#20: Q&A with Andy Liu, Curse of knowledge, Designing for people with low vision

[Cognitive biases]

Curse of knowledge

When talking to others, the person assumes that the other person has enough expertise to understand what they are saying.

I think everyone has experienced this bias: when experienced teachers talk to students, when a young(er) person tries to explain to their parent how to set up their new iPhone (my problem 🙃), when a person who is very involved in (new) tech world talks to friends who are not in tech (also my problem 😜). I also have experienced this multiple times when talking to my machine-learning friends, or who are deep into macroeconomics, and so on. I am not stupid, but at some point, I am just losing the thread 😂 It’s like they speak a different language. Keep this in mind, when communicating with others.

Tip: From the design job perspective, in every presentation or meeting that I lead, I assume other people in the room have zero background on what problems I am working on and why (and sometimes, who I am =), so context-setting is an essential step to make sure we are on the same page. Start high-level and then zoom in.


Low vision

This is not a single condition, but rather a large category with different degrees of impairment.


  • Blurred vision

  • Cataracts

  • Glaucoma

  • Retinal detachment

  • … and more.


  • Colour customization

  • Screen magnification

  • Screen readers


Design tips:

  • All text must have enough contrast with the background.
    Tip: I use https://color.review to verify the contrast ratios meet accessibility guidelines. Tried many tools, this one is still my favourite.

  • Links, buttons, and controls must have visible :focus state (you can test it when using Tab key to navigate through interactive elements on the page), and should have visible :hover state.

  • Clearly separate text and controls on the page (e.g. buttons and links should be obvious.

  • Do not rely only on colour to communicate information. Users can change colours to something that works best for them. Important information must be represented in the text.

  • Do not disable pinch-to-zoom feature.

  • All-white backgrounds or bright areas may be difficult.

  • Test your design for big zoom levels. Especially important when the user can invoke a dialog and it may appear out of the visible area, better position them closer to the visual focus where the user is when selecting the control.


Episode #5: Q&A with Andy Liu

This week, I am speaking with Andy who runs his own design boutique agency Futureform. We talk about having an open mind to working on different kinds of products across diverse industries and problem spaces, understanding your strengths and passions and highlighting them in your resume, being honest when presenting your work and clear on what was your particular role in a project. Also, we talk about the future of the profession and how important it is and will be to have the “Keep learning and be ready to change” mindset, and a lot more.

Listen to episode

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[Get Hired in UX Manual]

About a week ago, I launched a landing page to learn if there is a real need for a manual to help junior and intermediate designers navigate the job hunting journey and get hired faster. I would be grateful if you could share this with your networks on Linkedin, Twitter, Slacks, etc. to get the word out. I want to measure the interest and see if I can get 20 people to sign up. Many thanks 🙏

Get Hired in UX Manual

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. They don’t represent any of my current or previous employers’ views.