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Addie Johnson
writing about the intersection of design, business, and technology //

A job shouldn't be your source of happiness or fulfillment, but it shouldn't make you upset or frustrated either.

We spend so much of our time (and lives!) working, which goes to show how easy it is for our jobs to become tangled and tied into our identities, which can be incredibly toxic to self esteem and self worth.

Wildly overused sayings like ‘find your passion’ are well-intended, but do a lot more harm than good. They imply that once you find what you love to do, working in that field will be easy.

More and more mainstream creative jobs…

How do you validate your ideas and know whether or not you should actually move forward with them—without losing thousands of dollars in the process?

Person overlooking a crossroads on a mountain top
Standing at the idea crossroads. Photo by Justin Luebke on Unsplash

1. You know what you’re trying to prove.

When you can boil down your entire idea into one core hypothesis, you’re ready to start testing.

Do you know what problem you’re solving? Summarize it in one sentence. If you’re not solving a specific problem, then you’re just building something you want to build, not something that people want to be built. That’s arguably art, not design. Your hypothesis should be a one-sentence solution to whatever one-sentence problem you came up with.

2. You understand who you’re trying to help.

Whose problem are you helping solve? Where is this person hanging out online? …

How to Get More Things Done by Using Todoist and Notion Together

I made a pretty unprecedented and sudden decision to completely overhaul my entire productivity system this week. Over the course of 4 hours, I categorized, re-ordered, and eliminated over 250 tasks and reorganized over 20 sectioned projects on my Todoist app into 3.

The catalyst was simple.

For the past 8 years, I have been using Todoist as my main application to track everything in my life. …

Should you purchase a Professional or Organization plan? This is a comprehensive breakdown of the reasons why you might want one or the other.

Once you’ve extended the life of your Figma Starter plan and can see your enterprise scaling beyond one team project (and needing a more robust collaboration for more than three team files), you may be starting to think about upgrading to a more powerful plan.

On the Figma website, we can see that there are some nice-to-haves on both plans.

Price plans from the Figma website.
Image credit to the website.

So, which one do you need? And what’s the major difference for the additional $12 vs $45 per month per user?

90% of small teams who need just a slightly more robust sharing system and version control are probably going to be perfectly fine with the Professional plan. …

This is a long-standing debate, and plenty of other articles have written about this topic and the technical complexities of each program. However, I’ve been getting a lot of questions recently about switching UI design programs and which ones are best/easiest/most reliable to use, and wanted to throw my two cents into the ring with some developer-backed research.

Michelangelo painting with the three prototyping tool logos pasted on the faces as a meme
photo cred: Michelangelo; meme credit: yours truly

Although Sketch has been long touted as the Mac-based powerhouse of UI design for years, Adobe XD and Figma have become equally viable options for designers around the world.

Of course, the one you choose depends on every design/dev team context and…

Asking manual and automation QAs to merge skillsets can be a recipe for context switching. Separating them will result in significantly faster development cycles and productivity.

Illustration by Kate Mangostar

With the evolution of testing, there is an increasing discrepancy in job duties and obligations between manual and automation QA. As a manual QA, you are planning test suites, pairing with the development team to reproduce and log software defects, and crafting test cases to hit the expected (and unexpected) user paths in new features. As an automation QA, you are using tools and code to design, test, and deploy effective automation solutions and scripts in different test environments.

In my experience, it’s fairly difficult to context switch between manual and automation planning and testing. Not only is this difficult…

How to visualize the steps within your workflow to achieve a more productive planning process

How I block my calendar

As a freelancer or small business owner with many moving pieces in running a business — from accounting to client management, to the actual fulfillment jobs — it can be easy to let a hectic week slide by while simultaneously not feeling like you got anything accomplished. Or, you have some other time imbalance that takes up your to-do list and forces you to deprioritize things like family or friend time. …

How the documenting process has developed foundations of product design practice.

Illustrated people standing and thinking of ideas
Illustration by Kate Mango

When I was studying graphic design in college, there was always one thing required from every student at the end of the year — the process book. It was easy to tell which process books were scrapped together moments before the deadline. (Trust me, I tried once. My professors were not so impressed.)

It was in those developing years that I learned the importance and emphasis on process work as a way to help conceptualize patterns, relationships, and visual systems. Process made us diagnose the real design problems before we jumped into visual solutions.

Sound familiar?

Modern-day product designers encounter…

Who needs New Year’s Resolutions when you can create an actual New Year roadmap for your business?

Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

Running your own business is a lot of work, and it can be hard to step back and actually roadmap when you’re knee-deep in emails, projects, and tasks. However, the end of the year is a great time to take a moment to meditate on your business and or work practice. I personally have been making a list of what did and didn’t work for me in 2019, especially since this was the year I launched my visual design studio.

Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve created a checklist of solopreneur and entrepreneur ideas that you might be able to…

Well, we really just took part in two activities that neither one of us had experienced before (I taught Neo how to climb and he made me a traditional Chinese dinner) and we reflected upon them.

“Right hand up more — match your feet there. Now reach, reach, reach!” I said.

Neo grabbed the painted number 35 on the rock wall, then jumped down.

“I can’t believe I just did that. My fingers are going to be so sore tomorrow.”

“I feel like a proud mom right now.”

There are few sensations like teaching in the world, and even fewer…

Addie Johnson

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