My Migration From Digital Life

The substance of my decision churned in my stomach. I forced myself to rationalize the thoughts flooding into my mind, "I've just thrown away my digital career—turned down two dream opportunities with fantastic companies. What have I done?" I decided to write this post as a reflection for myself but also as a milestone for anyone else who might be struggling to find a fulfilling vocation and lifestyle amidst all the possibilities of this beautiful and broken world. Backstory About six months ago, I left a top UX Design agency in order to explore how I could help

Refugee Crisis: We Need to Respond

Our Choice We have a choice. To love or to fear. If we choose love, we must do everything in our power to help these people who are suffering across Europe. If we choose fear, we will become like those who persecute them—hating everyone that doesn't fit into their mould of humanity. If we choose love, we must be peacemakers. If we decide to make peace, we must first start with making peace in ourselves. We must embody the very peace we aim to spread. We must love our neighbors as ourselves, and we must love our enemies

Imagine The Story of a Syrian

If you can, suspend your disbelief and imagine for a moment. What it would feel like to have someone knock at your door? You open it. There is an Ak-47 pointed in your face. The person holding the gun gives you very clear orders: Join the IS, leave, or die. The headless bodies lying in the street behind the man speak louder than his words. You have three choices. Make it fast. Your life depends on it. Now imagine fleeing for your life. You're forced to embark on a treacherous journey without much preparation at all. Across sea and desert,

My Dream Beneath The Sea

The Dream I had a dream last night. I was a young boy running away from war. I jumped into the water to escape the army. There were helicopters searching for me overhead. I swam along the shore to keep from drowning. The land's edge was my only safety. There were guards along the fence who looked for me in the water. I had to duck my head beneath the surface. Sometimes I held my breath for only a few seconds, but other times I had to hold it so long that I wondered whether I should surface at all.

Response to Attacks in Paris

I believe that we have two ways to respond to any tragedy: to love, or to fear. In watching the public reaction on Twitter and on the news, I have seen that polarity even more clearly. I was in Italy when I heard about the atrocities which were taking place in Paris. I didn't sleep the entire night. I was imagining the suffering of innocent people and trying to calm the rage that filled me as I imagined men dressed in black perform these horrible acts. I felt the anger and fear filling within and made a conscious choice to

Hero's Journey UX Workshop: Part II

Introduction This post describes the second and final part of the Hero's Journey Workshop. Hero's Journey UX Workshop: Part I details the first part of the workshop, and my post Personas Are Dead. Long Live The Heroes describes the premise behind these activities. Outline Module III: Identifying Opportunities Module IV: Analyzing Opportunities & Designing Value Propositions Task I: Analyzing Outputs Task II: Designing Value Propositions Task III: Presenting Value Propositions Purpose The purpose of Part I is: To create shared understanding amongst the project team about the people they want to help. The purpose of Part II (described in the

Hero's Journey UX Workshop: Part I

Introduction The Hero's Journey is a two-part workshop that guides project stakeholders and team members through identifying solutions that solve real problems for real people. The goal is to use empathy as a guide to collaboratively define and solve problems. Story is simply a tool we use to evoke empathy and insight in the process. Outline Module I: Emerging With The Hero Task I: Hero Characteristics Task I: Fleshing Out The Heroes Module II: Plotting The Journey Purpose The purpose of Part I is: To create shared understanding amongst the project team about the people they want to help. The

Personas Are Dead. Long Live The Heroes!

The Problem of Personas Personas are dead. They are lifeless pages hanging on a wall, screaming out to designers and stakeholders alike: "Design for real people! (like me?)." But as we look at the mugshots of the personas we construct, we battle against the knowledge that this isn't a real person. It doesn't matter how much research went into the personas, or how well the content is written. Even when a fantastic visual design is applied, personas still feel like motionless pieces of paper dangling from a wall. I thought I was the only one who viewed personas so critically,

Life Is Short—Do What You Love

When I was halfway through college I stopped and wondered: What was the end goal? What was the destination to which we all were bound? I stopped and looked into the tunnel of my future and saw a college degree that hung in my office. I saw a job that paid my mortgage, a house that kept my stuff, and an endless pursuit of more and more stuff. In that moment I made a choice. I decided that I didn't want what the world had to offer. I wanted to find myself, and in that treasure grow. I dropped out

10 Steps to Becoming a UX Designer

When I first set out to become a User Experience Designer, I had no college degree, and very little money—but I had a burning desire to learn and incredible life experiences. I had no roadmap for the journey that lay ahead, but I set out with all my heart, mind and soul and never looked back. This is the roadmap I wish I had from the start. These steps should provide a high-level overview for anyone interested in what it takes to become a UX Designer. 1. Understand & Articulate Core Concepts The most important task when approaching a