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This is a list of all public talks and workshops I did over the years. My short bio and my photo can be found at the bottom of the page.

Merlin's profile photo
Image credits: Neven Falica

Talks and workshops

The top work skills you need in the 21st century

Here it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that.” ~ Red Queen, Alice in Wonderland

The tech industry is evolving at breakneck speed. We are supposed to keep up to date with new tools and methods to do our jobs, but the mountain of knowledge seems insurmountable. The ungrateful situation contributes to the lack of time, burnout, and anxiety.

Instead of chasing trends and fads, wouldn’t it be better to focus on knowledge and skills that last for decades or even a lifetime? In this talk, I will introduce foundational work skills that cross industries, and also ways to identify and quickly learn core skills within an industry. This knowledge will make you more confident and focused in everything you do.

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10 behaviors for more influence

UXers often talk about not having a seat at the table. In addition to that, they are often under-leveled when compared to their peers. So, how to get into all those critical conversations early on and how to influence product development?

When I started at Google, I was a solo designer on my team, had only sporadic support from user research, and a remote manager. Over the years, some behaviors have proved successful in building trust and influence with cross-functional stakeholders. I want to share those behaviors with others so they can succeed with their teams too.

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Fundamentals of user interface design

A presentation tailored for people who had minimal or no exposure to design, but would like to learn the basics.

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UX Research and Prototyping

Nina Weber and I gave a workshop to a class of early startups enrolled in the START Incubator. We presented intros to and facilitated exercises on different ways of setting goals, getting research insights, and prototyping when thinking about a new product or service.

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Storytelling in design and engineering

When someone says “storytelling,” either marketing or children bedtime stories come to mind. Both are valid, but far from being the only places where storytelling appears. Stories are illustrative, easily memorable and often reach us on an emotional level. They are very much a part of design and engineering cultures today; it’s just that often we’re not consciously aware of them.

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Understanding Git

Git is the most popular version control program in the world. It is powerful and leaves a lot of freedom to users. That is great, but without understanding what is happening under the hood, it can lead to a disaster or can prevent recovering from one. In the workshop, we covered how Git stores data internally and what happens when you issue a command. We discussed principles and underlying structure, and how different commands map to desired outcomes.

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Navigating the mobile world

The talk covered navigation and presentation patterns on the two most popular mobile platforms of the day: iOS and Android. We looked deeply into the similarities and differences between them, best practices, and real-life examples.

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Be Beautiful

The talk about the process of modifying the existing beauty and cosmetics web shop BliVakker to a mobile version, helping it become the biggest and most profitable Norwegian mobile store in its category.

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Mobile commerce: a technical overview

Smartphones became an essential part of our lives even though they went mainstream only a few years ago. The consequence is that we are still learning how people use mobile technology and especially how they approach mobile shopping. There are many different ways to build your m-commerce solution, each with distinct pros and cons. In this talk, I presented what technology to choose in a particular situation and how each solution empowers customers and improves online store business.

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Building modern software: user experience and design

Do you remember the days when all that was needed was to be first or have the most features? These days are over. People have become much smarter and more demanding. The only way to be successful is to adapt the mindset where design is as important as engineering. This talk described how designer and developer roles intertwine from the beginning and how they should have user’s goals in mind during the whole project.

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Coding is only half of the story

The other half is client and team communication. This talk revolved around how visual communication tools—like sketches, wireframes, and clickable prototypes—help establish a shared understanding of the project.

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Hacking Git history

In a short hands-on session, I demonstrated how to change and break Git history through available command line tools.

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Static website generators

Static websites are fast, secure, and simple. If you need dynamic parts, you can address it with JavaScript. Static websites can’t replace everything, but there are specific use-cases where static websites outperform other solutions.

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Developing mobile web: examples and experience

Zoran Meliš and I talked about and demonstrated mobile web development processes and environments. It was only a few years ago, but mobile technology was very different then.

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Bio

After getting a computer science degree and working as a software engineer for several years, Merlin switched to UX design when he realized that you need both design and engineering to make great products. When not creating something new, he is playing with his kids, reading, or relaxing in nature. Merlin is currently a UX design lead and manager at Google.

Profile photo (1000 x 1000 px)

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