Regardless of how you feel about it, we’re inaugurating a new U.S. president on January 20, 2021. How can people come together in this country despite their differences? The pandemic. For better or for worse (and whether you like it or not), this global pandemic has interconnected us all. From decreased pay to job losses, from working from home or schooling from home, from entire industries on the verge of collapsing — we’re all directly or indirectly experiencing these changes at the same time. There are many parts of the puzzle of 2020+ that make the state of affairs seemingly…

If you work at a digital agency, I bet you love swirling on a client project. There’s just something about unspoken expectations, painful processes, finger pointing, and missed deadlines that keeps us all motivated to continue coming into work every day to do what we love to do. It’s all so awesome that we maintain this paradigm no matter the client, budget, team, requirements, or timeline! #winning

…said no team member EVER. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” — Albert Einstein (maybe)

For healthier, happier agency teams, you need to inspect and…

I recently had my first experience in a mentor role at a hackathon. I’m sharing my top takeaways to help other designers be more prepared for their first time as a design mentor:

  • Focus on the hackathon.
  • Share what you know. Don’t be afraid to say when you don’t know. Try really hard to not design FOR teams.
  • Don’t forget to network!

First things first.

I’m in UX. I’d only been to one other hackathon before this one, a techforgood-type hack to help solve municipal problems. And I had such a bad experience that I left before midnight on the first night. In…

If you haven’t heard by now, there’s a camp of UX folks who shout from the mountain tops, “UX is not UI!” The adage gets many an eye roll from people who don’t identify as UX at their core. I’m not one to chime in on semantic battles like this, but once I was asked (lightheartedly) if I fell into the aforementioned camp. This is what I should’ve said…

Originally published at on November 19, 2014.

UX is not UI, it’s product strategy.

The longer I work in the tech field, the more I refine my professional philosophies concerning UX and what a person in this…

Originally published at on November 16, 2014.

I’ve had the privilege of working for a software company that really “got” it when it comes to agile UX design and development. While our processes were far from perfect, most a of the time we were able to strike a decent balance between designing too far ahead and designing just in time. Here are some things we baked into our process that helped us do just that.

Shared understanding

On the team I worked on at this company, the product owner team (product manager, lead dev, and lead UX) drafted user stories and…

Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

If you’re not painfully shy, it’s pretty easy to talk to customers. Most folks working on a product team would love to talk to customers, especially the team members who aren’t in customer-facing roles. A firm believer in balanced teams, I advocate participation in user research activities across the entire product team. User research is all about understanding user needs. Testers and developers have (or should have) the same goals as researchers, designers, and product managers — make a kick-ass product that addresses user needs. …

Minimizing cycle time in software development would seem to be an obvious strategy for getting new products (or features) out the door and into the hands of users. How teams make that happen, however, isn’t so obvious. At a particular enterprise SaaS company I worked at, my teams and I were always in search of finding the perfect formula for getting it right. Of all the ways my teams and I experimented with process there, three things stood out as accelerators for design → development cycles.

Upfront clarity

By creating shared understanding among the team from the start, you get everyone on…

Astrid Paris ✴

UX & product research, strategy, & design

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