For the love of UX

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. …

I gave a talk a few months ago in Manila, Philippines called “INTRO TO UX: 2021 EDITION. How to:🚀 Build a Portfolio, Career and a Future in Tech” and I want to share a piece it with you all, particularly the learnings bit.

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

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. 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…

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

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…

nikki espartinez

On the intersection of life and work. No in-betweens.

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