DESIGN LEADERSHIP

Not communicating with your designers puts them in a dark, dingy corner; here’s how to pull them out.

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For over three decades, my father worked as an electrical engineer for Honeywell, a building technologies conglomerate in the United States. Towards the end of his career, Honeywell transitioned my dad from a nice office to the back stocking room in a dark corner of the building.

While this was many years ago, I remember the disturbing feeling that came over me when I’d go visit my dad at work. I felt he had been betrayed.

It concerned me that someone with his tenure (30+ years of experience), knowledge of his craft, and someone who was the epitome of soft…


Safely revolutionizing eye exams and the user experience.

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I’ve omitted confidential information in this case study. All information presented is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of 1–800 Contacts. Protecting their privacy, processes, and customer data is my primary concern.

UX methodologies played a vital role in the design, development, and launch of the ability for consumers to renew their contact lens prescription using the 1–800 Contacts website and native apps.

This case study explores my process, responsibilities, and how team collaboration fueled the launch of this cutting-edge service. …


My vision is gradually getting worse. I’m scared, but hopeful.

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Friends and fellow readers, I’m a bit scared to lose my vision — and maybe equally afraid to talk openly about it. There are some obvious reasons tucked in there, and also reasons only a UX designer could relate to. But…charging in front of my fear is hope, and riding alongside the challenge are opportunities.

The backstory

In 2005, I hopped on the hype train of laser vision correction. Lasik seemed a viable option to restore my eyesight to 20/20 and allow me to ditch the glasses and contact lenses. It worked, too. For nearly 12 years I didn’t have to focus…


UX Designer, helping design the experience humans have with each other and technology.

Hi, I’m Mike Curtis.

When people ask what I do, I like to make sure I have a pretty good response in my back pocket:

“I help design the experience humans have with each other and technology.”

That seems to help, but let me share a bit more about what I’ve been doing for people and products for the past two decades.

I have 20 combined years of UX, management, marketing, sales, teaching, public speaking, and customer service experience in collaborative agile teams, B2C & wholesale distribution.

I have a diversified skill set encompassing user experience, product design, customer, employee & vendor relations, e-commerce…


At least that’s what the numbers say.

Image provided by the author.

For context, the image above represents every story I’ve published on this platform. 112 to be exact. Those highlighted in green (3 stories) are the ones that have received a couple of thousand views — In my little world, I consider that “going viral” — a whopping 2.6% go viral. All other stories had little to no interactions and barely scratched the surface of page views. Simply looking at the numbers, what I write really doesn’t matter.

That’s where we’ll start.

The Experiment

Around a month ago, I took on a little social experiment. At the beginning of April 2021, I stopped…


Five simple reasons why designers quit your company.

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I’ve spent the better part of the last 5 years deeply involved in the UX mentoring and coaching scene here in the United States. These many conversations with managers and design leaders reveal something alarming. Leaders in these management roles are watching their designers leave for other organizations and opportunities…and they can’t figure out why.

The “why” isn’t complicated.

In no particular order, I’ve outlined 5 reasons why your designers quit, put in their two weeks, and move on. It could be one of these reasons, or all 5, but the truth is, it’s likely at least one of them…


Are you ready to get a bit scrappy? If so, let’s go.

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Chances are you’ve stumbled upon this article because you’ve either finished your UX curriculum, or you’ve caught onto the buzz of UX and you’re interested in this exciting field. There’s no shortage of ways to learn UX or enter this exciting career path. With Google recently launching their UX Design Certificate through Coursera amongst countless other ways to learn, many new designers will emerge over the coming year.

The job hunt is about to become increasingly more competitive.

What will ultimately matter is not necessarily which learning path you choose (although some are better than others), but the level of…


It’s going to be a gritty, scrappy hustle to get what you want in life.

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I’m not particularly fond of the phrase, “It’s all about who you know.” This short, albeit popular saying, has a misleading implication. You hear the phrase being tossed around, giving you a false hope that your next opportunity will come through your network and who you know.

It’s not that simple.

As a mentor, teacher, leader, and practitioner in my industry, I shy away from this phrase. This is because the words fail to address two fundamental cornerstones of any hard-earned career. …


The hiring process is hard, but there is hope.

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There is a light in the darkness. The hiring process is one of the most challenging feats every new and aspiring designer must overcome to begin their UX career. It’s hard, rejection stings, and we’re oft reminded of the difficulties faced by so many looking for their first role.

A good friend of mine posted some startling numbers on his LinkedIn feed. Dillon Winspear, Director of UX at Domo and host of the Designed Today podcast, recently wrapped up the interview process to hire a handful of UX interns.

His team took on the enormous, albeit sobering task of searching…


The best decisions reveal themselves as we involve more than ourselves in the process.

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Design happens when we stand up

Just before the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe, I was gearing up to share my well-thought-out design axiom with the world. I was certain I’d found a place in design where I could stake my claim, take a stand, plant my flag, and make a bold design declaration to the world. I carefully crafted a phrase, thought through the meaning, and wanted to shout it from the rooftops of the design community.

I envisioned viral Medium articles about it, pictured myself giving keynote addresses, and felt pretty sure I’d be known in the industry for my fancy statement. …

Mike Curtis

(aka Uncle Mikey) How do others experience you? I help amplify people and products through human-centered design. 20+ years in design, e-com, sales, and UX.

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