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Rubens Cantuni
Emmy-awarded Design Lead @ MetaLab (Articles are my own opinions). Author of the book http://designappsforkids.com

Best practices, heuristics, tips & tricks

Avery common misconception is that the typography on children’s products has to involve the use of quirky, funny, practically unreadable typefaces. This is wrong for several reasons. First, ugly fonts are still ugly also on children’s products, and that might be just a matter of personal taste and sensitivity about typography. There are other reasons though and taste has little to do with them.

If we’re…

How to provide what users want, while keeping them accountable for what they tweet

Twitter contextual menu showing a fake edit function
Twitter contextual menu showing a fake edit function

If you’re on Twitter, you surely know that one of the most common feature requests from users is the infamous edit button. Twitter, since the beginning, never offered the chance to editing tweets; you can either leave it or delete it (and rewrite it, if you want).

Twitter users seem to not be able to come to terms with this, even after almost 15 years since Twitter launched.

A mistake, especially common among junior UX designers.

illustration of a team of designers
illustration of a team of designers
People vector created by stories —

I’ve been mentoring young designers on ADPlist and MentorCruise for some time now and I had amazing conversations with designers all over the globe. From these exchanges, I got the chance of understanding which are some of the most common struggles of junior and aspiring designers today. A common problem I’ve seen is the lack of care for visual design.

One thing I’ve been noticing in the industry is that the separation between UX designer and UI designer is almost dead, and soon that horrific name of “UX/UI designer” will follow the same fate, in favor of the more generalist…

The biggest design trend from last year made visualizing data a mainstream thing.

illustration represting data visualization
illustration represting data visualization
Data viz vector created by vectorjuice

If I had to point my finger at the biggest trend in design in 2020 I’d definitely point at data visualization.

Sure, it’s nothing new. Data viz crawled from its origins on scientific papers into mass adoption earlier than that, especially during big events such as US elections, thanks also to the evolution of technologies that allowed us to create interactive visualizations. But 2020 has been arguably the year when everyone became obsessed with it.

What is data visualization?

In short (very short), data visualization is the representation of data (usually numerical) with graphics.

It’s a way to make it easy (or easier) to…

Gamification can make a good product better if done right, but it’s not a magic potion.

Illustration representing the concept of gamification
Illustration representing the concept of gamification
Computer vector created by macrovector_official

Gamification is one of those buzzwords that started gaining more and more popularity a few years ago. Lots of companies tried to implement some sort of gamification mechanic in their products, but very few did that right.

Why it’s important for us to understand what gamification is and how it works? Adding gaming elements to an experience can be a very powerful tool because the idea of play is in our DNA. Humans have played games since forever, as all mammals1 (and not just them) do. …

With specific conditions, of course.

Illustration of a job interview
Illustration of a job interview
Work vector created by

This is a very controversial topic in the design community, so I’m a bit scared to even bring it up. I’ve always been conflicted about this topic, but I think this (as most things in the world) is not a black or white kind of issue, but there’s a grey area to look at.

What am I talking about? Design challenges, or design tests, or whatever you want to call them. The assignment you get when interviewing for a designer position.

Why someone might ask you that?

There are tons of jobs where you don’t get asked to do any work at home. You go to…

A belief from a different era that we should stop spreading.

illustration representing people collaborating remotely using different kinds of devices
illustration representing people collaborating remotely using different kinds of devices
Illustration created by pikisuperstar — source: Freepik

As I celebrate 1 year of working from home 🎂🏠, also known as “one year in sweatpants,” I’d like to share my 2 cents around this topic, since I’ve been recently reading again, multiple times, the old fairy tale that goes “working from home kills innovation”👴🏻.

In the past 14 years, I’ve been working in different kinds of companies: advertising agencies, digital agencies, startups, media companies, a big tech company, a product agency, and in different kinds of settings: semi-cubicles, fully open space, big fun silicon valley style office, shared space.

Not once I witnessed the mystical moment when 2…

Write your book and get it published. Part 3.

In this final part of this series, I want to give some advice on tools that will make your writing easier. When I started my book, I thought Google Docs would have been enough, and well, it could be, but there are tools out there that you might not be aware of that can really boost your productivity and make your life as an author much much easier.

Let’s start with the one I used for 90% of the work:


Scrivener is a Mac, Windows and iOS app specifically made for writers (of any kind). It’s really a great tool…

Write your book and get it published. Part 2.

The book “Designing digital products for kids” by Rubens Cantuni
The book “Designing digital products for kids” by Rubens Cantuni

In the previous part of this article, I talked about the preliminary work of writing a design book. Coming up with right concept, finding the right audience, defining a table of content, looking for publishers, submitting a book proposal, etc. The final step was about research and, even though that will basically keep on going throughout the entire writing process, that’s the last step you can take before actually turning your gaze to the scary white of a blank page.

Let’s take a look at how to tame the fear of starting to finally hit those keys and see words…

Write your book and get it published. Part 1.

Filling hundreds of pages with written words (about 50 to 70 thousand of them, for a non-fiction book) seems like a gigantic task. And it is actually, but with the right approach, it’s definitely doable. I know because I did it.

Writing a book about design (whatever the specific topic is) is a design project itself. …

Rubens Cantuni

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