I wake up early, while the family is still asleep. A couple of hours in the morning is my personal ‘time off’ every day. I make a pot of black tea, add a bit of milk into a large cup, and sit by the window with a book or with a digital ‘pad’ I write on.

I’ve got two ‘pads’: a Surface book, and an iPad. And recently I noticed that when I reach out to take the Surface, I smile. Like I smile at my cats when I let them in from the garden. …


Photo by Jeremy Paige

If somebody told me two years ago that I’d be joining a lending company as a Lean UX practitioner, I’d just laugh: this type of financial software was way far beyond my interests. Besides, being a ‘practitioner’, a methodologist, seemed to fit me like a saddle on a cow.

But never say never — here I stand after ~20 months working for 4finance, an online money-lending non-banking institution. And I have to confess, now I am a Lean enthusiast and practitioner. …


A brief glance to tell whether a newspaper on a cafe table is tabloid or quality paper. A second to decide whether to explore an online service or look for another one. Before people have actually read your web page, its information architecture will shape their attitude.

This September I was lucky to attend an excellent talk on newspaper design and information architecture by Jasso Lamberg. And though Jasso hasn’t said a word on my own field, I ran out of napkins sketching and making notes on web apps design. As they say, whatever you tell a chicken, it’ll hear either ‘grain’ or nothing.

Apparently the principles are universal: before we’ve read the text, we judge the ‘quality’ of an edition not by contents (it happens before we’ve actually read anything), but by its overall information architecture:

  • The less expressive, laconic design is perceived as high-class and…


Keyboard shortcuts are a powerful productivity booster widely used in desktop software. How can we apply them in web applications?

Some 20 years ago I was finishing my diploma. Home computer was by far a luxury, so I worked by nights in a friend’s office. The friend introduced me to a powerful Windows 3.11 Word with tons of great possibilities that made writing a sheer pleasure (comparing to a typewriter!). Remember one thing, he said. Whatever you do, whatever you write, hit Ctrl+S right after you’ve finished typing. Other skills will come later. Ctrl+S you should master right now.

Now web apps have become true working environments for many activities (including writing diplomas). Productivity and speed are a business necessity…

Sasha Maximova

Lean UX designer. Project starter. Slow traveler.

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