Our dog, Larry, is an excellent meditator.

A few months ago, I decided to start a daily meditation practice. Like so many of us, I was struggling with the weight of the pandemic, and the toll it was taking on my team, my family, and my work. Guided meditations didn’t seem to be working, so I decided one morn­ing to wake up early, sit in a cozy chair by a window, set a timer, and just meditate for 5 minutes.

5 minutes turned to 10. 10 turned to 15. By the end of a week or two, I was meditating for 20 minutes every morning, even on…


Note: This article is based on a talk that I gave at Leadership by Design: Home Edition. If you want to see the slides, they’re up on Slideshare.

Many folks who know me publicly know me from some books and videos on Drupal and design I published for O’Reilly several years ago. What people may not know is that while I’ve been doing design since 1995ish, I’ve been writing since 1991.

30 years of journals dating back to my (very emo) high school years.

My first published piece was a short poem, published in my high school’s literary journal in 1992. It read,

As I reach for a star
and pull,
the sky breaks
and I…


In graduate school, I learned usability testing in a very formal, considered way. Tests were planned over the course of weeks, recruiting was handled by a third-party, and test reports were lengthy Powerpoint decks with dozens of issues rated by severity.

Then I graduated, and joined an Agile product team as a UX team of one. There was no way they would deal with a lengthy Powerpoint presentation, or dozens of issues. So, I developed a format for lean test reporting, which enabled me to plan, execute and report on studies within the same document. Having a templated format gave…


As designers, we like to think of ourselves as makers. When we’re working on large, wicked problems, the challenge is that “making” is no longer a solo endeavor; it’s something that requires a lot of people and functionality to make happen. This can leave designers feeling like we’ve had to compromise our standards to appease business or development stakeholders. It also inadvertently creates an us-versus-them mentality that actually makes it less likely that we’ll be successful in moving forward our vision of what’s possible.

So what does this mean for us? Simply understanding what your product’s users are dealing with…


athenahealth provides network-enabled services for healthcare and point-of-care mobile apps to drive clinical and financial results for its hospital and ambulatory clients — we employ 85+ designers globally to support those efforts. Collector, one of our core products, helps clients improve their financial performance by helping them reduce the heavy administrative costs associated with getting paid.

During the life of any software product, a certain amount of design debt is bound to accrue. New features are added, old ones are deprecated; as our design language, and understanding of our users, has evolved, some of the interfaces in the product need…


Ah, the creative brief. At once the bane of the creative’s tortured existence and a North Star to guide teams along the path to delivering something great. During my years running a small design studio, I used briefs to help plan projects, and keep clients honest during the design process. Once I started going in-house, my habit of doing design briefs floundered a bit — mostly because my old project briefs were, frankly, a bit heavy for the work I was doing.

A few years ago, I started noticing that my teams were suffering. Projects would go off the rails…


Voting for the Drupal Association Board begins March 7, 2016 and lasts until March 18. If you want more information about my work in the Drupal community, visit my candidate profile on Drupal.org.

On February 24, me and several other Drupal professionals met to discuss our candidacies for the Drupal Association board. Below are some of the key questions asked, along with my answers.

The term for members-at-large has been extended to two years; at the end of your two-year term, what would you like to say you got done?

For me, what I love most is finding opportunities for…


Voting for the Drupal Association Board begins March 7, 2016 and lasts until March 18. If you want more information about my work in the Drupal community, visit my candidate profile on Drupal.org.

Why I’m running

I have long been an activist — both in the Drupal community and outside of it. In high school, I spent summers canvassing for a national environmental group, and got involved in theatre and writing during the school year. …


Voting for the Drupal Association Board begins March 7, 2016 and lasts until March 18. If you want more information about my work in the Drupal community, visit my candidate profile on Drupal.org.

On February 26, me and several other Drupal professionals met to discuss our candidacies for the Drupal Association board. Below are some of the key questions asked, along with my answers.

What kind of steps would you take to increase the diversity in the Drupal community beyond your typical engineer?

I do this every year, with Design 4 Drupal. We bring together designers, project managers and people…


Contribution sprint at Drupalcon Austin, 2014.

Research at conferences can be a terrific source of information about the people who use your products. At a conference, you get access to many different types of people involved in the behavior you want to learn about, including some types of people you may have known nothing about if you were doing a study with a standard recruit. …

Dani Nordin

Experience Design Leader at athenahealth. I drink coffee and I know things. Sassy.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store