Ted Boyer
Sr. Front-End Designer

2023 in Review

I’m experimenting with a new post format for my blog: an end-of-year recap. Let’s jump in as I reflect on my personal & professional milestones from 2023.


In April, Alex and I went on our honeymoon, which was the highlight of my year! We spent a week each in Barcelona, Spain, and the Amalfi Coast in Italy. The idea was to have some adventure/city time and then relax in Italy for the rest of the trip. Our plan worked!

Barcelona was simply stunning. We immersed ourselves in Gaudí’s art and architecture, discovering his inspirations from nature and how he carried them through his work. Casa Batlló, for instance, uses colors and shapes in the nearby Mediterranean Sea.

The Sagrada Familia’s stained glass interior at golden hour was breathtaking. We also loved exploring the city’s tiled surfaces, parks, neighborhoods, and shops.

Outdoor scenes from the hotel we stayed at in Barcelona
Amazing art and architecture designed by Gaudí, and Saint George’s Day (April 23), aka Day of Books and Roses
Stained glass and views from the Sagrada Familia

In Positano, views from the hotel and mountain roads were immaculate. Toward the end of the week, we took a boat tour of Capri to see some of the island’s gardens and grottos. My favorite day was our final one, where we spent the afternoon blissed out on the beach.

Although our first day in Italy was a little drizzly, we had fantastic weather otherwise throughout the entire trip. I’m grateful to have shared this memorable travel experience with my husband, and now I can’t wait to see more of the world!

First day in Positano
Capri (~1 hr ferry ride)


Upon returning from my honeymoon, I learned of my promotion to Senior Front-End Designer at Inkling. What an incredible way to get back from a trip! I am very proud of this accomplishment and all the work it took. I’m happy to be at a company that supports my growth and professional development. My teammates are lovely to work with, too.

Like many other companies in the tech industry, we also had layoffs earlier this year. Watching some of my talented co-workers go was difficult, and it made me realize how lucky I am.


One unique opportunity I began this year was getting mentored by the UX team at my company. I reached out to the Director of UX, and we had a thoughtful conversation about my reasons for exploring UX as a career trajectory. From there, we set some short- and long-term goals for mentorship, and I started 1:1 sessions with my mentor.

Below is my abbreviated list of reasons for mentorship. It’s interesting to revisit this at the end of the year. I’ve already begun accomplishing many of these areas, and seeing progress is exciting!

Miro board screenshot with job role annotations, resources, and diagrams for my career
One of the handful of Miro boards I’ve made to reflect on and map out my career

Values snapshot

One area we explored at the beginning of my mentorship was an exercise to uncover the core values in my professional & personal life.

We started with about 100 pre-defined sticky notes in Miro, with words such as “imagination,” “democracy,” and “empathy.” I self-selected a large handful of these, then narrowed it down by prioritizing which were very important and which were less important. I ended with five values that resonated most with me, and I even got to define them in my own words:

Quality of work

I strive to be thorough and consider the details in every project I participate in. I am accountable for my decisions, process, and output of work. My work and surrounding environment (e.g., company, co-workers) make me proud.


Waking up excited to start the work day. Getting into a flow state of creativity. Being fully present and feeling a sense of ease & playfulness at work. Finding fulfillment in doing projects, no matter how small or mundane they may be.


Challenging my beliefs & understandings. Listening to other people/users/perspectives. Gaining new knowledge to practice or apply. Growing to be a better person/designer/employee, etc.


Committing to our customers and users, giving them our all. Immersing ourselves in our work and personal lives. Having a passion for the field of design. Standing up for what is right.


Making fun or lightheartedness of difficult situations. Not taking ourselves so seriously all the time. Laughing at work, feeling connected to others. Design is a joyful pursuit.

Mentorship year highlights

On top of my everyday work duties, I got to participate in 50+ activities, both small and large (but all meaningful).
  • Analyzed user research for a project on the roadmap and presented a results readout to stakeholders and the company
  • Refined UX copy to iterate on the project based on user feedback
  • Facilitated my first user interview with an end user, which helped me understand the purpose and value of research
  • Shadowed UX research meetings and learned the ins and outs of what a UX researcher does
  • Attended various design reviews and participated in retrospectives
  • Learned about Inkling’s design system and practiced building components in Figma
  • Collaborated with the Marketing team to improve our website navigation based on UX principles such as Fitts’ Law
  • Interviewed designers within my company and industry leaders (through ADPList) to learn more about their career journeys and challenges
  • Self-identified strengths and areas for improvement within hard and soft skills
  • Researched design roles and marked up relevant job postings with skills that interest me or I already know (green) and apparent deficiencies (red)
  • Identified areas for myself to upskill in based on targeted job roles
  • Focused my career aspirations from UX in general to UX engineering/design technologist or hybrid roles
  • Read and bookmarked dozens of articles/newsletters about UX, from storytelling to career journeys and interface design
  • Attended both virtual and in-person meetups for UX groups

Mentorship is a team effort, and while I certainly put in hard work myself, I’m grateful to my mentor, manager, and colleagues at Inkling for showing me the ropes of UX and product development. Here’s to continued growth in 2024!

Reading and listening

I’ve always enjoyed reading books but engaged in more newsletters and blogs this year. I also regularly kept up with my favorite podcasts and curated my favorite new songs in playlist form. (I’ve been doing the latter each year since 2019, and it’s an excellent way to keep track of music and revisit memories later!)

Below are some fantastic media and entertainment that inspired me in 2023.

Newsletters & blogs

Collage of blog homepages
Blogs galore!



Grid of album covers
Albums that rose to the top of my listening in 2023.

Social time

Alex and I moved from Ohio to Washington in mid-2020, and it’s been an excellent journey. Since then, we’ve married, bought a home together, and changed jobs multiple times. While it’s tough being away from family, I’m grateful and excited for the friendships I’m starting to build here.

This year, we visited my longtime friend Elliot and his partner Michael on a weekend trip to Portland for the first time. It was such a good trip! I also got to experience a music festival in Seattle with Elliot, which was a blast. We’ve enjoyed game nights in the dark Seattle winter with our new friends, catching up over dinners, and sharing fun shows and entertainment.

Weekend trip to Portland with friends

In my family, a dear cousin of mine got engaged, and I am so excited for them! My aunt is also spending a year in Seattle teaching. Alex and I have spent plenty of quality moments with our baby cousin Finn and his family, who live on Bainbridge Island now. It’s good to be close to loved ones this season!

Seattle Japanese Garden
Fall colors at the Seattle Japanese Garden
Sunset overlooking downtown Seattle and Puget Sound

Looking ahead

I am hopeful and energized for 2024. Let’s see what the new year brings! 🥂

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