long way from agile — perhaps closer to “wagile”.

About a month into my new role, I was allocated to a small team that was dedicated to breathing life into the organization's very first design system. It was huge. As our small team set out to evangelize design within the company, we began to discover…


Professional Development

Gain effortless wisdom with these simple strategies

Woman by her computer
Woman by her computer

Nine months ago, I had just arrived in the States with a new visa in hand and a great eagerness to start my new job. Only a few days into my new role the world came to a halt. I was swept up in the stream of instability that came with the outbreak of COVID-19. All form of normality had shifted and I found myself grasping for something that would give me routine amid the chaos.

Podcasts and morning walks became a lifeline. Before I knew it I was listening to the Squiggly Careers podcast as if it was nourishing…


Hint: It's all in the art of self-reflection

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

For the past few weeks, I’ve been impenetrable. Between days filled with back-to-back client meetings, packing up my apartment, doctor visits, and a company reorg, I decided to change my phone plan which inadvertently meant I had to change my phone number too.

It is Tuesday morning and I am pacing my partially packed lounge room under abject stress. How will I ever get back into my computer when they are sending the bloody confirmation code to my old phone number? If I hadn’t started this new job in the middle of a pandemic perhaps I would actually have a…


Embrace the chaos of this holiday season by embracing yourself

Photo by Stephan Seeber on Unsplash

The busy season is upon us, holidays are around the corner, and on top of that, we are still amidst a pandemic. It is okay if you feel like screaming into a pillow. It IS overwhelming, a little chaotic, and totally exhausting.

But let’s not lose ourselves in the chaos. Here are a few things you can do today to replenish your energy levels as you navigate this crazy time of year.

Be honest with yourself.

This time of year is usually filled with obligation, endless festivities, gift-giving, and a crazy amount of stimulation. Understand that everyone has experienced COVID-19 differently and practice empathy…


CAREER

From an underrated hobby to an activity that my team adores, this is a simple way we can prevent workplace burnout while improving our performance.

I first noticed our team’s natural gravitation to puzzles after someone left an unfinished puzzle on a table by our teams working station. Sitting at my desk nearby, I observed people walking past, slow down, take a look around, sneakily add a couple of extra pieces to the puzzle and then continue on with their day. They’d leave with a real strut in their stride, feeling proud of their accomplishment.

This pattern evolved over a couple of weeks. As one puzzle was completed, miraculously, a new one would appear, and so on. No one knew who was mysteriously donating puzzles…

Kate Darmody

Product Design Expert, Writer and Creative. I build products & tell stories. Work in The Startup, Bootcamp & UX Collective.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store