1. If you have to ask someone to trust you,
    either they don’t trust you, or you don’t trust you.

  2. If triangles had a God, they would give him three sides.

  3. Link: Letter to a Junior Designer

    This is magnificent. I wish I had thought of it. 

    Read it now »

  4. Most people are useless at fractions and mathematics and possibly life.

  5. The Anatomy of a Web Designer — A survey of 500 web design professionals.

  6. Link: The Biases of Pop Psychology

    The definition of “psychology” is never more loose and abused than in a common bookstore.

    It drives me insane to see a University Psychology textbook and a book about “what your personality type says about your future” sitting on the same shelf.

    One of them is 90% science and the other is 90% horse shit.

    Many of the most popular “psychology” books are actually not teaching psychology; they are telling stories.

    Stories can be made to feel “right” or “good” even when they don’t prove or disprove anything. You read all the stories in a book, and you say “that was a good book” but did you actually learn anything?

    Malcolm Gladwell, Dan Ariely, and Women’s Psychology Magazine: I’m looking at you!

    (Not that I read Women’s Psychology Magazine, of course. I strictly read super-masculine psychology magazines about the psychology of barbecues and monster trucks and explosions. My favourite is Explosive Barbecue-Powered Monster Truck Psychology Magazine. It’s a bit niche, but it kicks ass. I only do the quizzes in Women’s Psychology Magazine, I swear.)

    The linked article, from the always-excellent Mind Hacks blog, talks a little about this bias and points to an article in Scientific American that discusses the same.

    Read it now »

  7. Link: 4 Types of Customer Analytics Data to Collect

    Want to have a complete picture of your users? Then you’re gonna need more than one type of information about them. 

    Read the linked article (it’s fairly short) and ask yourself if you know all of those things about your users. 

    If not, how could you find out?

    Read it now »

  8. UX Developers Aren’t a Thing

    UX is not made of code. Developers work with code. So what does a UX Developer do?

    I just want to call your attention to a problem that seems to be growing instead of dying the horrible death it deserves:

    Job ads for “UX Developers”. 

    For the record: developers are great, smart, valuable people. Code and the expertise of planning, writing, testing, and optimizing code is a critical part of any digital product or service, and deserves as much respect as design.

    Sometimes more.


    Repeat after me:  UX Developers do not exist. 

    This isn’t one of those trendy articles that says something doesn’t exist and then proceeds to explain how it does exist, but it’s different than you thought.

    I am saying “UX Developers” are not part of our universe.


    UX is made of psychology, strategy, subjectivity, business goals, copywriting, usability, and design. “Developers”, as a role description, do none of those things.

    UI Developers exist. Definitely. They are also called “front end” developers. They build the UI.

    UI is made of pixels and code and is populated by dynamic data and information sent from the server. Developers do all of those things.

    Sure, there can be some overlap. And sure, you can do both jobs.

    But a “UX Developer” is a mythical job title, created to be trendy nonsense. 


    UX and UI are very different things.

    If you program the animation that grabs a user’s attention, you did not “program” a user’s experience. You programmed an animation. 

    If you write the javascript for a form that gets more conversions than your old form, you did not build a better UX. You built a form.

    If you researched your problem, and interviewed users, and found patterns of behaviour in the data, and wireframed a new form with an animated button to solve your problem — based on your research — and then you planned an A/B test to prove your design was better, and then you wrote the javascript for the form with an animated button…

    You designed the UX.

    And you also coded a form with an animated button.

    If the A/B test proved that your new design was worseare you going to blame the person who did the code, or the person with “UX” in their title?

    Ahhh… not so eager to be a “UX Developer” now, are we?


    If you’re a UX Designer who can code; awesome! You’re special, but you’re still not a UX Developer.

    If you’re a UI Developer who has a good sense of usability; great! You’re also special, but you’re still not a UX developer.

    Saying “UX Developer” shows that you have no idea what UX is. If you did, you would hate yourself every time it comes out of your mouth.


    (Unless you program human brains, then we’re cool.)


  9. THE Year One: Greatest Hits

    The Hipper Element is officially a year old today!

    As always, it was a few popular articles that carried most of the traffic, so to celebrate this anniversary, here is a list (and quick summaries) of the best The Hipper Element had to offer last year:

    #10 — How to Write a Persuasive Email

    The oldest post to make it into the Top 10. If you have ever wondered how to make your writing more persuasive, or how to get the attention of someone who is very busy, read this breakdown of a real email to a real investor.

    #09 — Do You Have the Wrong Job Title?

    Does your job title match your design role? This article explains the difference between a User Interface designer (UI), a User Experience designer (UX), an Interaction Designer (IxD), an Information Architect (IA), and how you might be part of the problem!

    #08 — Critique: Jeff Gothelf on Design as a Hypothesis

    Jeff Gothelf is the creator of “Lean UX”, which is a popular design philosophy among startups. However, his approach has a few major flaws, and I think it is dangerous to ignore those flaws.

    #07 — Content Objects: My Formula for Information Architecture

    When you make a Top 10 list, the newest content always has a disadvantage, because older articles have had more time to build up visits. This article is only a couple weeks old, but clearly a lot of people found it useful!

    #06 — Beware of Social Obligations

    Do you do things without a reason, or because “that’s just the way it is”? This article discusses the things we do without a reason, and how that can be used against us.

    #05 — ProTip Round-Up

    Early in the life of the blog, Tuesday was “ProTip” day, and I posted simple UX tips to share with the non-UXers in your life. This is the list of all 17 ProTips.

    #04 — UX is a Science. Not an Art.

    I strongly support a scientific approach to UX design, although that is a fairly new — and controversial — idea in the UX world. This article briefly presents the main ingredients of the scientific method as you use it in design.

    #03 — Google Doesn’t Understand People

    Google is a great company that does a lot of great things, but their main weakness, in my opinion, is people. In this article I prove it by using their own products as examples. This has been so true, in fact, that I might do a “part 2” explaining their most recent UX screw-ups.

    #02 — 10 Ways to Pretend You Know UX

    After reading a discussion in a UX forum that included a lot of bullshitters, I decided to write a list of things UX-fakers like to say. It has been the most popular single article I have ever written, and the #3 UX article of all time on Hey Designer.

    #01 — UX Crash Course: 31 Fundamentals

    My New Year’s resolution this year was to get more people started in UX design, and this “crash course” was my solution. 31 short, lessons about fundamental ideas in UX. It spent 24 hours on the front page of Hacker News, was shared by thousands of people, and provided over 30% of my traffic last year.

    I am planning a couple more Crash Courses this year, based on the popularity of this one, so if you liked that, remember to follow me on Twitter or here on Tumblr.

  10. Link: A Multi-Factor Analysis Of Startups

    This article describes some basic biases in the decision-making of VC’s (startup investors) and why they might say “no” to something good, or “yes” to something not-so-good.

    But you don’t have to be an investor to learn from this. 

    All people have biases in our decision-making process. That means you put more value on some stuff, and less value on other stuff, because your intuition isn’t perfect — not because those things are actually better or worse.

    All humans do it. You definitely do it. I definitely do it. 

    But we’re not doomed.

    The article goes on to describe a method for weighing many factors in a decision, in a way that might reveal your biases.

    For example, people will often advise you to make a “pros and cons” list when trying to make a tough decision. That’s not bad advice, but the flaw in that sort of list is that each item gets equal weight.

    3 cons seems like “more” than 2 pros. 

    But are all the pros and all the cons equal? Probably not.

    If you are interested in a simple way of making your choices far more rational, read the linked article. 

    Read it now »