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Designer, coder and animator with a passion for typography / www.simon-li.com / www.free-illustrations.com

If the major of your bachelor’s degree isn’t any UX related field such as graphic design or human-computer interaction (HCI), one possible pathway to break into UX is to study HCI in grad school. A good master’s degree in HCI gives you a solid foundation in UX design, some practical experience of working as a UXer for a real client, and a pretty good credential for landing a product design job. That said, grad schools are not a prerequisite for being a UXer. They tend to be expensive and not that easy to get into. …


Sprites are small images on its own inside a page or screen that typically contain a single object with a transparent background, just like the satellite receiver, the TV and the profile picture in the following examples.

The satellite receiver and the TV in this webpage in 1999 are sprites. Websites in the 90s and early 2000s tend to use more sprites compared to now. Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnoO7H0m0Zw


As product designers, one of the challenges we often face is to come up with new products or features in a short time frame, whether that’s at work or during a job hunt. More often than not, the prompts of these assignments tend to be brief and the problems are likely open-ended. Without a lot of specifics, how can we create something meaningful without designing haphazardly and feeling overwhelmed? Having gone through multiple projects like this, I’ve learned to stick to the 3 principles below so I can navigate these situations more easily. …


Depression may not be something we’d like to openly and seriously talk about. It can even take a certain amount of courage and vulnerability to acknowledge this feeling within us, but life can be tough, and depression sometimes does occur when we’re facing challenges and difficulties in our job, our family, our school, our relationships that feel insurmountable. How can we maintain a positive, upbeat attitude without letting hardship knocks us into depression? How can we maintain a healthy mind, so that we can be resilient no matter what life throws at us?

I recently finished the book Feeling Good


We recently completed a design project in which a series of workshops were needed at the beginning to help us gain clarity on the problem we were solving and think creatively. The workshops went well, and it was a good opportunity for me to put my knowledge into practice. I figured it’d be nice to summarize the things I’ve learned about UX workshops here, and hope you’ll find them useful too.

1. There’s a divergent phase followed by a convergent phase.

Don’t run a workshop just because we can do so.

The characteristic of workshops is that they have a divergent phase followed by a convergent phase. Use workshops…


Time flies. A whole year has almost passed. In this blog post, I just wanted to go through some of the books I’ve read this year and reflect on what I’ve learned. Hopefully, this would also inspire you to think about the books you’ve read and those you may want to read in the new year.

Disclaimer: these are just my own interpretations of the books. Plus, my memory isn’t perfect. There could be errors or misinterpretations of the original content. …


I posted 100 illustrations on my Instagram account.

I recently posted my 100th illustration on Instagram. 100 — a number I never thought would be possible. It took me two years to reach this milestone. Through this journey, my illustration skill improved quite a bit, and I created many pieces I liked, but more importantly, I learned to challenge my limiting beliefs, and practiced self-compassion.

How I Got Started

Sketching didn’t come naturally to me. I used to be pretty bad at it and rarely drew, but somehow I was drawn to illustrations by their quirky styles and use of colors as I saw more and more of them in apps and…


Two weeks ago, I tried usertesting.com for the first time because I needed to conduct a usability test. It was a tool recommended by a coworker, and I found it really helpful. If you’re a UX researcher or designer out there who needs to conduct interviews or user studies, give it a try and you could be happily surprised.

Fast Recruitment of Participants

I was most impressed by the fact that it was super fast and efficient. My study needed 10 users for a think aloud task. Within less than an hour, the system was able to recruit 10 participants, have them all complete…


A large part of UI design is graphic design. Many of the techniques in graphic design, such as the use of a grid, the CRAP principles (contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity), and color theory etc, are transferrable and can be applied to UI design as well. However, there are certain techniques that don’t work quite as well. I didn’t realize this until recently. Those techniques fell flat when I tried to use them to design the UI of a feature. I reflected on why it backfired and here are the two reasons.

Fixed Content vs Fluid Content

UI designers love to use “lorem ipsum” as…

Simon Li

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