23 Random Thoughts from 2023

Chen Zhi Liang
2 min readDec 29, 2023
  1. If a company’s goal is to drive metrics up, should we still measure user happiness?
  2. If every team has their own agenda and KPIs to meet, where does design stand?
  3. New features don’t always need to drive revenue; they can also drive happiness. Trust app is a good example. This drives brand experience.
  4. User experience is a great buzzword at the board table until they realize the hours needed to see the change. Then it’s literally “buzz off.”
  5. Products no longer spark joy but have become so functional, quick, and instant that they help users achieve things without understanding what they are doing. User experience has become a tool, not about the experience.
  6. Design communication or communication design? What difference does it make?
  7. Why does having a seat at the table matter, and why doesn’t it?
  8. What makes a good vs. great designer?
  9. This thing called design intuition is perhaps the strongest tool a designer has in their toolkit.
  10. I attended some summit meetings, and ‘empathy’ was the first word that got thrown out from a bunch of values. It felt oddly familiar when customer experience was the reason for their bad Google ratings.
  11. Where does innovation stand when we’re all data-informed?
  12. Believing in the product and what you do will make your work [insert your multiplier here]x more enjoyable.
  13. Know the rules and break the rules, but keep accessibility in mind. An 8px font is good to squeeze in content until you start reading it on your iPhone 11.
  14. Design is a way of life. It’s literally around you, and you live and breathe it. The thing about experiences helped us strengthen our design intuition.
  15. Sometimes justifying a design is not that bad. It’s a skill to sell and to sell well. If all else fails, forget everything and use your intuition.
  16. Heuristic laws and principles may seem less important than your solution. Simplify those terminologies and bring your audience in.
  17. What is good design? No one knows, or maybe some do. It’s a question that every designer should have at the end of the day.
  18. Designers are perhaps one of the strongest bunches of people. They constantly seek out the next better thing, which is why you see all the redesigns.
  19. Design visual sensibility is hard to train. Honestly, it’s hard.
  20. Contextual knowledge is key. Understanding the context and understanding the content makes your design better.
  21. Efficiency is underrated, but efficiency is not completing work for the sake of completing it.
  22. The ability to think in systems is not only helpful to build things up but also helpful to tear things apart.
  23. Designers should write.
  24. I still believe that design has the ability to change the world. (This is not a random thought, it’s a belief. 🫢)

--

--

Chen Zhi Liang

Product Designer@Seedly. Linocut Printmaker @westsideprints.sg