2016

A look back on 2016, which wasn’t all that bad…

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Why the World Needs Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go’s success only makes sense when considered against the negative cultural narratives that plague our society outside of the virtual world it has created.

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Grok

I’m excited to finally share what I’ve been working on. It’s called Grok. Cloud computing has enjoyed massive scale and popularity, but IT operations is still stuck in its old ways. Today it is easy to spin up a server, grab a VM image and begin coding. In fact, some are advocating for ditching servers […]

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Market Trends I’m Watching in 2016

There are common themes amongst companies that have risen to prominence today, and exploring these themes signals the next wave of market trends to explore across multiple industries. Now that we’ve settled into a mobile-first, cloud-first world, what product or services trends can we look forward to next?

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They Can Do No Harm

Apple will sell two million units in the first weekend.  They are launching in quite a few countries on day one, including China.  There are over 300 million iPhones in active use, with a healthy ecosystem of apps supporting the device on day one.  The Watch will enjoy a sort of honeymoon period, but the […]

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On Coffee

Over the past few years, my romance with coffee has bloomed from being a casual encounter to a bonafide, intimate experience.

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My Favorite Podcasts of 2014

A large majority of my travel time (work commute, planes, road trips) is spent listening to podcasts, a fantastic medium for listening to stories, news, discussions and more for free. I am so thankful for the dozens of voices I listen to week in and week out who spend their time (and often paid very little) to provide unique perspectives on technology, business, design, journalism, and more. Here are my favorites, in no particular order.

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My Gut Reactions to Apple Watch

Normally I don’t write gut reaction posts, but Apple has clearly introduced the Apple () Watch now to generate buzz and beat the supply chain leaks, so I feel that an exception is worthy here. Here are some, in no particular order of significance: It has a screen. This makes it seem less controversial of a […]

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A Reminder Regarding Mobile Payments

I’m not buying some of the positive first reactions on Apple Pay ( Pay), which dismiss competitors and simply remark Apple’s scale as the reason mobile payments in general will succeed. While the convenience of making a payment from your phone is great, it is worth noting (and reiterating) Apple’s key issues to address.

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Considering an iTunes Refresh

iTunes is increasingly bursting at the seams with features, and the user experience suffers in some places. But, it isn’t likely that Apple is going to unbundle the offering, as it is the only multi-platform offering they can leverage to introduce new features or content.

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Shipping Concepts

Today’s big internet businesses are taking their large mobile properties and leveraging multiple channels to target users off of one platform that they curate and manage. If you want to ship an idea, you can do it in minutes. If you want to build a business, you’ll have to fire on all cylinders and ship concepts, instead of “finished work.”

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Rethinking Notifications

I’m a numbers junkie and a perfectionist when it comes to badge cleanliness. If you peak at my laptop or phone, chances are you won’t see a single badge, notification message, or banner alert demanding my (the user’s) attention. I believe in inbox-zero and archiving my gmail inbox. All of this thumb scrambling seems to take up a vast majority of my life, and I am surely not alone. Notifications are seemingly indispensable as a tool for apps to alert a user to updates it may have.

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Beyond Activity and Engagement as Metrics for Use

Many companies use statistics to rationalize their need for existence, but these stats are disconnected from the true determinator of success: enjoyability by the users of their service. Software companies typically rely on number of users as one measurement of health, but some companies pass over the fact that a proportion of these users are inactive. […]

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IBM

After a six month-ish job search, a lot of traveling and meeting some great people, I have formally accepted an offer to join IBM design after completing my MS degree. IBM is undergoing a massive transformation, but in a way that goes back to its roots. The company has always been one focused on business/enterprise […]

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Why We Still Buy Into Retail

MG Siegler draws a connection between the rumored Google stores and Microsoft’s fledgling operations based off of Apple’s playbook: Naturally, this led others to take a page from Apple’s playbook. Notably, Microsoft. And while the experiment is ongoing, so far, those stores do not appear to be taking off in the same way. So when […]

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The Living Room, Brought to you by Microsoft

While gaming devices are important, it’s clear that entertainment media, and how we view it, is due for a drastic makeover. The fact is that TV interaction is terrible, cable is a rip off and on demand media is all the rage. The evolution of how we consume media is happening as slow as homo […]

