Information Architect extraordinaire Jorge Arango’s newsletter came out last week (if you don’t get that newsletter, sign up here). He had linked his post called “The Key To Understanding Why Things Happen.” Great title, gripped me right away, I had to read it. The post is about systems thinking.

I’m a junior UX’er, I still have a lot to learn as I move through this industry. Systems Thinking is one of those things I’ve heard about but hadn’t researched until I read the blog post. Basically, systems thinking is taking a more holistic approach to problem-solving — looking at all…


Modern chess design has stood the test of time, but that wasn’t always the case. Sometimes less is more.

Chess has a long history, it dates back to the 7th century in India, where it was created as a war game. In some ways, a lot of the game has remained unchanged since the creation, but there have been some big moments in the evolution of the game. Today, we’re talking about one particular moment in chess history — when the pieces became standardized.

To put on my information architect hat for a minute, the word “piece” in chess has a few different meanings depending on the context (if you’re following my IA and chess blog series, I will…


It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these blogs. Work has been extremely busy and it seemed like every deadline has been all at the same time.

I’ve made it through some of them and I have more brain space to think. Aside from work, it’s been really busy, but in a good way. This weekend I did a UX talk for folks in the chess industry for the Work4chess conference, and it was so great! This was the first time I did a chess talk for chess players instead of for designers. …


This week was…actually really good, chess-wise.

Starting to see some gains!

All my work I’ve been putting in, I’m starting to have something to show from it.

I played 2 games every day this week and out of 14 games, I won 5 games and had 3 draws!! Technically, over half of my games were not losses!!

This is a first for me! I’m gonna take that win.

I knew it was going to take time, and it feels really good to finally be here. …


Gotta show up to do the work, to make those changes.

Person walking up the stairs

This week was busy, chess-wise (and life-wise). I actually started this blog last Sunday, but got distracted and completely forgot to finish it. A fitting example for this week’s topic.

Last Week In Chess

This week I had a mentally tough week with chess. I’m making beginner’s mistakes even though I know better in theory (hanging pieces, stupid blunders, that kind of thing). I make dumb moves without stopping to think about it. I get frustrated and upset with myself. I know that I know better, why do I keep doing this?

This…


I got a new coach, and I’m making beginner’s chess content for adults!

Hiker at the summit

Back at it this week with my blog. Last weekend was my birthday and I meant to write something up, but time got away from me. Even though I didn’t post an update, it’s been a busy two weeks of chess.

Prioritizing my chess needs

Two weeks ago, I made a hard decision. My chess coach was really nice and we got along, but I had to be honest: I needed more specialized focus. I have been flailing the past couple of months — there was no homework, and I tried…


A monthly look at great women chess players in history.

Basically, this all started with New In Chess, which is a chess magazine. Specifically the April edition, with Bruce Monson’s article on women’s chess champ LaVieve Mae Hines, a women’s chess champ from the 1920s.

I was so inspired by this article. LaVieve was an incredible player, and even more so, her story overlaps with my own in one way — we both live and play chess in the same city. I was born and raised around Los Angeles, so this piqued my interest. …


forest with the sun shining through

Hi. It’s been 3 weeks since my last one of these blogs. Had some family stuff going on, a big work project. Chess fell down my list of priorities. It happens.

In mindfulness, there’s an adage — once you recognize that your mind had wandered, you return to your breath and begin again.

I begin again with chess, this time with a little more awareness. I feel like I’ve been stuck as a beginner, I’m having trouble breaking out of those beginner issues. Up until I took my break, I was feeling frustrated with that. …


Polywork is ready to give LinkedIn a fight.

Landing page for Polywork

What Is Polywork?

You may or may not have heard of Polywork, depending on your social media circle.

Polywork is angling themselves as a direct competition to LinkedIn. There are no likes here. You can make your page what you want, and follow who you want. LinkedIn had one good thing going for them — seeing the connections of your connections, but it’s really gotten far from that as spammers take over and the bloated career popularity contest.

Talking about you as a person with multiple interests, hobbies, and facets of your life, isn’t up…


This week was kind of a mixed bag. I had a tough week, I got sick, but really what made it a good week was the online chess community.

100 Days Of Chess

I passed the 30% mark this week, I’m on day 34 of 100 days. While I was sick on Thursday, I was feeling so crappy, I posted that I got nothing done. TJ Murphy had me play a game with him. I lost, but I couldn’t have showed up for that day without him.

This week, the #chesspunks community showed up for 100 days of chess, and it makes my…

Jessi Shakarian

Jessi is a junior UX Designer at DIA Design Guild. She lives in Los Angeles and can be found on twitter @jessishakarian.

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