Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

How designers can be better managers right out of the gate.

Being a designer and being a manager are more similar than different, so when new design managers (or designers considering management) ask me for advice, I believe they already have most of the skills they need to be a great manager.

These are all things good designers…

Little girl in a Wonder Woman costume blowing out candles on cupcakes. Mom in a shiny red wig crouched beside her, looking on
Little girl in a Wonder Woman costume blowing out candles on cupcakes. Mom in a shiny red wig crouched beside her, looking on

A tale of turning four and the parents who managed a party.

The day is done. Our just-turned-four-year-old is asleep upstairs clutching an overstuffed, poorly-sewn orange woolen cat, a gift chosen by her sister from Etsy’s “handmade” and “under $20” filters. I stuff my Poison Ivy wig and my green velvet leotard, along with my husband’s plated abs (he was the Dark Knight for the day), into the costume chest. Big Sister wears her Cheetah costume (Wonder Woman’s nemesis) to bed. I shake the beach sand from the towels outside and add them to the wash. I pick up scraps of wrapping paper from the rugs. It was a happy day, despite…

Illustration of two circles, one above water with an upturned smile, the other a reflection in waves with a down-turned smile
Illustration of two circles, one above water with an upturned smile, the other a reflection in waves with a down-turned smile

How managers can help in truly difficult times

At an early morning call for a Slack group I help admin, my friend Avery suggested we prompt the community for ways to help parents through their stress and isolation during this never-ending pandemic. I bat my eyes exactly two beats before they welled with tears and a lump lodged in my throat. I told myself it was fatigue, but this was in fact the first time after months of balancing everyone’s needs but my own that someone had said to my face: How can we help you endure? It didn’t matter what the ideas were and it didn’t matter…

Photo by ROOM on Unsplash

A few straightforward ways to improve hiring practices for a better applicant experience

I’ve recently re-entered the jobseeker’s market after six years on the lam and though I’m older and wiser and slightly less hire-able, I’ve managed to secure an amazing new position (more on that soon!). Before I forget the pain of the hiring process I wanted to capture a few obvious things that employers really should be doing as they look to hire the best of the best. As it turns out, a lot of businesses are terrible at hiring in 2019 and the obvious bears repeating! Here’s how to be better.

Photo by Dylan McLeod on Unsplash

A final family day trip before our daughter starts school

we sit the four of us
on a bench in Port Colborne
facing the Welland Canal
eight feet off a four-legged bench
watching a ship come near

the bridge has already
lifted the road on its pulleys
a cyclist waits behind red and white
striped gates, his concrete path
well above his head now

the ship, a barge, looks miles away
a stalled moment of looking
reveals it moving closer, like clouds might
out of the haze
its colours brightening
its magnitude seizing

we recognize a Q
we place the ship in Québec
just passing through
on her way by the Welland Canal…

On remembering the people you loved while letting go of what they left behind

Photos courtesy of the author

First, begin by remembering the house in its heyday. Skip-Bo games prompting shouts of victory or loss, the front door clapping with entries and exits, onions and green peppers sizzling in cast-iron frying pans, and the comforting smells of buttermilk pie drifting from the still-warm oven.

As we find ourselves in dark times, it’s up to us to shine a light on the next phase of the internet

Photo: Brian Caissie/Getty Images

I embraced social media early and indiscriminately. With ardent curiosity beginning with Twitter in 2007, I collected profile pages like trophies, staking my user name and avatar into every new social territory I could find.

I did this like it was my job. In a way it was: I figured I should know how other design teams were inventing novel ways to gather communities online. Only now do I see these platforms weren’t just building communities, they were establishing products on the backs of communities at the expense of privacy.

Now, in 2019, things have changed. Design ethics conversations are…

Ethel on her porch in Cross Plains, TX (Image by Author)

A eulogy for a lost generation of west Texas relatives

When I was five or six I remember getting ready for bed with Ethel at Great Grandma Ames’ house in Cross Plains. We were standing together at the bathroom sink in our nightgowns when she popped out her teeth to clean them. I’m sure my eyes went as big as saucers. But in those days in that part of the country, if you had a problem with a tooth you had it pulled. And Ethel had lots of problems.

In response to my childlike horror, she dangled her dentures between two fingers and chased me around the house, her gummy…

Best practices for keeping your remote team happy and productive

Photo: Hero Images/Getty Images

Earlier this week Alexis Lloyd, Head of Design Innovation at Automattic (she’s moving on to Medium, congrats!), shared on Twitter some insightful best practices for leading design teams remotely and asked others to chime in. As in, a community sharing ideas—not just complaining! Be still, my heart. I don’t know Alexis personally but her receptiveness inspires me.

I started to reply in unrolled, unthreaded, Twitter-novel form, but I realized I have had this topic in my brain for years now, and if I don’t get it out today it will be trapped inside forever with only cobwebs and dusty…

Cassie McDaniel

Words, design, community. Leading w/ kindness. Product Design manager @ Webflow. Prev. Glitch, Mozilla, Adobe, Women&&Tech, Jane & Jury.

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