(He’s just taking another job, but I’m still grieving, ok??)

Recently, one of my designers announced he was leaving my team for another opportunity. So, he’s not actually dead per se, but he’s dead to me 👻 (j/k). And as a result, I’ve decided the best thing I can do is write him a proper eulogy.

Evan is pictured on the left in traditional designer garb (kidding, it was Clue-themed Halloween, 2019)

So, we are gathered here today to memorialize the 4.5 year Innovatemap career of Evan Tank (again, he is actually still very alive). When I first discovered Evan, he was a recent graduate of the Midwest’s greatest design program (and alma mater of the definitely unbiased, yours truly), the Human Computer Interaction Design program…

Founders are making some of the most difficult decisions now than they’ve ever before. Over the past two weeks I’ve talked with a number of early stage founders around the country about their product teams and what’s on their mind, and it’s frightening to hear how many people are concerned about the viability of their company.

Why? Let’s cut to my incredibly simplistic explanation for why the early-stage investing landscape suddenly got so challenging. Venture capital is seeing a cascading effect. Series B investors will be deploying capital to their portfolio rather than new investments, which means Series A companies…

Well, for starters it’s probably someone with 3 years of experience or fewer. Any more, and you simply wouldn’t be the designer of the future. And frankly, there are more than enough companies looking for designers with 7+ years in experience, so I’m going to go the other way and say the inexperienced designer is the future.

But this designer isn’t a dummy. They are sharp and pick up things quickly. They don’t pick up new trends fast — they figure which trends are worth even picking up. Today, all designers need to have visual design skills. And any designer…

UX Patterns

Login is possibly the most boring afterthought of any design project and it’s possible that you won’t read past this sentence as a result.

Still with me?

Good. Login is easy and has nothing to do with the amazing product you’re designing. And after designing dozens of other screens over the last six months, you can’t be bothered with this screen. “The hard work is behind me, just slap a standard login in there and leave me alone.” (If you’re not saying it, you’re thinking it.) …

A couple years ago I gathered the best design teams on Medium. I wanted to update the list (and expand out beyond just looking at Medium) because I think many design students and any curious design professionals look to best-in-class for inspiration and learning.

While I’d hesitate to call this an exhaustive list, I certainly tried my best to gather every blog I could find from the best product design teams in the industry. How do I determine the best teams? I used a very scientific method of starting with products I really like, then found a lot of other…

​​UX Patterns

One of the most overlooked UX challenges is how to handle allowing a user to switch accounts. I know this because I’ve designed for it a dozen times and it snuck up on me each time. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twelve times, write a Medium article about it!

What do I mean by switching accounts?

For today’s software and applications, you no longer install it via install disk and instead must sign up for an account. I can’t think of the last app I used that did not require a login. …

I’ve been critical of design systems in the past (and still am), but there’s no doubt that design systems are here to stay. They help UX designers, UI developers and product teams by making design easier to implement, provide consistency across design teams, and increase the overall quality of digital products.

But for every inspiring design system that comes out from large design team, there are dozens of designers thinking, “I sure wish I had that company’s resources.”

Crafting a path to level up your skills and relationships

Photo by José Alejandro Cuffia on Unsplash

Based on my time transitioning from a designer to a design leader, I’ve reflected on a few not-so-obvious steps I took in this journey. I’d like to highlight some things that might be hidden in plain sight, while also dispelling a few myths that still plague designers looking for opportunities to become design leaders.

1. Don’t stop designing until you absolutely can’t handle your workload

This first step is really just meant to help you level-set. There is no rush into leadership. I’ve felt like I had “leadership qualities” (whatever that means) for most of my life. But I’ve only been in a purely leadership position since my mid-30s. …

The age of non-tech founders is upon us. For years, it’s been assumed that you had to have a tech background to start a tech company but that’s no longer the case. Technology is cheaper, it’s easier to spin up apps with minimum overhead, and talent is widely available. While all tech companies will need to bring tech in-house, it’s not always required in the early stages.

If you’re starting a company in an industry with little tech competition, you can often get by with outsourcing development initially because you won’t need to add features or maintain your product at…

If you’re not targeting enterprise initially, many B2B SaaS companies (if they’re successful) will eventually move up-tier to larger companies. It’s only natural since the margins and revenue are undeniably attractive as you increase the average contract value.

But this isn’t an article about sales, it’s about product. First, before we get to scaling for the enterprise, let’s set the context as to how a product finds product/market fit. Once you get your first customers, you have to experiment with messaging, brand, and product features as you find who your best customers are, and which aren’t so great. …

Christian Beck

By day, executive designer at Innovatemap where I help tech companies design marketable products. By night, co-founder of UX Power Tools.

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