Hitting a plateau is normal

Original Photo by Snowscat on Unsplash, Illustrated by Author

Beginning therapy can feel like breaking a spell. It’s hard to always be in tune with what you’re feeling. A lot of us like to keep certain things to ourselves. Having a judgment-free zone to talk and express those feelings can be a freeing experience.

In my first year of therapy, I had many breakthroughs. Especially once I broke through the initial awkwardness of telling a stranger my life story and some of my darkest secrets.

Initially, I thought it might just feel weird. And I had some bad experiences with therapists before. …


If you’re still here, know you are capable of anything.

Illustration by Author, Original Photo by Henri Pham on Unsplash

The other day I had a conversation with my therapist about my most recent depressive episode. I had a mental breakdown leading to a huge dip that took months to recover.

I often think about the person I had to be back then, just to survive. It was hard for me to believe I did it.

“It’s a kind of superpower, really,” my therapist said. She was right.

If you’ve had to endure the dips of depression for a long time, it’s not always easy to give yourself credit. But it’s necessary.

For a lot of people, overcoming depression doesn’t…


And small ways to make transitions easier for everyone involved.

Illustration by Author, Original Photo by Florian Schmetz on Unsplash

If you’ve been through some sort of product redesign, you know user complaints are impossible to avoid. No matter how well thought out the changes were, it’s almost guaranteed your users will hate it.

The reason behind this is quite simple. Most redesigns focus not only on changes but especially on new users and their onboarding process.

Even if the changes were supposed to make the flow easier, the barrier for existing users will be quite high. It’s a barrier that wasn’t there before.

“People just don’t like spending their time learning, they like to spend their time doing.” …


Aha! moments can’t be summoned

Illustration by Author, Original Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

I have always been a fan of non-fiction on self-improvement. Before learning about the wave of this platform’s self-help craze, it was a guilty pleasure. Back then, it was all about the books. I’d save a multitude of recommendations to have an abundant backlog for whatever might tickle my fancy.

Every once in awhile, I’d go on a bender and buy a bunch of them at the same time because I got just excited enough to convince myself it was the right time.

A tingling feeling of possibility and opportunity on the horizon. Whenever I picked one of them up…


And how you can properly balance them

Illustration by Author, Original Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

The people we admire often share similar traits. We tend to look up to them and try to mimic their behavior. We want to reach their social standing, live a life similar to theirs, and become more trustworthy and respected ourselves.

But every human trait has its shortcomings.

Imitating them seems like a sure-fire way to get to where we want to be. They might hold the same values as us, but seem just better at going about life. But no matter how much we’d like it to, not every trait will come naturally to us.

Trying to be more…


From color theory to life-centered design.

Illustration of girl sitting on a bed, surrounded by plants
Illustration of girl sitting on a bed, surrounded by plants
Illustration by Author

If you’ve been around the Internet and Social Media the past few years, you’re probably aware of the ongoing trend surrounding house plants. What started as a few inspiring home decor pictures on Pinterest, slowly clawed its way to a plant “culture” and community amid Millenials.

According to the National Gardening Association they made up a quarter of U.S. lawn and garden retail sales in 2019.

Their rise in popularity made sense since there’s an abundance of physical and psychological benefits of owning and taking care of plants. Being nice to look at, is a bonus.

But why the sudden…


Instead of letting it distort your sense of reality.

Illustration by Author, Original Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

I’ve been on the verge of quitting Social Media quite a few times. I succeeded in deleting apps from my phone for good, and I deleted a few accounts I saw no real use for.

But as a UX Designer, it is impossible for me to go completely “off the grid”. Not only is it part of my job to know how people interact with Media, but it is also the most common way of communicating and living, as of today.

We always interpret the world around us to make sense of what’s happening. To get results, our brain sometimes…


First thing: quit streaming.

Illustration by Author, Original Photo by Victor Garcia on Unsplash

It’s difficult to introduce drastic changes in a company’s culture. Oftentimes sustainability initiatives are only seen as part of the company’s product, instead of as part of the company’s culture.

Especially tech companies, agencies, and freelancers have a hard time figuring out what exactly they can do to be more sustainable. Digital products are often already the “more sustainable” choice but have been proven to still have a lot of problems when it comes to their effect on the environment.

Still, the scale often gets set too high and absolute. Making it a tedious task to start making changes. …


“20% on everything” — a cautionary tale

Illustration by Author, Original Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

In 2003 a hardware chain commercial took Germany by storm. It only contained one simple sentence, dubbed by Bruce Willis’ voice actor.

“20% on everything — except pet food (tr.)”

A sale on everything? Wait, why not pet food? Is that Bruce Willis’ voice? People were instantly intrigued. The commercial fit perfectly into the stingy 2000s era of shopping. If you needed something and there was a place you could get it at a discount, that’s where you went. It became an easy choice. Praktiker’s sales were soaring. Other hardware stores could hardly keep up. They had proven themselves on…


Gamification

A dive into the mishaps of the most commonly used gamification pattern.

Illustration by Author, Original Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

“A designer must not only see the way a player engages with the system, but also how he leaves it and — perhaps even more importantly — what brings him back again. “ Cunningham & Zichermann

Gamification has been around for a while. People like to treat it as a golden ticket to user engagement. There are a lot of great resources to figure out in what ways you can add gamification to your current app’s system. It’s used as a tool to motivate and keep the user engaged in applications.

One of the most used gamification patterns is rewards

Carine Ru

UX Designer based in Germany. I write about Mental Health, UX, Psychology and Self. https://linktr.ee/collectivemmind

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