Making of a UX designer

In the fall of 2022 I began studying UX Design at IT-högskolan. The field was new to me and I did my best to navigate the concepts, methods and nomenclatures. I wished I could talk to people who were just a bit further along than I – ask them what I should focus on, what I shouldn’t stress about, and how their careers had turned out.

I did run into a whole bunch of nice people at school, at meetups and other professional forums, but I would have liked the info available in one place, and I wish I had a map of the terrain ahead. I don’t have a mentor in the field, so finding others who are ahead of me seemed like the next best thing.

This project was born out of a hope that perhaps those that come after me can benefit from the experience of myself and my classmates. I did an open call to my class of UX22 at ITHS and asked to interview as many as possible after our first year of school. My plan is to follow this up three years after our graduation, and then three years after that – in 2027 & 2030.

Out of my class of 30 odd people, I got 11 to volunteer, and I’d like to thank them all for entrusting me with their time and thoughts. The interviews are in Swedish, but the videos have English auto-translated subs (in addition to manually translated Swedish) so I hope that they can be useful for others outside of Sweden.

The questions I asked each one were the same, but I did edit the thing for brevity and omitted some of the answers. I’ve pasted all the questions below:

  • Who are you and what’s your background?
  • Describe UX Design to someone who doesn’t know.
  • What distinguishes a good UX Designer?
  • What makes you a good UX designer?
  • Why did you decide to study UX Design?
    • What was appealing about it?
    • Is it still appealing?
    • Has your understanding of what UX Design is changed?
  • Describe something you’re are proud of during your first year.
  • What has been challenging in your first year?
  • If you could advise yourself before you began studying, what would you say?
  • What would you like to work with after graduation?
  • Is there anything you’d rather not work with?
  • Describe a typical workday in spring 2027.
    • How will you get there?

I hope these interviews provide some insights and encouragement to others who are just starting out on their UX design journey. It’s been interesting to speak with my classmates and document their thoughts and ambitions at this early stage of our careers. I look forward to continuing the conversation and documenting how our perspectives evolve over time.

I welcome any feedback on this project or suggestions for future iterations. Please feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch – I’d love to hear from you: emaillinkedin

Thanks for joining me on this small attempt to map the unknown terrain ahead!

Reading and doing

I’m back from a short vacation to Side (Turkey) which I spent reading and drinking beer. Also, looking at ruins. Side is an odd place where a contemporary charter tourist village has sprung up literally built on top of 2000 year old ruins. As a result, you see ancient brickabrack all over the place – they use marble columns as doorstops – which in another context would be in a museum.

Anywho. Since I’m reading a lot (mostly related to my UX studies) I’m starting to feel mentally constipated. I need to put some of the stuff into practice, or I’m going to forget it, which seems a waste of my time. So: Going forward I’ll pursue some simple ideas/projects/experiments to implement what I learn from the books (as well as the IxDF courses I’m taking on the side), but with a rule not to turn them into huge projects or guilt-tripping obligations – I’m just doing it to experiment, learn and get feedback. Sounds like fun?

Speaking of which, I’m thinking of tidying this blog up a bit. Adding some “best of” posts in the left column and maybe even have categories of some sort. I know my readership here is in the single digits, but I ought to be able to use some material to inform a professional profile – my approach to work, research, thinking, etc. If you have opinions, get in touch through mail or on Linkedin.

Taking part in the Venice Bienniale

Korean Pavillion at Venice Biennale 2021

Thanks to Ana Betancour and Carl-Johan Vesterlund I got to participate in a roundtable at the Venice Biennale, through the Korean Pavilion & Future School. The topic for our roundtable group was An Atlas of Global and Local Imaginaries and our common denominator was different kinds of mapping, mostly geared towards socially responsible architecture and planning.

The discussion was streamed to the pavilion in Venice – we had initially talked about doing it live on site, but, well, Corona – and it was curious to see the pictures afterwards of my remote face talking at people. Of course, I would have loved to participate in person, but the benefit of sitting in front of a camera at home is that I’m more relaxed when I’m not blinded by stage lights or can hear people shuffling in their seats.

