This was originally published on Medium.

As the sole product designer for a tiny startup called Samahope, I often require design critique from my non-design teammates. Getting formal critique is important to iteratively improve the product, but we’ve had to improvise without an in-house design team.

By providing a bit of structure with 3 simple rules, I’ve found my team to be awesome critique partners. The critique sessions look a little bit different than getting a bunch of designers together (fewer turtlenecks, for instance), but the outcome is just as good.

3.5 percent of all surgeries

Originally posted on Samahope’s blog.

A few months ago, I left my job at Recurly to join a non-profit startup. Why did I leave the stability of a well-paid tech startup job?

A few weeks ago, I participated in my first hackathon for Refugees United (supported by Ericsson). This organization “…aims to directly help families reconnect with missing loved ones through a safe, secure search tool that allows for full anonymity and is free of charge.”

Learn how to rapidly prototype marketing websites or blogs with a simple set of tools–Jekyll and Foundation 4. This isn’t necessarily the fastest way to build a prototype, but this is the most extensible way I’ve found that allows you to move seamlessly from prototype to production. I built [WelcomeMat.co][1] in order to test these tools in a somewhat-real-world environment.

EDIT [01/15/2015]: This post is a bit out of date. I now recommend checking out my new post for rapid prototyping static websites using gulp and jekyll.

Hi, I'm Zac Halbert. I'm a digital product designer and lifelong learner living in San Francisco, California with my wife, son, and sheepdog. I currently run the Product Design & UX track at Tradecraft, where we train smart people to succeed in traction roles at high-growth startups.

I also own independent product design consultancy Scout Hawk Product Design Studio, where I help entrepreneurs turn hazy ideas into concrete digital products, and Foliotwist, a portfolio and marketing SaaS company for visual artists. I also advise a number of companies on the intersection of user experience design, product design and management, and rapid prototyping and idea validation that draws heavily from the Lean Startup philosophy.

My background is a mixture between formal graphic design and fine arts education, mixed with a long history of self-taught frontend programming skills. I began to learn HTML, CSS, and UI design at age 12 (I was a huge nerd), and got my first job as a web designer at age 15 — and have been doing it and loving it ever since. I eventually got my degree in graphic design, but have diverse interest in nearly every field that blends technical and creative work.

While I'm not very good at keeping my portfolio or blog up to date, I always love connecting with fellow designers, entrepreneurs, and developers. Here are just a few of the companies I've had the pleasure to work with.