Nice writeup! You present some valid points–I do agree overall the redesign streamlines things relatively well. However, I'm still unfortunately in the "or not" (re: better UX) camp. 😅 There are three critical shortfalls of the redesign I keep running into time and time again.

First, the search field has been limited to the "Search" tab in the navigation, rather than a globally-accessible element as most searches are. Though you get some visual organization, you limit the accessibility of this critical function. I'll also mention, considering all the genres and moods are contained here, is "Search" really a better label…


My perspective on inbox hygiene plus a collection of my favorite newsletters

I remember getting my first “adult” email address during my sophomore year of college. The idea that I owned a tiny mailbox next to the superhighway of the ever-growing internet was the coolest thing ever. I quickly explored every setting and profile customization to prepare for the coming years of email traffic.

A lot has changed in 10 years. I learned that there’s much about being a functioning adult that people don’t teach you, especially about using the digital tools and services that society requires. An email inbox is one of them.

Today my inbox is a sacred space. I…


Insights from 3 challenges during a recent UX design project.

One of the many things I love about working in a design agency is the variety of projects. We are hired to parachute into often unfamiliar territory to help bring a product vision to life. There are many variables to quickly adjust to; including problem domain, client team dynamics, and business goals.

As one colleague put it, starting a new project is like starting a new job. Adaptability and a willingness to learn is essential for getting up to speed and putting your best foot forward.

I recently co-led a great project with a software virtualization company in the Bay…


Extending UX and interface design principles beyond digital products…again

This article is a sequel to:

A year ago, I published a list of observations about visual indicators that exist in the world around us. Similar to those in the digital world, these small visual cues communicate information to help us differentiate like-items. They help us understand and interact with our environment.

Since writing that article, I’ve been even more hyper-aware of visual indicators around me. For example, as I’m training for AIDS/LifeCycle, I frequently take spin classes. At a recent class, a first-time rider asked me how to tell which lockers are not being used. …


How enterprise software is responding to growing consumer-driven user expectations

I’m a millennial. I value pretty branding, avocado toast, and most importantly, easy-to-use software. As a digital native, I grew up with dial-up internet and witnessed its exciting evolution to the on-demand economy. Today, I’m a master of my smartphone, frequently multitasking between apps while maintaining conversations with friends.

My personal life consists of a suite of communication services, financial tools, and social media apps carefully selected from an ever-changing landscape of competing products and services. My work life, on the other hand, has been a different story.


An exploration of the many surprising similarities between ASL and visual iconography.

This year, I was fortunate enough to enroll in San Francisco’s recently-implemented Free City program and spend a semester learning a language I’ve always wanted. American Sign Language (ASL) is a complex, naturally-evolving language that uses signs made by moving the hands combined with facial expressions and postures of the body.

As a designer, I was constantly impressed and surprised by the many parallels to visual iconography. ASL is a form of visual communication where variations in hand shape, location, and non-manual markers can change the meaning of a sign. …


When faced with overwhelming content, focusing on user behavior can help define the design approach.

She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts, kid.

Enterprise applications are complex. They often contain large amounts of information from various sources, modules, and users. In order to present this wealth of information, these applications frequently make use of tables.

Well-designed data tables allow users to scan, compare, and analyze information to take action. However, creating a mobile-friendly version of a complex web-based table is a challenge. For this particular engagement, I helped a client in the property insurance space consolidate a critical workflow by mobilizing a very large data table for their consultants.

Context: This project was a Capriza engagement. Capriza’s technology mobilizes enterprise workflows. …


Using synesthesia to show the importance of conceptual and mental models in UX

“A conceptual model is an explanation, usually highly simplified, of how something works. It doesn’t have to be complete or even accurate as long as it is useful.”

– Don Norman, The Design of Everyday Things

When someone opens an app, visits a website, or uses a product, they rely on a preconceived model to help predict the consequences of their actions. Different people may have different models for the same product or system. These conceptual models in people’s minds (hence the term “mental models”) represent their unique understanding of how something works.

For this exploration, allow me to demonstrate…


Extending UX and interface design principles beyond digital products

Visual indicators are used to make certain items stand out from the crowd. They don’t require the user to take action, but act as communication tools to cue something noteworthy. Indicators are not always present but appear under certain conditions. To communicate their message, indicators can take the form of icons, typographical styling, enlarged size, color variations, animation, and more.

In the digital world, examples of indicators can be found everywhere. Gmail, for example, uses paper clip icons to show which messages have attachments and yellow stars to mark saved threads. Users of Todoist indicate an item’s priority by the…


My friends can tell you that I love keeping lists. They include collections of tattoos I want to get, products I enjoy using, and little Québécois expressions from my family. I have lists of favorite physical sensations and mental satisfactions. I have a list of common things my partner says if I ever want to make a pull-cord action figure of him one day. I even have a list of things I don’t like. Most of these lists are not series of to-dos (though some are), but rather collections around a common theme. …

Joe Winter

UX Lead at DesignMap in San Francisco. Passionate about design, usability, and continual learning. | www.joemoe.win | 🚲🌯📱🌉🏳️‍🌈✨

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