Design Review

By Design Review

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No chit-chat, just focused in-depth discussions about design topics that matter. Jonathan Shariat and Chris Liu are your hosts and bring to the table passion and years of experience.

Episode Date
Episode 59 - Concluding the Design Process
At long last, episode 59 is here! This week, Chris and Jon conclude the discussion series on what makes a great design process. We talk about some of the issues that impact the "How", the part after you figure out what the design should entail. Stick around for part 3 of this series!
Apr 17, 2018
Episode 58 - You've defined the problem. Now what?!
This week, Chris and Jon continue their series on defining an effective design process. Once you've figured out the problem, what should you do next? There are so many things that can happen (and usually do!) and Chris and Jon give their insights on what to focus on next. Stay tuned to part 2 of this series!
Nov 26, 2017
Episode 57 - Defining our Design Process
This week, Chris and Jon talk about defining an effective process. Let's face it. Defining a useful process is hard! There's so many questions about what to do first. And worst of all, it's really easy to start jumping in and making mockups. Stay tuned to this episode to hear about why that may not be the best idea!
Oct 29, 2017
Episode 56 - The 10th Anniversary of the iPhone
This week, Jon and Chris talk about the recent keynote from Apple. The show starts with a quick product review of all the different product announcements made by Tim Cook & co. Then in the second half, they get into a discussion about what's happened with Apple over the past 10 years, and why they may no longer be the center of innovation in the post-Jobs era. Stay tuned for a different kind of Design Review episode!
Oct 02, 2017
Episode 55 - How to Succeed at Interviews
This week, Jon and Chris answer a listener email about how to handle job interviews. Both Chris and Jon give practical tips and information from their experiences as interviewees AND hiring managers! Stay tuned for an informative episode!
Sep 10, 2017
Episode 54 - Don't look... It's car UX!
After 3 attempts, Chris and Jon finally get this one recorded! Phew! Jon interviews Chris about what it's like to work on car stuff, what the future holds, and how YOU could be part of it! Stay tuned for the latest show!
Aug 06, 2017
Episode 53 - Good designers write!
This week, Chris and Jon talk about why good writing skills are essential for doing good design. Obviously other things are important too, but writing is just one of those 'core skills' every designer must have. Stay tuned to this episode!
May 30, 2017
Episode 52 - Meetings are a necessary evil!
This week Chris and Jon talk about awful meetings, why we have to have them, and what we can do about them. There's lots of useful information to help you have better meetings, so definitely stick around for this one!
May 09, 2017
Episode 51 - How to get things made
At long last, here's episode 51! Yay! This week, Chris and Jon discuss production design and how we transition from ideas to implemented products. This is where the rubber meets the road, and you don't want to miss this important episode!
Apr 26, 2017
Episode 50 - Improving Design Culture
It's episode 50 everybody! Woo! We made it! Thanks to everyone for supporting us! It's been a pleasure putting these together for you. This week, Chris and Jon talk about why companies STILL don't get design, and try to figure out some ways that we can all solve this big problem together. Stay tuned for a monumental episode!
Mar 13, 2017
Episode 49 - Our Tools of the Trade
This week Chris and Jon talk about the tools they use to get 'er done! From desks, to pens, to apps, we cover it all. Stay tuned for a more lighthearted episode!
Feb 21, 2017
Episode 48 - How to define an MVP
This week, Chris and Jon discuss a listener question on how to define an MVP. Then they discuss what to do with it after launch. It's a great show for people working in startups, and how to successfully navigate the pitfalls of early product lifecycles. Stay tuned!
Feb 01, 2017
Episode 47 - How to plan your design career(from start to finish)
How do you get started in Design? What's next after your first job? What positions should I build to? What are the possible paths for a designer to take? We discuss these important questions and more in this week's podcast!
Jan 05, 2017
Episode 46 - Designing for Formunction
This week, Chris and Jon have a discussion about form vs. function and created a new word: "Formunction"!!! But is it better to emphasize form or function? Can you achieve both? Listen and find out!
Nov 28, 2016
Episode 45 - The Dangers of Empathy
This week, Chris and Jon discuss the danger of using empathy in your design process. This show is based on an interview published in the Harvard Business Review where researchers conducted studies on how being empathetic can actually cause problems that you may not be able to see! Stay tuned!
Oct 15, 2016
Episode 44 - Polite vs. Impolite Software
This week, Chris & Jon discuss the differences between polite and impolite software, and how it affects the user experience! Believe it or not, politeness matters, so stick around and listen!
Oct 04, 2016
Episode 43 - UI Vs. No UI
This week on the Design Review: we discuss the principle of No UI and whether or not the best interface really is no interface.
Sep 08, 2016
Episode 42 - Pokemon Go!
The guys have returned to the studio! This week, we discuss everyone's favorite app, Pokemon Go!
Aug 17, 2016
Episode 41 - Designing A/B Tests
We're a little late with this show, but Chris and Jon are back in the studio to discuss A/B testing! We break down what it is, why it's important, and even go over some of the common myths about it. So stay tuned to another great episode!
