Hardware & Gear
- iPhone 14 Pro White: As a UX designer, I could not resist trying out dynamic island. It was the main reason I upgraded since I didn’t need the newer cameras or performance. I still miss the iPhone mini's form factor. Apple, please bring it back! (The case in the picture is the Apple Midnight Silicon case.)
- Apple Watch Series 8 Midnight Aluminum: For daily use and fitness tracking. I love changing watch faces with focus modes. Recently, it got a huge scratch edge-to-edge, so I'm waiting to buy the Ultra. Also, I like to collect black Apple Watch bands; the one in the picture above is the Black/Pure Platinum - Nike Sport Loop.
- Airpods Pro (1st gen): I use them almost every day for the gym. The only feature I want from the 2nd gen is the volume change from the stem.
- Apple MagSafe Wallet 2 Midnight: Best wallet I've had! Three cards are all that I need; my driver's license, Tesla Key Card, and Apple Card. The Find my integration is not what you would expect.
- Tesla Model 2019: Best car I've ever owned. I love it, but I still miss Carplay daily.
My workspace was recently featured on Workspaces.xyz newsletter, feel free to take a look for even more pictures.
- Apple Studio Display: My favorite and most anticipated apple product ever ✨. Previously I used the thunderbolt displa for 10+ years. The webcam is not the best, but it is still suitable for regular zoom calls.
- Macbook Pro 14 inch: My main computer. It's overkill for what I use it for, and I rarely use all the ports, but I love the new form factor, and it's great when I want to work away from the desk.
- Apple iPad Mini 6th gen: The device I use the most around the house. I use it to consume almost all written content, listen to podcasts, and watch videos around the house.
- iPad Pro 11 inch 2018: I use it less than the mini, but it still has some specific use cases; writing with the Magic Keyboard, viewing lego instructions as a secondary display, and sketching and wireframing with the Apple Pencil.
⌨️ Desk Ergonomics
- Desk: Ikea Kitchen Tabletop with Standing Desk Motor: I’ve been using the same Ikea kitchen counter as a desktop for the past four years, and it has been perfect so far. I attached a standing desk motor with multiple programmable heights. I use it sitting for most of my meetings, but I prefer to stand up for the weekend and when working on side projects.
- Herman Miller Aeron: I finally pulled the trigger after much research. It was one of the best purchases I could have made. It has also helped alleviate my back pain. Priceless. (Spend your money where you spend your time)
- KDB 75% Keyboard with Custom Keycaps: My manager built this for me, and I love it. It's a custom build with tactile switches; I love the feel and sound. I designed the custom keycaps to resemble the Magic Keyboard and feel more mac native. I wrote about the process so check it out!
- Magic Keyboard with Touch ID: I always return to using this keyboard because of the Touch ID. I wish they sold the Touch ID separately. Also, they should make this size but with black keys.
- Magic Mouse: The multidirectional swipe keeps me returning to this mouse instead of the MX Master. Panning and moving Figma boards quickly in all directions makes my workflow much faster. The Magic Grip from Elevation Labs and the Carpio from Delta Hub help combat the bad ergonomics.
🎙️ Desk Accessories
As it turns out, I have a bunch of accessories 😅
- Blue Yeti Nano with Elgato Wave Mic Arm: Excellent microphone for daily zoom calls since the Studio Display built-in is not the best. The Wave Mic Arm allows me to hide the mic from view when I'm not using it.
- Stream Deck: For easy access to zoom meeting controls, Siri Shortcuts, and Timery shortcuts. I also use custom Zoom call control icons I created.
- Airpods Max with Benks Stand: My choice for noise-canceling headphones for flights, gaming, and watching TV late at night or early in the morning. I like the Benks Stand style because it matches my other accessories.
- Homepod Mini: The speakers in the Studio Display are good enough for me, so I use the HomePod to control HomeKit accessories with Siri.
- CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt 3 Dock: To power all my peripherals. Also, it allows me to have a one-cable connection to my MacBook Pro. It is hidden below the desk.
- 4TB G-Drive USB-C: Mostly for time capsule backups as I sync all my files via iCloud drive. Hidden below the desk as well.
- Eeero 6+ Mesh Router: It's connected directly to my Caldigit with ethernet and hidden below the desk.
