2017 review

I always enjoy reading other people’s “year-in-review” posts, so I thought I should give it a go myself. 2017 was a hectic year for my business, and this fall was almost too intense!

Projects

I had three continuing clients that I worked with throughout the entire year: E.ON, Keystone, and Lingio. This work has ups and downs in terms of how much time I need to devote, but they’re clients that I always dedicate a little time for. If it’s one thing I’ve learned from running a business, it’s wise to take extra good care of your long-term clients!

Spring was a crazy time with E.ON as we completed a full redesign of the product I’ve been working on. I can’t wait to update my E.ON case to reflect the good work we accomplished together, so stay tuned for that update.

After the summer, I was running a bit dry on work so I went to Oslo to talk to Keystone and also travelled to Stockholm to talk to several potential clients. Boy did these trips end up reaping results! Not only did we tweak certain areas of the Keystone websites to convert even better, but I also took on a 50% commitment to lead the UX-design for Thinkable’s biggest client, Apotek Hjärtat, one of Sweden’s largest pharmacies. It’s been an extremely rewarding process to work in a team again (especially with such a great team!) and lead the UX-design for such a large e-commerce website. I’m looking forward to continuing that work in the first quarter of 2018.

Around the same time (September), I also got in touch with Travis Schmeisser and Thomas Petersen, the founders of First Principle in New York. As a newly founded product design studio, they needed help exploring proof of concepts for one of their clients. So on top of my other work, I also did a 50% commitment to them from end of September until the end of 2017. It was a strange, but highly rewarding feeling to work with talented UX-designers like Travis and Thomas!

Apart from these clients, I also did work for Assa Abloy, Falkenberg, the 5:th Watches, Gents, Kursguiden, Earin, Sydsvenskan, Headbrands and Frank. I love you all!

This was also the year when I made my first non-public investment to a place that’s very close to my heart, Hyper Island. My time there formed me into the person I am more than any other school and introduced me to some of my closest friends and even my wonderful wife. I worked with Hyper Island for many years and it feels great to now be a share holder. In 2018, I’ll be back teaching at Hyper Island too!

As you can see from my Timely report, the final months of 2017 were… intense 😅

Timely

Office & Setup

For almost 8 years, I had my office in Malmö. At first, I rented a desk at an agency and then, 5 years ago, I moved my office to Media Evolution City. Although, I loved that space, I became tired of the commute. Also, I had the extra step of dropping off Meta at home for every meeting. It became a hassle that just wasn’t viable for the long run. So in June I moved to my new office that’s just a 5 minute walk from my home! It’s larger and in a couple of weeks I’ll even have a couch here for those midday siesta moments. 😉 Being able to walk home every day and make lunch is a huge improvement to my everyday happiness (as well as Meta’s!).

☀️🌿

A post shared by Anton Sten ✌🏻️ (@antonsten) on

I’ve also made some changes to my tech setup. I had been using a 13” MacBook Pro TouchBar since it came out with the LG 5k Ultrafine monitor recommended by Apple. I was never really satisfied with either of them. The MacBook TouchBar doesn’t need an explanation as to why, but the LG monitor was great barring the horrible sound quality and the USB-C hub that tended to disconnect my peripherals randomly. It was clear that while sold by Apple as the only supported 5k monitor, it was no Apple product.

So since the end of the year I have a 27” iMac in my office and I’m on a mission to try and do all of my work outside the office on an iPad Pro! I have tried hopping on the iPad train multiple times earlier, but this time I’m forcing myself to use it. One month in and I’m really liking it! Are you using an iPad Pro for work? What are your favorite tips? Email me!

Blog

My website saw a +60% increase in traffic in 2017 compared to the year before and my newsletter grew by 20%, both of which I’m extremely grateful for. While obviously the release of Mastering Freelance was a fair amount of the traffic, I did have a couple of blog posts that individually did even better. Here are the top five posts from last year:

In total, I wrote 54 blog posts last year and a large piece for Net Magazine on Mastering Freelance

Personal & Exercise

One of the biggest insights from last year and especially the end of the year was that in order to perform well, I need to regularly exercise. While I’ve always loved running, I found Pilates to be my first choice of exercise.

Just as keeping my body in shape is important, keeping my head on track is even more important. I’ve struggled with anxiety for some time and especially at the end of 2017. The Headspace app really helped keep my mind on the right track and helped me focus on what’s important and let go of what wasn’t. This is something I’ll continue to work on in 2018, but I’m optimistic that I’ll further sharpen my mind and decrease my anxiety.

Watching the XX at last year’s Way Out West was one of my musical highlights.

The laser game is strong with the xx 😎👌

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Travel

We didn’t go on any longer trips this past year, but we did manage to go to our favorite spot, the Eden Roc in Antibes no less than three times last year (April, May and September) and since September, I’ve spent every other Wednesday in Stockholm.

Life status: 💯😎

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2018

My fiscal year ends on last day of April 2018 and I’m hoping I can beat my previous revenue record. Granted, this isn’t always the greatest benchmark of success, but these figures give me the freedom to continue to grow and take on challenging projects. Speaking of that, I have a couple of highly interesting projects lined up that will kick off at the beginning of January.

