Spatial Interfaces
I think spatially, and so do you. Can you scratch your left ear without looking? Pick a booger out of your nose, without…
8 hours ago
The Case for Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO
The stock tanked, but that’s because it was too high to begin with: it’s not that Dorsey and Noto presented poorly, it’s that they presented honestly, and while that hurts now, it’s the only way to rebuild the credibility that Twitter has lost through too many quarters of insisting things were strong, good-looking, and always, always, above-average.
8 hours ago
Our world is full of bad UX, and it’s costing us dearly
That’s the crux of it all. Design is the interface between people and technology. Without good design, the technology is turned from a help to a harm. It can cause physical harm, like in the case of Jenny. It can cause emotional harm, like when a social app facilitates bullying. It can cause exclusion, like when a seeing-impaired person doesn’t get to participate on a popular website because simple accessibility items have not been attended to. Lastly, it can cause injustice — yes injustice — which all of these can be categorized under, but direct injustices like nullifying someone’s vote or someone in need who isn’t able to access help to get back on their feet.
ethics  design 
19 hours ago
Uber’s algorithm and the mirage of the marketplace.
In June, the California Labor Commission ruled in favor of classifying Uber driver Barbara Ann Berwick as an employee and not as an independent contractor. But the battle over ride-hailing apps continues to rage as companies, governments, activists, and incumbent businesses all seek to shape how a new generation of...
19 hours ago
Escaping a Strategic Cul de Sac: Using Ethnographic Insights to Challenge Organizational Bias
They no longer saw homeowners simply as property owners who were protecting their investments – they were also people whose homes were reflections of their changing selves.

They no longer saw painting contractors simply as skilled applicators who would always choose the best paint for the job – they were also businesspeople facing market pressures from all sides, and who needed a helping hand.

And they no longer saw designers simply as indoctrinated advocates for Benjamin Moore – they were also project managers who still wanted mentorship.

Equipped with their newfound intuition, Benjamin Moore set out to reconnect authentically with their customers at all levels. We provided a road out of their strategic cul de sac – a human heartbeat in all of the hard data, and a way to truly internalize the emotions motivating stakeholder behavior.
The Intention Behind Think Kit — The Open Studio: A Blog by FiftyThree
In building Think Kit we gained key insights in several areas, from mathematics, to interaction design, to graphics. There are many ways to bring structure to this continuum of inputs, and we now understand much more about where the resulting ambiguities lie, and which are best resolved with science, engineering, or interaction design. Think Kit uses these insights to create a digital whiteboard marker, but the understanding and techniques we evolved along the way have much broader applications.
ixd  prototyping  fiftythree 
2 days ago
Does every design project need research?
If you feel uncertain about whether you need research or how much you need here is a broad rule of thumb you can use. How much hypothesis and assumption comes up in the design conversation? For example if you are designing a list of possible options the user has to choose from, when you decide what information to put in that list do you really know what the user needs to make that decision or are you all standing around a whiteboard imagining what they might do? If you have a list of house rentals do you show area, number of rooms, rental price? Do you really know what your user is looking for when they scan down the list or are you just going by what you are look for and assuming that this is universal?

As a more specific approach can you quantify the amount of effort (read: money) you will spend on research in the context of the amount of money you will lose or save if your design fails or succeeds? Working from speculation is riskier in some areas than others. If the consequence of getting part of the design wrong is relatively minor then research is less important. But if failing is going to cost you or if a lot of design decisions are hanging on a couple of unproven assumptions then you are taking a big risk not finding out about who you are designing for.
2 days ago
A response to Naomi Wolf | language: a feminist guide
But with language, people have a bad habit of presenting what are actually personal preferences as if they were objective facts. They don’t say ‘I find X annoying’, they say ‘X is bad and wrong’. I’m sure you, and many others of your generation (and mine), really do hear uptalk as annoyingly tentative and vocal fry as a witless affectation, but you shouldn’t assume that your reaction is natural and that everyone will naturally share it. To the young people who’ve grown up with these speech patterns, they aren’t annoying mannerisms, they are perfectly normal and unremarkable.
language  feminism  critique 
2 days ago
Web Design - The First 100 Years
The idea that something might work fine the way it is has no place in tech culture.
design  culture  history  web 
2 days ago
How To Use The System Usability Scale (SUS) To Evaluate The Usability Of Your Website - Usability Geek
The System Usability Scale (SUS) is a 10-Question questionnaire that offers a quick, cost-effective yet accurate way to evaluate the usability of a website
research  usability 
3 days ago
Explaining graphic design to four-year-olds — Medium
50 minutes to explain graphic design to a reception class at a primary school. How do I do that?
vizd  theory 
3 days ago
Why telling kids to dream big is a big con
The problem arises when we counter the world’s feedback with platitudes such as ‘you can be anything you want’ or ‘don’t give up.’ Tracey Cleantis, a psychotherapist in California and the author of The Next Happy (2015), says that behind such bromides ‘is a kind of wish of parents or ourselves that we’re not bound by our talents, by our genetics, by our temperament, by our character. I think it really creates shame and guilt and feelings of failure.’

