Looking down two paths, metaphorically separate for this picture showing an easy to get look cool t-shirt and a lot longer hilly road to learn more. You/your team/organization could start by wanting to make products look good on the surface which is a fine part of design yet can also go further, learn more, include your audience, which is a lot longer path. They aren’t mutually exclusive, the framing provides an image to invite curiosity.
Looking down two paths, metaphorically separate for this picture showing an easy to get look cool t-shirt and a lot longer hilly road to learn more. You/your team/organization could start by wanting to make products look good on the surface which is a fine part of design yet can also go further, learn more, include your audience, which is a lot longer path. They aren’t mutually exclusive, the framing provides an image to invite curiosity.

One of the reasons I care so much about UX design is that it creates a culture of learning. Then if we work in teams that use what we learn in and inclusive ethical way, you’re in the midst of an organization that can adapt. That may not sound like a beach party, but it sure feels great to be part of.

When I consider places I’ve worked have learned about through peers I like to look for signs of learning. Is learning encouraged? If not, then what behaviors are encouraged?

Popular to Adopt UX

UX design and systemic minded human centered thinking are…


Every person using their skills in business, design, engineering and creative work has their way of looking at the work.

Every role has a mindset. UX Mindset is about making user centered design useful and approachable to a wide variety of disciplines. It emphasizes including others in your product making decisions.

Business, Engineering, Design, and Creative Mindsets

Every role in business, design, engineering and creative highlights habits and ways of valuing:

  • Points of view framing choices and opportunities in the product design process.
  • What is rewarded and celebrated for that role.
  • Vocabulary and jargon about using their skills.

Think of how we all have a focus for why we define our roles as we do. …


Yes it’s difficult to work on a day like today. Events in the news trigger emotions. To even write a broad brush summary is a bit triggering: yesterday’s coup attempt, countless actively harmful statements and policy choices by 45th president, the year of pandemic and poor leadership and avoidable harm, the social unrest after the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the abusive cruel response to the BLM movement which is asking for such a basic thing: please stop killing us.

Clearly we have lots of work to do to dismantle the systems doing this harm. We need to…


Kate Shields Stenzinger, I’m her husband, recently shared with me that Free to Be You and Me wasn’t really a thing in her elementary school and my jaw dropped. Songs like William Wants a Doll, the title song Free to Be You and Me, and the big one that stuck with me is Rosy Grier’s It’s Alright to Cry all stand out so much in my memory of elementary school.

I totally giggled watching Rosy Grier singing about crying. But inside I knew he was on to something. I knew crying made me feel better. “Crying gets the sad out…


Mini-creative challenge worksheet via the Lean Into Art Quests

Learnuary is a creative challenge hosted/instigated by the Etherington Brothers. I looked into it today by checking the hashtag #learnuary on Twitter and Instagram.

After seeing a few tutorials I got curious about the rules and setup of this event and read the “What is Learnuary” post. This seems like a well thought out challenge combining being reasonable in scope, encouraging, and celebrating of teaching artists who share bite-sized tutorials.

OK, a well composed creative challenge that celebrates making art tutorials… I’M SOLD.

Why care about helping more people practice art and at the same time encourage artists to teach?

I feel that the more people find their creative voice and ways to express it in art…


Doodle of a group of people helping a person reach something important through teamwork.
Doodle of a group of people helping a person reach something important through teamwork.
What I feel like when I’m learning to be a better designer.

As UX designers, we aren’t alone in seeking better ways to include humans when we create meaningful things. I see UX as being both human centered and systemic minded. One of the earliest design books I studied and applied in my work didn’t come from the field of design yet it was both human centered and systemic minded. It came in the form of self-help and business philosophy: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.

7 Habits from a UX lens


A bear and a rabbit arrive at a sign that says “food this way” each might have something different in mind.
A bear and a rabbit arrive at a sign that says “food this way” each might have something different in mind.
Assumptions are great unless they go unexamined.

Assumptions are everywhere in how we humans see the world. In any situation we find ourselves in, there’s way more information to experience and process than we can handle. It is human nature to fill in the gaps with what we think is true.

“Making assumptions allows us to make sense of something when we get limited information. […] Every part of a thing you imagine exists, but aren’t directly perceiving, is an assumption.” from Step by Step Guide to Stand Up Comedy by Greg Dean

Now I’m not here to give assumptions a bad name, quite the opposite. Assumptions…


What happens when you’re a UX designer in an organization that’s new to design? Even though UX design is becoming more common, the tools and skills of UX are not yet everywhere.

You may find yourself in a situation I’ve been before, to be a designer in a place just beginning their UX design journey.

Why do I find this an interesting situation and a worthwhile role to play? It’s a chance to support, encourage, and help spread the tools of human centered design, data informed decision making, and collaboration with the goals of the user and business in mind…

Rob Stenzinger

UX design and research leader, interactive maker. http://interactive-storyteller.com

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