How templates benefit both users and businesses

We see thumbnails of various templates, including a mind map, kanban framework, quick retrospective, user story map, customer journey, flowchart, and brainwriting.
We see thumbnails of various templates, including a mind map, kanban framework, quick retrospective, user story map, customer journey, flowchart, and brainwriting.
https://miro.com/app/dashboard/

How many of us have procured fancy, (expensive) new tools at work, only to play around with them a few times and then largely abandon them? I know I have. Enterprise products must strike a delicate balance between power and learnability, enabling users to meet their goals while not overwhelming them.

Enter templates. Recently I’ve seen templates introduced strategically to guide, support, and inspire users. Templates show users what’s possible, provide optional structure, and offer inspiration to get the creative juices flowing because sometimes there’s nothing more intimidating than a blank canvas.

By reducing cognitive load and lowering the barrier…


With revenue up 86% last year and their stock price popping 4,200% in five years, what can we learn from Shopify’s journey?

A person sits at their computer looking at Shopify’s webpage that says “Everything you need to start an online store and sell online”.
A person sits at their computer looking at Shopify’s webpage that says “Everything you need to start an online store and sell online”.
Photo by Roberto Cortese on Unsplash

In the last decade or two, we’ve witnessed massive changes in business, with the explosion of direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands and the increasing democratization of business, knowledge, and expertise. Design plays a significant role in both of these trends, helping entrepreneurs understand user needs, build relevant and intuitive products, and bridge the gap between complex technology and consumers.

Shopify is the third-largest e-commerce platform behind Amazon and eBay, supporting 1.7 million businesses ranging from mom and pop shops to corporate behemoths. They had $2.9 billion in 2020 revenue, an 86% increase from 2019. …


Let’s tear down the ivory tower and actually put academia’s findings into practice

We see a room with walls completely covered in books and bookshelves.
We see a room with walls completely covered in books and bookshelves.
Photo by mentatdgt from Pexels

Designers face complex and multifaceted problems, blending creative problem solving, psychology, technology, and business to develop new solutions to difficult problems. Challenges run the gamut, from proving the economic value of Design to making complex technology accessible to fostering and sustaining creativity.

While many of us predominately learn through exposure in the field, reviewing relevant academic research and drawing upon their findings as well can prove fruitful.

Defining the value of Design

Creating Economic Value by Design by John Heskett in International Journal of Design.

What is the article about?

This paper examines how major economic theories influence how we define the value of design. Heskett argues that economics doesn’t…


What to expect and how to set yourself up for success

A group of people sit around a table observing and discussing an open webpage.
A group of people sit around a table observing and discussing an open webpage.
Photo by Leon on Unsplash

After helping build out the research practices at three enterprise startups, I’ve realized that there’s a set of core challenges. Regardless of the industry or company size, the same challenges kept emerging. Educating colleagues on the value of research, recruiting good research participants, sharing research findings effectively, standardizing the feedback collection process, and measuring impact are core functions you’ll need to figure out.

But if you’re aware of these challenges going in, you can learn from others’ experiences and set yourself up for success.

Why you should establish a research practice

User research focuses on “understanding user behaviors, needs, and motivations through observation techniques, task analysis, and…


What I’ve learned about balancing engagement, success, and authenticity

A woman sits at a desk in front of a computer, tablet, keyboard, and notebook.
A woman sits at a desk in front of a computer, tablet, keyboard, and notebook.
Photo by Mikael Blomkvist from Pexels

I shared my first article online in 2017, but I didn’t write consistently until 2019. I’d write once a month or so, only when I had fully formed, insightful lessons to share.

At the beginning of this year though, I had my first big article, garnering 41,000+ views (instead of my typical 500–2,000). Suddenly I was hooked. After savoring my success, I felt the need to replicate it. I started writing more frequently, hoping to capitalize on my newfound momentum. …


What we all can learn from them

We see a screenshot of a miro board exploring scenario mapping, customer goals, customer action, and process ownership.
We see a screenshot of a miro board exploring scenario mapping, customer goals, customer action, and process ownership.
Source: https://miro.com/online-canvas-for-design/

In 2018, Miro was hardly a blip on the radar in the Design world. Fast forward two years, and suddenly Miro is solidly the number one tool for brainstorming and ideation. What led to this sudden spike in awareness and engagement? While the rapid shift to remote work certainly didn’t hurt, Miro’s relentless focus on thoughtful design and customers’ needs helped them build relevant and intuitive products, putting them in position to capitalize on changing work trends.

Recognizing that teams within the same company often speak different languages, Miro enables people to develop a shared understanding. …


What organizations, leaders, and UX hopefuls need to consider

A women sits expectantly across the table as her male and female peers deliberate.
A women sits expectantly across the table as her male and female peers deliberate.
Photo by Edmond Dantès from Pexels

Last spring as COVID-19 set in, many tech companies panicked and laid off significant numbers of employees. Bird laid off 40% of employees, Airbnb laid off 25%, and Lyft laid off 17% while furloughing even more. UX professionals were impacted by these layoffs, and Airbnb even developed a talent directory of departing staff in hopes of connecting them with other roles.

Fast forward a year, and we’re seeing a hiring bonanza. It seems every time I open LinkedIn, my newsfeed is full of people posting about open Design, Research, Product, and Engineering roles. Today, a quick job search on LinkedIn


Using thoughtful design and new technologies to redefine the relationship between people and their homes

How will tomorrow’s technologies redefine the way we live at home? We see a bird’s eye view of an apartment floor plan, with red and blue ink projecting from some of the walls.
How will tomorrow’s technologies redefine the way we live at home? We see a bird’s eye view of an apartment floor plan, with red and blue ink projecting from some of the walls.
https://www.everydayexperiments.com/all-experiments

We’re rapidly developing and expanding new technologies, from augmented reality to machine learning to blockchain to object recognition. While we typically apply these technologies to complex commercial problems, what if we explored more personal applications? How might we use these technologies to educate, enable, and delight people in their own homes?

Everyday Experiments is a collaboration between Space 10, a research and design lab focusing on people and the planet, and IKEA aiming to “take the everyday and make it extraordinary.” …


Immersing ourselves in other cultures can cultivate creativity, connection, and compassion

A landscape view of a tropical mountain in the distance surrounded by clouds and the ocean.
A landscape view of a tropical mountain in the distance surrounded by clouds and the ocean.
Photo by author in Tahiti

Traveling can be an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience. Meeting new people, experiencing new cultures, and appreciating new aesthetics can help us grow both personally and professionally.

Travel invites us to break out of our routines and observe and learn about the world around us. New experiences challenge us to take on new perspectives and spur creativity, while learning about new cultures, customs, and languages builds empathy and understanding.

Breaking out of day to day routines enables a mental reset and reduces burnout

With COVID-19, we’ve experienced lockdowns, uncertainty, and stress. The line between work and home is increasingly blurred, and employee burnout is on the rise. …


Why we should all care about privacy (before it’s too late)

A brick wall is filled with rows and rows of security cameras.
A brick wall is filled with rows and rows of security cameras.
Photo by Lianhao Qu on Unsplash

When technology, data, and privacy have come up in conversation with friends and family, I’m often surprised by how little people know and care about them. During a stint in the adtech world, I was horrified to discover the true extent of how much time, money, and effort organizations spend to collect and sell personal data. While privacy is becoming a more prominent topic, I’m still generally met with some version of “Well I’m not doing anything wrong, so I don’t care about privacy”.

This is very short-sighted.

After witnessing how much personal data companies are collecting every instant of…

Meghan Wenzel

UX Researcher and Strategist — “It’s not the story you tell that matters, but the one others remember and repeat”

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