‘What it essentially says to our children,’ adds Penelope Trunk, author of Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success (2007), ‘is that, if they don’t achieve their dreams, they have no one to blame but themselves.’ Indeed, the transition to adulthood is already overwrought, and it’s made only more difficult when you think you can do anything and then feel completely incompetent when you can’t.
children  parenting 
4 days ago
How to Handle Design Feedback on Tight Timelines
There are two kinds of designers: those who’ll admit they’ve had trouble handling feedback, and liars. That’s why the ne…
4 days ago
Inside Spotify's Hunt for the Perfect Playlist | WIRED
Spotify is launching a new playlist service called Discover Weekly that uses your data to serve you songs you might like.
spotify  music 
6 days ago
The Tyranny of 'Good Enough'
It seems counterintuitive, but (for all the reasons I’ve mentioned above) you need to consider the ‘good enough’ competitive solutions which offer a limited, inadequate experience as well as the market leaders.
prodmgmt  jtbd 
7 days ago
What My Landlord Learned About Me From Twitter - The New York Times
Sleeping in someone else’s bed, even when they’re miles and miles away, is its own form of intimacy; sharing your words and your images online is another. I realize now we were making an exchange with all the emotional tenor of stashing your clothes in someone else’s dresser, a tweet the perfect digital representation of smelly socks.
8 days ago
Designing Usable Web Forms
In terms of inside help, it can be handy to look for searches related to designing web forms for usability too.
8 days ago
Blame Society, Not the Screen Time
This is the Catch-22 that we’ve trapped today’s youth in. We’ve locked them indoors because we see the physical world as more dangerous than ever before, even though by almost every measure, we live in the safest society to date. We put unprecedented demands on our kids, maxing them out with structured activities, homework and heavy expectations. And then we’re surprised when they’re frazzled and strung out.

For many teenagers, technology is a relief valve. (And that goes for the strung-out, overworked parents and adults playing Candy Crush, too.) It’s not the inherently addictive substance that fretting parents like to imagine. It simply provides an outlet.
technology  teens 
9 days ago
iOS Design Rules to Break
Reconsider using iOS recemmended: Page control (dots), Submit at top, the Plus (+) and Move icons. These ause usability problems in testing.
mobile  ios  patterns 
9 days ago
I tried all the apps that are supposed to mend a broken heart | Fusion
Technology was making my heartache worse, but that's not how these things are supposed to work. So I sought out tech fixes for a broken heart.
sociology  technology 
10 days ago
Lean Innovation Management – Making Corporate Innovation Work
I’ve been working with large companies and the U.S. government to help them innovate faster-- not just kind of fast, but 10x the number of initiatives in 1/5 the time. A 50x speedup kind of fast. Here’s how. ----- Lean Innovation Management In the last five years “Lean Startup” methodologies have enabled entrepreneurs to efficiently…
lean  innovation 
12 days ago
‘Smart Cities’ Will Know Everything About You
A smart city doesn’t have to be as Orwellian as it sounds. If businesses act responsibly, there is no reason why what sounds intrusive in the abstract can’t revolutionize the way people live for the better by offering services that anticipates their needs; by designing ultraefficient infrastructure that makes commuting a (relative) dream; or with a revolutionary approach to how energy is generated and used by businesses and the populace at large.
12 days ago
The future of cards in Web design
You’ve been seeing those rectangular boxes on a lot of websites lately, right? Those are cards, and they’re popping up more and more. But don’t mistake cards for being a mere trend or simply eye-candy. Cards are as practical as they are popular – in fact, that’s why you’re seeing them so often.
13 days ago
My Two Years as an Anthropologist on the Photoshop Team
This is where we are now then. We use exploratory ethnography to understand trends, context, and opportunities, which then feeds into planning and priorities. This informs preliminary design, which undergoes iteration based on user feedback (relationship with users emerges from out of ethnography), until we release and measure impact quantitatively and gauge experience qualitatively.
14 days ago
Facebook’s Four Business Design Principles for Crafting Elegant Tools
When I joined Facebook three years ago to lead Business Design, I faced a steep learning curve. I had spent my whole car…
14 days ago
User interfaces: why are microwave ovens all so difficult to use?
In the end, I think there’s a simple reason why these interfaces have not merged more rapidly: life-spans. It’s not unusual for these machines to last 10 or 15 years, their interfaces frozen in time, while designers think of smarter ideas. The “30 seconds” top-power button is becoming increasingly common, but it’ll probably be 10 years before you can go into someone’s kitchen and be confident of seeing it on the microwave. Sometimes, even great user interface ideas are held back by simple problems: the products just don’t wear out fast enough for new stuff to come through.

