How to ease the nerves and host a successful meeting

A colorful illustration of an individual sitting at a desk talking to peers on a video call.
A colorful illustration of an individual sitting at a desk talking to peers on a video call.
Source: DrawKit — Education & Online Learning Pack

Designers attend various meetings throughout the day — some that are necessary and others that aren’t. Two that come to mind are daily stand-ups and design critiques. I recently finished up a UX certification program, where we started each day with a stand-up meeting. In these meetings, each student answered the following questions:

  1. What did you accomplish yesterday?
  2. What are you working on today?
  3. What roadblocks are you currently facing?

A different student facilitated our stand-up meetings each day. This gave everyone a chance to practice hosting a meeting. For some, it was uncomfortable, including me, but the more I did it the better I got. I even started to look forward to facilitating. …


Solving key problems to enhance clarity and readability

The subtitle “Navigation Bar” appears in caps above the title “Iteration Walkthrough” against a purple background.
The subtitle “Navigation Bar” appears in caps above the title “Iteration Walkthrough” against a purple background.

Iteration is an integral part of the design process. It’s how designers work toward building a solution that meets customer needs and business objectives.

Recently, I received feedback on one of the projects in my portfolio. The feedback was in regards to a specific design component in one of my mockups. In order to incorporate and learn from this feedback, I thought it would be beneficial to walkthrough how I would approach iteration. …


Ideas for designers looking to maximize their time and increase collaboration with engineers

Two people working together in tandem — a woman holding a computer writing on a whiteboard and her teammate following along.
Two people working together in tandem — a woman holding a computer writing on a whiteboard and her teammate following along.
Photo by Kaleidico on Unsplash

Working cross-functionally with product managers, engineers, and stakeholders is a critical part of being a designer. A key area that requires collaboration between designers and developers is design systems. As Andrew Couldwell explains in his book, Laying the Foundations:

A design system will go nowhere without developers. A beautifully designed library of design components is useless if it lives only in design software and documentation. It has to be built, deployed, maintained, and scaled.

Design systems are extremely complex and it can be easy to get caught up in the details. This is why designers must find ways to speed up their workflows. Maximizing time becomes top of mind when you have a looming deadline or a stakeholder presentation. Additionally, designers can create solid relationships with developers when they learn how to better gauge technical feasibility and capabilities. …


A note-to-self for reaching my goals in 2021

The Boston Harbor at dusk with buildings in the background and boats in the foreground.
The Boston Harbor at dusk with buildings in the background and boats in the foreground.
Boston Harbor / 2019

This article is mainly for me to reflect on what I’d like to accomplish in 2021. I’ll talk about my job search, my design work, and a bit about my health and fitness goals. I’m putting this out there because there’s a chance this may help or resonate with others. I also think it will help me if I get all of this out of my head 😅.

The Job Search

I’ve been job searching for just under three months now. It hasn’t been easy and some weeks I feel like giving up. What keeps me going is forcing my brain to have a certain mindset. This mindset is comprised of consistency, patience, and positivity. Positivity is important at the start of every week. Thinking of each week as a fresh start has helped me tremendously, especially if I feel the previous week was particularly tough or slow. …


Practical tips you can count on when designing interfaces

The six principles of visual design (space and hierarchy highlighted) against a dark background surrounded by various shapes.
The six principles of visual design (space and hierarchy highlighted) against a dark background surrounded by various shapes.

Designing interfaces becomes a lot easier when you’ve familiarized yourself with the basic principles of visual design. Two of those principles are layout and typography. Arguably, these are two of the most important principles. They create clarity and appeal in interface design. Not only that, but they make interfaces feel clean and sharp. In this article, I’ll be discussing space and hierarchy — two subcategories under layout and typography.

Definitions

Let’s start by clarifying these terms. You may have used them in your designs, but do you know what they mean?

Space is simply the breathing room between design elements. …


An individual referring to his computer while looking at various charts, graphs, and statistics on a whiteboard.
An individual referring to his computer while looking at various charts, graphs, and statistics on a whiteboard.
ManyPixels

Research is leveraged throughout the design process to decode complex problems. It informs decisions and helps us validate our ideas. It’s also how we learn about users — how they feel, what their needs are, etc. However, it can be daunting to synthesize a large body of data. Why? Well, synthesis involves breaking down, taking apart, studying, and understanding data. This takes practice depending on how much has been collected.

In this article, I’ll share some techniques to help you pull out key data points that deserve further attention. All of these techniques work in conjunction with the affinity diagram.

An affinity diagram is used to group a series of data points written on post-it notes or cards. …


The cover slide for our team presentation. It includes a minimal logo, a set of paw prints, and info about the design team.
The cover slide for our team presentation. It includes a minimal logo, a set of paw prints, and info about the design team.

I’ve heard of hackathons before, but never actually participated in one. They always seemed so daunting to me, mainly because they’re full-day events (and I’m not just talking eight hours). Given a prompt/challenge, the goal is to come up with the best possible solution in a limited timeframe.

This particular hackathon spanned a whole day. My team and I worked for a solid 13–14 hours. That’s a lot of hours and isn’t exactly ideal, but I decided to do it anyway and I’m glad. …


From user research to sketching, these resources have a lot to offer

I’m always on the lookout for resources that can speed up my design process, help with organization, or provide another unique service. “Don’t reinvent the wheel” is also one of my favorite sayings. Especially for a detail-oriented designer like myself, I’m always spending more time on things than I probably should and am reluctant to move on if I don’t fully complete something.

This is why I love Figma Community. It’s a robust library of resources that designers have created and shared with the world.

In this article, I’ll share some of my favorite files, hoping that you can find value in them. …


Staying positive, organized, and successful in uncertain times

A woman sitting at a desk looking at a computer with a book in hand.
A woman sitting at a desk looking at a computer with a book in hand.
ITG Illustrations

I’ve been job searching for six weeks now. Every week, I take some time to think about what I could do better and how I can stay positive. I know there are a lot of articles like this out there, but maybe writing about my struggles will help others.

Disclaimer: Although this is about job searching in general, some things do apply to the field of digital product design.

Key Traits Worth Considering

Patience & Positivity

I’ve seen job searches span three months, six months, or more so the fact that mine has been going on for a mere six weeks is nothing to complain about. But I’ve still been struggling with patience. What’s the rush? …


Lessons learned from working remotely on design projects

Four individuals standing in a circle discussing a topic as a group.
Four individuals standing in a circle discussing a topic as a group.
Source: ManyPixels

Design is a collaborative effort. It involves aligning and communicating with various team members, clients, and stakeholders. Over the past few months, I’ve worked on two design projects and I’d like to share some tips I picked up for instilling trust among team members.

About

Celine Fucci

A detail-oriented product designer focusing on design systems, interactions, and research | Open to work — celinefucci.com

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