DESIGN THINKING

An attempt to figure out the workshop nature once and for all.

We’ll skip the blah-blah about why workshops are important for product teams. Let’s better play a game. How many canvases on the picture below do you recognize? And which of them have you tried in practice?

What types of workshops do these canvases represent?

Not many design projects run without colorful sticky notes and team exercises on the whiteboard these days. But the number of workshop types scares! Empathy mapping, value proposition, customer journey, personas, business model, design sprint, etc. And these are just several “classic” examples without countless derivations and mixtures.

But I’ve got good news: all workshops are atomic — just like design systems. Anyone can…


PHOTO STORY

Majestic prewar architecture in Germany’s capital and the top tourist city of Ukraine

I used to live in Lviv for 5 years, and I’ve been living in Berlin for 1,5 years. It’s long enough to explore the beauty of both cities and fall in love with modern architecture. This article is a subjective mix of the most fascinating buildings I recommend staring at.

© All photos by Slava Shestopalov

Let me give you some context. The end of the 19th — beginning of the 20th century is called the Belle Époque (Beautiful Epoch). It was a period of peace, prosperity, and innovations. European architecture before the outbreak of the First World War had two primary directions:

  • Eclecticism attempts…


PHOTO STORY

Exploring 26 notable buildings in Lviv, Ukraine

I used to hate Baroque. I always associated it with the corrupt politicians’ perverted taste and fussy villas with overwhelming golden decoration. Recently, I tried to understand Baroque again, and it turned out to be an eye-opening experience. Oh, how wrong I used to be…

© All photos and illustration by Slava Shestopalov

Baroque flourished in the 17–18th centuries. It emerged owing to Catholic Church and served as its “brand identity.” Striving to compete with Protestantism, Catholics employed emotion in architecture to better appeal to a broader audience. Baroque was the first European style to spread globally (unlike its predecessors: Romanesque, Gothic, or Renaissance).


PHOTO STORY

How I tried to figure out ancient architectural styles just walking around the city

Tourists 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.

© All photos and illustrations by Slava Shestopalov

Byzantine and Romanesque 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…


DESIGN THINKING

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. …


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.

© All photos by Slava Shestopalov

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…


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). © All photos by Slava Shestopalov

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…


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.

© All photos by Slava Shestopalov

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.

© All photos by Slava Shestopalov

1. Wasserturm Gaswerk Mariendorf

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


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…

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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