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IXDA Postscript

Interaction is the premier conference for design practitioners to come together as a community to discuss the latest topics in UX/IX design. I attended this year’s IXDA conference in Toronto, CA as a local leader, volunteer, and student in design. The interaction design community has grown closer over the years thanks to the IXDA and Interaction’s conferences. Ten […]

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A Tale of Two Rebrands

Two organizations made a major change to their brand identity recently, and both have been greeted with an extremely negative response. The first organization, the University of California, had such a massive outcry from its constituents that the school’s president recommended the change be retracted (see this excellent 99% Invisible podcast on the change). Recently, […]

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Google Finds a New (Mysterious) Design Voice on iOS

Google Maps for iOS is the second stab at a new aesthetic for mobile design from the company (the first being a the new Gmail for iOS). I agree with Sacha on the point that it seems to be nudged between Apple’s skeuomorphic take and Microsoft’s flat take. UI elements are layered on top in […]

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This I Believe: Design

I got my first cellphone in high school. The Motorola RAZR was so cool. It was a shiny, blue, thin flip-phone that made me feel like a secret agent. In fact, I added the James Bond theme as my ringtone for a while — which is a pretty tough thing to do on those phones. The […]

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A Peak at The Next Web Redesign

TNW takes what looks like a news blog and turns it into a news magazine app. The compartments and structure of the new design provides an overall more cohesive, streamlined experience. The bold colors and subtle shading provides a commanding sense of hierarchy, something I felt was lacking from the previous design. For all of […]

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iPhone 5

Apple’s latest creation is a technological jewel that complements a robust development ecosystem. The iPhone 5 is a symphony of advancements in smartphone computing. The individual improvements that Apple has made on its flagship device are not intended to stand alone in any way. The 4” screen is a marvel to look at, but it […]

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I Just Couldn’t Quit You

The Windows Phone includes many well-thought out features, but iOS has an overall better core experience. I wanted to make a change, really. I completely and whole-heartedly bought into the Windows Phone platform and ecosystem for four months, but ultimately I have been sucked back into the Apple world. Back in March, the Windows Phone […]

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The Reflective Practitioner

It’s a phrase our professor, Marty Siegel, has thrown around a few times. It means to consider the past, perspectives, and purpose of a design. The Past It’s what came before this moment. The sum of all bodily experience. It’s the remote you really hate using, the one you saw at your friend’s house. It […]

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Rapid Prototyping with Material Constraints: the Egg Carrier Test

Material constraints can challenge you to think carefully about the form and function of a design. This challenge can be represented in a classic grade school experiment: the egg drop test. This week our prototyping class challenge was to design and build an egg carrier that is to be dropped from 1 foot and 8 […]

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Death of the Smallphone

There are a few high profile announcements that have already happened or are coming up (thanks to the Verge for the product links that follow): Samsung announced its flagship Windows Phone, the Ativ S. It sports a massive 4.8” screen. Of course, they knew that they could go bigger, so they also announced the next […]

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The 140 Character Design Lesson

As an experiment, late show TV host Craig Ferguson decided to not have an audience and just sit and have a discussion with Stephen Fry. At one point, the conversation turned to Twitter [Video on Youtube]. As some know, Stephen is an avid Twitter user. One reason he finds the service compelling: Because you have […]

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The Alphabet Soup of Design Titles: So Who Am I Anyway?

I may be a fresh face to the field, but I know flux when I see it. Design is becoming increasingly multi-disciplinary and widely applicable to problems of various complexities. The occasion is cause for celebration: designers are becoming more relevant in the business world and that means more opportunities for growth. However, I also […]

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Growth is Painful

In February ’11, Horace Dediu analyzed the remarkable retail numbers for Apple. About 40 stores were opened in the past two years, and that trend is likely to increase as the days go on. There were one million visitors per store in 2011. Doing the math, that is roughly 2,500 visitors per day, and that’s […]

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Postscript: Midwest UX 2012

The 2012 Midwest UX Conference has concluded. This past weekend marked the second iteration of the event, and it was my first time attending. The conference had a whopping 380ish attendees, packing COSI in Columbus, OH. The “Let’s Sketchnote!” workshop (hosted by Binaebi Akah, Veronica Erb, and Charlene McBride) was a great opportunity for me […]

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