- Magflott IPad Magnetic Stand
- Spigen Onetap Magsafe Stand
- Ikea Lamp with Hue White Ambiance Bulb
- LG C2 77” : Looks amazing even with sun reflections. I love it how it has made want to play more video games.
- Apple TV 4k
- Homepods 1stGen: I use two in a stereo pair to serve as Living Room tv speakers.
- PS5: I love it but dislike the hardware design.
- PS5 Dualsense Dock: A fancy stand for my PS5 controller. I swear half of my income goes to unnecessary accessories like these 😂; I love them.
- Backbone Controller: For playing PS5 games over Remote Play in bed.
- Nintendo Switch Oled: The screen is a nice improvement over the original; it's completely worth it.
- Safari: My default browser of choice. I particularly love iCloud tab groups and Handoff.
- Arc: Mostly for Webflow. Arc offers a clean view that makes Webflow feel like a native app. I like the concept but can't consider making it my default browser until they release an iPad and iPhone counterpart. Use my invite code.
- Chrome: Whenever something is not working as expected in Safari, mainly forms, checkout/payments flows. Also, its developer tools and responsive mode are better than Safari.
- @Magicpaste (Chrome): Allows me to copy-paste markdown directly into Webflow. Useful for my writing process.
- Tabs to links (Safari): Turns all your tabs into links and copies them to your clipboard. Allows you to choose which format you want to use, either plain text or markdown. Useful for pages with tons of links like this one.
- Total Refresh (Safari): Refreshes all opened tabs with one click.
📐Design & Development
- Figma: My primary design tool for work and personal projects. I can't live without auto-layout and component variants. My favorite latest feature is the Sections tool they brought from Figjam.
- Illustrator: For the rare occasion where I need to work on vectors or print projects, primarily for my wife's online store.
- Figjam & Freeform: For diagrams, mind mapping, and sketching/wireframing on the iPad with the Apple Pencil. I still go back and forth between the two apps.
- Miro: For collaborative withe-boarding, primarily for Remote workshops with non-design stakeholders.
- Webflow: What I used to develop this site. I was between Webflow, Framer, and WordPress. I ultimately went with Webflow for its great CMS integration, community, support, and how it handles css classes.
- Jira, Confluence & Google Docs: It might seem weird to include these as design tools, but as a Product Designer, they are crucial for documentation and collaborating with Product Managers.
- Things 3: To-do app of choice. No matter how many other to-do apps I try, I always return to Things. I've been using things for more than a decade, and although they don't adopt features as quickly as I hoped, the mental model of the apps fits my workflow. I've also been using it to keep track of video game levels.
- Apple Calendar: My calendar app of choice. I live in its weak view for block scheduling, which syncs perfectly with all my devices. I wish it would get calendar sets like Fantastical.
- Google Calendar: To manage my meeting schedule for work since the feature to show other coworkers' calendars is a must. I've also been trying out Cron for the same purpose.
- Timery: For time tracking on all devices. The widgets and live activities make it worth it.
✍️ Notes & Writing
- Notes: For quick notes, jot down ideas during the day; it's reliable and always there.
- Craft: Where I'm currently editing this page. My tool of choice for long-form writing and PKM. I love their interface and the way they handle text blocks and markdown.
- Obsidian: For markdown editing and prepping documents before publishing on my website.
- Notion: For databases and project tracking, anything that would be a spreadsheet lives in Notion. I track my finances, keep track of subscriptions, Max's medical records, meeting notes, and project tracking at work and also for the CMS for my website.
- Good Notes: For the occasional handwritten notes. Primarily to take Church notes on Sundays with the Apple Pencil.
- Reeder 5: For reading RSS, mostly on my iPad Mini in the mornings. Been using it for more than ten years. Back when my only apple device was an iPod Touch, I use it to save articles for offline Reading on Reeder. I've tried many others, like NetNewsWire or Unread, but Reeder is the best for me. I'm currently using its iCloud sync service to sync my feeds.
- Good links: My current read-it-later service. I use it to save reviews I want to read after finishing something. I still prefer reading newsletters and personal blogs on Safari. There are many cool new apps in this category lately between Reader and Matter. Its shortcuts support, widgets, and native-like UI made me stick with good links.