I presented my ongoing project What is this place / This is the place and the others were kind with their comments. The project is a mapping of a site in Gothenburg, and it’s at times like these that my proclivity towards obscure knowledge shines, and it was interesting to hear the others take on it – especially since they’re all practicing architects. I might be on to something with WITP/TITP and wonder how else to present the project in addition to the project page at

Recording of the roundtable. Participants: Ana Betancour, Matthew Butcher, Killian Doherty, Oriana Eliçabe, Ahn Jae Woo, David Ortega Martinez, Mateusz Pozar & Carl-Johan Vesterlund.

Making movies!

I took two months vacation this summer and spent most of the time in glorious idleness – swimming in the ocean, catching up on reading, drinking a lot of beer. In August we left for a short trip to Poland for a family reunion on my fathers side, and I got to drive in Poland for the first time – something I dreaded more than I care to admit.

The last week was spent filming and editing a short video for a competition. I’m better motivated to solve problems rather than fulfilling my own projects, so I threw myself at it with gusto – enlisting the help of Sara to write the script and Emma-Kara and Benjamin for acting. We shot it with no rehearsal in an hour and a half. I’m happy with how it turned out – I’m especially proud of the sound which was completely done in post – but looking at it now I can see a bunch of stuff I’d like to do better. I guess there’s a reason why there are so many people on movie sets.

So it appears that I’m now trying to become an “indie filmmaker”. I’m reading books on acting, writing and producing, watch masterclasses and youtubes of varying quality, and buying a shitload of equipment I’ll have to justify owning. A 7kg panning video tripod is nice, but do I actually need it? The obvious answer is yes, yes of course I need it because I’m an indie movie making person now.

As always when I’m into something, it turns into a slight obsession and with that I tend to spend money with abandon.

Right now I’m reading Syd Fields The definitive guide to screenwriting and it’s interesting to peek behind the curtains of Hollywood movie production. I’ve stumbled upon many of the terms before – character arc, plot points, act I II III – but never read much about it. Syd has some practical advice to give in the book, and I’m definitely watching movies with a more critical eye thanks to it. The book is littered with arbitrary and poor metaphors, and occasionally he contradicts himself from one sentence to the next, but it’s still a worthwhile read – especially to get a glimpse of how big studio scripts (and movies) come into being.

I’m going to try my hand at a few more competitions, using them as an external motivator and yardstick. I have no ambitions past entertaining myself and my friends, but it would be fun to see a few projects through to completion, and challenging oneself is always a learning experience – I mean, if you never jump into the deep end you won’t know how tall you are, right?

Thanks for having me!

Sara and I often listen to spoken word when going to bed. Laurie Andersons Heart of a Dog is a recurring theme, but mostly it’s podcasts: We’ve gone through P2 Fågel and Klassiska Podden a couple of times, and the weekly Quirks and Quarks is in rotation as well. I’ve been listening to Q&Q for a couple of years, and enjoy the formulaic setup of the show – brief interviews with interesting scientists and related professionals, all hosted by the affable Bob McDonald. Despite some jarring choices in sound design, it’s pleasant enough to fall asleep to and the segments short enough that you might learn something before drifting off – do lobsters feel pain? Is there a sugar conspiracy?

Because the show is so formulaic, I was curious what it would sound like if we’d only hear the welcome and thanks of guests on the show. The idea is that there is content even in this – by Bobs tempo, timbre and accentuation – and I’m curious to hear what non-listeners hear in the exchanges.

So here are all the guests introduced by Bob McDonald at Quirks and Quarks the first half of 2018. I’ve excluded segments where people aren’t introduced (cold opens and collages), and normalized the audio. There’s no noise reduction for the different sources, and I’ve kept the intervals between Bob and the guests as is – silence is another signal, after all.

Perhaps the idea is all nonsense, but I found it to be interesting nonsense nonetheless. This was a much quicker exercise than other found audio stuff I’ve done – like Appropriate Christmas – but at least I can check one experiment off my list of silly things to try.

Me write pretty one day

Thanks to Anna Ganslandt I was next in line for a “artists writing relay” which Kultur i Väst organized. The theme of the project was “honestly speaking” [ärligt talat] and I wrote about my latest project counting sand grains, and the impossibility of not creating meaning. If you’d care to read it (in Swedish) you can do so here: Apparently my text was so good that I killed the project, since my essay will be the last in the relay. More likely the project didn’t get the traction they were hoping for and they scrapped it, but still.

A drop of this, a drop of that

I went to Stockholm over a weekend to participate in two workshops which Stockholm Makerspace gave in their biolab. Saturday we covered the basics of pipetting — which really benefitted from a hands-on workshop — and Sunday we poured agar plates and smeared germs all over the place. Fun was had by all!

