072: Everyone’s a UX Designer with Jared Spool

User Defenders podcast
Land a Job in UX
072: Everyone's a UX Designer with Jared Spool

Jared Spool has been doing and defining UX long before many of us existed and/or even knew what it was. He invites us in to hear his fascinating yet seldom discussed UX origin story. He reveals how and why we’re all UX designers. He demystifies the arduous and often frustrating process of landing a job in UX. He articulates what it means to learn how to learn. He addresses the important, but oft-forgotten business part of the design business. He also inspires us to be great design leaders by illustrating what one actually looks like.

Jared M. Spool is a Maker of Awesomeness at Center Centre – UIE. Center Centre is the school he started with Leslie Jensen-Inman to create industry-ready User Experience Designers. UIE is Center Centre’s professional development arm, dedicated to understanding what it takes for organizations to produce competitively great products and services.

In the 43 years he’s been in the tech field, he’s worked with hundreds of organizations, written two books, published hundreds of articles and podcasts, and tours the world speaking to audiences everywhere. When he can, he does his laundry in Andover, Massachusetts.

A little known fact about Jared is he didn’t graduate high school or go to college, yet now he runs one of the leading schools for UX designers. He’s also an amateur magician.

  • Jared’s Compelling UX Origin Story (5:56)
  • How Do You See the UX Job Landscape Evolving? (14:50)
  • UX’ers Have to Do What We Promised (17:31)
  • Is Everyone a UX Designer? (24:57)
  • If Design is a Team Sport, How Does the Team Win? (35:30)
  • What Makes a Great Design Leader? (38:40)
  • The Most Important Thing Designers Should be Learning (46:22)
  • Best Advice for Designers Trying to Break In and Getting Rejected? (52:10)
  • UX Superhero Name (1:09:23)

Continue reading 072: Everyone’s a UX Designer with Jared Spool

068: People May be the Most Important Thing You Build as a Designer with Braden Kowitz

Braden Kowitz reveals how human-centered design has everything to do with the humans we design and build with every day. He advocates for a genuinely supportive environment where it’s okay to be who you are, and where you’re encouraged to speak up, and openly share how you’re truly feeling. He reminds us to acknowledge that life isn’t perfect, and neither are we…and that’s also okay. He articulates the origin story and evolution of design patterns and explains why ‘ugly’ may sometimes appear to win. He also challenges us to consider how the metrics we typically depend on, may not be telling us the complete story.

Braden is a Product Designer and Co-Founder at Range Labs, where he makes software that helps teams work better together. Prior to starting Range, Braden was a design partner at Google Ventures, where he founded the first design team at a venture capital fund and co-developed the Design Sprint process. Braden was also an early designer at Google and led the design of several products including Gmail, GSuite, Google Spreadsheets, and Google Trends. He’s really into bicycle advocacy lately.

  • Free Time (7:49)
  • Grounding Techniques (8:36)
  • Mindful Techniques (9:26)
  • Origin Story (16:25)
  • Form, Function, and Balance (19:38)
  • Managing Design Ambiguity (26:50)
  • Establishing Design Patterns (37:57)
  • What Have You Been Up To? (47:05)
  • From Designer to Co-Founder (49:09)
  • Dealing with Tradeoffs (52:02)
  • Creative Side Hustles (52:41)
  • Who Is This Product For? (53:47)
  • Design Superpower (57:00)
  • Design Kryptonite (58:15)
  • UX Superhero Name (59:45)
  • Habit of Success (1:01:03)
  • Recommended Book (1:02:59)
  • Best Advice (1:04:13)
  • Tips on Culture (1:05:11)

Continue reading 068: People May be the Most Important Thing You Build as a Designer with Braden Kowitz

Designing for Designers: Building InVision Studio with Tom Giannattasio

User Defenders podcast
Special Episodes
Designing for Designers: Building InVision Studio with Tom Giannattasio

Building InVision Studio. Tom Giannattasio on User Defenders podcast

“Designers are the architects of human behavior. With a consolidated tool like Studio, designers are going to be able to focus a lot more on designing…as they should.” — Tom Giannattasio

In this very special episode, I had the great privilege of talking to Studio mastermind Tom Giannattasio all about what went into building what’s being touted as “the world’ most powerful screen design tool”. Tom has an interesting designer origin story. In this interview, you’ll hear how his past experiences have really shaped him into the toolmaker superhero that he’s become.

