If you’re familiar with my my books and talks, you know I’ve written about creativity, public speaking and other subjects, but back in 2000 I mostly wrote about design. If you’ve followed me long enough to remember uiweb.com or the crazy live design competitions I did at events, thanks for still being here. Back then, after years as what’s now called a UX PM on Windows and Internet Explorer, I was the design advocate for Microsoft, promoting good design and usability practices across the company. While there I wrote a UI design column for MSDN’s developer magazine. I thought someday I’d write a primer on good design, I just didn’t anticipate it would take 20 years until I did it with How Design Makes The World.
Over my career I’ve rarely had the word design in my job title, but design has always been central to how I think. It explains why even Making Things happen, a book about project management, uses design concepts more that project management books do. If you look at my books or talks you’ll see a kind of design at work. What is a book or a presentation if not a kind of designed human experience?
Sorting through the archives to find these essays, I picked ones that were most popular and still held up despite all that’s changed. My best writing is likely in my books, but I always try to write in a timeless way.
Most of my writing is free, but if you find value here, please support me by buying a copy of How Design Makes The World or my other books. Thanks for your support.
Here’s my best writing on design from 1999 to 2020:
- Why Good Design Comes From Bad Design
- The Myth of Perfect Design
- How To Give and Receive Feedback
- How To Run a Design Critique
- Influence for Designers
- Simple Isn’t Always Good
- The Future of UI Will Be Boring
- The Real Reasons Bad Design Happens
- Good, Evil and Technology
- 5 Dangerous Ideas for Designers
- Good Beats Innovative Nearly Every Time
- The Myth of Discoverability
- Why Software Sucks
- Why Designers Fail
- The Myth of Epiphany (From The Myths of Innovation)
- Programmers, Designers and the Brooklyn Bridge
- Usability Is Not a Verb
- How To Learn From Your Mistakes
- Why Designers Hate Politics and What To Do About it
- How To Pitch An Idea
- Edison Did Not Invent The Light Bulb
- The Powerful Decide (Chp 8. of How Design Makes The World)
- Questions for the Next Design Revolution? (IDSA Keynote)
- What Can We Learn From The Eiffel Tower?
- Designers, Morality and the AK-47
- More specialized design essays like A process for good UI, Fitt’s Law and the Web, Lessons on Design from Filmmaking, the Art of Usability Benchmarking, the Web Shouldn’t Be a Comedy of Errors, Critical Thinking in Web Design, Why Great Technologies Don’t Make Great Products, The Art of UI Prototyping, The Role of Flow In Web Design and others still live in the old archive from the uiweb days.
Have a question on design you wish I would answer? Get in touch.