Writing is my first passion, and I’m grateful to get to write about self-development, coaching and user experience for a variety of blogs and publications. A selection of my articles, essays, and guest blog posts are below. — Whitney
(most recent first)
It’s Time to Listen
December 13, 2016
But even more productive than learning to speak up is learning to listen. Most of us listen with the intent to respond. This holiday season, I invite you to listen with the intent to agree.
The Pastry Box Project
12 monthly essays
January 10 – December 10, 2014
- My Year to Live
- A New Perspective
- Searching for Space
- Who Do We Think We Are?
- A Lifetime of Bullies
- If Not Now
- Lean On
- I Need Help
- Home is Where the Heart Is
- Taking the Weight Off
- Letting Go
DIY User Experience
September 14, 2010 – Issue 207
Improving your user experience will boost visitor numbers and conversions – but you don’t have to call in a pro. Whitney Hess reveals why you don’t need big bucks to master research, analytics and testing.
A List Apart
No One Nos: Learning to Say No to Bad Ideas
August 3, 2010 – Issue 311
Each one of us brings an area of specialization to our projects, and it is our responsibility to exhibit that expertise. If you don’t know anything that no one else on your team knows, then it’s probably time to walk away. But if you do, it is your duty to assert that capability and share your knowledge for the betterment of the final product.
July 23, 2010 – Week 29
Most people believe that User Experience is just about finding the best solution for your users — but it’s not. UX is about defining the problem that needs to be solved (the why), defining the types of people who need it to be solved (the who), and defining the way in which it should be solved to be relevant to those people (the how). Yet as a rule, startups are being built on the what.
When You Startup with UX
July 21, 2010
Most startups never quite make it, while a choice few rise above to unpredictable heights. So what distinguishes the successes from the failures? Armed with my unwavering faith in the power of UX, I set out to prove that the trailblazers are engaging in user-centered design activities—even if it means doing it on their own terms.
Johnny Holland Magazine
See For Yourself: About the Power of Observing
March 17, 2010
At our core, interaction designers are anthropologists. We design interactions between people and people, and people and things. There is only one way to better understand people and better anticipate how they behave: observe.
Onboarding: Designing Welcoming First Experiences
February 16, 2010
When left to their own devices in a new space without any sense of direction or purpose, many users can feel lost, overwhelmed, and confused about what they’re supposed to be doing there….In essence, the user is taking a leap of faith that she will be able to achieve something on your site, and it’s your responsibility to shake her hand and show her the ropes when she gets there.
Does Your Client Need a Consultant or an Agency?
August 3, 2009
Sometimes a project would benefit from a UX team, so I’m faced with the option of either bringing on more people to work with me or passing on the project. When you’re working solo, making such strategic decisions can be a challenge. Turning down work is never fun, but you definitely don’t want to get yourself into a situation you can’t handle.
Process, Not Portfolio
October 5, 2009
I have done more than 50 pitches to potential clients. Seventeen of them became paying clients. And I didn’t win a single one of these gigs because of the caliber of my portfolio.
Needs + Resources + Location + Schedule + Budget = Scope
December 7, 2009
Now that you’ve convinced a client they want to work with you, it’s up to you to define the terms of your working agreement. Your goal in the contract negotiation process is not to determine the best price, but to most accurately define the scope of your project. This is possibly the most critical factor in the success of your project, and it’s something most consultants completely fail to follow through on.
Ironclad Contracts: Tougher Than a Pinky Swear
February 8, 2010
You’ve passed the seduction phase. You’ve made the client fall in love with you. You’ve determined the terms of your engagement. Now, you need to make things official.
10 Most Common Misconceptions About User Experience Design
Jan 9, 2009
When I tell people that I am a user experience designer, I usually get a blank stare. I try to follow it up quickly by saying that I make stuff easy and pleasurable to use. That’s the repeatable one-liner, but it’s a gross oversimplification and isn’t doing me any favors.