Looking for a last-minute gift? With backgrounds ranging from technology through psychology, graphic design and even industrial design, purchasing the right present for the “discerning” UX Designer in your life can, ironically, be a harrowing experience itself.
It doesn’t have to be that way! While any UX Designer will most likely be happy with a Moleskine notebook and a range of Sharpies, there are a number of other alternatives you can consider as gifts this holiday season.
Gifts To Keep Them Comfortable While They Work
It’s hard to be at your best if you’re not comfortable. Whether in your home studio, or in a shared office space, air conditioner wars are a fact of life for many people. However, if you’re buying for a UX Designer, there are a number of gifts that will both help the recipient be more comfortable and reinforce his or her reputation as a cutting-edge designer.
USB Desk Fan and Lamp
A clever idea and well implemented, a 2-in-1 USB powered lamp and fan will help keep designers cool when hot, while also lighting up the darkest workspace. There are a number of different designs available on the market, so choose one that best fits the personality of the designer for whom you are buying.
Nest Learning Thermostat
Beautifully designed under the watchful eye of the former President of the iPod division at Apple, yet at the same time highly useful and functional, the Nest thermostat is high on many UX Designer’s wish list. Gorgeous industrial design that learns from your behaviour to regulate the temperature in your home, while at the same time saving you money and making your home more environmentally friendly.
Gifts To Keep Them Looking The Part
As a UX Designer, your friend has a reputation to uphold. Whether it be a long sleeved black t-shirt with blue jeans, or an iDevice falling out of each pocket, many designers do their best to live the stereotype, so consider buying something that will perpetuate the designer stereotype for them.
Headblade Head Shaving Razor
A former Time magazine Design of the Year finalist, and now a classic item, the Headblade has continued to evolve since it was first launched over 10 years ago. Pure, functional, and aesthetically pleasing, the Headblade has just one single function in mind—to make head shaving easy.
The Sneaker Speaker
New York studio Ray Kingston Inc. has developed a wireless speaker that you wear over your sneakers. Paired to your favourite music device via Bluetooth, the Sneaker Speakers aim to bring back the heady days when we used to carry boom-boxes on our shoulders. Not for all designers, but a good candidate to consider if music is one of your designer’s favourite sources of inspiration.
Puurco iPhone Wallet Case
With a design process that includes extensive sketches, schemas and prototypes, the Puurco iPhone Wallet Case is designed using a similar user-centred process to that used by many UX Designers themselves. Lovingly handcrafted with an amazing attention to detail placed into the creation of each individual item, this is another option that beautifully combines both form and functionality.
Allegory Mini-Precision Pen
Funded via Kickstarter, Allegory have created an amazing set of handcrafted pens constructed from reclaimed woods, each with its own unique documented history. On top of using reclaimed woods, the company also participates in reforestation programs run by the national forest program in the US. Oh, and they look beautiful too.
Remote Controlled Flying Shark
A remote controlled, helium filled, near-silent flying shark should provide hours of fun on Christmas day. Depending on the designer’s inclination, I believe it is also available as a clown fish, and more recently as a Zombie Shark!
Gifts To Tempt The Tastebuds
UX Designers generally have a tendency to yearn for quality products and services, which is often reflected in their choice of food and drink. If the designer you’re purchasing for is a dedicated foodie, they may be interested in experiencing one of the following taste sensations.
Ardbeg Corryvreckan Islay Whisky
Plunge into the whirlpool and taste the mysterious depths of Corryvreckan. Torrents of taste well up on the palate; deep, peppery and chewy, bombarding the tongue with its intense tastes and textures. The first plunge brings forth chewy peppered steak soaked in pepper sauce with the tang of crispy seaweed. As you descend deeper, encounter a mouthful of black tarry espresso coffee that coats the palate with rich melted dark fruits (blackcurrants, blueberries and cherries) and bitter almonds. As the taste soaks in deeper, star anise and hickory dry out the palate before a surprise of chalky effervescent violets fizz to the surface.
Single Origin Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee beans
Coffee plays a major role in the lives of many designers. If you want to surprise and delight the designer in your life, search out a single-origin Ethiopian Yirgacheffe bean. This surprising bean shows a characteristic brightness in the cup due to the distinctive red tint in the local silty, loan clay soil. The slightly bright red fruit fragrance hints of citrus, berry, peach and pineapple and is sure to take a first-time drinker by surprise.
Give The Gift of a Well-crafted Experience
A good UX Designer spends all day, every day, crafting immersive digital experiences for the users of his or her product. Whether it be an art gallery tour, a well-planned degustation, or a beer appreciation night, there are numerous opportunities in every local city in the world to explore and experience unique aspects of the world around us. In my hometown of Melbourne, I can recommend a couple of options.
Puffing Billy Steam & Cuisine Luncheon Train
The famous Puffing Billy steam train still runs along the scenic mountain track from Belgrave to Gembrook in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne. While travelling the scenic railway is an experience in itself, adding a gourmet three course meal makes this an experience your friend will never forget.
Hand Feeding Sharks and Rays
In Melbourne (and also in Sydney) the Australian Shark and Ray Centre allows you to wade into the water with sharks and rays of all sizes. From the youngest child, through to the young at heart, hand feeding sharks and rays is an experience that no-one will soon forget.
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What memorable gifts have you received, or given to a UX Designer? Share them in the comments!