Photo: Drew Coffman
I have been blogging for more than 10 years now.
(Funny how “blogging” used as a verb sounds a bit off these days)
It all started back in the day when I was working as an Information Architect (yep, “UX” is a relatively new term) at the biggest digital agency in Brazil. At the time, there weren’t any sites or blogs in my native language about User Experience, and the challenge of finding content available in my native language turned out to be a motivation to learn a new one.
Writing was the way I found of memorizing everything I was learning in that new journey.
Every Saturday morning I would spend about three hours looking back at everything I had read the week before (I still do, by the way), and turning my personal notes into articles I would publish on a UX blog I had created to help me in that process. Having a place to document what I was learning was an important piece of the puzzle.
Since then, sharing content has become both a side project and a hobby for me. It was the way I found to give back to the community a little bit of what I have learned from it — through all the blogs, forums, sites and articles I found online.
And believe me: you learn a lot when you are doing the same thing over and over, every week, for over a decade.
You fail a lot too.
You publish a lot of bad articles.
You get into a lot of weird, unfruitful discussions.
You consider giving up.
The next week, there you are, sitting down at your desk and trying again.
Here are a few things I have learned in that process:
- The best stories are the ones not everyone agrees with. Otherwise, you’re just stating the obvious. Promoting debate and conversation means you are offering a fresh angle people have not thought of. On the other hand, being controversial just for the sake of getting page views is silly and does our industry a disservice.
- Topics will come up several times a day if you know how to observe. I don’t believe in writer’s block. If you work in UX (and you are paying attention), a new article idea will come up at least once a day — whether you are in a meeting, in a casual conversation with a colleague, or even when you are at your desk letting your mind wander while you operate your favorite design software. Just make sure you surround yourself with the right people, and with the right briefs.
- Tools are just tools. And they will change a handful of times every year. At some point in my career, spending energy writing about every new design tool that came out started to feel too tactical. There will always be other sites that do a better job at covering those.