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After 32 episodes, Tom and Craig record one last episode of Opacity in Jan 2022. In what we hope is an on-brand move, we explain our reasons for wrapping the podcast up. Thank you so much for all the listeners and guests we've had over the past few years. We hope that you found something interesting, insightful or just plain fun about the content w…
 
Welcome to the new year. In the first episode of 2021, Craig and Tom jump into an evergreen topic on the minds of designers everywhere. Should we be generalists or specialists, and why? Specialization and generalization are tough terms to define. There are generalist designers who have a breadth of skills that cover the full design process. And the…
 
We've made it to the end of 2020, a year unlike any other. Putting aside the roller coaster of the past year, we wanted to take some time to reflect on what's changed for designers in the workplace, and what these changes may mean for us in the coming year. A major theme for this episode was on the move to remote work and it's far reaching impacts,…
 
Starting out is hard. We've all been there, and have all had different experiences of this time. Regardless of how well or rough your entry to a design career is going, it takes real work. In this episode, Tom and Craig get into the topic, reflecting on their personal experiences as well as some suggestions for how designers starting out can grab t…
 
Looking back through your career you'll find a series of memorable moments that stand out. Highs, lows, and transitions likely make up the bulk of those memories. These memorable, defining moments are some of the most impactful on your career. These ideas are explored in depth in the well-known book, The Power of Moments, by Dan and Chip Heath. Kno…
 
It's easy to assume that UX design is inherently ethical. After all, designing with people's interests in mind is a big part of what we do. So why then, are certain technologies driving the downfall of civilization? ::cue ominous thunder:: Technologies that designers have played a big role in creating. Regardless of what we're designing, ethics nee…
 
Our careers (and life) are made up of cross-roads and decisions we make on where to go next. We can approach these moments through detailed calculation—trying to find the right way to go based on the information we have available. Or, we can embrace a bit of randomness, and follow our gut. In this episode Tom and Craig talk about their experiences …
 
We all know about them. Probably even dipped our toes into making one. Everyone wants one. Many are willing to sell their souls for the chance at designing one. They're a lot of work, but they're worth every drop of blood, sweat, and tears. Of course, we're talking about design systems. There are a million books, blog posts, and podcast episodes ab…
 
Accessibility and usability are core to our profession. Despite this fact, they often don't take center stage. Many designers even feel that putting too much emphasis on them can take away from pushing creative boundaries. In this episode, Tom and Craig chat about the tensions that exist between these aspects of our profession. We all love a good a…
 
The experience of work is evolving faster than ever in this era of extreme uncertainty. In ways we're all still trying to make sense of. In this episode Craig and Tom get into it, talking about how working remotely has opened up a reevaluation of what we do, what we're good at, how we work, and where we struggle. They reflect on hard vs soft/profes…
 
Content is integral to good quality products and services, but doesn't always get the attention it deserves. In this episode Grace Hughes, Content Design Lead at Fjord joins Tom & Craig to discuss the role of content design, conversational design, content strategy and much more. You'll never use Lorem Ipsum again!Connect with Grace on Twitter at @G…
 
In this episode Tom sits down with Sinéad Davis Cochrane, a User Experience Manager at Workday, where she lead a team of designers and researchers. We discuss her education, career path from researcher to manager and views on planning your career. As well as advice for listeners who may be finding the current COVID situation difficult. What if you …
 
It's been a while, but we're back!After taking a few months off from the podcast, Craig and Tom are back in the saddle to discuss the state of being a designer (and person) in troubling times. We discuss Tom's burnout—which led to us taking the break in recording—as well as the situation we're all dealing with as COVID19 spreads globally. Self-isol…
 
Helping designers have more fulfilling careers is like being a baker. An artisanal bread baker, where the designer is the dough in your hands. Or maybe the job is the dough... Regardless, the analogy is oven-proof. This week, we talk with an expert baker. From hospitality, to design recruitment, to building a design community with InVision, Mindaug…
 
With over 700,000 podcasts in the world, why make another one? Early in 2019, Tom and Craig decided to get together to create Opacity, a podcast framed around the general topic of working in design. 18 episodes and 8 months later, they reflect on how it started, what they've learned along the way, and why they keep doing it. Podcasting is technical…
 
Is composure underrated? One thing's for sure. Working nicely with others can be a challenge. And when we lose our composure, we can lose a lot more in the process. The modern work environment is full of tense moments, difficult conversations, and unreasonable egos (our own included). When passion is high, inter-personal tension can follow close be…
 
How do you feel when you hear these statements and questions? Everyone's a designer Should designers code? Jay-Z is a member of the Illuminati If you're like most, you probably get a little too worked up. We all do, and that's natural. In this episode, Tom and Craig talk about these questions. They try their best not to fall into the trap of actual…
 
Kim Lenox currently heads up the product design organization at Zendesk, a global company that builds software for the best customer experiences. She is responsible for driving strategic priorities and scaling the impact of an international team of product designers, researchers, content strategists, and front-end developers as the company moves up…
 
