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Chris R Becker

A primer knowledge for being a Designer.

As 10 x 10 illustration
As 10 x 10 illustration
10x10 Illustration

In graduate school (2009–2010) at the I was given a 10x10 list of things I should know before starting my first day. Think of it as a prep list for what we should know coming into graduate school. Now that I have been out a practicing UX Designer for 10 yrs. Here is my 10 x 10 list for being a Designer. (UX/IxD/UI/Visual Design/CX/LX).

This list is Books to read, thinkers to follow, people to learn from, as well as design projects worth paying attention to.

Cognitive bias with tools in UX and beyond.

A Illustration of a hammer as a patent diagram and a nail
A Illustration of a hammer as a patent diagram and a nail
Hammer + Nail

“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”

Abraham Maslow — 1966

Abraham Maslow, the father of human psychology developed an idea known as , also called the law of instruments, it is a cognitive bias concept that involves the over-reliance on a familiar tool.

As a refresher, is a systematic error in thinking that occurs when people are processing and interpreting information in the world around them and affects the decisions and judgments that they make.

Tools in UX and beyond

Technology tools, business tools…

The role storytelling plays in being a better designer.

An illustration of a man being a Raconteur storyteller
An illustration of a man being a Raconteur storyteller
Design Raconteur

Raconteur — a person who tells anecdotes in a skillful and amusing way.

Pssst… Storytelling is your job! As Designers, whatever your ilk Product/UX/UI/IxD/CX/LX/Graphic/Strategy/Education/Writing/etc., your role is storytelling. (From this point onward, I will be using “Designer” to discuss the various roles in design as it applies to the topic.)

The Panofsky Method + Le Corbusier’s Building Model

If you are unfamiliar with the Panofsky method it comes from Erwin Panofsky, a German art historian who in 1932 looked into the study of iconography and believed that for us to fully understand the meaning behind any particular piece of art/design, cultural context needs to be applied.

Panofsky applied his method to iconography (religious symbols) in art and wrote multiple books including Meaning in the Visual Arts.

3 Scenarios for how UX applies psychological flexibility to its practice.

Illustration of Flexible Psychology — Olivia Newton-John Physical on the brain
Illustration of Flexible Psychology — Olivia Newton-John Physical on the brain
Build Flexible Psychology — Olivia Newton-John — Physical

I recently came across the description of a personality trait and thought “this is a UX designer!”


A psychologically flexible person is characterized by a set of attitudes and skills: they are generally open to and accepting of experiences, whether they are good or bad; they try to be mindfully aware of the present moment; they experience difficult thoughts without ruminating on them; they seek to maintain a broader perspective when faced with a challenge; they continue to pursue important goals despite setbacks; and they maintain contact with “deeper values,” no matter…

Use the Socratic method to improve teaching strategies, and move beyond failure for UX and UI.’

Getting Struck in the face Log Cutting Failure

Successful problem-solving involves failing. Failing comes in many forms and can be called many things. We have called failure things like “getting stuck”, “I’m blocked”, “I’ve gotten derailed”, “I’m sidetracked”, “I have made a misstep”, “I got defeated” or “I’m uninspired” when solving problems one of these “Failures” is enviable. The question:

What do you do when you “fail”?

There are many types of failure but let’s discuss the two main occurrences where failure looms large.

  1. Failure to start
  2. Failure in execution

1. Failure to Start

At art school, I studied painting and learned the concept known as…

Holding the line as UX Designer to solve your user's problem.

The 1990’s classic film has a well-known scene with Alec Baldwin. (Honestly, In my option it is one of his best comedic performances.)

ABC from GlennGary Glenn Ross

“ABC — always be closing”

I am no Alec Baldwin that I’m for sure but at this point as a UX/UI Design Educator, I feel like I am always saying something like this to my students. My version goes.

ABTI: always be testing & iterating

An illustration the letters of ABTI — Always Be Testing and Iterating
An illustration the letters of ABTI — Always Be Testing and Iterating
ABTI — Always be Testing & Iterating

As UX designers we spend a lot of time thinking about our users. …

Now that we are all stuck inside for a while it is a good opportunity to keep inspired. Here is a list of inspirational content to help stave off the challenges and keep you curious.

Designers to listen to

Willem Hendrik Crouwel is one of the greatest graphic designers worldwide. He studied at the Academie Minerva (Art School) in Groningen.

Wim Crouwel — Graphic Designer

Hartmut Esslinger — Advice For Designers a German-American industrial designer and inventor. He is best known for founding the design consultancy Frog Design Inc.

Hartmut Esslinger — Frog Founder

Fred Deakin is a British designer, educator and musician. He is part of the electronic music duo Lemon Jelly, and was one of the founders of design firm Airside. Since 2012 Deakin has set up a new venture called Fred & Company, dedicated to artistic…

Gaining skills that distinguish you as a human-centered problem solver becomes paramount as the number of UX/UI designers grow and their titles change from webmaster to product architect and beyond.

The challenge of being a human-centered designer is there is a lot to remember and tons of knowledge to maintain. The truth is many of the roles that exist in the umbrella of User Experience have overlapping skills and it is our responsibility to build and maintain a strong foundation of knowledge.

More info on design roles:

Growing our foundational UX knowledge is what makes us good designers. UX design is improved through practice, memory, repetition, and execution of our knowledge in our work, therefore let’s apply

Applying Miller’s Law to these 9 foundational concepts will help you memorize and…

As the line between a physical product and a web product blurs, there are essential factors that should be applied to any interface to improve its utility, usability, accessibility, and delight for your users.


Chris R Becker

Lead Curriculum Architect (UX/UI) @ 2U inc + Sr. UX designer / LX Educator @ UCLA/UCI/ArtCenter/LMU

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