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This week we'll talk about the value of experiments, what my new favorite design software is, and why email is a great tool to keep users engaged. And, I have a very fun adult & kid friendly product that I'm loving! 

Happy Friday! 

When was the last time you decided to run an experiment? If you're like me, it was probably a long time ago.

I'm the type of person who has a ton of ideas, but I often don't make time to act on my ideas. And they get tucked away in a notebook and left there. That is ... until I stumble upon someone else on the Internet who's done my idea! Then, I beat myself up and think, "if I'd only started 6 months ago, think of where I'd be." 

At the end of last year, I decided to start doing more experiments. So for the last four months, I've been testing all kinds of new ideas including online courses, different types of content for my blog and social media, different workflows with my virtual assistant, new software to help me design more effectively, and more. 

I have learned a ton through this process. I definitely had experiments that did not go well. But the key to experimenting is to not stop when you don't get the outcome you expected. Instead, just run another experiment and change the variable. 

I recently did this and during the process I uncovered a brand new idea for my business that never would have dreamt up on my own. But, it wouldn't have happened if I hadn't taken a few risks and invested some money and time into these experiments. 

Here's my challenge to you for next week ... write down all the ideas you have over the course of the week. Then, at the end of the week decide to act on one of those ideas. And by "act" I mean figure out a way to test that idea. That might mean making a little prototyping, doing some customer interviews, trying out a new recipe, it doesn't have to be related to design or your job! Over the last four months I was also testing new ideas for my running training and I actually ran my fastest half marathon ever in a time of 1:43:59 (which is an average of 7:56 / mile). And what's more exciting is that I had mostly negative splits, which means that each mile was getting faster! 

Don't forget to write down all your ideas and I'll check in with you next week to hear what you're going to experiment with. Maybe we'll even make a hashtag to hold each other accountable, stay tuned! 

Also, thanks to many of you who came to Wednesday's online UX Masterclass on how to plan & do user research. It went really well and everyone asked what the next class would be about. I don't know yet! So, you tell me. What topic do you want me to teach on next? Reply back to this email and tell me! 

Ok, that's all for this week. On with the rest of the great stuff I have for you today ...
 

UX Tip of the Day

 
In experiments don't focus on the right or wrong. Look for invisible insights for your next big idea.

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Smart Reads

 
The 10 Best Sketch App Plug-Ins
If you're a UX designer you know how many steps are involved in making a prototype. In the past, I had to export JPGs from Omnigraffle and put them into InVision. It worked but it was a lot of effort. I also used Photoshop and InVision but never got the syncing to work well. Recently I used Sketch and InVision to make a prototype for DowJones and it was absolutely seamless. I never once had to wonder if I was viewing updated screens in InVision because was automatic. Sketch is the most exciting product I've used for design in a long time. There are a ton of features coming that will blow your mind. And, the design community is creating a lot of very helpful plug-ins like the ones in this article. If you're not using it, you need to try it out this week with a Sketch 30-day free trial


Why Lifecycle Emails Are The Magic Pixie Dust of User Onboarding
The key to creating a product that is successful is to get people to not just use your product once, but to come back again and again! One of the ways you can do that is to use email to stay in touch with them and give them reasons to use your product. Staying in touch with your users through email helps build a relationship with them and continue to educate them about the value your product provides. But, you have to do it tactfully. Otherwise you'll seem like a hot mess! This article outlines a variety of emails you can send during your product's lifecycle that make sense and that give you legitimate reasons to email your users. 


Design In Tech Report 2016
Every year an Internet Trends report is published by Mary Meeker from the VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. This year marks the second year for another great report, Design In Tech, from KPCB. Published by Design Partner John Maeda, this report looks at the design industry and seeks to share insights and ideas for the future. One big theme this year was the idea that we need to expand the lens of design. Maeda proposes that there are 3 types of design: Classical Design, Design Thinking, and Computational Design. For a company to truly be design focused, Maeda suggests that it must excel in at least two of these types of design. I've always believed that the best design happens at the intersection of design, technology, and business. So I could not agree more! You can view the full Design In Tech report here


How To Design A Neighborhood For Happiness
As people who work in design, I think it's important that we consider design as it relates to other industries. That's why I wanted to share this article with you. The design of the spaces we live in significantly impacts the experience we have. Cities and towns where there are less sidewalks lead to people driving and interacting with each other less. A lack of common spaces like parks, plazas, and community gathering spots lead to more isolation which can lead to many social and actually physical ailments as well. This article about how to design a neighborhood is fascinating to me. If you're curious about this topic, you might be interested in two companies that are creating co-living spaces for people including Common and WeLive (by WeWork).  


Optimizing your Design For Rapid Prototype Testing
If your team always says you should prototype more, but you don't actually ever create prototypes, then this article is for you. Prototyping can be a bit intimidating. First, there's the issue of what software you should use to prototype - what method is best? Second, there's the issue of believing that you need to code to prototype (which you don't). And third, the challenge of deciding what you should test during prototyping and what variables you should change in each version. This article walks you through a few scenarios to give you examples of how to think about approaching your own prototyping project. Don't be intimidated by prototyping. Just choose a small project or feature and focus on that. Don't try to prototype an entire product if it's your first time prototyping! Curious to learn more about prototyping? Reply back to this email and let me know because I might do an upcoming UX Master Class about prototyping! 
 


Product I'm Loving


Tattly: Designer Temporary Tattoos

Yes, this is as awesome as it sounds. Though I've never been a person who wanted a tattoo, I do find them fun now that I know I can make it go away! 

Tattly is a company that makes "designer-y temporary tattoos". They work with artists to create custom designs and the tattoos are made of all natural ingredients and inks. So, they are very kid safe too! 

I love sending these as gifts to friends and family and for special occasions. There are a lot of great designs for kids and adults, so you'll probably have a hard time deciding. 

I'm stocking up on some for an upcoming girls weekend because who doesn't want wear metallic gold tattoos while on the beach?! 

Check it out at Tattly.com

 

ON THE BLOG 


Why It Pays To Invest In User Research



Why should we spend more time thinking about the problem than working on the solution? Well, the answer is quite simple. The more we understand a problem, the more obvious the solution will be.

Read more here >
 


Why You Can’t Afford to Skip User Research
 

 
When you’re designing a website or an app, you can’t assume that you know best. Sure you probably have some good assumptions about what you think will work. But to truly set yourself up for success, you must intimately understand the people who use or will use your product.

Read more here >
 

That's all for this week, have a great weekend!

Talk soon,
Sarah

 
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Sarah Doody
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New York, NY 10004

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