Daily UI Design Challenges: Challenge 005

Today’s chaallenge was “App Icon“.

The hint was:

Design an app icon. What best represents the brand or product? Or is it incredibly unique? Does it look great at a distance and does it stand out when put on your home screen alongside other apps?  

I found this incredibly hard. The limited space and aspect ratio, and trying to think of something and make something that would communicate the purpose and still stand out on the home screen. I definitely didn’t succeed but it was a learning experience for sure.

Daily UI Design Challenges: Challenge 004

Today’s challenge was “Calculator“.

The hint was:

Hint: Design a calculator. Standard, scientific, or specialty calculator for something such as a mortgage? Is it for a phone, a tablet, a web app?

I started with a basic, standard, JavaScript calculator, and styled it to look modern with dark blues.

DailyUI Design Challenges: Challenge 003

Today’s challenge was: Landing Page (above the fold).

The hint was:

Hint: What’s the main focus? Is it for a book, an album, a mobile app, a product? Consider important landing page elements (call-to-actions, clarity, etc.)

I thought I’d try something new so I signed up for a trial of Lander and built my design there. Here’s how it turned out:

If you want to see more, keep watching here, on Twitter, or on LinkedIn!

DailyUI Design Challenges: Challenge 001

Prompted by Mel Milloway, I decided to sign up for the 100 day Daily UI challenge. I got my first emails today and have started off!

Each challenge is decidedly open-ended. It’s interesting to see how different people interpret!  Challenge #001 was simply: “Sign Up“. An additional hint was provided:

Hint: Design a sign up page, modal, form, app screen, etc. (It’s up to you!) Don’t forget to share on Dribbble and/or Twitter when you’re done.

So I decided to just jump in and go!  I made this design using MockPlus. My interpretation is that people mostly hate signing up for more things, so I’ve provided a number of ways of authenticating rather than signing up directly. This form would also serve as a sign in form. Below is the tweet where I shared my mockup!


Mentoring is an extremely valuable way to speed up learning. Getting the opportunity to get feedback and glean knowledge from more experienced people who have been through what you’re going through is an incredible opportunity.

I think that sometimes we over-formalize it, though. I’ve experienced many of what I call “mentoring moments”– short, casual interactions where someone helped me learn something new or gain perspective.  Likewise, I’ve been on the mentor side of these experiences as well, sharing knowledge and perspective with others who could immediately benefit.

I don’t think we pay enough attention to these great opportunities. I remember about 15 years ago, when I first learned about all the different selection tools in Photoshop.  I wanted to make someone a new userpic for their LiveJournal (shut up, it was 2002) and I was painstakingly erasing a background, zoomed in, pixel by pixel. A designer I knew jumped in and said “Oh geeeez, you can do that so much faster, let me help you.” and he showed me how to easily select and delete just what I wanted.

Definitely a mentoring moment!  Coming away from that, I knew to always check for an easier way if I found myself hip-deep in something detailed and tedious in Photoshop. And I watch for those opportunities now, much more closely.

I’ve also participated in formalized mentoring programs. While I get huge benefits from these (shoutout to my mentor Heather from 4 years ago!) I think they’re just part of how people can really strap their advancement to a jetpack.

Over the next couple weeks, keep an eye out for these mentoring moments. Can you show someone how to set the speed on the treadmill faster? Did someone help you get your WebEx session set up properly on the first try?  All these go into making you and others smarter, more capable, and more awesome.

Learning new things

Learning something new can be incredibly frustrating. There’s a period at the beginning of learning a new skill where you just suck and it can be really hard to get past that. Indeed, it’s a really easy place to decide you don’t want to learn that new thing after all.

But if you can structure your learning in such a way that you’re picking up enough useful bits to progress early on, suddenly you can make it over that initial hump and start to really become proficient, even highly skilled.

While it feels like it can take forever to get past that initial barrier, it’s not really that much time that you have to invest to get there.  In fact, some research suggests it takes only about 20 hours.

Reassuring!  Here’s a TED talk video to get you thinking about this:

Public library awesomeness

I had a bit of time to kill this morning and decided to hit up a local public library for a while. What a great idea!

Aside from having lots of books and magazines to get lost in, I’ve also got a comfy chair, WiFi, and power to charge my phone (on which I’m writing this post!)

A great place to spend a few hours for sure. Since the library was renovated, it’s better than ever for accessing great programs, music, and more. I also love that cardholders get access to Lynda.com, Ancestry, and a bunch of other cool things, all for free.

Gonna hunt down a book or two! Happy Tuesday!




I‘m relentlessly, hopelessly curious. I can’t help myself. When presented with interesting questions or situations, I can’t help but dig in and figure out more. Why can’t we do it that way? What is the barrier here? What might cause a rash like that? How frequently does it actually rain in Portland? Why does the staple box say 2000 on it when there’s definitely more staples than that in there (I checked)?  What cool things will this software do for me? How could I make this process less painful? I’m always faced with interesting paths to take and things to learn.

The internet is a limitless playground (and time-sink) for people like me. I’ve often wound up down the wiki-hole, realizing at 2am I’ve been reading about maritime disasters for an hour because I looked up Shirley Temple 5 hours ago.

This leads to me picking up and remembering all kinds of information and skill that I might not otherwise.  It turns out the staples often fall off the ends during the packing process and 2000 leaves a bit of a margin to allow for that. Sometimes the answer to “we can’t do it that way” is “decades-old politics” and not a physical or economical reason. Solar activity made once made tv satellites fail such that people had to have their dishes pointed differently. This is the kind of ridiculous stuff that I will always have in my head.

All this random information often helps when presented with really weird problems, though. Knowing how things work makes it easier to figure out how to fix broken things. Reading about weird happenings makes it easier to jump in and try something crazy when it just might work.

There’s some research that shows that curiosity can predict problem-solving ability as well. It’s becoming a key skill in the workplace. I’ve learned to embrace it rather than limit it- if finding out Wilford Brimley is still alive means that I discover (through a series of about 7 hops) that there’s a cool Entrepreneur’s Guild in the UK, and one of their members is Jenny Garrett who has great things to share, then that’s awesome and probably a resource for me in the future!

Where has your curiosity led you?

Institute for Performance and Learning conference, day 2!

Good day wrapping up the conference! The keynote this morning was Dr. Mary Donohue, who the attendees enjoyed. I didn’t agree with some of her statements and conclusions, but they seemed to resonate with others.

Four sessions again today, covering microlearning sprints, executive-ready presentations, virtual reality, and taking charge of professional development.

Some great conversations with new and old friends about authoring tools, design, and workplace cultures. I look forward to more in the future!

For now, headed home on the train. More to share tomorrow!

Institute for Performance and Learning Conference, Day 1!

Great day at the Institute for Performance and Learning conference today!

First up this morning was a brilliant talk from Ajay Agrawal: How Machine Learning can Transform the Economy. Some fascinating examples and ways of thinking to help us understand how AI is going to change the way things are done, and how the value of different skills and tasks will change.

Read more on Twitter.

After that, I attended 4 sessions today: The ABCs of xAPI, Scenes from L&D, Confidence Based Assessments, and Grand Theft Marketing.  Check out this Storify from the day!