That Will Never Work may not be a book for designers at first glance. As I delved deeper into the journey that Marc Randolph went through to found Netflix, I realized that the book is actually full of amazing real-life examples of product thinking and idea testing. It’s a great read for not just aspiring entrepreneurs, but also product designers and managers.

Start with the Right Mindset: All Ideas Are Bad

This speaks to a lot of entrepreneurs or product designers.

As product people, too often we’re obsessed with our brilliant idea and dream about the success that it could bring. …

Colors create vibes and convey tones of voice. Often times, rookies designers pick those that are too saturated while the more experienced are able to select the more muted ones to create a vintage and sophisticated look and feel. This is not to say that we should always use muted colors. One exception, for example, is kids products. That said, choosing sophisticated colors is one of those skills that I believe if you master, it’ll catapult your design to the next level.

Let’s forget about RGB for a while and switch to HSB, which is an easier way to describe…

Product designers work inside a team rather than in isolation. Though a good designer could work on anything from product strategy, UX research, interaction design, visual design to prototyping, how much influence he can have in shaping the product is subject to the team that he is in and the lead of the team, which is usually the PM — that is — the product manager.

Working with a PM that understands design and values product thinking gives us the opportunity to make an impact. Whereas if the PM lacks this understanding, the contribution we can make is greatly limited…

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 their 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 pictures 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:

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. …

Simon Li

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