poorly drawn thinking face close up
poorly drawn thinking face close up

“I’m usually not that negative but this is bad…”

— Well-meaning fellow designer

In a matter of minutes, a few more comments popped out mocking my poor writing and lack of actionable information in my article.

My mood sank.

They are right!

I start writing responses to each one, justifying myself like a schoolgirl without homework.

Five seconds later: What am I doing? I don’t need this.

I open back Reddit and delete the entry post with all the comments.

Moved on with my day as if nothing had happened.

As a digital product designer, you need to come up…


illustration of an eyes closeup with big red square in the middle
illustration of an eyes closeup with big red square in the middle
The biggest pixel I’ve seen

Crickets!

This is what I hear after I’m done with a product design.

Or even worse, well-meaning opinions of people who are not the real customers of the product. To this, I have to respond with a promise that I’m not sure I can keep.

How do you prove what you’ve designed is the right solution? I know what you are thinking — prototyping, user testing, user interviews.

But let’s be honest.

This is not real proof. It’s a promise. It’s a promise from a stranger who doesn’t care to keep it.

So what is UI/UX design in that sense…


Badly drawn closed eyes closeup
Badly drawn closed eyes closeup
Command + between your hairy eyebrows

The traditional way of finding your niche as a designer is unsatisfying.

It’s a solid logical approach grounded in market demand. It’s also boring to me. It’s really uninspiring and demotivating. Afterward, you are done with the mental exercise of finding some sort of answer. Let’s say I picked fintech.

You going to be a designer of fintech products. I get excited to change my LinkedIn bio and my website tagline. And then my motivation drops. Why is that?

What did the market and most of the people participating in it value the most? Money. …


Badly drawn “UX” letters looking like a virus molecule
Badly drawn “UX” letters looking like a virus molecule
This looks like some sort of special doughnuts to me.

They say — in hard times you see who your real friends are.
You also see how much the business values your work.
And it doesn’t look great for UX designers.

Design is never done in isolation. We work for businesses. We pride ourselves that we help them solve important problems. Most businesses have big problems right now. And they are not looking to us for answers. This should give you an idea of how much of what we like to claim is true.

Design is inherently wasteful. To innovate and find solutions to complex problems, you need to experiment…


Poorly drawn Frankenstein illustration
Poorly drawn Frankenstein illustration
Version 0.1

“An interactive prototype is not going to work.”

I was surprised. I had never experienced someone objecting so firmly to a prototype. But the guy was right. These types of users in this context will not get it. This is their first smartphone. In the best case, they have only primary education with no previous experience in a professional environment. They also have unstable internet connections.

We have to build the entire app, give it to them, stand back and observe.

“This is a huge amount of risk!”

You are commenting months of design and development work with the possibility…


There are too many of us already. Maybe you should quit.
Or I should quit.

Badly drawn illustration of a floating head with magnifying glass and a smoking pipe
Badly drawn illustration of a floating head with magnifying glass and a smoking pipe
What’s the joke here? I don’t get it.

I’m a disaster marketing myself. And it seems there’s no way around it anymore especially if you are a full-time freelancer. And the first thing is to pick who you serve. What’s your niche?

It seems like we all copy one another and we suffer for it.

I design user-centred apps that people love to use.

And this does not help. It seems that people who hire designers don’t care about you and what you do. Or at least this is what I’ve found.

As usual, I dug around to look for solutions. Here is what I found.

How to craft a positioning statement

Here is…


Badly drawn illustration of a floating head of a guy pretending to mind read
Badly drawn illustration of a floating head of a guy pretending to mind read
I’m UXing with my mind

This is it. UI design is going to die. It will happen this year.

Don’t freak out.

It’s gonna die at least for me anyway.

I’m kind of over it. I’m not so excited any more to do an endless number of boxes with rounded corners.

We can change this job title as much as we want. Call it UX designer, a product designer or whatever the next thing will be. But at the end of the day, you have a pile of screens you need to produce and maintain. …


Badly drawn illustration of a floating head of a guy looking like a member of a savage tribe
Badly drawn illustration of a floating head of a guy looking like a member of a savage tribe

Leaving in an adobe hut drawing wireframes for fin-tech apps in the mud.

Almost…
Leaving in a rented one-bedroom apartment, close to a noisy boulevard and parking lot that sells second-hand cars from the better parts of Europe.

Seating in my living room early in the morning writing this hoping I’ll be recognized as a part of the global design community. And be awarded the attention of wealthy foreign clients that are eager to pay me as an equal.

Thinking of how different my life would be if I was living in the US, the land of endless opportunities. Feeding…


Badly drawn illustration of a two floating heads one looking like a homeless the other like a well fed designer
Badly drawn illustration of a two floating heads one looking like a homeless the other like a well fed designer

Backstory

Ta-daa!
This is it. What do you think?
I was secretly working on this for the last year and a half. I think it’s exactly what you need.

When you run a lean software business it’s never a good time to redesign until it comes to the point where your survival depends on it.

When brought to the table а redesign is often “nice to have”. One’s thought is always “Let´s first do this other important stuff and when the devs have some free time we can refresh the design.” It’s most often cosmetic when someone decides to do a…


Badly drawn illustration of a super hyped floating head with sticky notes flying around
Badly drawn illustration of a super hyped floating head with sticky notes flying around
High on sprint

The Backstory

I was getting kind of upset.

Chopping and piling pixels like a mad Alaskan bush man preparing for the winter. For the longest time, I thought that was expected of me.

Then a bunch of personal stuff happened alongside a massive burnout from having a full-time job and freelancing on the side.

After almost a year of being a stay-at-home dad and dealing with my health, I made a decision to venture out on my own. It quickly became apparent that what I used to do as a part-time freelancer will not work as a sustainable one-man business.

I was…

Vasil Nedelchev

Beyond a design career — vasil.co

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