In this compelling interview with Tom, you’ll hear him answer my questions such as:

  • What is Studio, and what makes it “the world’s most powerful screen design tool”?
  • Do designers really need another tool? What makes Studio different than all the others?
  • What lessons did you learn from Macaw that you’ve applied to Studio?
  • What’s it like designing for designers? What are the inherent challenges? What have been the rewards?
  • Much more!


  • Designing with colorblindness (2:30)
  • What is Macaw? (7:09)
  • What is Studio? (16:37)
  • Do we need another design tool? (22:08)
  • Where does Studio leave Craft & InVision tools? (27:30)
  • Lessons learned from Macaw in making of Studio (31:14)
  • What’s it like designing for designers? (34:44)
  • Coolest things you’ve seen folks do with Studio so far? (37:51)
  • How much does Studio cost? (41:17)
  • When is Studio available? (42:08)
  • Designers are becoming the architects of human behavior (43:35)
  • When we build (45:51)

Continue reading Designing for Designers: Building InVision Studio with Tom Giannattasio

045: Criticize by Creating with Alexa Roman

User Defenders podcast
Product Design
045: Criticize by Creating with Alexa Roman

Alexa Roman motivates us to prove the value of design and contribute to it every single day. She encourages us to always be learning new things since designers work across many different fields. She inspires us to get more excited about analytics and measuring our designs. She also challenges us to think about what we want on our tombstones…while we’re still this side up.

Alexa Roman is a Lead Product Designer at Burner, an app for creating on-demand, smart phone numbers. At Burner, she works on product and growth initiatives. Customer development, experiments and analytics are core to her design work. Previously, she was at Carbon Five where she worked on growth projects with teams at Nissan, Prosper and Joyable. In her spare time, Alexa volunteers with the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles, the Violence Intervention Program and resisterhoodLA.

Fun fact about Alexa is that when she worked in the Art Department for the TV show The Office, she became the resident IT person and would often be called to set to show the actors how to use their on-screen UI. When you see UI in a TV show, it’s nearly always a file that’s been programmed and you have to know the shortcuts to operate it. I did not, however, design that UI and it was terribly out of date even for the time we shot that show.

  • Secret Identity (7:49)
  • Origin Story (12:42)
  • What Will Your Tombstone Say? (19:25)
  • Biggest Failure (21:50)
  • Design Superpower (29:40)
  • How Important is Aesthetics? (35:52)
  • Awkward Testing Story (48:49)
  • Design Kryptonite (55:23)
  • UX Superhero Name (63:59)
  • Designing with Data (64:30)
  • Habit of Success (70:09)
  • Invincible Resource (71:39)
  • Recommended Book (73:28)
  • Best Advice (74:48)

Continue reading 045: Criticize by Creating with Alexa Roman

044: Different Inputs = Different Outputs with Joshua Oluwagbemiga

User Defenders podcast
User Defenders podcast
044: Different Inputs = Different Outputs with Joshua Oluwagbemiga

User Defenders podcast - "Mr. Gradient" - Joshua Oluwagbemiga

Joshua Oluwagbemiga motivates us to allow different inputs to influence our visual outputs. He shows us the effective power of determination when pursuing the craft of design. He also reminds us that inspiration is all around us…if we’re looking for it.

Joshua Oluwagbemiga is a User Experience Designer currently working at Intelia in Lagos, Nigeria. Before that he was a lead designer at Amplify Digital agency. He graduated from Bowen University in Nigeria with a Bachelor’s in Computer Science. When he’s not designing and typing on a keyboard, he’s likely playing keyboard..the instrument, and not entirely terribly.

  • Secret Identity/Origin Story (7:05)
  • Biggest Superhero (18:50)
  • Biggest Failure (22:26)
  • Awkward Testing Story (26:14)
  • Design Superpower (29:59)
  • Design Kryptonite (30:55)
  • UX Superhero Name (33:37)
  • Fights for Users (35:15)
  • Habit of Success (38:21)
  • Invincible Resource (40:55)
  • Recommended Book (43:29)
  • Listener Question (45:40)
  • Best Advice (51:07)

Joshua’s Dribbble
Joshua’s Behance
Joshua’s Adobe Blog Feature
Chris Do
Gnomon School
Spotify is incapable of empathy & doesn’t care about their users [ARTICLE]
Balraj Chana


The Design of Everyday Things

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Continue reading 044: Different Inputs = Different Outputs with Joshua Oluwagbemiga