If you’ve ever complained about your smartphone’s short life, look at it this way – at least you’re not trying to operate it with an interface from 2005.
ui  industrial 
14 days ago
The Biggest Tech Problems So Obvious We Aren’t Fixing Them
The horrible pain and awesome opportunity of technology blind spots
innovation  startup 
14 days ago
The Risky Business of Onboarding
Rick Pastoor explains his three-stage framework—identifying, teaching, engaging—to build better product onboarding experiences.
15 days ago
The ethics of digital design
Disruption is Silicon Valley’s current watchword. Startups are optimised for shaking up vulnerable industries rather than assessing the resulting social, legal and ethical impact. Progress itself is the yardstick; whether that progress is in a worthwhile direction is sometimes secondary.
15 days ago
The Science of ‘Inside Out’
“Inside Out” offers a new approach to sadness. Its central insight: Embrace sadness, let it unfold, engage patiently with a preteen’s emotional struggles. Sadness will clarify what has been lost (childhood) and move the family toward what is to be gained: the foundations of new identities, for children and parents alike.
pixar  movies  psychology 
17 days ago
Why Product Thinking is the next big thing in UX Design
Thinking in products helps building successful features. By defining the problems the product tackles, it answers the question “why do we build this product?”. Defining the target audience “who has these problems?” and defining the solution “how are we doing this?” will give enough guidance to create a new feature. Setting up a goal will help to measure the success of this feature.
20 days ago
"Monetize Backwards" to Build a SaaS Business That Lasts
Free and freemium business models have gone from the fringes to the mainstream, with legions of young entrepreneurs looking to follow in the footst...
freemium  pricing 
20 days ago
Camping Trip 1986 — Personal Growth — Medium
I also learned that being a dad means living in constant fear. Due to dumb, random chance, or a second’s negligence, my entire world could implode at any moment. She could be electrocuted, shot, run-over, kidnapped or poisoned. She could get leukemia. It’s all there, just waiting to happen. Each week, the fear seems to grow.
20 days ago
For You, perhaps, but not for me
This is, obviously, a one-time problem, but it’s another in a long series of examples of Apple’s poor grasp of cloud services. A glitch in iTunes made it think the tracks had not yet been uploaded, and that glitch somehow became the “truth” on iCloud’s servers, even though those servers have plenty of independent ways to know what tracks they have. This is like someone telling you via email that you’re naked—wouldn’t you look down before believing it?
music  apple 
20 days ago
How to not suck at managing products
Build something that should exist, not something that just could exist.
21 days ago
The Death of Blogging
Sure, the component parts of blogging are everywhere now. The Internet is drowning in self-publishing, link-sharing, articles scrolling by in reverse-chronological order. But somewhere along the way, the soul of blogging was lost.
blog  writing 
21 days ago
God Tier: Facebook moms run the meme game
Sure, some people just have bad taste. Out of all the options now available, they choose “Oh no, not another Monday!” But remember that the post-meme thrives best on Facebook, a social network that values decorum and common context over controversy and daring artistic statements. This space isn’t a free-for-all, it’s a gathering place for real-world friends, family, and co-workers. You can’t post Successful Black Guy without the risk of confusion, offense, and negative consequences. The banality of post-memes makes them appropriate for mass non-anonymous sharing, while the mild sass keeps the sharer’s soul from entirely shriveling under the judgmental stare of every friend they’ve ever made. Like a Garfield poster, it says, “I am an individual — but in a socially acceptable way.”
21 days ago
Screen addiction (or why Grandma's sad)
