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Rubens Cantuni
Emmy-awarded Design Lead @ MetaLab (Articles are my own opinions). Author of the book http://designappsforkids.com
illustration of people looking closely at an app screen
People vector created by pikisuperstar —

When you want to prepare a dish for the first time, you most probably follow a recipe. You don’t just read the ingredients and smash them all together randomly, right? You probably want to also look at photos of such dish, to have an idea of how it’s supposed to look.

When you just eat the dish, instead, what matters to you the most is its taste, and how it looks. …

illustration of a man climbing his “career” ladder

This is one of the most popular questions I get from aspiring product designers. I’ve been in design for almost 15 years and I had the chance of experiencing a bit of everything (communication agencies, product agencies, media companies, startups, big tech…), so I think I’m in the position if giving you my point of view on the matter, based on my personal experience and the ones of people I met along the way.

First of all, the question is a very good one. You’re just about to begin (or trying to) and you want to set yourself up for…

illustration of a team working together
People vector created by stories —

In the past few months, I’ve been mentoring a designer currently working at a BIG tech company in the Bay Area (a really big one that I won’t mention, of course). Over the course of our sessions, I could get some insights into this company’s design processes. Some things sounded like yellow flags to me, a few were orange and several were red flags (like crazy workload, internal Game of Thronesesque fights between managers, etc).

One of the most concerning ones, in my opinion, was when my mentee asked me “Is it normal that I always design alone? Do you…

This article is a quote from my book “Designing digital products for kids”, Apress, 2020.

🎧 Listen to a full conversation about my book and designing for kids on the UX of EdTech Podcast.

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…

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.

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…

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…

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. …

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…

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…

Rubens Cantuni

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