A repeated mantra for the tutors was “biology is messy and not a precise science” which was encouraging. Comparing to the nitpicky measuring I faced last summer when trying to learn some chemistry, what with moles and so on, it was liberating that what seemed most important was to be consistent rather than precise. Oh, and sterile. You want to be sterile.


The difference between looking at videos and reading books, and actually getting to measure 20µg of a stock solution, is the same as when I was interviewing people about picking locks and getting to try it out myself. Perhaps not the same level of empowerment as being able to pick locks, but still a new skill and a better understanding of the amount of work required to do this kind of stuff. The workshops in combination with the Biohack crash course for artists video feels like a first step towards actually doing something, which is always a nice feeling.

As a side note, I did a month of Piracetam and saw an increase in recall and attention, as well as very vivid dreaming. 8/10 would recommend. As there’s tolerance involved I’ve abstained for a couple of weeks but will get back on those soon. Once you take performance enhancing drugs, the incentive to keep at it is quite high — barring side effects. There are a bunch of other *racetams with related effects, and once I’ve gone through the Piracetam I might give those a try. I got mine from Nootropicsdepot which has a good reputation and delivered promptly.

Biohack conference 4th april, 2016

Bionyfiken put together Swedens first biomaker conference in Stockholm this spring, and of course I went. There was a mix of speakers and topics, and most of them were overviews of organisations rather than actual projects or knowledge-sharing. Overall the mood was more of a meet-n-greet for folks involved in related areas. The title of the conference was “biomaker” rather than “biohacker” which might be more inclusive; even though “hacking” has a better reputation today than ten years ago there’s still a stigma associated with it.

One can’t have everything one would like, but I missed more speculative ideas of what the movement is about – we speak of a “maker movement” and this has over time crystalized into an understaning of what fablabs are and what hacklabs are, and I guess it will get easier with time to see what people are actually doing and use that as a basis for defining the movement. But apart from a brief introduction by one of the hosts, there was very little overlap between the different presenters, outside of the fact that they’re all working with “biological systems” in one way or another.

For me, who’s not coming from a technical background, I would have appreciated a “state of biohacking” presentation. Legislation, economics, ambitions, open source or not, culture, etc – are all issues which could have been covered – and I hope they show up more on the next conference.


a few of the participants deal with quantified self – something which overlaps with the selling of pills or books about regiments – and although I don’t have the self discipline to participate in that part of the movement I appreciate that people are doing it, and it will likely provide a trove of data for later scientific analysis provided that there are control studies, that people are rigorous in their logging and that there are protocols which allow for accurate tracking.

Nevertheless, and intersting overlap with quantified self is the grinder community, and it’s overlapping mostly because it’s about modifying ones own body. In the presentation by Jowan Österlund from BioHax International he talked mostly about the technology of today and specifically NFC implants for managing access – but he envisioned that implantables will become more sofisticated and possibly have computing power and be able to interface with our bodies, and not only work as sensors. This would then overlap with the QS group in that they would have to come up with what they’d like these implants to do – at this point we will be more of the cyborgs as we’ve envisioned them in popular fiction, and we’ll have a more direct way of manipulating our bodies; not only through nootropics and other supplements working through the digestive or blood system, but perhaps stimulate a particular set of neurons directly.

Today though, I don’t really see the point of NFC implants beyond the apparent convenience of having your buss pass with you at all times. It ties into the Internet of Things movement, and considering how positive most people – even hacktivists who ought to know better – are to IoT, it’s not an empowering technology but rather one which turns you into a node, a Thing on Internet. Which I can’t for the life of me see as something positive as a whole, considering how the internet works and the obvious risks of exploits and nefarious uses, but also because of the unavoidable feature of being data mined by commercial and state enteties – or even just your neighbour. But that’s a different diatribe.

iGEM was represented by Gustav Edman from Gothenburg who gave the most technical presentation of the conference – unfortunately an overly technical presentation in parts – but that’s what you get from a mixed crowd and different expectations.


