Bear Newsletter #1 Start small, and start now!

Bear Newsletter #1 Start small, and start now!

Bear Liu's photo
Bear Liu
·Feb 25, 2022·

5 min read

Hey friends,

One of my favourite books, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, tells a great story about a hidden treasure. The shepherd looked for treasure from thousands of miles away but didn't realise that the treasure usually was something just next to where he lived.

I have a similar story recently. I was thinking to write more stuff on my blog and sharing my thoughts and learnings with you via newsletter. But I keep running away from doing it - it just feels overwhelming! How could I write a newsletter in my second language? What if I can't keep doing it? Why do people want to read stuff from me? Those questions came to my mind every time I started to think about it, and then I just put them aside. Then, it's 2022, and I haven't started.

Or am I?

Actually, I kind of started it, but in a different way. I began to share short posts via LinkedIn to capture my thoughts around design, career and learning, and I keep making YouTube videos around those topics. I started doing that last year, and the outcomes are excellent. I didn't think of those questions above anymore, and I can see that sharing DID help some people. Those are the blogs I wanted to write, and I'm doing it even without realising it. They are the treasure I'm looking for, and they are just here.

So, I'm sending this post as my first and one of the many newsletters in 2022. All I need to do is collect the posts that I write and videos I make this month, curate those that might be helpful for you, and send them! I'm doing a goal that I wanted to accomplish around two years.

Do you have anything you are looking forward to doing, but it's too big even to get started? Probably you could take a step back and have a look if there's any chance that it's not that scary? Just like the hidden treasure nearby the shepherd.

Thanks for reading! See you in a couple of weeks :)

Bear


Career Tips 2022 (As A Designer)! 10 Things You Can Do!

Design career tips in 2022

We all know that uncertainties are inevitable in these years, and 2022 will not differ. Any career tips for 2022 for designers? I wrote a tips list for myself as a reminder for my career in 2022, and I think it might be helpful for many people here.


Just Enough Research - A Must Read Book For All Designers!

Book note-2021 - Just Enough Research-500

Finally read Just Enough Research by Erika Hall, which has been on my reading list for a while. Wow! I feel bad after reading this book: why didn't I read it when I started my UX design career!? I would avoid so many pitfalls and have better outcomes if I followed some research suggestions from this book! I made a book review video and a visual note about this book.


Review progress with your students together – My mentor tips

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As a design mentor, one thing that I quite enjoy doing is reviewing the study progress with my students.

Learning a UX course is a journey that involves months, and there’re ups and downs. So we might focus on the details and don’t see the real progress. Also, don’t get me started on the self-doubting part. That’s why we need to review it from a holistic point of view.

The whole course can be measured by progress percentage, and when a student completes a unit, the percentage will be marked as completed. I usually check the student’s progress diagram once in a few weeks with them, and we talk about it. We analyse the data, list out the positive things that we can learn and duplicate, and check the negative kinds of stuff we want to avoid. It’s a data analysis practice for real and for themselves!

For example, by checking the flat parts and spikes from the diagram and reviewing the related units, students without a science background might find the user flow units difficult to complete. Similarly, students who don’t have any graphic design exercises find user interface units challenging.

My job as a design mentor is to help them see those things from their own data and plan a better way for their future study. So every time I see their "aha!" faces when we have some insights, that just make my day.

That’s how I find data is powerful when you can see things behind it.


Make a product fun, simple and solid

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I’m excited when I see a housefly at home 🪰

No, I’m not crazy (not that much); just because I got a new toy, Bug-a-salt, a product turns a miserable fly-killing experience into a funny pest-hunting game.

Speaking of gamification, this is a perfect example.

A few things I think making this product work:

Make it fun, or connect a boring/tedious behaviour with a fun experience. Make it simple. This gun doesn’t need a battery or special bullets; table salt is all it needs. Make it solid. The product itself feels heavy and tangible. I think these three things also make sense for designing digital products.

Now I’ll go hunting some flies.


First Homeowner from 2021

One of the achievements that my wife and I did in 2021 is becoming a first-time homeowner in New Zealand – a country we arrived in 6 years ago. It was such a journey! I learned many lessons during the process, and many people helped us. I would like to share a few things I’ve learned from being a homeowner, and hopefully, it might be helpful for people who are on a similar journey:

It’s hard, but not impossible. Hardworking people will always be rewarded. It takes time, but it will happen if you do the first thing(hard-working). You will need some strategy, which means you will need to work hard and smart. Trust the process, as you can’t see the instant result. Work as a team – with your family. Finally, and might be the most important thing: as a homeowner, I don’t own it – yet. The bank owns it now, and it trusts me to pay for its investment. Our hard-working earned that trust, and I need to stay sharp (in a professional perspective) to keep it. There are always opportunities on the markets, whether you are looking for a new job or a new house.

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