2005 flash site for the Ski/snowboard industry.

At this stage in my career I was still honing my design skills, and eager to sink my teeth into any meaty projects I could get my hands on. As an organization looking to maximize their marketing dollars my employer had no issue harnessing that young energy and saving agency cost wherever they could.

This resulted in me taking on the lion’s share of graphic design that year across a number of medium, email blast, newspaper ads, online display banners, t-shirt, posters, lanyards, stickers, and even the lift ticket key card for the 2006 season.

My second job out of school ended up being for a position I’d forgotten I’d even applied for, Web Administer for a joint venture between three local ski hills to sell winter vacation packages abroad. When I got the call to schedule the interview it wasn’t until I jotted down the address they gave that I realized that oops, I’d applied for a job roughly an 90 minutes outside Calgary in the ski resort town Banff, Alberta.

I managed to persuade my roommate to give me a ride out to Banff for the interview which went exceptionally well. They had…

An early CSS Zen Garden design, courtesty of WayBack Machine

Despite being the right decision in the long run, ‘rage quitting’ my first gig in the industry felt like a low point at the time. I was barely out of school, my bank account was running low (probably because they weren’t paying me!) and I didn’t even have my own computer to do freelance work on if I’d had any clients.

My roommate had a beige G3 Macintosh running OS 9 that I could use in a pinch, but each new photoshop layer would cause the fans to spin up and the case to rattle like an old city bus…

My entry into the working world meant packing the contents of my bedroom into the back of my dad’s truck, and trekking 1,200km west to the bustling city of Calgary, Alberta.

Now school had giving me many of the technical skills I required, I could code basic HTML/CSS, I could mock up an UI in photoshop, I could edit photos and produce assorted fragments of design and graphics. But I was sorely lacking in what some may call the “soft skills” of design.

I couldn’t talk about design.

I lacked the vocabulary and knowledge to describe design.

I couldn’t even…

“Indiscriminate button pushing”

This was always the creative director’s answer right after he’d walked up to my desk, lightly pushed me to the side and started clattering away at the keyboard. Putting an additional string of aoie;orhasdonohif;qeijf laden jibber-ish into whatever document I’d happened to be working on at that moment.

I was 22 years old, and spending my first two months in the “big city” of Calgary working an internship under the creative director named Reg at his new media consultancy shop as part of my community college diploma in what we then called Web Design.

Back in 2004…

How to present a case study or a project, to be sure that you’ll have a look at? Meaning, what to prioritize, how long, how deep can we go on an online portfolio? Thank you!

– Mário ( Portuguese living in Poland )

Hey Mário,
At a high level, a case study is about telling a story to the folks you’re trying to get hired by.

How the project came to be, what assumptions you made along the way, what the outcomes were, what the next steps might be, and most of all what your involvement was.

Or in short…

Hello, I am a senior undergraduate Anthropology major. A few months ago I found out about UX research field from my ethnography class. I wonder if you have any advice or some info for a complete beginner like me?

– Sang, Texas

Hey Sang,

I believe the main thing to focus on is addressing the gap between traditional academic research, and applied research in the digital business space.

For full disclosure, I am not a traditionally trained researcher, and I do not have an academic background in this area… I learned it all on the job.

While the basis of…

Junior researcher positions seem very competitive and it’s difficult to convince hiring managers to ‘take a chance on me’ because there always seems to be someone with more experience. What is one attribute or skill that would make a junior candidate really stand out for a role you were hiring for?

-Kerianne, Washington, USA

Hey Keriann,

It is indeed true that junior UX positions are hard to come by, organizations want proven experience over the unknown, and the amount of applicants for junior roles often exceeds the supplies.

One of the best ways to really stand out as a junior…

Good morning Jason,
I am studying IT — software development. We had few courses in design/UI/UX and I am interested in that area. I would like to ask you as a successful professional in this area how can I achieved the “skills” for it and how can my course help and what can I do to be successful? Thanks
- RB, Canada

Hey RB,

If you ask around you’ll find plenty of established UXers that got their start in just that way. …

Photo by Niilo Isotalo on Unsplash

“I know UX research is important, but I’m not sure how to include it on a small team”

“We’re collecting analytics, but not really doing anything with the data”

“We did some usability testing, it left us with dozens of detailed notes, hours of videos, and tons of anecdotes about our product. Now what?”

Chances are if you’re a UX/Product person, the above statements had you nodding your head along in agreement, or perhaps feeling a little guilty that you’ve not been including more research in your work, or stressed because you’ve not been actioning on the research you have…

Jason Dorn

UX Research Lead, which my wife describes as a “user design specialist” (he/him)

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