A photo of me

👋 I’m a product designer, podcaster, and writer, currently living in San Francisco.

Right now I’m designing native mobile apps at GitHub. Before GitHub, I co-founded Spectrum, a platform for large-scale communities to have better public conversations. Spectrum was acquired by GitHub in November, 2018.

Before Spectrum I designed payments experiences at Facebook, working across Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram. I originally cut my teeth as the first product designer at Buffer.

I also co-host the Design Details Podcast, a weekly conversation about design process and culture. Design Details is part of Spec.fm, a podcast network for designers and developers, which I co-founded in 2015.

You can find me on Twitter where I talk about design and development, or on GitHub where I’m building in the open, or on Figma where I’m exploring how plugins can automate the tedious parts of interface design.

Photo by @rxnjmmt

Ask Me Anything

Just for fun! Questions will be visible after I’ve answered.

What’s your favourite cheese?

That Cowgirl Creamery triple-cream soft cheese, or whatever it's called. Bless that cheese.

16

/

Updated 2 weeks ago

When you started building this blog, did you use any theme as base or started from the scratch?

Started from scratch! But it's also a bunch of components, colors, and styles I've been slowly iterating on over the years, so there was a bit of a personal foundation.

10

/

Updated 2 weeks ago

Do you plan on doing more App Dissections? They are excellent for someone new to UX. Would love to see some new ones!

Glad you found them useful! Yeah, these have been on my mind for a long, long time. They are just very time consuming and I find it hard to get motivated. I've been thinking recently that it could be fun to write about OS updates (like a more in-depth dissection post for something big like macOS Big Sur). To be determined!

63

/

Updated 3 weeks ago

Do you use Notion? If so, can you share your workspace please.

I don't use Notion personally. I've used it for various projects externally, and it seems great, but I've never made the leap to move all my own work over to the service.

5

/

Updated 3 weeks ago

What is something you do to make sure that you are always improving as a designer?

This question has been on my mind for a long time: what does deliberate "practice" look like for product designers? I think this would be a worthwhile blog post.

18

/

Updated 3 weeks ago

The visual design of your website is very simple. Do you have a philosophy that drives this?

Not really a philosophy. I just like the way it looks, and the simple language makes it easier to maintain/update over time. Especially when you factor in things like dark mode, having a smaller surface area for component types and styles just makes things easier. I'm trying to keep this thing easy and fast to update so that I stay motivated to keep working on it over time.

17

/

Updated 3 weeks ago

What is your favorite species of shark?

Whale shark. No reason, but I would love to see one in-person some day.

1

/

Updated 3 weeks ago

What are the best resources for a developer who wants to have a better knowledge of design?

Check out Refactoring UI!

78

/

Updated 2 months ago

When you were a newbie designer where and how did you learn to code?

A mixture of side projects and on-the-job learning. Side projects: making WordPress themes and learning to tweak the HTML, CSS, and PHP to get what I needed. Then at Buffer I was introduced to JavaScript in a production environment, Backbone, and more PHP. Eventually I picked up React and it really helps things click into place. For newbies: CSS and HTML fundamentals are a great place to start.

53

/

Updated 2 months ago

What do you think is the biggest lie that designers tell ourselves?

I think too many designers (myself included) fall into the trap of designing for our peers, and not for the target person. The really important, hard problems aren't usually that glamorous, and won't make a big splash on Twitter.

6

/

Updated 2 months ago

When did you decided to start the podcast? What was the goal/trigger behind it?

This episode of Design Details might cover more of that backstory. But we started in late 2014 after I had been writing the Design Details Blog series for a while (now called App Dissection). People seemed to find those posts valuable, so Bryn had the right idea to interview the designers who were making great UI decisions, and try to understand how they make their decisions.

1

/

Updated 2 months ago

How do you cope up when you feel too distracted or when you find yourself with low motivation on certain days?

I either take a break, or try to find some small (and fun) project to build a bit of momentum. Even if it feels like procrastinating, I find that the small wins quickly snowball and I can find myself in a groove after a few minutes that ends up fueling my "actual work." But the more honest answer is that I take a break and rest.

22

/

Updated 2 months ago

At what point did you consider yourself a "designer who codes"?

I don't think there's a point, really. It's probably as simple as: the day I wrote "hello world" in some REPL input. I still feel pretty weak on the code side, but it has been helpful to have some baseline.

5

/

Updated 2 months ago

What was your biggest lesson learnt from Spectrum?

We built too wide, too fast. We wanted to build every feature people asked for, and we ended up with a lot of half-baked UI and a buggy core product. We should have said "no" more, and put as much energy as possible into building a really smooth and fast core chat experience.

4

/

Updated 2 months ago

I was going through your recent post about using Ghost as a headless CMS. Does that mean to implement it we need to pay for Ghost subscription? Are there any free open source alternatives that you came across?

Yes, I pay for a Ghost subscription. WordPress would be a free alternative, or you could poke at any other static content CMS!

4

/

Updated 2 months ago

If you were starting a new Next.js project now, would you choose styled components again or go with CSS modules?

I'm so comfortable with styled-components that it's going to take some huge improvement in another library to get me to switch. But I admit I haven't been paying too much attention lately, so maybe there is some cool new tech that I should be playing with instead.

6

/

Updated 2 months ago