I’m having so much deep thought recently, after being laid off. I think that I need to be a little more intentional in my career path down the line.

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Reflecting on my past

Discipline map

Historically, it looks like I’ve settled on UX as my career, pretty much. There’s probably a little bit of flexibility in this, one way or another, to more design, or more product. See diagram below. I am now somewhere in the middle, but maybe more to the left side. For future, I can stick around or sway to either sides.

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Sorry for the scruffy diagram, this is only relevant to me. :D

I studied graphic design in school, and I still have that affinity. I like graphic design because it allows me to have a bit of control over the final work, and allows me a bit more exploratory time and work on my own, or in a smaller group. The challenge for me on swaying more to this side is I need to build more portfolio around that, which means investing more time and energy. It feels like starting all over again, but I don’t want to close that door. …


Beberapa bulan terakhir, banyak terjadi layoff di berbagai perusahaan, mayoritas disebabkan oleh pandemi COVID-19, akibat perusahaan tidak mampu lagi memprediksi bagaimana mereka akan tetap bertahan atau memperoleh keuntungan di kuartal-kuartal berikutnya.

Apapun sebabnya, dan apapun niatnya, layoff tetaplah jadi momok buruk buat pegawai. Perusahaan bisa saja memberikan pesangon atau mengeksekusinya dengan cara seelegan apapun, tetapi pada akhirnya sama saja: banyak yang kehilangan pekerjaan.

Desainer UX tidak terkecuali terdampak dalam hal ini. Seketika, mereka harus cari pekerjaan baru secepat mungkin, untuk menyambung hidup. Ada yang lebih santai, mungkin punya tabungan cukup atau tidak ada tanggungan. …


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Everybody talks about localization (or globalization, depending on how you see it). I would actually prefer to say it designing or planning with local context, because “localization” sounds like a factory process—like hammering with the same nail and tool to everything.

One worthy definition of localization comes from the W3C:

Localization refers to the adaptation of a product, application or document content to meet the language, cultural and other requirements of a specific target market (a locale).

What I like about this definition is that it includes “cultural and other requirements”, which is almost always an oversight in localization efforts. We tend to think localization is only the language part, but never the content or design. …


It’s another (tech) product jargon day.

“Hygiene.”

Apparently, “hygiene” in product management means getting all the basic things functional and error-free or as much error-free as it can. It depends on the type of product you manage or design. If it was a mobile banking product, these could be hygienes:

  • View your balance
  • View latest transactions
  • Send & receive money
  • Pay bills

Anything other than the basic functions are considered added values or features that are unique or nice to have.

Honestly, I am not a big fan of the term itself.

“Hygiene” often feels like something that you have for the sake of function, and that you don’t have to do them well, just okay enough. It’s one thing to be able to wash your hands for hygiene, but it’s another thing to do a proper hand wash with a good soap. …


It’s not what you don’t know that will get you into trouble. It’s what you think you know that actually isn’t true that will get you into trouble. Mark Twain said it very eloquently.

Most designers think they know everything. They can start designing for anyone anywhere with the five-year experience that they have in their disposal. They sure know how to pull those pixels and utilise familiar patterns.

“Oh sure, users will know how to login. This is a very common pattern.”

“I’m thinking we should design with a certain kind of grid… otherwise things will fall over the place.” …


I know being a recruiter is hard. It’s even harder for designers looking for the correct job. I’m trying to help here, and by no means I think recruitment is an easy business, nor a simple one.

After ten years in the career, I’ve come to a stage where recruiters come to me and offer to talk to me about potential positions. However, there are some pain points here in terms of the way they approach designers, especially those who are not necessarily looking:

Offering to talk too soon

Recruiters are quick to come to making a phone call. Designers who are not looking often need a quick way to “scan” why this opportunity matters, and they don’t always have time or are willing to make a call. It’s a big commitment. Designers who are looking also want to make sure they are engaged with the right pool of opportunities. …


When you deliver designs to stakeholders or to engineering, how would you do it? It must be in the combination of these ways:

  • Sketch files
  • PNG/JPG mockups files
  • Digital prototypes: Invision, Flinto, Framer, Marvel, you name it
  • Videos/GIF files, maybe made using AfterEffects
  • Zeplin link
  • For advanced designers, they might be able to code it using HTML, CSS or directly to XCode or something
  • A dropbox link of some assets

…and then you just send them off to the clients, to your managers, to fellow coworkers.

Then, what would happen after that?

They will come back to you with one of these…


I’ve been told all throughout my design career that being different is the key to success — both for individual level and collective level (a company, for example).

I’ve been told that it’s important to create not only a functional or delightful experience, but it’s also ultimately important to create a “signature” experience where your work becomes you, an identity. Others will try to copy your success.

For example, if you think about pull-to-refresh interaction in iOS apps, it is a signature. It was not thought by Apple or other app designers alike. Tweetie, the popular Twitter app back in 2009–2010, introduced it. …


I’ve been in companies that time-tracked my time as a designer. I can say, I don’t like doing it. There’s only one case where I am willing to do it: in a client-billable situation, like in agencies or software development houses. Even in that case, it should be restricted to only the hours that we actually bill to clients.

In this article, I’d try to refute the reasons people would time track their employees.

1. I need to know what my employees are doing

If you really need to micromanage in the first place, then you’d better not hire your employees in the first place. You hire someone because you believe in them, and create an environment full of trust. …


Designing for the Asian market is a whole new challenge. Asia is bound with diversity, and the way technology is adapted in its regions is vastly different to each others. For example, the China market is a pretty unique market rooting from its relatively “closed” system that prevents western apps being used extensively inside. In the end, it is logical that the market tries to help and support itself: local startups and companies have been racing to develop and market their apps specifically for domestic audience. Being a bit “apart” from the global tech scene allows the local apps to establish their own “norms” and “behaviours”, largely influenced by the local users. …

About

Sigit Adinugroho

Reflections on digital product design, travel, food and the in-betweens. Finding my compass.

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