Jul 12, 2016
Episode 40 - The Myth of the Power User
This week Chris and Jon talk about the "Power User"! Chris thinks is all BS, and wrote a post about it. But we discuss more about this topic on the show! Stay tuned!
Jun 21, 2016
Episode 39 - Designing a product launch and more!
This week Chris and Jon answer some listener questions on taking a product to market and then later, how to deal with monetization. Stay tuned!
May 31, 2016
Episode 38 - Unloading Cognitive Load
This week, Chris and Jon talk about the difficulty of dealing with cognitive load. Burdening users with many options or complex navigation systems can increase the amount of cognitive load. Reducing this burden can make your product easier to use! Keep listening for more tips on dealing with this tricky problem!
May 01, 2016
Episode 37 - Landing your first design job!
This week on the Design Review, Chris and Jon discuss what it takes to land your first job as a professional designer, and answer some of the most common questions on what to do. Later in the show, we have a short discussion on equal pay!
Apr 14, 2016
Episode 36 - Free your mind from design blocks!
This week, Chris and Jon discuss the ways in which designers can get blocked in their creative process, and what can be done about it. Later in the show, we introduce a brand new segment that we hope you'll enjoy. So stick around for another great episode!
Mar 21, 2016
Episode 35 - Designers, stop being so hypercritical!
The guys are back with another episode. This week Chris and Jon discuss the hypercriticism in the design community. It's a difficult topic, since everyone has an opinion, but if we improve how we talk about design, maybe others will too! Stick around for another great episode!
Feb 29, 2016
Episode 34 - Why do designers become jaded?
This week on the Design Review, Chris and Jon discuss some of the negative aspects of being a designer and talk about how designers can become jaded in their careers. Later they discuss how to stop it from happening based on their own experiences. Lastly, they bring back their stories of "Good UX of the Week"!
Feb 14, 2016
Episode 33 - Diversity in Tech with Melanie Araujo
At long last, the guys are back in the studio! This week Chris and Jon have a conversation with Melanie Araujo, a designer and founder of, an organization dedicated to solving the problem of diversity in tech, through design. Stay tuned for another excellent episode!
Feb 01, 2016
Episode 32 - The power of saying "No"!
Chris and Jon are back in the recording studio for 2016! This week, they talk about how to prioritize your work and the power of saying "no"!
Jan 10, 2016
Episode 31 - Defining a design strategy that works!
This week, Chris and Jon are back with another topic from the listeners! This time, we're talking about how to define a design strategy at the beginning of a project. Later in the show, we discuss measuring your designs by using metrics and data. Lastly, we close out the show with our stories of "Good UX of the Week". Stay tuned to another great show!
Nov 22, 2015
Episode 30 - Designing with Personas!
This week, both Jon and Chris are back in the studio to discuss personas. We go over what they are, how you use them, along with some tips on how to get started. We close it out with a discussion of why people don't use them more often, along with our "Good UX of the Week" stories.
Nov 08, 2015
Episode 29 - Usability Testing and User Experience
This week, while Jon is busy editing his new book, Chris spends some time talking (ranting) about usability testing, and addressing some of the common myths about it.
Oct 26, 2015
Episode 28 - Designing with Empathy
This week, Jonathan spends some time alone and talks about empathy in design. It's an important topic that is good for the whole company, not just designers. Stay tuned!
Oct 15, 2015
Episode 27 - UX Design Mentorship with Michael Darius
This week, we were LIVE on Blab with Michael Darius, formerly a designer at Apple, to discuss UX design mentorship! This is the audio version of everything that we discussed. Thanks to the team at Blab and Michael for a great evening of discussion.
Sep 21, 2015
Episode 26 - Stop having bad critiques!
This week, Chris and Jon talk about design critiques! We discuss what they are, what they aren't, why you need them, how to run them, and so much more!
Aug 14, 2015
Episode 25 - How to design a great portfolio
This week Chris and Jon discuss one of the most difficult design projects of them all, portfolios. We talk about what they are, how they can help move your career forward, and how we're faring on this journey to portfolio greatness!
Aug 02, 2015
Episode 24 - Dark patterns and the Apple Music experience
This week, Chris and Jon discuss the new Apple Music app! They go through the onboarding, discuss the app's design, and talk about some possible solutions. Do you think Apple did a good job? Or have they resorted to using some dreadful UX dark patterns? Stay tuned! We have a great show for you!
Jul 06, 2015
Episode 23 - Why ask "Why"?
This week, Chris and Jon ask the most important design question in the entire universe, "Why?". We discuss the "Why" of design and talk about what you can do to make your "Why" more obvious. Stay tuned!
Jun 14, 2015
Episode 22 - The glue that keeps your UX together!
This week, Chris and Jon talk about one of the design industry's least favorite topics, consistency! We discuss what it is, why it's important, who owns it, and highlight some real world examples. Stay tuned! You won't want to miss it!
Jun 01, 2015
Episode 21 - Designing Credit Card Forms
This week, Chris and Jon discuss Jon's favorite subject, credit card forms! Along with that we go over some general tips on form design. We have a lot to talk about this week, so stick around! This is a good one!
