Ash Huang: How Much Poison Is Acceptable in Our Technology?

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Photo credit: Helena Price

For an industry that complains about the inconvenience of waiting for a cab, doing laundry, or picking up takeout, we sure build a lot of suffering into our apps.

Virtual reality initially caused motion sickness in women because the equipment was developed and tested primarily by men. Interracial couples try to take photos together and fail because their phone’s white balance can’t capture both dark and light skin tones. People struggling with mental health issues, violence, or other trauma try to get help from Siri and Alexa but we’re only recently seeing that considered. All these stories and more, underscored by a rampant and constant harassment of women, people of color, people disabilities, those of Muslim and Jewish faiths, and LGBTQA—and tech’s bewilderment on how to help. Read More

Megs Fulton on Designing for Doctors and Health Technology

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Last year I gave a short talk about designing for both physicians and patients at a Design + Healthcare event hosted by John Maeda and Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers. Prior to this, most of my time as a designer working in the healthcare industry was spent at Spruce Health, where I designed a mobile application that enabled patients to be treated remotely by a dermatologist. Shortly after that talk, Spruce shifted the direction as a company and turned the technology behind the dermatology clinic into a platform any physician could use in their practice. Very quickly, I went from designing an experience focused on patients to one that was focused on physicians. As a result, I was forced to rethink how I approach problems through design and redefine what it means to drive change. Read More

Wendy Johansson on Designing a UX Academy in Mexico

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The success of user-focused experiences such as the iPhone and the maturity of users from consumers to prosumers have paved the way for the field of user experience design to grow quickly in Silicon Valley, with a 250% growth in UX Designer jobs within a year of the iPhone launch, and over 3,000% growth to date. Silicon Valley’s influence of user-centered technology has also inspired companies around the world to refocusing their products towards users. However, despite the normalization of user experience design as a critical function for building successful products, hiring UX designers remains a huge challenge - inside and outside of Silicon Valley. So how do you solve that problem?

Having built and led UX teams in Mexico since 2010, my best UX designers from my previous company began as talented graphic designers and learned to employ user-centered practices over years of tenure through mentoring, online readings, conferences, and knowledge sharing. But by the middle of 2016, almost 2 years into my new startup Wizeline, I had only hired 3 full-time UX designers in Mexico for a team of 60 engineers, despite having reviewed hundreds of candidates. Read More

Ti Chang: 3 Things to Consider Before I Design Anything

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“Art is like masturbation. It is selfish and introverted and done for you and you alone. Design is like sex. There is someone else involved, their needs are just as important as your own, and if everything goes right, both parties are happy in the end.”

— Colin Wright

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For any product — and I’ve worked on a wide range — the process varies depending on the scope of the project and creative freedom given to the designer. In my current genre of products, sex toys, I strongly believe in the ethos that form follows function…and emotion. The last part is one that is what I believe to be the key ingredient to what I do.

So before I design anything (meaning putting pen to paper and conjuring magical forms) this is my process: Read More

Joen Asmussen on The Making of a Gridicon

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Great iconography taps into a universal language we all understand. Like the dove of peace or the red cross on hospitals, the very best of icons communicate thousands of words in a single graphic form.

In much the same way, icons can augment a user interface. If the icon speaks enough on its own, it can free up always-welcome whitespace. Alternately, it can sit next to a label to give it a unique silhouette that’s more easy to recognize at a glance.

What you see above are the Gridicons for WordPress.com. Here’s a brief overview of how we created them. Read More

‘Nothing Special’: Rohan Gunatillake on Mindfulness In Design

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Photo by Ashley Baxter

I don’t know how it works but there are moments in life when someone says something which stays with you forever. All of us will have our own different examples of this: wise advice from a friend, an inspiring phrase from a book, or even something from a political speech full of hope. Words which have that magical quality of our hearing them at what feels like the perfect time so that they resonate both in that moment and also when we remember them again and again in the future. Read More

Jules Walter on Diversity in Tech: The Unspoken Empathy Gap

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Photo by Scott Schiller

Ken Norton recently published a great piece about the importance of authenticity and psychological safety in order to help teams succeed. In his article, he cites research from Google that suggests psychological safety is the most predictive characteristic of successful teams. As a minority working in tech, this article brought to mind a pressing question: given the lack of diversity in tech, how can tech workers foster a psychologically safe environment for minorities, many of whom struggle just to be their true selves at work? For me, it starts with empathy. Read More

Michael Arestad: Open Source Everything

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Howdy designers! I’m sure it has been drilled into you, over and over again, that you need to watermark your images, add copyrights to your website, and guard your secrets like a national treasure. After all, who knows what would happen if neither you nor your client owned the rights to your creations? Other people might copy you and make potentially hundreds of dollars off of your hard work. Well, you know what? That’s entirely possible; and for certain clients, make sure you do just that.

However, I’m proposing an alternative route that just might change your life in the best ways if you decide to take the leap. Your clients will also benefit from a different way of thinking.

Open source as much as you can get away with.

Read More