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UX + Design Teams with Nick Finck — DT101 E117

Nick Fink is a design and research leader with over two decades of experience in the industry. Nick currently consults and advises businesses on design and research in Seattle through his company, Craft & Rigor. We talk about UX evolution, design teams, and UX coaching and mentoring.

Portrait of Nick Finck

Listen to Learn About

  • Core disciplines of UX design
  • What is interaction design?
  • What does it mean to be a UX designer today?
  • The challenges UX and design face in today’s business environment

Our Guest

Nick Finck is a design and research leader with over two decades of experience in the industry. He strives to improve people’s lives through crafting well-designed experiences that matter. Nick currently consults and advises businesses on design and research through Craft & Rigor in Seattle. Before this, he was in design and research leadership roles at Amazon Web Services, Facebook, Ubermind, Deloitte Digital, projekt202, and his own agency Blue Flavor.

Nick’s contributions to the UX community go far and wide. He is an experienced public speaker and has given over 102 talks in 10 countries. He has helped countless industry professionals and career transitioners as a design coach and mentor. Earlier in his career, he was the publisher of Digital Web Magazine, an online magazine for web professionals.

Show Highlights

[02:44] Nick takes us in the wayback machine, back to dialup days and his start in web development.
[03:53] Moving from web development into web design, and following that thread into interaction design and UX.
[05:53] Nick talks about creating his model highlighting the core disciplines of UX.
[07:27] Starting off with user research and understanding your users.
[07:53] Communicating through content.
[08:12] Adding structure and organization.
[08:41] Designing user interactions based on user behavior.
[09:38] Evaluating the work.
[11:29] Changes Nick would make to his model today.
[13:41] What’s happening in UX design today.
[15:39] What does it mean to be a UX designer today?
[16:02] People are often confused as to what UX design actually is.
[16:50] How the confusion has fractured the UX community.
[20:45] UX and design teams.
[21:12] The concept of design maturity.
[23:04] There is a lack of resources and transitional roles for a designer’s career path into management.
[24:56] Nick’s “Big Wheel” analogy for design in organizations.
[26:00] You probably don’t have enough designers.
[27:02] There is more to UX than UI design.
[27:46] The disappointment of companies not giving UX design the time and space it needs to really shine.
[28:34] You cannot do effective UX design without user research.
[30:41] Form ever follows function.
[31:55] UX is about helping users solve problems.
[32:40] Dawan talks about how Indi Young approaches user research.
[33:07] Understanding someone’s purpose as the starting point for design.
[34:10] Nick shares an example from his work on the importance of understanding someone’s story and journey.
[38:23] A Miro Moment.
[40:51] Things Nick wishes companies knew about UX.
[41:08] UX is not just about the product.
[42:54] Rethinking how your company operates and taking the time to examine legacy tech and processes.
[44:45] Bill Buxton’s talk about technology and innovation in technology.
[47:06] Nick’s advice for company executives when it comes to design.
[48:49] Where to learn more about Nick and his work.
[49:31] What Nick does in his business advisory consulting work.
[52:34] Sharing what a “yes” would look like, to plant the seed for future change.


Nick on Twitter
Nick on LinkedIn
Nick’s website
Craft and Rigor on Twitter
Design Career Network, How to build a well-rounded, effective design team
User Defenders Podcast: 036: No Designer Left Behind with Nick Finck
Bill Buxton at TechFest 2013: Designing for Ubiquitous Computing

Design Thinking 101 Episodes You Might Like

UX + Into, Through, and (Almost) Out of Design with Kara DeFrias — DT101 E103
UX + Navigating Rough Design Waters + Design Leadership with Dennis Lenard — DT101 E82
UX Research + Research Teams + UX Camp DC with Glennette Clark — DT101 E80

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