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…


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…


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…


UX Design

Alignment is a characteristic that is essential to all high-performing teams.

It is true, in today's world, designers can be found in almost every industry from ag-tech to finance. The sprawling need for design input in industries that have long been devoid of creativity is at the crux of what it means to be a designer. To do something that has not been done before.

Among all of the excitement, the push and pull of the much-needed and highly sought after skill set of designers, it can be easy to lose a piece of yourself. It is not uncommon for designers to be asked to work on something that directly conflicts…


TECHNOLOGY

The pace of progress is deceptively rapid and as things continue to get faster, the question surfaces: Will technology ever nurture us in our race against time?

Photo by Braden Collum on Unsplash

Whilst we might have everything at our fingertips, time still seems to evade us.

Albert Einstein, developer of the theory of relativity, wasn’t talking about the chaotic state of an interface when he noted the quote above. Yet, his sentiment captures a feeling too many of us are familiar with.

In the modern world, our lives are filled with complexity and as a society that subscribes to efficiency and speed; we long to break through the clutter to find simplicity, perpetually searching for new solutions.

We attend more meetings, with less meaning. There is more information, but less truth. More…


Marketing

Hacks that will accelerate your social media stats

Photo by Eaters Collective on Unsplash

Although I spend a lot of my time problem solving within the product design space, marketing is an essential fragment of holistic design. And today marketing and UX are increasingly interlaced. My day ranges from brand launches to product strategy, and while I do not advertise myself as a social media expert, I have been asked to advise clients on their social media strategy. Over the years I have experimented and learnt tricks that will accelerate social media stats.

Curation

The most common question clients ask me: ‘Which picture should I upload onto my page?’

This is one of the commonly…


CAREER ADVICE

The times where employees worked at the same place until retirement have long passed.

Today, people who are entering the workforce face a very different experience with unique challenges.Extensive study around culture and technology has contributed to an ongoing examination of how technology affects human interaction. I have explored the way people experience change (predominantly as a result of emerging technologies) as well as how people can prepare for that change. Throughout my research I have found that a person’s career over the last two decades has transformed and become a process of continual reinvention. …

Kate Darmody

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

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