NNG: The Myth of the UX Unicorn

I hope this short, 2:36 video is just the start of a more public conversation about hiring practices within the UX community. I hope it helps to define UX titles and terms, and I hope it helps UX teams break past unspoken practices in team dynamics and hiring. A video like this is a long time coming and covers one aspect of a topic I have been thinking about for the past few years.

The UX Unicorn Myth (Jakob Nielsen)

Summary: UX constitutes many different specialties such as researcher, interaction designer, and Information architect. Forcing one person to do it all is a prescription for mediocrity.

Stuff I Learned This Week: Jan 15-19 (actually, it’s February)

First post of 2018 is all about new resources and tools I learned in January, even though I’m writing in February.

Well, it’s a new year and it’s time to get back into writing. I had hoped to be a little more rigorous this year, as well as posting at least once a month, but I’d started writing this post way back in January and I’m just now getting to it in Feb.

So far, there are two subjects I definitely want to write about this year. The first is my experience learning front-end web development. The second is a critical commentary on UX hiring practices. I’ve started writing the second, but I just haven’t gotten the formatting quite right. I also have a few other topics waiting to the side, and I’m excited to get to those, too.

In the meantime, here are a few interesting things I learned this week (back in January).

The Current State of E-Commerce Product Page UX Performance (19 Common Pitfalls)

Now that I am working in e-commerce, I’m really interested in learning more about e-commerce experiences. The goals are a little different from web applications and digital products, but actually more straightforward. The goal is, essentially, getting out of the way of people making purchases. Although the results found on this site are hidden unless you pay, it’s still helpful to just have the names of the sites to review.

Laws of UX

Laws of UX. “Fitt’s Law”

A site that goes over many psychological principles of user experience. Some of these are also similar to fallacies or biases, such as the recency bias. One of them is not actually a “law”, and is just a renaming of Gestalt. I’m not a fan of renaming terms that have perfectly good names. But I am a fan of this concept and the site itself. It gives me ideas for the design of another site – maybe a site about goats.

Nunjucks Templating Language for JavaScript

As I explored the laws of UX site, I found that it had been built on a templating language that I was not aware existed. Nunjucks seems a lot like Pug (or Jade), in that you have a template with content chunks that get written independently and ported in via extend calls. I’m not explaining it well, but templating is amazing.

IBM has a new font

It is called “IBM Plex”. I like it, but it kind of looks like it would be the favorite font of Lt Commander Data.

Zappos Mobile App: Search with emojis

Presumably I downloaded this app because I was looking for shoes. Rain boots, really. Anyway, I was pretty (ahem) delighted to discover that you can search via emoji on the Zappos app. Here are some screen captures from my iPhone, where I’m searching for women’s dress boots.

Version Control Tools for Designers

This week I also came across some version control tools for designers. These are all for Mac computers, and specifically Sketch files. (Sketch is OK, but not great, IMO.) Abstract made the most sense to me; it seemed the closest to git. But here is the list for all 3. I haven’t used any of them.

Namasketch – Yoga For Beginners

Namasketch is a short yoga session for beginners, told in doodles. This sequence consists of ten basic poses in a six-minute flow. The goal is to help you create a strong foundation and develop a love for yoga before you move on to the next level.

A short, intro yoga class for yoga beginners.

It’s cute and friendly, using sketchy animation to demonstrate the poses. I think I might send this to my mom.

You can read more about the production process over at Product Hunt. Looks like he used a product called “Hype” which is the first I’m hearing of it. It’s only $50(!), but doesn’t sound like it’s for production, unless you have a small project like this.

Anyway, that’s what I learned! Until next time… 🙂

Announcement: Mobile Web Specialist Google Developer Challenge Scholarship

I am way late to be posting this, but…hey, I got a developer scholarship! Last year, I saw a post on my local Girl Develop It Slack channel about scholarships being offered by Google and Udacity to US residents.

They have 2 tracks, Android developer and Web developer. Within each track there are 2 levels, beginner and intermediate. Out of (what I read was) 100,000 applications, I ended up getting one of 10,000 places in the intermediate-level, Mobile Web Specialist track.

A few others in GDI also got seats, for both tracks and levels. Google and Udacity also offer this same experience for residents of Europe, Russia, Egypt, Israel and Turkey.


The video-based courses are all on Udacity, and the instructor has so far been Jake Archibald, who is the supreme leader of all things Service Workers and Promises. In my opinion, the course is a little more advanced than intermediate, but maybe I just don’t understand JavaScript as well as other people. In any case, I’m glad to have this opportunity.

What is the course about?

So far the course is structured around creating an “offline-first” experience, using Service Workers. What this means is when people are using your website or app, they will still be able to get content, even when they don’t have internet connectivity.

Offline connectivity!? How does this happen?

This happens because those apps and websites are using Service Workers, which intercept the connection between the app and the internet (the network). The service worker allows developers to create custom responses and other behaviors when there is no internet connectivity or when there is poor internet connectivity.

What does the course cover?

As mentioned above, the course covers service workers, the Fetch API, the Cache API, and IndexedDB using Jake Archibald’s Promised library. The course also covers Promises, which ties all this together. In addition, as I’ve read through the forums and discussions that the course designers have provided for us, I’ve come to realize that we are also learning about ES6 (ECMAScript 6) and Progressive Web Apps, which might just be another way of saying “offline first”.

There are some great resources I’ve found. First, I’ve again turned to Lynda to help me learn more about ES6. Although currently the Lynda ES6 course I chose to review is not as comprehensive as this class, but that’s OK. I’ve also had to spend extra time on YouTube learning about Promises, because these are not exactly intuitive if you don’t have too much experience with JavaScript. The goldmine I’ve found so far is the Progressive Web Apps course also offered by Google. After finding all of this information, especially Google’s information, I have more respect for how much Google values it’s technology, the robustness of their applications, and how much time they spend evangelizing technology and helping developers get better.

In addition to this course, I’ve also found another “Grow With Google” course. The Google IT Support Professional Certificate, which is accessed on Coursera.

Official Scholarship Badge

I haven’t discussed this course or this scholarship with people at work. I have misgivings about sharing this news. I guess I’m in a wait and see approach. Maybe if I move onto the nanodegree…or maybe not. I have until April to finish the course.