Freebie included: Miro templates for prioritizing workshops. Originally published in Smashing Magazine

When you’re working on a product, what is more crucial than choosing the right features to develop? However, the exercise often turns into a spectacle of team voting. As a result, decisions change many times down the road. Let’s talk about the pitfalls of popular prioritization techniques and approaches to reducing bias and disagreement.

Why might decision-making methods not work as expected?

How familiar is this scenario: the team employs modern decision-making methods and performs all design-thinking rituals, but the result remains guesswork. Or this: Soon after having prioritized all features, the key stakeholders change their mind and you have to plan everything again. …


USER INTERFACES

How trendy charts infantilize business data. Chinese version.

Snakes, seashells, mountains — this is something we, designers, might draw instead of showing data. Just get me right: creative charts are a fair choice when the goal is to entertain, for example, in a fitness app or video game. But if you aim to inform decisions, fanciness is not going to work. We’ll explore seven visual approaches incompatible with business needs and will find robust alternatives.

1. “Snakes”

Have you ever seen a CRM or ERP dashboard design that features juicy 3D tubes as graphs? I call this approach “snakes.”

Although such visualizations might seem visually appealing, they are helpless against real data and — even more important — are difficult to use. Almost everything is the decoration on the chart above, whereas the real data consists of only 10 data points. …


PHOTO STORY

How I figured out three ancient architectural styles just walking around the city

Tourists always admire Lviv as a whole but rarely understand the value of each piece. Besides, half of the oldest buildings are located outside of the crowded center and don’t get the attention they deserve. So, I’ll give the floor to overlooked sites as well as a few popular ones. Plus, I drew schemes to help you recognize the architectural styles of the past.

Byzantine Period

13th century — High Middle Ages in Europe. A time of the Fourth Crusade and the rise of the Mongol Empire led by Genghis Khan. The largest country in Eastern Europe was Kyivan Rus, an ancestor of modern Ukraine. …


PHOTO STORY

Overlooked sites of a non-touristic Ukrainian city

Cherkasy, the center-most city of Ukraine, was founded in the 13th century and had a wooden castle, but now the oldest surviving buildings date back to only the 1850s. Locals don’t perceive Cherkasy as a nice destination, but I’ll show you plenty of sites worth gazing at.

Masterpieces of Horodecki

The city’s most valuable buildings are credited to the talent of Władysław Horodecki (1863–1930), an architect of Polish origin, often called “Ukrainian Gaudi.” He contributed greatly to the architecture of Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, and designed several buildings in Cherkasy.

Hotel “Slovianskyi”

Our first stop is the hotel “Slovianskyi,” colloquially known as the “Blue Palace.” It was built at the end of the 19th century and belonged to a famous entrepreneur, Skoryna. Old postcards show alternating red-brown, blue, and grey paint on the walls and roof, but after a major overhaul in the 1990s, the building became blue-and-white. …


PHOTO STORY

Ukrainian western-most city feels the best before sunrise

I’ve been to Uzhhorod just once before this trip, and it didn’t impress me, but the night setting can change everything. How did we get there so late? Well, it was a conscious yet a bit crazy decision. My fiancée, Oksanka, and I — both wild about exploring new places — wanted to order wedding rings from a Ukrainian jeweler based in Uzhhorod. So, we booked a ride via BlaBlaCar and departed after midnight from Lviv.

The river Uzh divides the city into two parts — old (left) and new (right)

We wanted “a real adventure” and didn’t plan to stay at the hotel. This was our plan: departure from Lviv at 1 a.m.; around four hours to Uzhhorod by car; walking around the city by 5 p.m.; finally, turning back to Lviv for another four hours. …


PHOTO STORY

River ports, factories, and a lab like a spaceship

Vintage industrial facilities always stand out from a modern cityscape: textured brick walls, slim tubes, themed sculptures, coats of arms, arched windows — all these details are magnificent. And definitely, this industrial romantics remains overlooked. During summer, I was exploring non-touristic parts of Berlin in pursuit of industrial beauty.

1. Westhafen

District: Moabit. Founded in 1914, major expansion by 1927. Stations: U9, S41/42 Westhafen. Info: Google Maps, Wikipedia (in German).


PHOTO STORY

How I was collecting old towers around the city, including a cemetery, prison, and gas plants

Elevated tanks had served as water storages since ancient times, but spread worldwide only in the 19th century when pipe technology became more robust. The beauty of a tower is that it supplies water when you cannot rely on pumps, for example, during an electricity outage. Thank god for the gravity! Many old towers are protected historic sites and even repurposed as libraries, apartments, or offices.

1. Wasserturm Gaswerk Mariendorf

District: Mariendorf. Height: 45 m. Built in 1900. Info: Google Maps, Wikipedia (in German).


PHOTO STORY

A day on Berlin’s magnificent Pfaueninsel

Berlin has 2500 parks, but tourists and locals often limit themselves to the most popular ones like Tiergarten or Charlottenburg. I don’t know about you, folks, but I got bored after two-three visits and decided to search for something new — and found Pfaueninsel.

This journey started on the upper floor of an empty double-decker #218 coursing from the station Wannsee to Pfaueninsel ferry. My traditionally early wake-up was worth it more than usual: I caught the first trip of the bus. Just imagine the first-person view and passing-by joggers and cyclists waving hello to me and the driver.


PHOTO STORY

Berlin looks like a doughnut: it has a dull center and magnificent outskirts. Tegel is one of the latter

Last week I decided to visit another former village, Tegel. Before going to bed, I checked the sunrize time. Google showed 04:48. Well, I set the alarm for four in the morning, hoping to defeat the laziness of waking up so early. As you might have guessed, it somehow worked out.

I jumped out of the metro station and headed to the Tegel Lake; the bank was completely empty. Greenwich Promenade is always crowded, especially on weekends. Adults drink beer and children feed ducks and swans, although it’s prohibited, and there are warning tables every 10 meters.


USABILITY TESTING

How to build a script, document results, and self-improve. This shouldn’t be a secret — feel free to share further

“Always test your design” — you’ll find this idea in almost any design book, but how to get started? Given you have a prototype (Invivion, Axure, Figma, etc.) or a live product (site, web app, mobile app), what’s next? In this article, I share free templates for moderated qualitative testing.

1. Usability testing script

Get the template here

Via Notion: 🇺🇸 Script (English), 🇺🇦 Script (Ukrainian), 🇩🇪 TBD (German).
Via Almanac: 🇺🇸 Script (English).

Designers often underestimate the value of a full written script for usability testing. But there is no shame in always having one — in fact, an elaborate and well-thought-through script is the expert habit.

Inspired by a classical template, which Steve Krug composed ten years ago, I created another one to reflect my usability testing experience and adjust old good techniques to the 2020 reality. …

About

Slava Shestopalov

Design Manager at Eleks Berlin eleks.com, public speaker, author of the 5 a.m. Magazine medium.com/5-a-m 🇺🇦🇩🇪

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