The jobs that we've had in the past shape the professionals we become. No matter how mundane, low paid, or seemingly inconsequential. A recent twitter dot com trend had people from far and wide sharing 5 past jobs they had. In the process, we saw people we know (and many we don't) showing how they started out. The result was a lot of random, windy …
 
Has your mother ever told you to not be an asshole? In case not, this episode should do the trick. Paul Woods is Chief Creative Officer at the renowned design firm Edenspiekermann. He has accomplished much in his career as a designer, working with companies like Red Bull, Google, The City of Santa Monica, Morgan Stanley, and Time Inc. Now he's writ…
 
If you know Lar Veale, and his current role at the bank AIB, then you know the title of this week's episode is a pun. If you don't know Lar, this is a great chance to hear from someone who has a lot of experience bringing research into the design practice at a big financial institution. And coming from years in an agency setting, he's seen the work…
 
'Twas a dark and stormy night in Dublin... Tune into this week's episode to hear Tom tell a riveting tale of a disaster corrected by the power of DIY. Experience makes life bigger. It expands our worldview. People decide more and more to pay for experiences than buy stuff. The same goes for learning to be a better designer. Going through the experi…
 
Colman Walsh's head has been in UX design education for the past decade. Who better to continue our design education topic from episode 4? In 2013 he founded UXTraining.com, and ran it successfully as in-person training for individuals to corporate groups. Then came the opportunity to scale this work, and reach a global audience through online educ…
 
Raise your hand if you've ever felt like an imposter. 🤚 Imposter Syndrome is something we're all familiar with. Maybe a bit too familiar. It shows its face across industries, but for creative professionals it's especially palpable. In this episode Tom and Craig talk about their personal experiences with imposter syndrome. Both on the struggles, but…
 
This is exciting. Did I say how excited I am? We've hit episode 7, and are bringing on a new format with special guests. In this episode I had the privilege of chatting with Pete Bowker, CEO of Glug. We talked about everything from his childhood eating bee larva in Papua New Guinea, through his career path building creative businesses, and how he's…
 
What's in a process? That which we call design, by any other name would still smell as sweet. What's design process, and what's the value in following one? Having a process is a good thing, but does that mean not following one is a bad thing? Tom and Craig get into it, exploring when they're dogmatic, and when agnostic, about design process. Here a…
 
We started this episode with a simple question. "What's expected of the modern designer?" Turns out it's the perfect topic to uncover rabbit holes. Tom and Craig have a convo that starts here, and ends somewhere else altogether. From specialists/generalists, to management career tracks, to the worlds of doing design on in-house and agency teams. Li…
 
Interviewing is a gentle dance. A staged performance where the interviewer and interviewee meet on the battlefield of employability. In other words, it's hard on both sides of the table. Design challenges are a common component of interviewing for a new gig. But not everyone's a fan. Tom read a tweet last year and just couldn't get the thread out o…
 
Should designers learn? Yes, yes they should. But the real question is how. How should designers learn their craft? What prepares a designer and gives them the skills they need to be successful for todays jobs? How about those of the future? There's no shortage of options out there. College degrees, bootcamps, online certificate programs and, of co…
 
What does the future hold? We all have opinions on where the coming year will take us. Tom and Craig are no exception. In this episode the guys discuss a few bits and bobs floating in the empty cavern where their articulate minds used to be. The best thing about the future is no one can say you're wrong. Yet, at the same time, it's so easy to disag…
 
Welcome to the first ever episode of Opacity! Tom and Craig go down a variety of rabbit holes as they think out loud about experience design. Craig tries to instigate, but Tom remains stoic as ever. Everything is on the table, from the designing bathroom experiences to artificial intelligence. In the end, experience design wins, but not without a f…
 
Welcome to Opacity, a podcast about working in design. What does it mean to be a designer? As a craft, design lives and grows. But with growth comes complexity. Designers today are often navigating their career paths on their own. Forging new ways to do new types of design. It isn't easy, and the rate of change in the industry makes it even harder.…
 
Research indicates that morality might be a lot more than just a set of invented or learned rules. Knowing what is right seems to have deep evolutionary roots and may actually be an innate part of human nature. But if that's true, if we are all born with a moral sense what happens then to those of us who go against that? Join us as we look beyond e…
 
It has been almost 18 months since MH370 vanished and still most questions about its whereabouts and what happened aboard the Boeing 777 remain unanswered. We spent the past few weeks ruling out catastrophic failure and human error as the most likely scenario, but what about a hijacking? Could someone have hijacked MH370 and its 239 passengers and …
 
More than 50% of all aviation accidents are caused by human error. Did the flight crew of MH370 make a skill-based mistake? Did the Boeing 777 vanish due to a decision error in-flight? Did someone on the ground make a wrong decision and seal the fate of MH370? Did the plane run out of fuel due to a mistake? Join us this week as we explore human err…
 
In 2014 more than 3.3 billion people flew safely on more than 38 million flights -- impressive numbers, right? But 2014 won't be remembered for its millions of safe flights but for the one flight that disappeared with 239 people on board. Join us for this episode as we explore catastrophic failure as the possible cause of the disappearance of Malay…
 
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