- Apple Books: My preferred app for reading digital books over the kindle or the kobo app. Apple, please bring back the page-turn animation.
- Apple Mail: Mail client for all my accounts. Focus filters help maintain a work-life balance by hiding my work email in my free time.
- Slack: The primary communication method at my work. The robust notification settings also help me disconnect from work.
- Messages: To communicate with my wife, friends, and family. Happy that tapback and replies were adopted by almost everyone. I'm sad stickers failed.
- Whatsapp: For those people in your life that don't have iOS. Long live blue texts.
- Grammarly: Always in the background helping with my horrible grammar and spelling in English.
- Zoom: For meetings at work. I'm grateful we use zoom and not Microsoft teams.
- Pocket Cast: The best podcast player by miles. Perfectly syncs with other devices, and I prefer the UI over Overcast.
- Apple Music: I subscribe to their family plan as part of Apple One. I still regularly use Spotify and Pandora, but they each have pros/cons. Apple music's radio station algorithm could be better, especially for music in Spanish.
- Sofa: I recently discovered this app, and it's been great for tracking and organizing my downtime activities like video games, tv, movies and lego. Also, I'm a fan of the developer and his content.
- DayOne: Where I keep my daily photo journal. I enjoy looking at the "On this day" widget.
- Parcel: For tracking all packages, mainly Amazon.
- Countdowns: I use their medium widget for tracking upcoming events.
- Calcbot: I prefer this app over Apple's native one. It's also great for iPad, where there has yet to be a calculator app.
- Ivory & Mona: My two favorite Mastodon clients right now. Follow me on Mastodon!
- Habit: For keeping track of my habits.
- Secrets: What I use instead of 1Password to store frequently used passwords and credit card info. It's a one-time fee, so it saves me a subscription.
🖥️ Mac Utility Apps
Oof, I have to tame myself here because I have too many Mac OS utility apps. I will stick to the main ones and write a separate article to cover all of them. Also, check out my current Mac Dock.
- Settapp: Subscription service that includes many excellent Mac staple apps. Includes most of the apps listed here.
- Clean My Mac: I use it daily to clean my mac (duh), speed up ram, uninstall, and update apps.
- Raycast: Launcher of choice. I switched from Alfred: great UI, keyboard shortcut support, and many frequently updated extensions.
- Cleanshot: Makes it easy to manage & annotate them for sharing. One thing people don't talk about being a Product Designer is that you will be taking screenshots all day long, every day.
- Text Snipper: Copies text from any screen on the mac. Quicker than apple's new copy text from pictures feature. When designing in Figma, I often use this to copy text, even from text layers, just because it's faster.
- Get Plain Text: Quickly cleans up the formatting of my clipboard. Handy for copy-pasting in Figma, and you want to avoid getting the text styles. I trigger it via a keyboard shortcut.
- Paste: This keeps my clipboard's history and allows me to copy/paste sequentially. Helps a lot when designing screens, especially with tons of forms and labels.
- Bartender 4: Helps me organize and hide my menu bar icons. Hands down my most essential mac utility. It is the first app I install on a new mac.
- Meeting Bar: The most essential app in my Menu Bar. Shows me my upcoming meetings and allows me to automatically set up a global hotkey to join the zoom meeting. I have this tied to a Siri shortcut that I launch via my Stream Deck.
- Hand Mirror: Great app for working remotely; it lets me see an overview of my webcam before I turn it on zoom.
- Yoink: For dragging and dropping files and images from one space or full-screen app to another, which I often use on my mac.
- QBlocker: Adds a slight delay when you press CMD + Q, so you don't quit apps by mistake when using keyboard shortcuts.
- Quitter: Tidies up my mac automatically by quitting certain apps after a determined period of inactivity.
- Divvy & Moom: For window management with keyboard shortcuts and presets.
- Hyperkey: Remaps the Caps Locks key to a specific key combination for easier keyboard shortcut creation.
- Mission Control +: Adds extra functionality to the default Mission Control.
- Rocket Typist: For text snippets. Although, I'm thinking of switching back to Text Expander.
- Hi Dock: Saves dock settings and positions between multiple display configurations.
Heads up, I sometimes use affiliate links for the stuff I like. If you shop using them, I’ll get a small commission at no cost to you.
Do you use any of these apps in your setup? Let me know via email.