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Diversifying Your Design Strategy

It’s the number one rule for any consumer who wants to start investing his or her money: diversify and balance the portfolio. Sure, buy some of those hot stocks you’ve had an eye on, hoping they’ll triple in value over the next year or two. By all means, take on some of those funds featuring emerging markets, which could be the future of investing. At the same time, though, buy blue-chip stocks and safer bonds that will help ensure that if things go badly, you’ll still have something left when the dust settles.

While the same reasoning applies to designers, for some reason, most of us don’t take the same sort of balanced risk approach to our interfaces. We tend to fall into one of two camps: the safe and risk-averse design investor, relying on patterns and surefire design elements from a usability perspective; and the risk-seeking designer, looking to hit a home run by doing something no one ever has before. While the former can be great for a large corporate behemoth like a phone company, and the latter strategy may work out with a completely original product, most design efforts fall somewhere in the middle.

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Avatar of M. Jackson Wilkinson

I'm M. Jackson Wilkinson, a technologist, designer, speaker, educator, and writer in San Francisco. I'm the Founder of Kinsights. I'm from Philadelphia, went to Bowdoin College in Maine, root for the Phillies, and love to sing.

I'll be Speaking

I'm lucky to be able to travel and speak as I get the opportunity. In the next few months, you can find me speaking at the following talks or panels:

Jacks of All Trades, or Masters of None?
South By Southwest Interactive, Austin, TX
March 11, 2010
Designing the Product
UX Web Summit, Everywhere
April 21, 2010

I'd love to speak at your event. See other past speaking engagements and contact me.

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Recent Entries

Consider the Product

The best thing about product design is its inherent contradiction. The best products think of everything, but at the same time, they’re focused on exactly one thing. If you can wrangle that, you’re almost there.

Identifying the Real Issue with Web Fonts

The recent .webfont proposal and TypeKit service don’t seem to get us anywhere closer to terms that type foundries should embrace. So why are they embracing them?

Seeing the Forest for the Trees

The broader the web gets, the more specialized its practitioners are becoming. The role of the generalist is incredibly important, and we can’t keep neglecting it.

The Shackles of Simplicity

Though simplicity is the darling of the web, we’ve now long outgrown it. Life is complex, and tools to conquer life’s complexity need to instead embrace it, rather than ignore it.

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