User Experience News

Here’s a collection of user interface news, as aggregated by AllTop. I take no responsibility for the content, but it’s usually very good.

Work culture — important things you can learn from my salon

I’ve been seeing the same hair stylist for years — Valerie. Not only do I consider her a friend (and of course great at keeping me proud of my hair), she’s full of interesting lessons about business. She’s even recently opened up her own salon. (I’ve written about her and her partner before.)

I was chatting with Valerie about what makes a great place to work. She mentioned two things.

First, Valerie sees so many salons pretending that cutting hair is way more important than other aspects of employees lives, like their family or extracurricular activities. She wants to see salons encourage employees to go after what they want. Whether it’s performing in a band, or auditioning for an acting job, she’s wants an environment that works around the real lives and schedules of employees.

Second, Valerie doesn’t want employees to feel stuck doing a certain thing. Many salons silo their employees. You can only cut hair. You can only do color. Valerie wants her employees to be able to explore any facet of the business they want to learn and get better at.

As Valerie talked to me about what’s important to her, I realized those were the same things that drove my career direction and entrepreneurship goals.

One of the first jobs I had was as a consultant. I was on the road, living in other states 5 days a week. My life at home was completely ignored by my employer.

And it’s not just consulting companies. How many work places expect their salaried employees to work as much overtime as possible for free to help make the founders wealthy?

I also saw how companies stuck me into siloed places. I kept finding myself in positions where I wanted to learn and contribute to more aspects of the business, but didn’t see a path to do so. I didn’t expect my employer to hold my hand, but I felt shut out of even the ability to try and learn.

So when I would switch jobs or create my own companies, my objective would often be to overcome these obstacles.

Now don’t get me wrong. These goals are still aspirational to me as I run Highrise. I’m positive I’m still not the best at executing on these ideas, but I want to be.

I realize employees here at Highrise have important things going on in their lives other their work here. So instead of the typical “end of week retrospective” about work, during our end of week meeting we focus on everyone’s weekend plans and life updates. Or we try to promote and encourage the outside efforts of employees, like Alison Groves’ work to give girls a wonderful environment to learn about business, technology, working together, and more with Girls to the Moon.

I also try to provide an environment where Highrise employees can participate and learn about any facet of the business they want to. Any team. Any project. If someone in engineering wants the raw data to customer interviews or our website analytics to see what drives business decisions, it’s all open to them. If someone on customer support, wants to help with marketing and SEO efforts, the contributions are more than welcome. If anyone wants to sit at the trade show booth with me talking to people, they can. If anyone wants to develop, they can. If anyone wants to design, they can.

I want Highrise to be a place where you can absolutely grow into the person you want to be. I know I can get a ton better at this and hope I can. But if you are looking at building your own company and looking for some advice on the people side of things, those are two big ones that stand out to me.

P.S. Please help spread this by clicking the ❤ below.

You should follow my YouTube channel, where I share more about how we run our business, do product design, market ourselves, and just get through life. And if you need a no-hassle system to track leads and manage follow-ups you should try Highrise. And if you need a hair stylist in Chicago, go say hi to Valerie.


Work culture — important things you can learn from my salon was originally published in Signal v. Noise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Getting a Clue: Journey Mapping and the Rashomon Effect

We often talk in terms of silos in organizations, where information isn’t readily shared and communication leaves something to be desired. Another way to think of a team who is heads- down working on the overall journey is to imagine swim lanes. Each department is so focused on their own part of the experience that they might not be fully aware of each step a user has to go through to complete the journey.

Inception Mural

Inception Mural

Another fantastic piece of work from the Spanish brothers. A mural created for MailChimp.

via Brosmind

Hot Luck Live Food & Music

Hot Luck Live Food & Music

Nice Logotype. That red is pop’n.

via Drew Lakin

Le Tour Du Monde en 80 Jours

Le Tour Du Monde en 80 Jours

Lovely book cover and I particularly love the textures used.

via Jonathan Burton

Ice Cream - Andrew

Ice Cream - Andrew

I don’t know about you but I hope Summer will deliver so we can enjoy many of these. Beautiful colors.

via Andrew Bannecker

The Giro and the Dolomites

The Giro and the Dolomites

My friend Jered Gruber always captures the most amazing moments on the bicycle.

via Jered Gruber

Discussing Criticism at SF Design Week

Photo from My Panel Discussion at SF Design WeekThis past Tuesday I flew to San Francisco to moderate an event at Adobe headquarters called “Things We (Don’t) Talk…

A Brief History of The New York Times Logo—for Normal People

Front Page of the First Edition of The New York TimesIn his “Times Insider” column, Times historian David Dunlap runs through the long history of the news organization’s venerable nameplate…

Uber’s CEO is out because of pressure, not some ethical epiphany from the board

It’s hard to predict exactly how much pressure is needed to affect change, but it’s clear to see when there is enough. And there was finally enough to flush out Uber’s CEO.

But let’s not kid ourselves. Kalanick didn’t get the boot because Uber’s board had some ethical epiphany. They presided over his misdeeds for years. Fat, golden years steered by toxic leadership and fueled by depraved acts.

Now greed has taken a backseat to fear. Fear that the pressure that once seemed so easy to ignore will suddenly drown them all. Flushing out the CEO goes from “impossible to even consider” to “impossible to avoid” in what seems no time at all.

On the board, it probably did look like “life comes at you fast”, but that’s only because they’ve been ignoring a dashboard full of warning lights for years. Blinded by those seventy billion dollar headlights.

When the gravity of the situation finally comes into focus, it’s all FOR GOD’S SAKE, DO SOMETHING! ANYTHING. ALL THE THINGS! RIGHT NOW, NO YESTERDAY! I ACTUALLY WANTED TO DO SOMETHING EARLIER, BUT, BUT, BUT…

No, it isn’t pretty, and it isn’t sincere, but it’s change. That’s what it looks like when the status quo gets a sucker punch from pent-up reality. It wasn’t going to happen any other way.

It’s easy to become jaded in this age of constant, social media outrage. To start thinking that none of it will ever matter. Because it doesn’t, as long as the levies hold. And then the final drop lands, and all of the sudden everything is different.

This is the social equivalent of an overnight success. The one that actually takes ten years to materialize. Uber’s fall didn’t just happen in 2017, it’s been years in the making. Susan Fowler’s expose was just the tipping point.

The important thing to note here is that we don’t actually need Uber’s board to have an ethical epiphany for things to get better. Do you think that United’s CEO suddenly came to realize the prudence of treating his passengers with a modicum of respect because he saw the light? Come on. United, like Uber hopefully will, changed its policies because they felt no choice.

This is how we improve matters. Once the survival of a company, or at least its reputation, hangs in the balance, all sorts of impossible things suddenly become possible.

Pressure works. Every drip counts. Be a drop.


Uber’s CEO is out because of pressure, not some ethical epiphany from the board was originally published in Signal v. Noise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.