🖐 Friday Five (Tackle design debt, Grow as a designer, Building with magic, and more)

Hi friends!

We're back with our fourth Friday Five, a weekly email with our top 5 finds to help you level up as a designer. Here's what we want to share with you this week.


1) The sharp strategy for designers

The average startup launches a bunch of features for a bunch of use cases to appeal to many users. The Sharp Startup focuses on a few killer features for the most valuable use case of the most desperate customer segment. Which do you think wins? Go Sharp.


2) Don't let design debt bankrupt your team

How to spot design debt? Inconsistent product functionality, wildly differing UI components, and conflicting terminology. These issues show up in two forms: UX debt and Functional debt. The awesome team at Intercom talks about their struggles to tackle complex design debt for their messaging products and how they built a 3-step framework to fix it.


3) Becoming a (design) magician

Here's a great heuristic for growing as a designer: find the magicians. You'll know that you've found one when their results are attractive, but their methods confuse you.

From the article: "I could not work out how he did it. Like, I had zero mental models of how he created that piece in the same timeframe we all had; how he came up with it, designed it, practiced it. Even though he placed first and I placed fifth and logically we both existed on a scale of ‘competence at bodypainting’ it seemed like the skills required were completely different...The feeling I get, as a very good bodypainter looking at Sanatan’s work, is that I am looking at magic."


4) Putting time in perspective

How would you "map out the entire history of time" and boil it down into fun, easy-to-follow visuals? Time is so vast and complex. But Tim Urban from Wait but Why nails it. The essay is about perceiving time, but the real gem is how Tim takes something vast and makes it approachable and simple to understand. A good principle to keep in mind as you design that next feature.


5) Proven Path to Doing Unique and Meaningful Work

The secret? "Stay on the bus". You'll have to read the article to get the analogy. But here's a quick summary: put in the reps, improve your average speed, fall in love with boredom, and be consistent. Do these things and watch your design skills compound.


Get after it this weekend,

Molly & Jake at UI Prep