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

2 people doing karate during sunset
2 people doing karate during sunset

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.

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.

a board on the wall that reads i see a light in the darkness
a board on the wall that reads i see a light in the darkness

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.

design is greater than one, don’t do it alone banner
design is greater than one, don’t do it alone banner

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. …


Learn from my mistakes — prepare & practice.

big mouth close-up man
big mouth close-up man

Things can get a bit tense in the room when there’s a stakeholder sitting at the table. You feel your legs get restless, your voice trembles, hands shake through your slide deck, sweat pours down your forehead, and you leave the meeting fairly certain you won’t be working at that company much longer. A bit dramatic, maybe, but when you need to present your work to stakeholders, it can be more nerve-racking than your job interview.

You want to get it right, you want to sound intelligent, and you want to impress — and there’s nothing wrong with that. Luckily…


Delightful experiences don’t stop at product, but they definitely start with us.

As a human-centered design advocate, I’m always on the lookout for how we can improve the experience others have of us. Delightful experiences don’t stop at product, but they definitely start with us. Whether it be through improving our soft skills or random acts of kindness, simple gestures have a major, positive snowball effect in this world.

It is through soft skills and our training of them that we find ourselves cohesively fitting on our product teams. …


10 techniques for the designer’s bag of tricks.

Being understood is one of our most basic human needs. It serves as a conduit for us to change and grow. If I asked you to recall a time when you felt understood, it would likely be a positive memory. Conversely, I’m guessing you’re quite familiar with the negative emotions that arise when recalling a time when someone didn’t understand you at all.

If a person is understood, he or she belongs.” — Carl Rogers, American Psychologist

When we understand someone, our connection between them grows. And to be misunderstood is a severing of that connection. It is within this…


NASA just gave the design community some serious homework.

There’s been a lot of hype in recent days about rovers, interplanetary travel, Mars, and the astounding technology behind all these advancements. If you’re like me and the millions of others gawking over it, you’ve got a dedicated monitor at your work station to watch it all play out — it’s hard not to!

It’s truly fascinating what we as humans have been able to accomplish.

In a new NASA video detailing the latest images and video footage from the Perseverance Mars rover mission, Allen Chen, NASA’s Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) Phase Lead for the mission, just gave a…


Their struggle affects their partner too.

couple of colleagues spending time at a cafe near a street
couple of colleagues spending time at a cafe near a street

For the second time in six months, my sweet wife was admitted into a behavioral center to help her control her suicidal thoughts. My heart aches for her. I know she’s safe there, but I can’t help but lie there at night — her side of the bed empty — pondering, worrying, and unable to fathom the intense battles she’s waging within her mind. In those long, late-night hours, I at least find comfort in knowing she’s surrounded by trained people, providing her treatment, watch, and care.

She’s gone for two weeks, but life at home must continue.

There are…

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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