057: Interviewing Like a Boss with Andy Vitale

User Defenders podcast
Land a Job in UX
057: Interviewing Like a Boss with Andy Vitale

Andy Vitale teaches us all about how to interview for our next UX job like a boss. He emphasizes the importance of avoiding jargon, and at all costs the temptation to conflate confidence with arrogance. He reminds us to be prepared to get way out of our comfort zones, and even offers smart techniques on how to cope with the discomfort in those critical moments. He also points out that pay isn’t everything, and that a fantastic work culture can make all the difference.

Andy Vitale is the UX Director of Wholesale Banking at SunTrust Bank, one of the nation’s largest financial services companies, where his focus is on translating human insights into actionable experiences to improve the product and service ecosystem within the finance industry. Throughout his career, he has held multiple roles as a designer, entrepreneur, education department chair, and design leader. Aside from his primary role at SunTrust, Andy serves as Director of Design Impact for AIGA Minnesota and often speaks and writes about design. Not-so-fun fact: He was working at a company that suffered the first anthrax attack in the United States back in 2001.

  • The Importance of Soft Skills (4:55)
  • Calming Your Nerves (17:08)
  • The Importance of Body Language (22:18)
  • What Do You Love About Interviewing? (36:15)
  • What Do You Hate About Interviewing? (38:21)
  • How Much Should I Be Paid? (41:13)
  • Discussing Salary During an Interview (47:06)
  • Favorite Last Interview Questions (51:07)
  • Whiteboard Exercise Preparation (54:58)
  • How to Tell If a Company Understands UX (60:29)
  • Words of Encouragement (63:47)

Continue reading 057: Interviewing Like a Boss with Andy Vitale

056: Building an Effective UX Portfolio with Sarah Doody

User Defenders podcast
Land a Job in UX
056: Building an Effective UX Portfolio with Sarah Doody

Sarah Doody challenges us to think of our portfolio as one of the most important products we’ll ever create. She urges us to not only communicate our contributions, but to both show and tell the story of each project. In the end, she teaches us that using the right process is more than just about landing our next UX job–it will also make us better designers.

Sarah Doody is a user experience designer and product strategist based in New York City. She helps product teams create products people need and love. She does this through smart and fast research, prototyping, and experience design. She produces a highly acclaimed weekly newsletter called the UX Notebook. She created and taught General Assembly’s first 12-week User Experience program back in 2011. She was originally going to be a neuroscientist.

  • Ideal Number of Projects (4:07)
  • Lead with the Best Project (5:40)
  • Alternate Portfolios (7:13)
  • What a Recruiter Is Looking For Most (13:03)
  • Proving Your Knowledge (15:52)
  • What Does Storytelling Mean? (23:47)
  • Edit Your Work (29:48)
  • Do You Need a Website? (39:44)
  • Build a Portfolio Quickly (49:36)
  • The UX Academy (54:09)
  • Best Advice (56:31)

Continue reading 056: Building an Effective UX Portfolio with Sarah Doody

052: Shining a Light on Black Designers with Tim Hykes

User Defenders podcast
Personal Growth
052: Shining a Light on Black Designers with Tim Hykes

Tim Hykes shines a light on black designers. He shows us how an inspiring idea, and a lot of hard work can make a huge impact. He inspires us to challenge everything, especially the status quo. He motivates us to not wait to be asked to solve a problem, but to be a self-starter and solve it. He also teaches us how being a great designer starts with being a great person.

Timothy Hykes aka Tim Hykes is a User Experience designer and Illustrator working in Saint Louis, Missouri. He’s had the pleasure of seeing his work featured on FastCompany, Adobe, nationally with AIGA, InVision App, and socially with Behance and many other sites and publications. He is nationally known for his side projects which includes the 28 Days of Black Designers project, the Design + Diversity conference, and podcast, the #WeStandTogether project, and on YouTube on the Tim Hykes channel. A fun fact about Tim is that he’s really shy in a one on one situation.

  • Secret Identity (6:55)
  • Criminal Justice Background (11:47)
  • Why the Web/UX? (13:47)
  • Racist Hand Soap?! (17:00)
  • 28 Days of Black Designers (20:39)
  • Why aren’t there more Black Designers? (26:17)
  • Design Superpower (38:11)
  • Design Kryptonite (40:05)
  • UX Superhero Name (42:51)
  • Fights for Users (44:09)
  • Habit of Success (48:07)
  • Invincible Resource (56:11)
  • Recommended Book (57:30)
  • Best Advice (60:21)
  • Contact Tim Hykes (64:10)

Continue reading 052: Shining a Light on Black Designers with Tim Hykes

048: Pick Yourself with Cassie McDaniel

User Defenders podcast
Personal Growth
048: Pick Yourself with Cassie McDaniel

Cassie McDaniel inspires us to get away from the ‘pick me’ mindset, and to pick ourselves. She challenges us to be willing to kill our darlings so that something better can emerge. She teaches us the importance of knowing our values, but also embracing the fact that they are going to change. She also encourages us to not just do what we’re good at, but do what we enjoy.

Cassie McDaniel runs a small, ambitious, friendly design studio with her husband called Jane & Jury. As previous Design Director at the Mozilla Foundation, she led a team of designers on the organization’s advocacy and digital literacy fronts. She founded the interview series Women&&Tech and runs a creative event and workshop series called Paris Lectures. She grew up in Florida, jumped around in England, and is now based an hour outside Toronto in rural Ontario, where she is deeply invested in the roots she puts down into her community both locally and online. She’s both a national champion collegiate water polo player, and a published poet.

  • Secret Identity (8:27)
  • Origin Story (20:56)
  • Being Mozilla Foundation’s Design Director (24:09)
  • Biggest Failure (36:36)
  • Kill Your Darlings (40:24)
  • Design Superpower (52:54)
  • Habit of Success (62:59)
  • Invincible Resource (67:39)
  • Best Advice (70:33)

Continue reading 048: Pick Yourself with Cassie McDaniel

038: We Need More Crappy Work with Femke

User Defenders podcast
Personal Growth
038: We Need More Crappy Work with Femke

User Defenders Femke

Femke encourages us to take pride in our process by being willing to show our crappy work. She shows us how every small step can lead to something big. She teaches us how we can achieve anything in life, if we’re willing to take action. She also challenges us to wake up early to get the stuff done that we “never have time for”.

Femke is a designer, writer and podcaster currently working at Atomic–an online prototyping tool for teams. In her podcast, Design Life, she talks about design, and side projects for motivated creators. When she’s not talking about design, she’s writing weekly about creative self-help for her newsletter. She also played classical violin for 15 years.


  • Secret Identity/Origin Story (2:26)
  • Biggest Superhero (9:52)
  • Biggest Failure (13:25)
  • Design & Personal Growth (19:28)
  • Crappy Work Article (23:36)
  • Design Superpower (36:56)
  • Book Recommendation (40:07)
  • Design Kryptonite (43:47)
  • Habit Of Success (47:05)
  • Stay Inspired (53:26)
  • Invincible Resource (55:09)
  • Best Advice (57:56)
  • Contact Info (60:32)

Femke’s Twitter
Femke’s Website
Femke’s Mailing List
Femke’s Creative Series Interviews

We Need More $h!††y Work
Design is Messy & Embarrassing…but You’d Never Know it
Why I Wake Up Early
An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth

Atomic prototyping tool

Start with Why
The Power of Habit

Why You Need to Fail by Derek Sivers

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Continue reading 038: We Need More Crappy Work with Femke