By Karen

  1. Inventing a discipline: Rhetoric scholarship in honor of Richard E. Young

    Article titled “Bridging the gap : integrating visual and verbal rhetoric” co-authored by Dr. Lee Odell and Karen McGrane

    By Lee Odell and Karen McGrane,

  2. Every project I have ever done

    A while back I went through my hard drive and captured a list of every project I've ever done, spanning the years 1998 – 2018, so twenty years of projects. These are in alphabetical order because I'm a bit fuzzy on the dates.


    How should content management tools guide content creators to focus on meaning and structure? What’s the right amount of control over presentation and styling in the CMS?

    A List Apart,

  4. Pay it forward

    Your time is valuable. Spend it wisely.


  5. The Minimum Viable Lifestyle

    The Pastry Box Project,

  6. Who experiences code of conduct violations?

    As far as I'm concerned, the heart of what makes information architecture a discipline is the focus on the needs of users as they navigate an information space. Here, I break down the point of view of the grievance procedure for Information Architecture Foundation events.

  7. Explaining Water to Fish

    Seems like user-centered design just isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

    A List Apart,

  8. Mobile > Local

  9. What is Interaction Design History?

    How do you distinguish the history of interaction design or user experience design from the broader scope of computing history?

  10. How To Live Out Of A Suitcase

    For many years, it seemed like I lived out of a suitcase. The excitement of visiting new cities and the routine of living in hotels can both be improved by some packing tips.

    The Pastry Box Project,

  11. Integrity Comes at a Price

    Integrity is not a search for the rewards of integrity. Maybe all you ever get for it is the chance to watch the venal and corrupt succeed. The price is still worth it.

    The Pastry Box Project,

  12. Douglas Engelbart and the Means to an End

    ENIAC, the world’s first programmable digital computer, was completed in 1944. Today, more people have access to mobile phones than have access to toilets. There are more mobile internet users in the developing world than in the developed world. It took just seventy years to get from a device the size of a two-story building to a device that fits in your pocket.

    A List Apart,

  13. Responsive Design Won’t Fix Your Content Problem

    For years, we’ve told clients to serve the same content to every platform. We explained that Responsive Web Design allows content to squish itself into any container. Is it any wonder, then, that the belief has slowly grown that RWD can act as a substitute for actual content strategy?

    A List Apart,

  14. A Separate Mobile Website? No Forking Way!

    The danger with an m-dot site is that you'll fork your content into separate desktop and mobile versions. To deliver on the promise of adaptive content, you need a CMS that will help you manage and maintain content variations.

    Creative Bloq,

  15. Career Day Special with a Future Web Designer

    An eighth grader asked me some questions about web design as a career, and I had some questions in response.

  16. Uncle Sam Wants You (to Optimize Your Content for Mobile)

    It’s easy to get frustrated by the pace of change in mobile. Companies drag their feet about actually delivering content and services optimized for mobile devices, commissioning yet more research to “prove” the need for a mobile strategy. Meanwhile, we tap away at our ever-more-capable smartphones and tablets, pinching and zooming our way through sites designed for a much larger screen.

    A List Apart,

  17. Give a crap. Don’t give a fuck.

    How do you know if you’re doing a good job? There’s always an external way to measure quality—being prepared, attending to the details, listening to the collective wisdom about what it means to do good work. Give a crap about the little things, and you’re good.

    A List Apart,

  18. Going mobile

    Once upon a time, I didn't know anything about mobile and thought I should keep it that way. Turns out that was a window into greater compassion for all the clients I work with who struggle to keep up with the latest trends in web design.

    The Pastry Box Project,

  19. What I do matters. Yours is bullshit.

    My job is real and important and necessary. Your job is a made-up lie.

  20. Don’t Let Paper Paradigms Drive Your Digital Strategy

    The web isn't print. As we adapt to a world of connected devices, the way we think about our publishing process must change.

    Harvard Business Review,

  21. The Rise of the Mobile-Only User

    Mobile-only users need the same information as other customers. Don't try to guess which subset of content a “mobile” user needs—you're going to guess wrong.

    Harvard Business Review,

  22. Ear Trumpets and Bionic Superpowers

    By concealing complexity, we may miss opportunity for more powerful, meaningful engagement. Technology doesn't have to be invisible; rather, its complexities can be made appropriately visible.

    The Manual,

  23. Ear Trumpets and Bionic Superpowers

    Originally published in Issue 2.

    The Manual,

  24. Beyond Tellerand

    Beyond Tellerand,

  25. The Rise of the Mobile-Only User

    Harvard Business Review,

  26. Dare Conference

    Dare Conference,

  27. Don’t Let Paper Paradigms Drive Your Digital Strategy

    Harvard Business Review,

  28. A Separate Mobile Website? No Forking Way!

    Creative Bloq,

  29. Responsive Design Won’t Fix Your Content Problem

    A List Apart,

  30. Douglas Engelbart and the Means to an End

    A List Apart,

  31. The Alternative is Nothing

    A List Apart,


    A List Apart,

  33. Explaining Water to Fish

    A List Apart,

  34. Give a crap. Don’t give a fuck.

    A List Apart,

  35. Windows on the Web

    A List Apart,

  36. The Pastry Box Project

    I wrote for the Pastry Box project during 2013

    The Pastry Box Project

  37. Doing UX

    The Pastry Box,

  38. Pay It Forward


  39. In Defense of Lorem Ipsum

    This blog post was republished on UIE Tips.

    By Karen McGrane, UIE Tips,

  40. Now What? Conference

    Now What? Conference,

  41. Integrity comes at a price

    Integrity comes at a price. And it's worth it.

    By Karen McGrane, The Pastry Box Project,

  42. How To Live Out Of A Suitcase

    I know a few things about how to live out of a suitcase. If you have to go to a conference or on a business trip, here’s what I’ve learned the hard way.

    By Karen McGrane, The Pastry Box Project,

  43. The Minimum Viable Lifestyle

    The Minimum Viable Lifestyle won’t make you happier, more successful, thinner, or richer. It has a marginal chance of preventing your early and untimely death, which is really the minimum standard I think we should all strive for.

    By Karen McGrane, The Pastry Box Project,

  44. Breaking Development

    Breaking Development,

  45. Confab Higher Ed

    Confab Higher Ed,

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