People on smartphones are not anti-social. They're super-social. Phones allow people to be with the people they love the most all the time, which is the way humans probably used to be, until technology allowed for greater freedom of movement around the globe. People spending time on their phones in the presence of others aren't necessarily rude because rudeness is a social contract about appropriate behavior and, as Hermann points out, social norms can vary widely between age groups. Playing Minecraft all day isn't necessarily a waste of time. The real world and the virtual world each have their own strengths and weaknesses, so it's wise to spend time in both.
internet  technology  society 
22 days ago
The Future of UI Design? Old-School Text Messages
Still, the simple versatility of text messaging is a very attractive quality. And the value of its familiarity can’t be overstated. Every breakthrough computer interface has been easier to use than its predecessor. The command line was replaced by the graphical user interface and point-and-click mouse. Smartphones and touchscreens distilled those into swipes and taps. There aren’t many things easier than downloading an app and tapping a few virtual buttons with your finger, but sending a text message might be one of them.
22 days ago
Are personas past their prime?
Begin by coming to a shared understanding of the user research you have done up to this point. (This is important: you still need to have done the user research — you're not going to brainstorm a persona out of thin air). Use this part of the meeting to come to a consensus on the different groups of user in your audience.
The next step is to create one or more 2½D sketches on a sheet of flip chart paper. Arrange the flip chart paper in landscape format and split it into four quadrants.
Label the top left quadrant with a name for this user type. Draw a sketch showing this user type in a context having some thought that’s relevant to your product.
Label the bottom left quadrant ‘Facts’. Using sticky notes, list the facts you know to be true about this user type (such as gender, age, job title…) Put one fact per sticky note.
Label the top right quadrant, ‘Behaviours’. What does this user type want to do with the product? What do they currently do that’s related to usage of the product? Put one behaviour per sticky note.
Label the bottom right quadrant, ‘Needs and goals’. How do users want to feel when using the product? Ultimately, what do users want to achieve with the product? What is this user type's deep drives and motivations? Put one need/goal per sticky note.
Working as a team, complete your 2½D Sketch. Prioritise the stickies in each quadrant. Have a conversation. Work towards a shared understanding.
22 days ago
The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens
Even so, evidence from laboratory experiments, polls and consumer reports indicates that modern screens and e-readers fail to adequately recreate certain tactile experiences of reading on paper that many people miss and, more importantly, prevent people from navigating long texts in an intuitive and satisfying way. In turn, such navigational difficulties may subtly inhibit reading comprehension. Compared with paper, screens may also drain more of our mental resources while we are reading and make it a little harder to remember what we read when we are done. A parallel line of research focuses on people’s attitudes toward different kinds of media. Whether they realize it or not, many people approach computers and tablets with a state of mind less conducive to learning than the one they bring to paper.
reading  ebooks 
24 days ago
My 8 year old taught himself to code Java. Here’s how yours can as well… — Startup Study Group — Medium
My 8 year old son is now getting quite advanced in Java, and is loving it. It wasn’t taught to him in school, and while …
26 days ago
Designing for the Future: What path should...
We should all stop and think about the type of products we are building and if we are contributing to the lack of human interaction with the world. Is it like CandyCrush and people lose track of what time of day it is? Or is it like Amazon Dash, where it goes unnoticed but provides a huge convenience to its user?
iot  noui  invisible 
26 days ago
Wells Fargo Uses Ethnographic Research to Design a Better Customer Experience | Loyalty360.org
Before entering the field, customers across these communities were recruited for a diary study, which charted their behaviors, emotions, and attitudes. Of this particular segment, Wells Fargo chose 50 of the most articulate people to study further by actually requesting invitations into their homes.

