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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Over the course of the pandemic I became obsessive over areas of my life that I could control. It is not a stretch of the imagination to realize that the very lack of control I had with the chaos around me drove me to find meaning in previously unexplored hideaways. After some false starts, I found my focus: my finances. I was amazed by the amount of money I was saving on things like takeout, commuting, and frivolous spending that happened during a night out with friends — perhaps the one upside of our current quarantine times.

After my realization of my growing nest egg, I decided to deep-dive and learn about what I could be doing with my money. I watched videos, and read books and articles from financial giants, like Stephan Graham, Dave Ramsey, Mr. Money Moustache, to name a few (trust me, there were many more). …


Co-written with Mark Szabo, PhD.

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Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

In this article you’ll learn how to identify user needs that help inform your UX approach when trying to build an experience for a different culture. This methodology creates a solid foundation for you to steer your UX research by helping to create a list of assumptions that you can then validate with your user base.

I had the pleasure of collaborating with multiple individuals on the creation of this in-house methodology over the course of a few months. The article was mainly structured by Mark Szabo PhD who spearheaded this initiative.

This methodology came to be based on a series of issues that were raised at the time. We, as a business, did not have a clear process as to how the collective team (research, strategy, UX, design and development) should approach the creation of another country’s product. Historically, we would structure our conceptual models based on our own (North American) information hierarchies and simply translate the language used. …


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Image by Rawpixel

A few months ago I fell into a pit of demotivation. I found myself avoiding tasks that I used to love doing and watching far too much Netflix; all while internally punishing myself for it. It was a vicious cycle — I would avoid going out with loved ones because I needed to work, but I’d be so unmotivated to complete the task that I avoid it and wish I’d gone out.

It hit a point where I knew I needed to take action. I started reading up on steps I could take to get back my motivation. …


Finding the right mix of nutrients can take some time and flexibility. Here’s how I did it and how you can, too.

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Image by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash.

There’s a lot of controversy over diets, including the decision to become vegan. I’m not here to talk anyone into a particular diet choice. But if you’ve been interested in eating vegan, then what I learned in my own journey can help you achieve a balance that works for you in yours.

The 80/20 vegan diet is a diet whereby 80 percent of the time you follow a strict vegan lifestyle, and the other 20 percent of the time you indulge yourself in a vegetarian diet. …


Configurators have been around for so long without any formalized documentation of best practices. Many of us UX-ers mimic typical patterns we see in other experiences in order to provide users with what they expect. While gathering information for a project I’ve been working on, I noticed these trends.

1. Design for Mobile First

Taking a mobile-first approach to your configurator can help guarantee success. Oftentimes UXers begin with desktop design as there is more canvas space to work with The issue is that the mobile version of a configuration usually comes much later, by which time you’ve received buy-in from different parties on features, layout, etc. …


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Picture by Andrew Neel

I was 20 years old, a second-year business student, and suiting up for my first startup position. I remember my fingers shaking a bit while I buttoned up my shirt (nerves? Excitement?), the steady thump of my heart serving as extra bass to my music as I headed for The Notman House, a startup incubator located in Montreal, Quebec.

Down a hallway, and situated in an all-white office, sat the beginnings of my new life: a desk, some folding chairs, occupied by a few interns and the company co-founder, Janet.*

Us interns exchanged ill-confident hellos, sat down and opened our laptops. Janet began to lay out the expectation for our positions in quite some detail. We’d have to be on the ball to learn and move quickly. Being a small fashion startup, we didn’t have much money, and we didn’t have the luxury of time. Not knowing what to expect, but full of excitement, we (the lowly interns) couldn’t wait to get started. …


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Photo By Auvenir

The UX design practice can take on different meaning depending on the company. I’m sitting down with UXers in a variety of industries to learn more about the type of work they do.

Meet Jillian Vardy.

Jillian Vardy is a Product Designer at Auvenir, an audit software start-up operating as a Deloitte venture. Their goal is to take a more automated approach to auditing. Despite still working in beta version, they’re developing revolutionary processes and spreading like wildfire throughout their industry.


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Photo by Jarosław Ceborski on Unsplash

“I am not a morning person.” It was my mantra since I could remember, especially during my years in university. Classes before 11 AM? A cruel prank. I was not a morning person, and that was fine — but then, I graduated.

This was when reality slapped me in the face. The working world started their day at 9AM, sometimes even earlier; I had to bid a fond farewell to my late morning schedules.

After a few years as a young professional, I started to realize I had no time for personal growth. I felt robotic and lethargic. Every morning I would drag myself up around 7–7:30AM, grumpily slump my way to the coffeemaker, assume a corpse pose on the couch until coffee was ready, toss some down, and have just enough time to throw on whatever clothes were within easy reach, and run out the door. In the end, I still needed to down a large coffee as soon as I sat down at work. Fast forward to 6PM, I’d hop on the train to go home (promising myself to workout as soon as I arrived), eat a snack and then sit in front of Netflix. …


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When I was in school, personas were a core component in human-centered design. We learned how to create them, update them and turn to them when we got stuck in the design process. UX, we were told, would not exist without personas. Just like atoms are the building blocks of life, so were personas the foundations of good design. Yet, we fast forward to today and in practice, most UX-ers almost never use personas.

Why not?

When I stepped into my first design job, I came in guns blazing, wondering where the personas were. How could we possibly design without them? I was told right away that personas are often unnecessary when approaching a user-centered project, and take properly-executed user research to be useful. I remember thinking that this project wouldn’t possibly be well-received by users. …


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Photo by Sabri Tuzcu via Unsplash

If you’re like me, you don’t come from a typical design background. Maybe you just came out of a bootcamp, or a second bachelor’s degree, or are even self-taught. Regardless, starting over — or starting anew — can be a daunting task. These days, it seems like there are higher barriers to entry than ever before. With the constant influx of new designers, it is difficult and competitive, but it’s not impossible.

Let me tell you my story.

I completed my Bachelor of Commerce in Montreal, Canada. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to work with people. I figured International Business might be the best way to do that. I hustled to figure out my role in the world by taking on internships and jobs throughout my university career. I was a PA, Social Media Manager, Marketing Lead, and the list goes on. What I learned from all of these jobs was that I didn’t want to do them forever. It didn’t sit well with me that all of this helpful data we had was going towards exploiting users to make them buy a product that they didn’t necessarily want or need. …

About

Marcelle Saulnier-Holland

UX & Product @ getearlybird.io | Instagram: @fivemoreminutes

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