I’ve been thinking about possible future scenarios a bit, and since no-one covered those topics in the first session I asked to put up a sign at the unconference after lunch, soliciting peoples’ ideas for “the unintended concequences of biohacking”. I had some interesting conversations, but I didn’t get a single submission. Not very surprising seeing as I was competing with people who had actual information and knowledge to share, and not just a questioneer soliciting speculation. Regardless, I’ll try to follow up if for no other reason than that such a collection of speculations would be an interesting document ten or twenty years down the line, when we could match our predictions with what actually happen. Part of the whole “unintended consequences” thing is that what is unintended is also exceedingly difficult to predict. Also, because I hadn’t prepared any material I was just assuming that poeple understood the question in the same way as I did: The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Another thing: Because the DIY movement is relatively new within biology, there’s little talk of drawbacks or negative consequences (not that “unintended” has to be “bad” mind you) and there’s also of course a defensive posture of people who are working hard on their projects. I guess asking “so, how will your project fuck shit up?” isn’t the best conversation starter. People are more likely to start talking about the obstacles to their success, or what the prerequisites are, rather than what might go wrong – which they haven’t even predicted yet.

The Swedish memory champion – apparently memory sport is a thing? – did a presentation, but I can’t really recall what it was about. I thought it was cute that the company that he was working with (if I recall correctly) were selling over-the-counter nootropics, and proudly diplayed “No GMO’s” on the label. I don’t know if that raised any discussions at the conference, but I guess it ought to. A Pakistani researcher I spoke with was upset that the whole GMO/anti-GMO debate was so polarised in the EU, and that we have Monsanto on one side and enviromentalists on the other, with not enough in common to actually carry on a discussion.


Probably the most rewarding discussion was with Danielle Wilde who is running a university sponsored course in DIY bio in Kolding, Denmark. She teaches students how to set up a wetlab, about protocols, educating citizen scientists and engaging the city of Kolding. Hers was an interesting presentation and I’d love to be able to participate in something like that. Most of the course material is based on the Waag society curriculum for creating a biolab, and either of those places would be awesome to visit and study at.

There were people presenting trans cranial direct current stimulation – but no hands on presentation that I could find – and others doing simulated electronic body control; letting one person with electrodes on her arm control the arm of a test subject. That one had a live demo but the queue was more than I thought worth it. You can see a demo of it at TED, and it seems to be a straight-forward experiment.

One thing I was hoping to achieve with the conference was to get inspiration enough to continue exploring biohacking in Gothenburg, perchance even to meet someone to cooperate with. The latter didn’t pan out, but the conference was inspiring enought that I’m going to keep at it. At the moment, I’m starting up Laborator: Gothenburgs first biohacklab. Right now it’s just a Mailchimp list and a homepage, but we’ve had a few meetings and I’m setting aside a couple of hours each week to getting it up and running. Bionyfiken took three years from inception to first lab, and I’m hoping that by learning from their experience we can get going faster.

And returning to the course

So, the “Drawing with a chainsaw” course went well. Together with the course participants we worked through the weekend and produced some big prints. It’s fun to work on such a large scale, but quite exhausting to ink full sized plywood sheets.

Apart from DWACS the rest of spring, summer and fall has passed by like so many blurry trees seen from a tram window. I don’t know what happened, but it feels as though I spaced out for a while. I’ve been trying to learn some chemistry, I have my first steady job ever, and this winter is supposed to be dedicated to biology and some electronics projects.

I took a course called biology for philosophers at the uni – I love how higher education is free in this country – and have been dillentanting my way through biology books, trying to learn how to use the microscope and do stains and PCR and such. I’m learning a lot but not producing much – I lack a context in which to work, and since I don’t have an inner auteur which needs expressing there isn’t an impulse to create stuff.

Maybe part of my apathy is the political climate of Sweden. The third largest political party in Sweden is a racist one, and they’ve gotten free reigns to set the framework of public discourse for the past years. A while back I complained that instead of dealing with issues of global solidarity, women rights and global warming, we’ve now set the clock back far enough that we’re facing the reemergence of fascism. It’s utterly depressing and I don’t know what to do about it. I guess what I ought not to do is just whine…

Staying the course

Together with Eric Saline I’m holding a course at KKV GBG in less than a months time. It’s called Drawing with a chainsaw and we’re going to do huge relief prints using non-traditional tools. Like for example, chainsaws. We’re cutting the boards here in Gothenburg, and then we’re trucking them up to KKV Bohuslän where we’ll use their giant press to make the prints – ought to be exciting! I made a video for this, and since it’s done on company time I can’t very well use it in lieu of my own projects here on the blog, but whatevs.