I’m sure that statement is causing some confusion, so I will clarify that no, I am not living in a parallel universe as some sort of Benjamin Button-esque human being. I also am not a child prodigy of UX design (if that’s even a thing).

Picture this; the year is 2006, and a small but inspired 8-year-old me is sitting in my third-grade classroom consumed by thoughts of tech. I was always a fanatic of the emerging tech world, which at the time was still focused on colorful and gimmick-laden feature phones and Palm Pilots. …

In the days before iOS and Android’s combined 99% market share, there was another player who dominated the smartphone market. Even as late as 2010 (three years after the iPhone’s introduction) there was one go-to choice for professionals who wanted a mobile device.

We are talking, of course, about the BlackBerry.

BlackBerry was in many ways ahead of its time. Their devices had full QWERTY keyboards, advanced networking settings, and a whole host of ways to communicate through text with other people. This winning formula was fully realized with the release of the quintessential Bold 9000, which led Research in…

When you read the words “Windows” and “Mobile” smashed together, what comes to mind? You likely have one of three reactions: first, you may shudder and imagine a cursed Mobile OS that was one of the very first to ship preloaded on the earliest “smart” phones; second, you might be thinking of a long scrolling screen of squares on a Nokia phone; and third, you may be thinking Windows on Mobile? I’ve never heard of that!

If you fall within the third category, you’re probably a very young and very new designer, in which case, welcome! But for veterans of…

Both Millennials and Gen Z have experienced a popular music platform that condenses pop music down into its catchiest hooks. How has this shaped the pop music landscape?

Let me take you back to a time when a certain little device ruled the popular music market for young people. It had one, monophonic, non-detachable earpiece with a ludicrously short cord, couldn’t actually store any music internally (instead using separate cartridges), and let you hear roughly 60 seconds of your favorite radio hits. It also jingled like a polycarbonate wind chime every time you moved it.

Ringing a bell? That’s right, we’re talkin’ bout HitClips.

Tiger Electronics launched the music-playing product and brand in the year 2000, and in doing so introduced an entirely new way for young listeners…

For most of my life, the left and right sides of my brain have co-existed like randomly-paired college roommates. They have always been in close quarters with each other, constantly seeing what the other is up to, but never really interacting beyond that. It felt like one side of my brain was decorated with colorful concert posters and tapestries and LED lights, and the other had completely empty walls and only a fitted sheet on the mattress.

Part of the reason for this was likely the narrative that followed me for my entire life about the divergence of a person’s…

When Amazon introduced the Fire Phone in 2014, it seemed like the company could not fail. For well over a decade, Amazon’s profits have soared alongside several highly successful product lines, including the Kindle line of E-readers and the Echo line of smart home speakers. However, the catastrophic failure of their Fire Phone is proof that no company’s record or reputation can protect them from destructive assumptions leading the way on development.

By 2014, the smartphone market had already decided on a split of market share for two different priorities. With Apple’s iPhone, consumers were getting an intuitive and straightforward…

“Any damn fool can make something complex, it takes a genius to make something simple.”
— Pete Seeger, Product Director at Docusign

Born in a small city in northern mainland China, my best friend Wen could always carry out limited spoken conversations with me in English, but was much more comfortable speaking in Mandarin. I also know a few words and phrases in Mandarin, but not near enough to keep up conversation. Though we were able to communicate easily online when we had translator websites available to us individually, talking in person could sometimes be a bit rocky.

Our communication…

Matt Tomko

Product Designer and Music Producer with a 90% Blood-Yerba-Mate concentration

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