I’ve set a goal to read and write more in 2018. I’ve just finished the book Sapiens which has spurred so many interesting thoughts. If you haven’t read it already, you won’t regret it. Do you have a book that you’d like to recommend to me? Send me an email and I’ll look into it! I also plan to blog more often even if that means occasionally shorter posts or just links to valuable sources. I have gotten a lot from sharing my insights with all of you and receiving your wonderful feedback.

I’m looking to find a better routine for regular exercise and mindfulness (such a unique thing to say in the beginning of the year!). I’ve started cutting down on meat, soda, and sugary snacks while striving to stay on track on track with these dietary tips. I especially like their advice to treat all beverages with calories like alcohol.

I’m hoping to travel more this year and revisit some old favorites like Paris and London as well as visiting friends more. If you have any suggestions for amazing places to visit, I’d be happy to hear them!

Here’s to a great 2018 🥂

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Books

User Experiences that Matter (2016)
Mastering Freelance (2017)

If You're Getting Started in UX

What's a 'User Experience' Anyways?
How Do You Learn UX?
Working as a UX Designer

Next Steps in UX

Working as a UX Lead
Defining a UX Strategy
Writing as Part of the UX Process

Thought-pieces

AI Ethics - A New Skill for UX-Designers
Designer Ethics & The Moral Implications of our Apps
The Future of the UX-Designer
Voice Input’s Effect on Social Norms

The Work We Do

Chasing Growth
New Tools Don’t Always Equal Productivity
Why Designers Need to Write
The Tools I Use to Run My Business

Featured Writing & Interviews Elsewhere

Q&A With Anton Sten, Author of User Experiences that Matter - Adobe
What the F*#!ck is a UX Designer anyway - Working not Working
It’s Time for a Code of Ethics for Designers - Medium Modus
The Art of Going Freelance - .Net Magazine
It Takes Time - Being Freelance episode 100

From My Newsletter

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UX of Email Newsletters

Working as a UX-lead

2018 in review

What’s my location?

I’m taking a break

Stay humble, stay eager

Back to Work!

Vanity Metrics

The Future of Retail

2017 review

What do you do?

Carpe Diem UX-designers

What´s Good Design?

Chasing Growth

A Redesign

Is Less More?

Why Simple is Hard

Pricing It Perfectly

Trusting Your Gut

Built to last

An Eye on the Future

UX Design explained

Bite-sized Posts

The Enemy

The Hot Potato Process

Leave the Phone at Home

Delight Comes Last

The Cost of Lies

Big Mood Machine

Simplicity is a war

The next iPhone

Leadership or management

Everyone should own a dog

Silence is gold

Cameras that understand

Humans, not users

Keeping AI Honest

Right to privacy

The State of UX in 2019

Why scrap scrappy?

Organized for browsing

The iPhone Franchise

Why Small Teams Win

The Bullshit Web

Just keep at it

Let them eat cake

Netflix Culture

Skype

Unfoundered

Tech is not Neutral

Productivity

Whose risk?

Why Small Teams Win

Phone Bored

Karim Rashid

Dieter Rams

Bleeding Out

Fake News is spam

Conversational Design

Dropbox

Bye bye Facebook

Cuba

The seat at the table

Givenchy

Love letters to trees

Pricing Philisophy

Specialize

Personas

Make me think

Hawaii Missile Alert

Why Design Systems fail

What You Build

Checkout for Winners

Living a Testing Culture

Creative Class

How To Predict Your Future

Github

Medium

Design quotes

Enough

Why?

ARKit

Designing for Mobile

Failure, Reflect, Renew

Growth

Working with me

Great user experience

Naming your icons

Conversations

All writing

Who’s listening?

The Enemy

The Hot Potato Process

Leave the Phone at Home

UX of Email Newsletters

Delight Comes Last

The Cost of Lies

Big Mood Machine

Simplicity is a war

The next iPhone

Working as a UX-lead

Leadership or management

Everyone should own a dog

Silence is gold

Cameras that understand

Humans, not users

Keeping AI Honest

Right to privacy

2018 in review

What’s my location?

The State of UX in 2019

Why scrap scrappy?

I’m taking a break

Organized for browsing

Stay humble, stay eager

The iPhone Franchise

Why Small Teams Win

Back to Work!

The Bullshit Web

Just keep at it

Let them eat cake

Netflix Culture

Skype

Unfoundered

Vanity Metrics

Tech is not Neutral

Productivity

Whose risk?

Why Small Teams Win

Phone Bored

Karim Rashid

Dieter Rams

Bleeding Out

Fake News is spam

Conversational Design

Dropbox

Bye bye Facebook

Cuba

The seat at the table

Givenchy

Love letters to trees

Pricing Philisophy

Specialize

Personas

Make me think

The Future of Retail

Hawaii Missile Alert

2017 review

Why Design Systems fail

What You Build

Checkout for Winners

Living a Testing Culture

What do you do?

Creative Class

How To Predict Your Future

Carpe Diem UX-designers

What´s Good Design?

Chasing Growth

Github

Medium

A Redesign

Design quotes

Enough

Why?

ARKit

Designing for Mobile

Is Less More?

Why Simple is Hard

Pricing It Perfectly

Failure, Reflect, Renew

Trusting Your Gut

Built to last

An Eye on the Future

Growth

Working with me

UX Design explained

Great user experience

Naming your icons

Conversations