Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Yesterday I found myself yelling at my computer as I watched a video on YouTube. I wasn’t as upset as when I first watched Hoarders – two episodes required my husband walking me around Seattle for three hours to calm down – but I was fairly upset with the video’s contents. The video belongs to a popular vlogger who advocates a raw vegan diet. As a lifelong vegetarian, I’m all for promoting a vegetarian or vegan diet, so long as the information is factual and pragmatic. When the information is neither, that’s when I get to yelling at my computer.

My first exposure to the vlogger was a video that shows the viewer how it’s possible to eat a raw vegan diet for $20 a day. At a minimum, the video is already proposing that viewers have a monthly food budget of $600. The food cart is loaded with more fruit than veg, absent of seeds or nuts that could provide necessary protein. For breakfast, the vlogger recommended, drink 32 ounces of water and follow with another 32 ounces of freshly-squeezed orange juice. My immediate reaction was “Jesus, the diarrhea,” followed by thoughts of diabetes. A mid-day snack was an apple or pear, so there is partial fiber and fruit pectin. Lunch was a smoothie made of bananas and even more fruit. At that point I had turn off the video because I couldn’t believe this vlogger was trying to convince people that upping your blood sugar levels was somehow akin to a healthy diet.

I digress: I never went out looking for this content, rather it was recommended to me by YouTube’s algorithm. A video by another vlogger was posted in reaction to the original content, thus how I started this journey of “what is this I can’t even.” Once I clicked to watch that video, even after disliking it, YouTube decided I was to be shown additional content by the vlogger.

The second video, again presented as “Recommended,” was about the 5 things she avoids in her raw vegan diet. This time my husband was with me in the room as an unwilling participant. While we agreed with her that refined sugar is definitely something that should be kept to a bare minimum in any diet, her aversion of oils, salt, and gluten had my eyes roll so far back into my head I awoke in 1983. The reasons for her aversions were steeped in personal belief at best, and were rooted in pseudo-science at worst. Like the first video, I had to stop watching and divert my attention elsewhere.

What the hell does any of this have to do with anything?

I love how the Internet has created opportunities and channels for sharing experiences in ways we never dreamed imaginable. But we have a responsibility to make sure what we share is factual and safe. Knowledge is power, and in the wrong hands this dynamic can have disastrous results. What is posed as a raw vegan diet is a platform for promoting orthorexia. Nutritionists and scientists both can easily rebuke many of the claims this vlogger makes about her approach toward a raw vegan diet. Anthropological archaeologists have already rebuked the paleo myth, and I’m sure they have more than one opinion about the anti-GMO community—the evolution of a carrot alone would acquiesce a lot of online conversation.

YouTube makes it money off ad revenue that is related to the subject matter in videos. Related, I would like to see the platform allow its community to flag content that is not only offensive, but factually incorrect. If you are going to advocate a lifestyle, and profit from it, then you need to be held accountable for your information. Otherwise people like me have to boot up Blogger and write ridiculously long diatribes about other people’s content containing more bullshit than nutrition.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Bits of unicorn hoof

Not to blow my own horn, but in my daily life I’ve become a unicorn in the technology industry because of the title “Senior UX Designer.” Much like how silicon valley investors are in search of their billion-dollar unicorns, technology companies are ever on the prowl for UX Designers to bring their ideas to market. If this reads like hyperbole to you, I promise you the thirst is real.

In the greater Seattle area, the job market for UX Designers is incredibly hot. Gone are the years of the major business players paying the same rates for UX design. Not too long ago, a certain telecommunications company threw down the gauntlet by offering $90/hour to fill their open positions. If you specialize in a particular vein of UX design, you can command much higher hourly rates.
We have this expression, Christy [Turlington] and I: We don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day. 
Linda Evangelista, 1990
Okay, so the comparison to a supermodel is hyperbole, but it’s not uncommon for UX Designers to turn up their noses at low salaries or hourly rates.

I am often contacted by recruiters – I’m not looking, I have my information tucked away – asking me if I have any UX Design colleagues looking for new opportunities. These recruiters contact me for positions in California, Texas, Georgia, Virginia, New York, Massachusetts, and more. I’m offered bonuses starting at $2,000 (and higher) for referrals. If I ever wanted out of the technology industry, I suppose I could switch tracks and take up the equivalent of white slavery for UX Design.

I gladly offer to teach my friends how to transition their design skills from print to online media. At a previous company, I taught a junior designer how to reverse-engineer her website designs into UI wireframes. The process is not difficult, provided there is an existing foundation of art & design principles. The rest is learned.

(A friend of mine referred to me as the “cognitive elite.” In other words, when the U.S. is not in a recession or depression, I have the skills and knowledge companies are looking for. I think it really means that I don’t require babysitting, and that I can complete tasks on-time.)

All of this begs the question: what did companies use before UX Designers?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Order of Nothingness

Blogger was an amazing CMS in its day. I knew a few folks who dabbled in Blogger but I could never bring myself to love it. Even now I flip through all the template designs and bemoan the looks of yesteryear. I could redesign the entire experience, I suppose. I would be tethered to Google fonts unless I intended to host my own files—a service that is oddly missing from Google Domains.

I was planning to list the pros for redesigning my Blogger site, but I had to think long and hard about typing “keeping my HTML skills sharp.” Who still uses HTML in 2016? My world is now made up of dp and dpi. Everything is scalable. Well, except Blogger. That’s just responsive.

Right. Let’s open the hood and see what we can do around here.