May 18, 2015
Episode 20 - UX and User Assistance
This week, Jon and Chris wrap up this series on usability heuristics. Lots of good information about how to handle error messages and help documentation, and how important user assistance is to good design. Don't miss this episode!
May 03, 2015
Episode 19 - Nielsen's Usability Heuristics part 3
This week, Chris and Jon talk about the next set of usability heuristics, "Error Prevention" and "Recognition Rather than Recall". Thanks to the SJSU library for (inadvertently) hosting us! :P
Mar 27, 2015
Episode 18 - Onboarding
This week, Chris and Jon talk about onboarding! What is it? Why is it important? After Chris asked on Twitter, we also answer the questions that people have about onboarding and what makes a good onboarding UX. Thanks to everyone that wrote in!
Mar 09, 2015
Episode 17 - Designing for user control and UI consistency
This week, Chris and Jon continue their series on Nielsen's usability heuristics; this time, focusing on "User Control and Freedom" and "Consistency and Standards". These are 2 very important principles in UI/UX design, so stick around and listen!
Feb 23, 2015
Episode 16 - Nielsen's Usability Heuristics: Part 1
This episode, Chris and Jon start a series of shows devoted to everyone's favorite usability heuristics! These principles in interaction design are critical to helping make your product successful. Later in the show, we talk about some different apps that utilize these principles and whether or not they did them well.
Feb 10, 2015
Episode 15 - Designing Playfulness into your UX
This week, Chris and Jon talk about how playfulness can help improve your UX. As an example of playfulness, we look at an app called Carrot: an app to help you track calories. It's a fun episode, so listen in and stop being so serious!
Jan 26, 2015
Episode 14 - Acorns
This week, Chris and Jon take a look at a new app for investing, Acorns! We also bring on David Keegan, Director of Design at Acorns, and talk about the highs and lows of using the app and interview him on working at Acorns. Stick around! You won't want to miss this show!
Jan 12, 2015
Episode 13 - Reviewing Affinity Designer
This week, we return (sort of) from the holidays! While Jon is still away, Chris takes a look at a new vector art program, Affinity Designer. It's available on the Mac App Store and could be a valuable replacement for Adobe Illustrator. ***Also note: This is the audio portion (slightly edited) that accompanied a video. If you would like to follow along with this week's show, please visit and watch the video! Thanks!
Jan 06, 2015
Episode 12 - Workflow
Chris and Jon take a look at a new programmable automation tool for iOS and chat about onboarding and the user experience. Can this app improve on IFTTT? Listen and find out!
Dec 15, 2014
Episode 11 - Sketch
This week, Chris and Jon try out Sketch by Bohemian Coding. It's a tool that many designers are already using, but can it really replace Photoshop? Listen and find out!
Dec 08, 2014
Episode 10 - The Recap Show!
We made it to episode 10! This week Chris and Jon take a look at the past 10 weeks of shows and talk about what we learned from all the apps we've reviewed so far. Plus we briefly chat about a few of our personal favorites!
Dec 01, 2014
Episode 9 - Webflow
This week Chris and Jon take a look at Webflow. Have WYSIWYG website builders improved over the years? Listen and find out! Correction: Chris recorded the promo at the end of the show without realizing the promo code had changed. So make sure you use "fanimals202" when you sign up.
Nov 25, 2014
Episode 8 - LayerVault
This week Chris and Jonathan take a look at Layervault, a new cloud storage solution for designers! And if that wasn't cool enough, later in the show, Kelly Sutton, cofounder and CEO of Layervault, joins us for an amazing interview!
Nov 17, 2014
Episode 7 - Spotify
Chris and Jon take a look at the newly redesigned Spotify app for iPhone and iPad!
Nov 12, 2014
Episode 6 - Facebook Rooms
This week, Chris takes a look at Facebook Rooms, while Jonathan was away! We talk about onboarding, the user experience, and the aesthetics of Facebook's latest app!
Nov 04, 2014
Episode 5 - Google Inbox
Chris and Jonathan take a look and review the design of the web and mobile versions, listen and find out what we like, and what we didn't and most important what we learned about design.
Oct 27, 2014
Episode 4 - Candy - Crush
Yes, Candy Crush. Why did we pick it? We chose it because it's controversial yet has a lot to be learned, good and bad. The game has been one of the top grossing apps in the AppStore for a long time. Join us as we pick apart Candy Crush's onboarding, UX, dark patterns, and style.
Oct 21, 2014
Episode 3 - Quad
Chris and Jonathan take a look at Quad, a new group messaging app by Appsurdity! Later in the show, we chat with one of the co-founders of Appsurdity along with some of the Appsurdity team and find out what it was like to make Quad. Listen to this unique double episode!
Oct 14, 2014
Episode 2 - Ello
This week, Chris and Jonathan get access to Ello! We discuss the controversy around this product. We discuss the user experience. We discuss the visual presentation. We review it all! Will we like it or hate it? Listen and find out!
Oct 07, 2014
Episode 1 - 2by2! app
This week, Chris and Jonathan take a look at a new photo sharing app 2by2! We go through the whole experience of using it, from onboarding to visual design, to product enhancements. Listen for a unique perspective on product design!
Oct 06, 2014