Not visible without
the aid of special
instruments: subvisible

By João Ferreira

  1. When I ask someone why they don’t do User Research regularly, usually the arguments revolve around it being very time consuming, extremely complicated to organize, and very hard to get actionable insights out of it.

  2. It's still common to hear designers or product managers saying they'd like to run usability tests on their projects but "it just takes too much time" or they "don't have the budget for it". Steve Krug's book kinda plays with this wrongful stereotype and offers a practical guide to run a successful Usability Test.

  3. Over the last 4 years, I've had the pleasure of helping out designers on their first experiences in the web. Typically they come with a lot of questions and insecurities, usually all concerning two things: Typography and colors.

  4. Imagine you decided to organize an international conference starting 7 months from now. If you've ever been involved in organizing something like this, you know what I'm talking about. Going through all the bureaucracies and logistics, in a race against time. Imagine you'd optimistically planned for around 200 attendees and you had only sold around 50 tickets about a month and a half away from the conference. Picture your budget being vibrant red with those 50 tickets, and the pressure mounting.

  5. As designers, we get to learn new things every day. Most of them are usually related to the way we discuss design with others, which tends to be a bit chaotic most of the times. Although I'm far from being an expert in these matters, I've come a long way since my fresh-out-of-college design years and I'd like to share some of the little things that we can do/say/think to communicate better with the rest of the team.

  6. Starting a fresh, new project is a wonderful feeling. It is immaculate, filled with ambitious expectations, with an endless world of exciting possibilities that tingle our creative brains.

  7. A great product is the outcome of an excellent partnership between great designers and great developers. If you're lucky enough to work with great designers and developers but you're not making great products, you're probably lacking the "excellent partnership" part.

  8. Subvisual started out in 2012 with a team of four. All of us fresh out of college. We also had to account for our team's different cultural background. This posed a challenging context which we failed to understand at first.

  9. Rebranding our company was our biggest challenge yet. Figuring out how to convey our values and ambitions through a new brand while honouring our roots was frightening.

  10. Design is a way of thinking, a way of looking at things and trying to understand them and to find a different, better way of achieving something. Not everyone is a designer but everyone would benefit from having a design perspective, a sort of disruptive approach to the world, a non-conformed state of mind. It’s about being critical and brave enough to do things differently.

  11. When we started out Creators School, I got this scary feeling that we were way out of our league, like we didn't have the experience to teach anyone about anything. But as soon as I got over the panic stage, I got excited about the idea of taking a different approach at teaching. So I did a lot of research about education in order to discover new approaches to teaching and better understand how people embrace learning, how to get them 'in the zone'. I came across some interesting concepts that I'd like to share, to contribute for this fascinating subject that is so critical to our future.

  12. When you ask someone about the main ingredient of a good design, most people will probably roam around concepts such as usability, functionality, cleanliness or the one that get’s thrown around most often: simplicity.

  13. Design is not about creating something for your viewing pleasure. It’s about the challenge of solving a problem, something that doesn’t quite work or just feels ‘wrong’.

  14. It was nearly 9:30 on the cold morning of November 7th, when Zamith and I departed from Braga, to attend the Explorers Festival in Lisbon, where we were expected to give a talk each, at 2PM.