An artist who codes

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Hello dear reader!

I am Mariana Vargas, a UX Engineer based in sunny Lisbon. Probably some article about UX Design or Tech brought you here. Thank you for taking some time to know me better.

· Who I am, professionally and personally 
· Why I joined Medium
· My Medium Goals for 2021
· My Top Articles
1. Becoming a UX/UI Designer the Guerilla Way (5.1K views)
2. Pocket Camp is a UX Nightmare (4.8K views)
3. …


Do not confuse it with Dark Mode

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The hype of “The Social Dilemma” made many viewers become aware of the power of technology and its influence on all of us. For UX Designers, the use of dishonest tricks in digital platforms is not a new topic. We call them dark patterns.

Dark Patterns are tricks used in websites and apps that make you do things that you didn’t mean to, like buying or signing up for something. The purpose of this site is to spread awareness and to shame companies that use them.

Evil design patterns, unfortunately, are very common. To demonstrate, I created a compilation of dark patterns we can find every day. …


Tech schools may have the key success factor for the urgent need for updating the workforce with technology skills

Vectorial of a code class
Vectorial of a code class

In 2020, tech bootcamps are not a new topic anymore. They have been around since at least 2012, offering courses in diverse subjects (typically, web development, mobile development, UX/UI design, data science, and project management) and flooding a digital-starved market with new graduates each year.

Last year, something changed. The number of corporate training bootcamp graduates has surpassed the number of classic bootcamp graduates. This reveals a new trend, not only in the bootcamp market itself but also in enterprise operations. Companies are acknowledging the benefits of intensive, accelerated learning programs to qualify their workforce for digital roles.

The advantages of bootcamps for companies

Workforce Reskilling

Reskilling: learning new skills for a different job…


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In the last days, the most recent Instagram update has been in the news for the worst reasons. Many users and influencers have publicly spoken out their dissatisfaction, namely James Charles, who, in a rant video, advised his followers not to update their apps.

At the center of these negative opinions is the new layout, where the basic Instagram options — camera and notifications — have been removed from the bottom menu bar and instead are displayed in the upper-right corner of the home page, next to the direct message button.


An exercise to better understand why UX Design Patterns matter

Vectorial image of people constructing a web page like civil engineers
Vectorial image of people constructing a web page like civil engineers

You must have heard about solving design problems through design patterns, their implementation steps, and some problems that can arise from them. But do you realize the impact these patterns have on the user experience? A few weeks ago, I didn’t at all.

After finishing the UX Nanodegree by Udacity and landing a new role as UX Engineer, I decided to continue with my education on the matter. So, I decided to join the Interaction Design Foundation (IDF) which offers several online courses with certification at a very affordable membership price.

Disclaimer: This post contains one affiliate link however, this is not a solicited post by the Interaction Design Foundation. I am just a regular member who paid for his membership and since I am very satistfied with their resources, I decided to recommend them by my own will. …


This starter pack is the most comfortable way to automatically create a production-ready React project

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A couple of years ago, I was in a recruitment process for a frontend developer position, which included coding a simple project. The briefing was not complicated and I could use any coding language I wanted.

After my delivery, the company scheduled an interview to discuss my solution. I was very confident. I met all the requirements, I created a usable UI, I polished my code, therefore I was very proud of my solution.

A senior developer sat with me, with my project open on his laptop, and asked the first question: Why are you using a serviceWorker?

I froze completely. I had no idea what he was talking about. …


Discover real music events anywhere in the World and become part of your local musician’s community with Jammit

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Problem overview

Jam sessions are casual meetings for music or dance improvisation. This type of event has existed for decades, not only in private settings but also open to audiences.

Jam sessions’ public includes not only musicians and dancers but also live-music enthusiasts without formal music/dance background. For those out of the “music scene”, jam sessions can be hard to find, as they are usually promoted by word-of-mouth.

This project aimed to be a platform to connect jam sessions with their attendees and to easily find events everywhere in the world.

The Process

I followed every phase of the double diamond model, respectively:

  • Discover: understanding the problem, performing quantitative and qualitative research to empathize with the…


Avoid fake users with a confirmation link to activate accounts

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Confirmation emails for user registration are an important step, both for marketing and security purposes.

In terms of marketing, confirmation emails establish the first communication with the customer, ensuring important information is sent before finishing the signup process, compliance with GDPR regulations, and guarantees that following emails won’t end up in the spam box.

In terms of security, these emails make sure the user is not signing up with a fake email.

In this tutorial, I will guide you through implementing confirmation emails on a registration feature, using React and Node.js.

Who is This Tutorial For?

This tutorial is targeted at someone who already has a basic knowledge of web development with JavaScript frameworks. I will guide you in integrating new functionality into a pre-existent authentication process. …


Four years ago, I was smoking a pack a day. Obviously, I was aware of the harmful effects caused by smoking — it is impossible to ignore them when they are printed in the packets! — but still, I fed this addiction for almost ten years. Why?

I constantly told myself strong arguments to trick my own mind into not feeling guilty for what I was doing to myself. I also realized that I frequently heard the same statements from other smokers. I believe there is a set of misconceptions smokers share as common-beliefs.

In order to process my own battle with nicotine, I decided to write down the worst lies I told myself for years and to explain why they are not true. If you are a smoker, I am certain you have said some of them at one point or another. …


A short story for the geekiest of the geeks

couple saying the three handshake protocol to each other
couple saying the three handshake protocol to each other

Sarah was a romantic girl. She dreamed of finding the perfect man, the one who would make her happy. She had never been very flirtatious. By the age of 18, Sarah had only had one serious relationship, which didn’t work. Her ex, Edward, was the neediest type of person: a TFTP boy. If Sarah didn’t reply to his messages immediately, he would just keep forwarding the same message over and over again, out of fear for it not having been sent.

About

Mariana Vargas

UX Engineer and singer based in Lisbon, Portugal. Active member of the Interaction Design Foundation. I write about technology and UX Design.

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