Gemstones, metals, and a solid story. My process to craft the perfect engagement ring for my fiancé.

The custom engagement ring I made for my fiancé

TL;DR Skip to step 6 below if you want to learn about hiring people to get the ring designed and made.

Step 1: Ring Research

Engagement rings are meant to be worn and shown off.

A durable metal and a sparkly eye-catching gemstone cut are vital to achieving that objective. …

Optimize for years of consciousness, not existence

Sleeping koala. He’s awake 3 years of his life. 4 hours less sleep a day means 6 years of consciousness
Photo by on

We sleep about a third of our life — 26 years on average.

What if we slept four hours a day instead?

We’d get an extra 13 years of consciousness back — 13 more years of experiences and memories.

In the past nearly 100 years life expectancies have risen dramatically from an average of to 78 years today. That’s 20 years of existence and 13 more years of consciousness. Not bad…

…But we’re tacking years of existence on to the end of our lives when our bodies are worn out…

Designing a custom screen for a hardware device

We’ve all interacted with unique interfaces- whether it’s your DSLR, Nest, or blender, all devices have a physical interface — the face you interact with. While good physical design is essential to help sell a product, other factors like user experience and providing value are equally important for a device’s long term.

For instance, adding a screen on the hardware product increases the number of features it can have. Now, it can go far beyond what a few buttons and dials would allow. …

A self portrait of the author waiting to see if you’ll steal his idea or read this post long enough to learn it’s a guide
Photo by Alex Cox on a camera

Wantrepreneurs are paranoid that someone will steal their fantastic business idea.

Spoiler alert:

They won’t.

No one is stealing ideas because making them real relies on experience, luck, and focused work for a long time.

Don’t believe me?

Look at the idea below. I’ve given you everything you need and the steps to take so you can steal my idea. In spite of laying out all the steps and writing the requirements no one is going to turn it into a product or business.

Here’s the idea

People all over the world are itching to travel, but they don’t know where they can…

A single idea that justifies that product’s existence

Photo by

Every great product you use and love has a single unifying reason to exist, some central thesis. This thesis is not always correct — not everyone wants to wave at their computer to move a window or change the focus of their pictures later, but every successful product has a single thesis that is the focal point of that product and all of its features. Products without this core statement for existence tend to try doing everything, but end up doing nothing. …

I know what you’re thinking. Not another article about design systems, but if you’re a lone designer at a small startup you should read this one.

As a lone designer, creating a design system makes you

  1. Faster — it will make you at least 3 to 5x faster at your job.
  2. More consistent — the same brand assets everywhere.

3. Codify your brand — the system forces you to create one central document

When you are the lone designer you sit on this pile of often messy design files that you and/or a predecessor made. There is no one to…

Our process of researching and designing a demo app for the Wynd Device in the Apple Store

Apple Demo App in the Apple Store

Why Build an Apple Store Demo App

In November Apple reached out to us about putting our Wynd product into their physical Apple Stores.

By March of 2019, we had the first batch of Wynd portable air purifiers in Apple stores across North America. Apple then asked us to make a demo app to help educate consumers on how our portable air purifier works and help sell more units.

Sensors and smart plugs can control your home automatically.

Imagine for a moment that you want to turn on a light in your super modern smart home? You have an Alexa enabled light switch. You say “Alex turn on the living room light.”

The light just turns on. Feels like magic, right?

Well. At least a few years ago it did. Now we’re at a point where voice control is taken for granted and we’re looking for the next innovation in home automation and control.

But that innovation is already here thanks to sensors.

With low power cheap sensors we are making any device not only smart, but intelligent…

Most times as UI / UX designers we’re designing apps for users to interact with and use. Those designs are all about where buttons are placed, how information is categorized, and how people interpret a screen.

With the, we designed an experience. From the air you breathe, to when the lights turn on, to how your home reacts to everyone sleeping at night or leaving the home. We focused on what people do at home and how subtle tweaks can enhance their health and wellness at home without them ever having to lift a finger.

Unless you’re Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, or selling hella ads on your own news feed.

There’s been a recent trend to take away the helper text beneath the tab bar icons. This subtraction unnecessarily makes users more hesitant to tap on icons they don’t recognize and reduces unguided exploration within the app.

There are very good reasons to take off that text and gain an extra 1.8% of info feed real estate, but most apps that take out this text simply make it harder for their users to navigate and explore.

An example of unnecessarily taking out his helper text is in the Google Wi-fi app where there are cryptic icons and nothing to indicate…

Alex Cox

Product Manager and designer writing about ideas. Living and working in SF. See more of my projects at

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store