Foong Ling Chen
5 Blogs for UX Inspiration
Let’s be honest, it takes a lot time and effort to keep up to date with industry news.
Content creators like Fast Company, Dezeen, Core 77, Co.Design, It’s Nice That, Design Milk – all while very inspiring, put out way too much content for us to stay up-to-the-minute. Fast Company, for example, produces upwards of 45 articles in a given day!
Instead of spending an hour every day reading up on the latest and greatest, I often rely on my social networks to flag interesting articles from these sources. However, there are currently FIVE industry related blogs that I do keep up with on a regular basis, and I’ll tell you why below:
1. Strategy Online
Frequency of Posts: 5 – 10 a day
Good For: Understanding a neighbouring industry
For those that are new to Akendi, we are a consulting firm specializing in user research and design. At its core, we help our clients design better outcomes (product- and experience- wise). We help our clients understand who uses their product and what their users are trying to accomplish. When I try to describe what I do to an innocent bystander, they somehow equate my job to Digital Marketing. I can understand the mix-up. Both industries are starting to understand and integrate validated research to produce tailored experiences.
The biggest difference is where the emphasis is placed on research. Marketing focuses on attitudinal changes, challenging and impacting people’s perceptions, opinions, and interests. Product design, on the other hand, looks at behaviour – what people actually do (and for digital products, how people move through screens). The two types of research go hand-in-hand – and I believe it’s important to know what’s happening in the other space.
Strategy Online is a source dedicated to Canada’s marketing community. They often feature new launches, Agency of Record announcements, and new hires. It’s my go-to resource for information about advertising agencies in Toronto and Canada. And if you’re really interested, you can probably create a chart of how people move around. It’s also where I read about companies we work with to get a well-rounded perspective of the challenges they face, as a whole, outside of the product team.
Frequency of Posts: 1 a day
Good For: Actionable insights and reminders to improving productivity
99U covers a broad range of topics; their writers are scattered across the globe and work in different areas of design. Though their article titles tend to err on the side of clickbait, they do offer sound advice that is easy to implement right away. 99U has three avenues of communication: the blog, a magazine, and a yearly conference in New York. Our designers just came back from that conference and definitely gave it a thumbs up!
3. Column Five
Frequency of Posts: 8-12 a month
Good For: Well written and illustrative articles about content marketing.
I’m a fan. They clearly know their area well. Their articles are succinct and clear. The blog illustrations are clean, on brand, and to the point. Just like the designers that I know and have to come to respect, Column Five makes content marketing look A LOT easier than I know it is. Read this blog for simple, tangible tips and tricks to improving your next client deliverable.
Frequency of Posts: 2-5 a month
Good For: Consistent message, with different vantage points
Okay fine, our blog is a UX blog but how can I not include it in a post about blogs? The Akendi blog is written by our experts and offer perspective from different teams and levels of the organization. Often focused on core principles, the articles stand the test of time. Articles written three, four years ago are still very much relevant today.
5. Julie Zhou
Frequency of Posts: 2-3 a month
Good For: Validation from another human, working on the opposite coast, in a different company culture. What more can I ask for?
Julie Zhou is VP Product Design at Facebook. Julie is advanced in her career – more than I am. She offers great insights into tackling issues that I’ve experienced myself (It’s like she’s speaking directly to me.) as well as things I don’t get to experience as an external consultant. I would go as far as saying, reading her articles is a great stand in for a conference; her stories offer new perspective and affirmation at your fingertips.
How Do I Keep Up?
You might ask, how do I keep up with these blogs?
Well, I don’t go on all these blogs individually. I use Feedly.
Feedly is an RSS feed reader that allows the user to organize and categorize blogs by topics and create “Boards” from saved articles. The handiest thing about Feedly that expedites my reading process, is the ability to change the view of my feed and personalize the view by blog.
If I know that Strategy Online puts out a lot of content, I can view that feed in a list view. I can easily scan titles that interest me.
The article view is another view offered by Feedly. I choose this view when I know I want to read every piece of content the source puts out. It provides a nice visual, and a good snippet of what the article is about. For some blogs, I can even read the article directly in Feedly.
My favourite view is the cards view. It gives me a good scrape of the content so I can quickly and easily determine what I might be interested in. Plus, I get to look at pretty pictures. Who’s getting hungry?!
What are YOUR favourite blogs for inspiration? We’d love to know in the comments below!
Foong Ling Chen