Co-written by Vinita Israni and me (Jessica Pang)

Disclaimer: We recognize that the following gestures are based on American and Australian sign language, and may not have the same meaning across other countries and cultures. Sincere apologies if there’s anything offensive, but know that we mean all the right intentions.

Quote of 2021 + 2021: “You’re on mute”
Quote of 2021 + 2021: “You’re on mute”
Quote of 2021 + 2021: “You’re on mute”

After a year of trial-and-error working from home (WFH), we’re finally getting the hang of communicating effectively without physical face time. Using tools like Google Meet’s polls and virtual whiteboards like Miro, we have found ways to replicate the physical components of collaboration over Zoom calls. But what about the good old ways of communication using hand gestures?

As this crazy year is finally coming to an end, it’s time to reflect, check-off the goals I’ve hit (or procrastinated) and plan for next year.

With the pandemic starring most of the year, it feels like a lot has happened but at the same time like I haven’t done much (at least in my personal life).

It has, however, fundamentally shifted our ways of working, interactions with people and concept of home vs workspace.

If there was one (if any) positive side effect, it’s the awareness for well-being. …

Throughout my time in the travel space, I’ve played different roles onboarding customers (specifically hoteliers), previously in sales and account management, and today as a product designer.

Previously, the product development side of things was always a mystery to me. When I was in sales, there were times when customers would ask me about new product features and I had no. idea. It wasn’t until I became a product designer that I finally understood how it all played out together.

The Onboarding Experience

Broadly speaking, this is typically where onboarding fits in the customer lifecycle:

Where onboarding fits in the customer lifecycle and the key activities involved in each stage
Where onboarding fits in the customer lifecycle and the key activities involved in each stage
Where onboarding fits in the customer lifecycle and the key activities involved in each stage (this may vary depending on the organization)

As you can see, onboarding spans across multiple…

Meet Alfie. He loves bacon and wiggles at the sounds of plastic packages opening. He is very attentive and makes sure to watch over his “hoomans” and siblings whenever they’re in danger.

Alfie, the made-up persona
Alfie, the made-up persona
Please note that this is a made-up persona 🐶

Now let’s hear the story of Alfie in another light.

Alfie is our target persona. He loves to eat, is attentive and responsible.

The difference? Storytelling vs factual listing.

It’s easy to bullet point your facts, but storytelling can really elevate your presentation and engage your audience.

By applying the same techniques in design, it can help you craft better user experiences, communicate ideas and get stakeholder buy-in.

#1 Emotion mapping your user’s journey

(PS: perfectly legal stuff here)

When I say ‘stealing’, I’m referencing the book ‘Steal like an Artist’ by Austin Kleon and its secrets behind creativity.

Inspired by ‘Steal like an Artist’, I’ve applied these principles to anything I learned and formed this 3-stage learning framework.

Stage 1: Stealing (or copying)

(It’s still strange for me to say ‘stealing’ so I’ll keep them in quotations for this context)

When I first made the move to design, I lacked the background in visual design and UI. …

Working remotely is nothing new for many people. My colleagues and I have occasionally worked from home, hopped on calls remotely and collaborated online using Google docs or virtual whiteboards.

With COVID-19, working remote becomes your everyday, which means you need to find a new rhythm. And yes, it comes with other side effects like declining looks in a not so graceful manner.

Meme from 9gag illustrating a progressive decline in caring for our appearances working from home.

But in all honesty, working from home has made me feel more connected than ever and extremely productive. It has sharpened my design practice in 4 different ways.

#1 Empathy for your customers

This pandemic is not…

In the spirit of new year trends, I’ve decided to join the party and do a little Design for Thought to set the tone for 2020’s challenges.

👂🏻 Empathy begins at home.

In User Defenders’ podcast episode, designer Shaheena Attarwala’s story and words add so much more depth to the word ‘empathy’.

Growing up in the slums of Mumbai, Shaheena fought through education inequality and traumatic ordeals. Despite that, she was resilient and defied the traditional beliefs of what women “should be” in her society.

Instead of blaming her family for poor childhood conditions, she empathized with her parents that they also came from a…

Hospitality has been around for decades, even when it wasn’t always called that.

Back in the days, it wasn’t about the glamour or lavish treats. Travellers were en route to a destination and simply needed a good night’s rest at the kindness of a stranger’s home.

Today, it is a flourishing industry with well established practices and guided by the best in class.

When I majored in hospitality in university, most of my classes revolved around stories of service and smiles. From guest experience design, wine theory (not legally 21 yet in the US to take the wine tasting course…

When it comes to personal stories, I learned that they usually fall in one of two main categories — crazy shit that happened (ie. a bear attacked me), or something that resonates with most people.

We recount personal experiences almost everyday — something random that happened, our travels, an amazing restaurant experience or the worst encounters in life.

We are all natural storytellers when it comes to sharing a personal experience. We know it inside out and usually storytell it in a sequential order.

I practice storytelling all the time — sharing my adventures in life, design portfolio pieces, pitching…

Jessica Pang

Product Designer at Siteminder & Storyteller at Loves to fun(brain)storm, learn new things and travel.

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