“Ethnography is as much an observational science as it is data-driven,” said McCormick. “It is not just about listening and talking. It is about observing, and we wanted to see their technologies, their tools, their systems. And, of course, we wanted to understand their emotions.”

Through this in-depth and comprehensive ethnographic method, Well Fargo acquired a range of insights that McCormick believes to be undeniably transformative to the business. McCormick detailed a crucial double-sided insight he called Post Traumatic Financial Disorder and Personal Epiphany Financial Awakening.

This is the idea that anything that happens to a person regarding money will shape their financial feelings and influence consumer behaviors. These experiences can be positive or negative, and the behaviors they spark can be rational or irrational. Either way, if Wells Fargo wanted to better serve the financial needs of a customer’s future, it knew that it must first understand how these intimate stories shaped personal histories.
27 days ago
Styling Forms Accessibly
Let’s take a look at how we can create better user experiences for users filling out our web forms through accessibility.
27 days ago
What Is Zero UI? (And Why Is It Crucial To The Future Of Design?) | Co.Design | business + design
What does UI design look like after screens go away? Fjord Madrid's Andy Goodman explains.
27 days ago
The New York Times Product Discovery Activity Guide — Medium
As part of our efforts to adopt such a data-driven, experimental approach to product development, we recently kicked off a product discovery “pilot program.” Small, cross-functional teams were paired with coaches and facilitators over a six week period to demonstrate product discovery and Lean methodologies as they apply to real-world customer opportunities at The New York Times.
lean  discovery 
27 days ago
Airbnb and the Internet Revolution
I increasingly believe that it is the sharing economy that is beginning to reveal the answer: a world of commodified trust has significantly less need for much of the infrastructure of modern society, including inefficient sectors like hotels whose primary differentiator is trust, along with the regulatory state dedicated to enforcing that trust. On the other hand, this brave new world has brand new holes through which people can fall: those who have lost trust, or do not have the means to build it. I’m no crazy libertarian; quite the opposite in fact: we need a significantly stronger safety net and a judicial system predicated on arbitration.
culture  technology  internet  airbnb 
28 days ago
Cassette Revolution: Why 1980s Tape Tech Is Still Making Noise in Our Digital World | Collectors Weekly
Cassette lovers, old and new, assert that tapes have something that online music lacks—a tactile physical presence. The benefits of cassettes haven’t changed: They’re cheap to make, pocket-sized and lightweight, and easy to mail. Cassette tapes still offer do-it-yourself musicians, who otherwise couldn’t afford to press a vinyl record, an affordable way to make an analog album they can hold their hands. And music lovers willing to make the effort to find a tape deck can amass a physical collection of underground music without breaking the bank, as new tapes go for $6.50 max, whereas CDs sell for as much as $15 and vinyl LPs can go for $20 or more.
28 days ago
Instagram unfiltered
Large, square photos of a towering redwood forest, a yacht at sunset and a carefully crafted cup of coffee adorn the walls of Kevin Systrom’s office. At one time, these beautifully shot pictures might have hung in an art gallery. Now they are
4 weeks ago
Leadership vs. Management
Leadership serves to inspire people to greater accomplishments, and management exists to motivate them to the objective.

In general, we like to think of management activities as “pushing” activities and leadership as “pulling” activities. Leadership sets a destination and “way-points” toward that destination. Management gets you to that destination. Leadership would be stating “We will never have a scalability related downtime in our systems” and management would be ensuring that it never happens. You absolutely need both and you need to do both well.
management  leadership 
4 weeks ago
focus group of one
listening to the focus group of one inside our heads can lead us astray. Trying to extrapolate our personal experience to how an audience will respond is risky.
4 weeks ago
Uber backlash: taxi drivers' protests in Paris part of global revolt | Technology | The Guardian
The taxi-hire company faces resistance worldwide, signalling trouble for other ‘sharing economony’ companies, such as AirBnB
uber  sharingeconomy 
4 weeks ago
How Companies Can Avoid the Innovator’s Dilemma
You must constantly try to disrupt yourself. The most successful companies embrace cannibalization at the core.
You'll eventually have a portfolio of products. Your own family of brands.
disruption  business 
4 weeks ago
Rapid Front-End Prototyping With WordPress
When using WordPress, highly interactive prototypes with great visuals are not at all that difficult to make. A tutorial on getting it right.
prototyping  wordpress 
4 weeks ago
Questions to ask before starting user research
Whenever I start working with a new team, I have to — quickly! — diagnose what they need and how I can be most useful. The impact and usefulness of my UX research hinges on…
4 weeks ago
How to prioritize customer research when everything is a priority
What’s the risk of not doing research now? How easy will it be to correct the design later?

Give higher priority to research projects that directly affect important, hard-to-change decisions about your business or product.

You’re probably considering research on new feature or improvement to your product. Will it have a big impact on your customers? How problematic will it be if it’s not the right design? How will it affect your business if the design doesn’t perform as expected? How many people will hear about or see the launch?

If the change you’re considering is likely to get a lot of attention, impact a lot of customers, or affect your business’s bottom line, you should test it with real customers before launching. These are usually high-priority research projects.
research  prioritization 
4 weeks ago
The next design trend is one that eliminates all choices
Ideally, anticipatory design could prevent that paralyzing feeling you get when presented with too many options, like getting dressed in the morning—without requiring you to wear a bland uniform. It could automatically select an outfit for you based on your activities for the day, pulled from your calendar and the weather. It could even make sure your outfit is stylish.
5 weeks ago
Sinking Your Own Ship Through Idle Feedback
Not only is criticizing and placing responsibility onto someone else easier, it’s become confused as an indication of innovation or intelligence.
5 weeks ago
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