How forming a narrative can help your team understand an abstract problem.

Who doesn’t love a good story? You pop on your favorite Netflix show, you feel the embarrassment and shed a tear with your favorite protagonist, or wish you could be as verbose in uncomfortable social situations as your favorite antagonist.

Any way you slice it, we are consumed with and live by others’ narratives. Whether it wants, needs, motivations, or frustrations, it’s how we communicate abstract concepts to one another. Understanding someone else’s plight is a gift of being human.

The Vision of Saint John ca. 1608–14 El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) Greek

It depicts a passage in the Bible, Revelation (6:9–11) describing the opening of the Fifth Seal at the end of…

How the strongest design strategy starts with clear communication.

Being a freelance designer has its perks. You set your own schedule, advocate for yourself and your inherent value, and my personal favorite, being able to work on several very different projects at once. This alone justifies not ending up with a full-time role at a large company where you might fade into comfort and obscurity. I’m being dramatic, of course…

Those perks come with a trade-off because more often than not, you bear the full weight of responsibility when defining the UX research and design strategy for the smaller companies and startups that are your bread and butter clients…

How data prioritizes what’s important and helps suppress the loudest voice in the room.

Donald trump getting punched in the mouth by a voter.
Donald trump getting punched in the mouth by a voter.
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Ah, 2020. What a year. I think we’ve learned, if nothing else, that creating a narrative by bullying and being the loudest voice in the room doesn’t allow you to control the conversation forever. Where strong personalities and politics operate to control the focus and agenda over the independent perspectives and experience of the experts in a certain field, the welfare of the group is at risk.

The smartest guy in the room.

Sometimes we’re in a situation when everyone has different opinions on what we should collectively be focusing on. …

How Mercedes MBUX reminds me that my Toyota RAV 4 makes me think too much.

vector graphic of a talk bubble stating, don’t make me think.
vector graphic of a talk bubble stating, don’t make me think.

I have always been interested in cars. Growing up in western Pennsylvania, driving was a rite of passage. We went to great lengths to make cars our own, tinted the windows, adding colored lights inside and out, subs and 1000’s of watts to bump in the trunk, replace the factory head units with aftermarket Alpine and Pioneer with the ultimate hopes of one day having a DVD player and screens all around.

Some of us customized the drive of the car as well. We’d add turbos, drop-in big blocks, some fools even would add NOS to their POS rust buckets…

How the guise of personally curating our digital experience has created a monster.

I only watch a handful of types of videos on Youtube. Stuff with Synthesizers, How to make Ramen Noodles, UI Tutorials, Carl Sagan and Alan Watts interviews, Trevor Noah and other liberal political comedy clips, NYT’s - The Daily, and other investigative journalism podcasts. For the most part, Youtube’s algorithms stay right in my wheelhouse, minus the occasional Right-Wing Propaganda video that somehow creeps into my feed.

But lately, I started being spammed with recommended content for conservative conversion videos, and Pro-Trump videos in my news feed. Everything was very negative, alarmist, and dare I say, extreme?

At first, I…

Using your research skills to create other opportunities outside of design

Etching and engraving Globe with Mapping Instruments
Etching and engraving Globe with Mapping Instruments
Globe with Mapping Instruments-Edme Bouchardon.

Whether it's buying a new car or investing in stocks, learning about the subject is necessary to maximize your returns. It may be in the form of formal research where you’re generating spreadsheets or informal research where you’re scribbling in a notebook or on a napkin. Either way, the seeds are being planted for you to make a better decision for your current needs.

Benefits of Research

Research can give you an understanding beyond just getting to know something. You form a deeper connection to understanding the complexities of any company, product, or idea. By identifying patterns and drawing conclusions based on your…

And other sexy design decisions — it just works, right?

Josh Hild — Via Unsplash.

Imagine a beautiful Azure coastline. Now imagine yourself in town — you’re summoned by a friendly server outside a sea-facing restaurant. They offer you a seat on the veranda for what turns out to be the meal of your life.

There’s a breeze. It’s warm, gentle, and perfect. This moment is flawless. There’s no before, no after, only right now.

That was pretty good, huh?

I want to love Anchor, but they need a Usability Heuristics overhaul first.

I am fascinated with a decentralized currency. I haven’t been in a bank in years and I plan on continuing to pull further away from institutional finance by embracing our future in digital currencies. Though living in New York doesn’t make it easy. It has some of the strictest regulations when it comes to cryptocurrency markets operating in the state. (see BitLicense.)

Thanks to crypto advocates like the Winklevoss twins, NYSDFS began to see value in the innovation of the fintech space and as of today, we have about 20 BitLicenses or Virtual Currency Licenses in the state of New…

As reported by Binance 2021 Global Crypto User Index

January 2021 has been a crazy start to the year. We’ve had a “coup d’état attempted by Trump” here in the states, Russians are standing up to Putin in protest, COVID still rages on, and the latest event, Reddit Retail Investors vs Wall Street.

This latest push back against the system has turned a lot of heads to the stock market, everyday investing, and the new elephant in the livingroom — cryptocurrency.

The timing seems to be perfect for this infatuation as Binance just published the first 2021 Global Crypto User Index.

One key insight stood out regarding users’ and…

Derailment can happen to the best of us — and not every train wreck can or should be fixed, but you should know where the project went off track.

Every client is different. Obviously, I know. The nuance needed for successful communication isn’t lost on me, but figuring out each client’s unique needs for transparency can be a full-time job. Even if you’re hyper-aware and make the necessary adjustments, but you lack the necessary ancillary support needed, you’ll get railroaded and communication still fails. (I’ll be peppering in train references so I can display some sweet train art, so all aboard!)

Shit happens. It does. No matter how much you try to teach clients what your research strategy and methodology are and what questions you’re trying to answer. It…

Josh Andrus

UX Designer w/ a background as a photographer and digital artist. I’m a visual storyteller dedicated to solving complex problems & producing creative solutions.

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