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Top 10 Articles of 2018 – My Greatest Hits

by Feb 4, 2019User Experience / UX0 comments

A little more than a year ago, I decided to implement a system. I wanted to write more as part of an overarching career theme to increase my professional standing within the UX community. I have been writing for years but was never consistent in sitting down routinely to put words on paper.

So, I set up a system where I would have certain writing days or times of the day specifically devoted to getting words on paper. I averaged four days per week. But really, every day was a writing day because even if I was not actively writing, I was outlining or working on a concept in my head (a lot of writing happens in my head).

The next result was 28 articles in 2018 and 36 articles since I put my writing system in place. The response, in terms of readership, from the UX community has been overwhelming. I never would have expected to attain the numbers I did and 2018 was a tremendously successful year for me.

Below are my top-grossing articles from the past year. I should note this would not have been possible without publishing platforms such as Medium and a huge shout out goes to UX Collective and Without them, I certainly would not have received the exposure needed to generate any readership.

#1 Confessions of a UX Designer (20K)

This one surprised me, but it shouldn’t have since it came from the heart and some very recent work experience I have had. If you’d like to read about the dogma and understand how we sometimes lose our focus in UX, this is a brief tour through the topic. And, I can almost guarantee you’ve experienced one of these concepts recently in your own career.

#2 Healthcare Design Is About More Than Aesthetics (19.97K)

This article is actually from 2017 but didn’t see any significant traffic until Medium picked it up and featured it. At the heart, this is about finding meaning in what you design and considering who is on the other side of our products. It’s a good read to help pair a face with an interface and to understand the challenges present when designing for healthcare.

#3 When You Shouldn’t Take That UX Position (9.8K)

Hindsight is always the best sight as they say. How many times have you found yourself in a bad position and thought, “I should have seen that in the interview.” I outline six different red flags in the interview process. It isn’t so much that you shouldn’t take a position when you identify a red flag. But, you should at least be able to recognize these and know what you are or might be getting into.

#4 Nine Principles of Service Design (8.7K)

If you’re a UX designer, you can create a great product and then fail to truly change the experience when the service design has not been addressed. This article lays out the foundational principles for creating a product holistically. That is, how do we design a great service? Start with this article and then move on to Service Design: From Insight to Inspiration by Andy Polaine.

#5 Why Your UX Design Really Failed (5.3K)

It’s not what you think. We often blame failed designs on the wrong method, lack of research or even other teams. But I make a case herein that designs truly fail as a result of faulty organizational structure, cultural issues and generally organizational behavioral issues.

#6 Defending UX Design Decisions — 8 Essential Techniques (5.2K)

Presenting your design is often more like running through a gauntlet than managing an executive meeting. How do you handle attacks on a design or concept? What can you do to push through a meeting where no one seems to be on the same page? This article outlines techniques to get you through some of the toughest meetings.

#7 How Retail Companies Fail at Checkout (4.8K)

Another article covering service design and the psychology behind our shopping experiences. This one was featured in Medium and received far more attention than I ever expected. Read it with number four above.

#8 Do you really want to be a UX designer? (3.8K)

Looking back at my early years as a UXer, there was a lot I didn’t know or expect. I discuss many of the trials and tribulations most of us go through in starting our career. Some of these pain points are still ones I struggle through occasionally.

#9 UX Ecosystems in Healthcare (2K)

Originally published in UXPA Magazine, I return to the topic of healthcare. But this article is more focused on holistically designing an experience rather than focusing on a single product or feature. Evaluating touch points, ancillary systems and services help us design experiences across a continuum of the user’s journey.

#10 Why I Write…or How Writing Makes You a Better UX Designer (1.92K)

The one that started it all for me. My writing routine, in part, is an effort to sharpen my design skills. I discuss the parallels between design and writing as well as how something as simple as journaling can help you design better experiences.

2019 will see a continuation of my writing routine, but with a focus more on moving my writing into a place where I can begin pulling together a book about user experience design. I want the book to be different — not covering a specific domain or method within the field. I would like to explore some territory not yet covered in depth. I believe I can find that content and the topic through writing.

The irony of this list is: The articles netting the most traffic weren’t the ones I always thought would receive the most attention. This is not unlike design for me. My favorite designs are often the designs that bomb when testing.

Stephen King writes in his memoir, On Writing:

“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”

In other words, our judgment is extremely biased when viewing our own work. It is only when we release our creations into the world that we can obtain any sort of truth concerning their worth.

I don’t know what this list will look like a year from today. But, I am sure it won’t resemble the same list I will have envisioned.


Feature photo by Sebastian Davenport-Handley on Unsplash