For the love of UX

This was first used as a personal learning material for a mentorship program created by IDF and RookieUp. I am one of the UX mentors. I wrote this for my mentees. Recently, I’ve also shared this with our UXD students at General Assembly. I hope you learn from this as much as we did.

Some basic principles I’ve learned over the years:

Focus on the Narrative

Every product, every experience is part of a bigger story. From conceptualizing problem statements to testing the prototypes, it’s a big part of it. As a designer, you are the orchestrator. The maker. …


This piece was first published on working title, my substack newsletter. Please click here to see the original post.

Moving to a foreign country as an adult is probably one of the most daunting, and exciting experiences you can ever have. It is unbelievably life-changing, in every way. Ask any immigrant and they will probably tell you the same thing.

As a Filipino who moved to the United States half a decade ago, my life went on a complete overhaul the minute I left my home country. I talked about it briefly on my talk at Chicago Camps last February…


A transcript from a recent talk I just gave at UX Camp Chicago: Winter Edition

To watch the video recording, please go to this link: Chicago Camps Vimeo. If you are interested to see more of these types of content, please check out their Vimeo Channel. Loads of interesting and thought-provoking talks from such talented designers in tech. It was a pleasure to be a part of this.

Intro, or “Origins of an Origin Story”

Before I begin, I would like to thank everybody for being here today at UX Camp Chicago: Winter Edition. I am happy to be here, and to share the stage with amazing people from the UX and tech industry. I hope you all get the chance to…


Create beautiful things that WORK.

We know that the standard of an outstanding product UX is both through form and function. You have the skills to back up the form. Sharpen it by doing LOADS of work (UI, quick prototypes), collaborate with developers and apply the principles you know already. “The more you do, the better you’ll get. The more you hone your intuition so you can make decisions faster, make mistakes faster and move things alone.” Katie Dill from Stripe, on the best design advice she was given.

Understand that first impressions count.

And no one is in a better position to create one like an artist who thinks…


Even if you are not a writer, by any means.

Words are experiences

Start with a script.

A user interface cannot exist without functions, otherwise what is the point? Define what those are by writing a script, and creating a system for how words will be used in the app or website. From headers, all the way to the body copy, it needs to be thought of precisely because the user experience depends on it.s

Make it instructional without sounding like a manual.

A copy’s job in a product is to instruct and help people do their tasks well, and efficiently. Scope out the tasks and jobs that needed to get done, and tailor the…


What am I doing? Who am I doing this for? What do I want out of this? Is there a version of the future worth investing your mind, your brain and your whole work for?

Process need not be complicated. In fact, the best ones are probably the simplest and most straightforward. It has to be to leave room for surprises, for the edge cases you need to constantly be aware of. I always assume the unexpected could happen at any time.

In the book, The Black Swan, author Nassim Nicholas Taleb explores the idea of probability based on the…


Storytelling and narrative design are core to what we do as designers. It is especially powerful when done right. I once explained to a mentee why this is a critical skill to continuously hone:

“From how you present yourself, your career pivots to your body of work, it matters a lot that you can tell a story. It’s what makes people different. I also think it’s what no one else can take from you.” — Myself

Pair designing and storytelling remotely

2 ways to teach remote storytelling in UX

  1. Introduce goal-oriented pair designing

Taken directly from the method famously pioneered by Cooper Design, pair designing is a collaboration between two types of role…


We should ALL be designers.

We should ALL be designers. Illustration by yours truly

This was first published on my newsletter, working title.

The truth is…

It’s a lot like investing…. with your brains.

In this case, you start out small in the hopes that it’ll grow exponentially. You risk big when the moment calls for it (you would know it when you see it). Sleepless nights polishing a part of the user interface, endless video interviews with customers, overwhelming sets of data to find answers from… there’s nothing mundane about what we do, why we do it and how. It’s messy, and methodical at the same time.

Your time is your currency and in UX, the primary expectation is to invest…


It’s not always easy to think about the things that I want especially when, for the most part, I really feel like I already have most of what I would need in order to be happy. Now, retaining that happiness, and building a life of continuous value and substance in a world that is constantly becoming more and more unpredictable? That is the real challenge for me.

Which is why, in the middle of August, I wrote this first draft of the things I do not want for my future. There’s a lot of things I couldn’t control and I…


This was first published on my public newsletter. Edited for Medium format.

I was tagged on a post about adult teaching from a forum I frequent, and I thought I’d publish my answers here to make it available to you. Although this was primarily for product design and user experience courses, I tried to make it as flexible to most subjects popular with remote teaching.

Have your notes ready

Tips on landing a job/gig as a TA/Co-instructor without past experience:

- Get in touch with those schools you are interested in teaching part-time for. Aside from the managers, instructors and the school itself, ask students themselves. People in schools like GA are generally approachable, dynamic…

nikki espartinez

On the intersection of life and work. No in-betweens. http://nikkiespartinez.com/projects

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