The holidays are upon us and normally that means seasonal depression is at its peak. However, there are massive changes this year due to Covid that are making this year’s depression a lot worse for a lot of people. The main reason is that Covid is forcing most of us into situations where depression thrives. It is causing us to isolate ourselves from other people, live in more stressful environments, and lose our motivation to stick with habits and routines.

I have been “fortunate” enough to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, meaning I have had my fair share of depression (both before and during covid). Because of this, I have developed a few rules and tricks to help me through these situations that hopefully can help you to. …

Conversational design is an up and coming way of integrating technology even more into our everyday lives. Big tech companies are leading the way with products like Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa. All of which feature the ability to talk to your device and have it respond.

The following will be a guide on how to start creating your own conversational design.

Three pillars all conversations are based on

  1. Cooperative principle

This is the idea that you have to present truthful, informative, relevant, and clear information. You have to determine the situation the user might be in and what kind of information they will want and when. …

This article is based off of a talk I attended as part of the UXR Conference. It was given by Roy Opata who works at Zapier. His talk was called The Five Dysfunctions of a UXR Team of One (and How to Overcome Them). I believe that these dysfunctions can apply to a much bigger audience than just UXR’s so below are the adjusted dysfunctions of a team of one.

1. You’re a role, but you are also a department.

Being the only one of you in your company can be hard. Not only are you trying to do your role but you are also trying to advocate, manage, and carve out space for your field within the company. Most of the time, the person you report to also has no idea what you actually do and therefore it can be hard to do your actual job. You are trying to carve out space as an expert on the subject but you aren’t spending any time actually developing that expertise. …

I recently attended the live showing a talk hosted by SXSW. It featured Jerry Saltz talking about what he is seeing in the art community during this time. Here are some of my notes and takeaways.

Crisis 2020 has impacted a lot of us. It is harder to be inspired, get out of our own heads, and focus on creating art. We are worried that we are either incorporating too much of current events in to our art, or not enough. We are worried that the normal art scene is collapsing around us and will never be the same. Even if we aren’t affected by the crises, we are plagued by the completely normal thought of never being good enough. That our art can’t compare to those around us. That we just don’t have that natural talent and therefore shouldn’t even try. All of these are constant fears going through every artists mind. …

Everyone has encountered many leaders over the course of their lives. Anything from your manager, to the teacher at your high school, to even that one kid on the playground who picked what game you played back in the day. Being a leader used to be thought of as a natural talent, that you were either a leader or a follower. But that’s not true, it doesn’t take some hidden secret passed on through the genes. It takes respect, kindness, and a willingness to help others. Here are 10 tips to help you get started on your road to leadership.

  1. Don’t be “in charge.” Most people think being a leader means being in charge, being above others on the totem pole. It doesn’t being a leader means treating people like people, getting on their level and truly connecting with them. People who treat leadership like a prize tend to be the people who like to control what others are doing, boss them around, and have no real connection or empathy for others. They think they are above everyone so they treat others as below them. It is human nature to connect with others but people don’t want to connect with someone who acts like that. …

Planning a project can be a big undertaking depending on the scope. Working for a company that is still figuring out its processes, I have learned a lot about starting new projects and how to present those ideas to others. Here are the 6 steps that guide me through this process.

1. Who’s involved?

This defines everyone this project has the opportunity of touching. The stakeholders, the team members, the end users, everyone. By figuring out exactly who these people are, you can tailor the rest of the plan to them and their needs. It also helps to figure out who is affected, involved, or in charge. By knowing each person’s role you can figure out what to present to them to get them on board. The people in charge are going to want to voice their requirements and ideas. The involved people can help determine what is possible and how long it might take. The affected people help determine how successful the project will be. …

Portfolios, the absolute worst part about job hunting in my opinion. As a collection of everything you have ever worked on, they are a true testament to who you are as a person and putting them out for the world to see can be very intimidating.

For me coming straight out of bootcamp was hard on my portfolio. Using the methods my bootcamp did to start its creation made it more UI focused than anything else. Each page had different elements and a different theme, and almost nothing felt finished. Because of this I knew I need a redo and it had to happen first and fast. …

I have a lot of people ask me how I got my UX job. I can’t fully answer that in a way that will help you get one, but I can tell you what I did that helped me.

I am currently leading the UX efforts at a medium sized credit union in the Austin area. I graduated college in 2018 with a BA in Multimedia and Information Technology and a minor in art (think website design, graphic design, and ceramics). I decided very late in my senior year that I wanted to do UX after graduation. I graduated college and started reaching out to recruiters that were friends of friends to help me write my resume and give me ideas on where to start. All of them, I repeat all of them, said “you need more experience.” So I signed up for a bootcamp, the one I chose was not well known but it was held through the University of Texas and living in Austin, I thought that might give a leg in when applying for jobs in the area. Graduated bootcamp after 6 months and dove straight into applying. …

This is adapted from a presentation I went to at the 2019 Big Design Conference in Dallas. It was presented by Jen Blatz.

Our minds are constantly jumping to conclusions about our world and the things we interact with, some of the time these conclusions are wrong. This is called cognitive bias.

  1. Blind Spot Bias. This bias almost everyone has, and it is important to start with this one first. This bias is the idea that you don’t have any biases. It’s where you tend to point out others biases first. This is a common theme in humans and the way we work. We always look at others and what they are doing wrong before looking at ourselves. The biggest problem that can come out of this is ego. It’s important to remember that as you do design and research. In researching a big idea to combat this would be to share your interview questions with others. Let them give you insight into what you are potentially missing or could be doing better. …

Given that SXSW has been cancelled this year due to Corona virus, I have decided to go back and write about some of the presentations I went to last year (2019). This SXSW talk was given by Agnes Pyrchla. She is the Creator of the Creative Process for Black Mirror.

My notes:

Agnes starts her talk by defining dystopia.

Dystopia is an imagined world where people lead dehumanized, fearful lives.

She prefaced the talk by explaining that this thought experiment is not to predict the future but to redefine the world. In order to do this as designers we need to focus on scenario planning. We need to plan not only the best case but also the worst case. …


Kailyn Brush

UX/UI Designer in Austin, TX.

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