New York Tech Journal
Tech news from the Big Apple

#Visualization Metaphors: unraveling the big picture

Posted on May 19th, 2016

05/18/2016 @TheGraduateCenter CUNY, 365 5th Ave, NY

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Manuel Lima ( @mslima  ) @Parsons gave examples of #data representations. He first looked back 800 years and talked about Ars Memorativa, the art of memory , a set of mnemonic principals to organize information: e.g. spatial orientation, order of things on paper, chunking, association (to reinforce relations), affect, repetition. (These are also foundation principals of #Gestalt psychology).

Of the many metaphors, trees are most used: e.g. tree of life and the tree of good and evil. geneology, evolution, laws, …

Manuel then talked about how #trees work well for hierarchical systems, but we are looking more frequently at more complex systems. In science, for instance:

17-19th century – single variable relationships

20th century – systems of relationships (trees)

21st century – organized complexity (networks)

Even the tree of life can be seen as a network once bacteria’s interaction with organisms is overlaid on the tree.

He then showed various  15 distinct typologies for mapping networks and showed works of art inspired by networks (the new networkism) : 2-d: Emma McNally, 3-d: Tomas Saraceno and Chiharu Shiota.

The following authors were suggested as references on network visualization: Edward Tufte, Jacques Bertin (French philosopher), and Pat Hanrahan (a computer science prof at Stanford extended his work, also one of the founders of Tableau)

posted in:  Art, Big data, data, data analysis, Data science, UX    / leave comments:   No comments yet

DesignDrivenNYC: growing the design group and design function in organizations

Posted on May 11th, 2016


05/10/2016 @WeWork, 115 West 18th Street, 2nd floor, NY

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Three speakers spoke about their methods to integrate #design processes into all parts of product #development within retail-facing #financial firms. Betterment is a small, but rapidly growing company that is upsizing the design team. Citi and Learnvest are moving from a haphazard view of design to a single customer-centric design process throughout the organization:

In the first presentation, Jamie Strollo @Betterment spoke about the challenges the UI/UX design team faces as the company goes from a small startup to 9 designers to doubling by year end. Originally Betterment had a flat organization, but now there are challenges: integration of new people and avoiding the bad dynamics of large meetings. Design is the only shared resource across the company, so there was duplication in work. Some strategies for tackling a new design challenge are:

  1. Kick off strong – ask what is the problem?, what is success?, how do we measure?, constraints? Initially concentrate on measuring the drop-off rate when evaluating a design change. But eventually shift to measuring the effect on profitability.
  2. Assumption gathering – for stakeholders, high-level activity, focus on fears and confidence, agree of riskiest assumptions, talk to customers to validate.
  3. Focus on Top 5’s
    1. Great for large groups, Iterations
    2. High-level activity
    3. Select only top 5 design needs
    4. Helps to Establish patterns
    5. Bridge the “delete” conversation
  4. Ideation / paper prototyping – better for smaller groups. Bring in other areas of expertise, let others have a voice
  5. Managing feedback – decide who are the decision makers, who to inform. No big UI critiques (a polished presentation gives a finished feeling and makes it hard to change), share often and early, speak about objectives and key results. Start conversation by what is the objective.
  6. Invest in relationships – customers and coworkers

Another challenge as the company grows is creating a method to give better estimates of the time to complete a design. This is hard since much of time goes into understanding the problem

In the second presentation, Billy Seabrook @Citi spoke about how Citi has created a single world-wide design team. The goal of better design is to move customer’s view of the bank from a transactional experience to a relational experience.

Starting six months ago, Billy has approached the following challenges within the bank:

  1. Organization – create agile groups adding individuals looking at strategies; research and usability studies; producers to keep on time and budget.
  2. Skills – Create a cohort of coaches to teach design thinking throughout the bank. Minimal viable product is at the intersection of business viability + customer desirability + technical feasibility; Partner with IDO to foster agile design thinking throughout all parts of the bank
  3. Applied Projects – Citi Fintech launched 6 months ago to launch the bank of the future: focus on mobile (mobile only), speed and simplicity (2 weeks of design thinking + 2 week dev sprints)

To foster common branding and look-and-feel world-wide, document templates are shared world-wide. Senior people in each location are in constant contact.

Coaches have backgrounds of policy or planning. The main thing is the mind set of being customer centric.  In the past, most of the product design was outsourced, so design principals were inconsistent also there was a lack of consistency in evaluating designs.

The Design group reports to the COO of Fintech and is considered a cost center (despite its’ close affiliation with profit centers).

In the final presentation, Abigail Hart Gray @Learnvest (help financial planners create simple, effective, .., plans for retirement…) talked about the challenges of integrating a unified design process into product development at Northwestern Mutual (acquired Learnvest last year).

Abigail started with the question of a Defining Design Driven? She interviewed experienced design professionals and found commonalities:

  1. Team structure – be at the table when decision are made
  2. Process – iterative process
  3. Outcomes – but interviewees disagreed up whether good design resulted in products that were best for customer or best for business.

She talked about becoming a champion of design within the company:

  1. know the capabilities
  2. need to invest in design
  3. designers must educate their audience and sell their vision.

If you need to explain the interface, it stinks!

Steps to get started (data-driven, customer centric, outputs oriented):

  1. pick something with low stakes – no bottom line implications
  2. research well
  3. measure everything
  4. share results
  5. repeat

As an aside on the measurement process, one needs to consider the possibility that customer behavior changes by knowing that they are being observed. The Hawthorne effect can elevate or suppress responses depending on prior customer engagement (friends&family vs. the general population), frequency of engagement (daily vs. occasional), etc.

posted in:  applications, DesignDrivenNYC, finance, UI, UX    / leave comments:   No comments yet

Harness the power of #Web #Audio

Posted on April 20th, 2016


04/20/2016 @TechStars, 1407 Broadway, NY

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Titus Blair @Dolby demonstrated the importance of sound in the mood and usability of a web page. He then showed the audience how to incorporate higher quality audio into a web site.

He first showed a video of a beach scene. Different audio tracks changed the mood from excitement to mystery to romantic to suspenseful to tropical.

By sending a wav file to the Dolby development site one creates a high quality audio file in mp4 format which can be downloaded and played through selected browser (currently including Echo and Safari).

Titus then showed two examples, a #video game and a frequency spectrum display, and walked the audience through the code needed to play audio file.

  1. A #Javascript file, dolby.min.js, needs to be sourced (available on github)
  2. Web code needs to test if the browser can handle the Dolby digital plus file
  3. Parameters in the backgroundSound variable adjust the playback rate and other qualities
  4. To get frequency spectrum, an audiocontext variable does an fft which can be plotted

Finally, Titus illustrated our sensitivity to sound by playing the video “How to make someone sound like an idiot”.

Slides for this presentation are available on

posted in:  javaScript, NYC JS, Programming, UX, video    / leave comments:   No comments yet

HardwiredNYC: #drones, #AmazonEcho, #SmartLuggage, #SmartCities

Posted on April 5th, 2016


04/05/2015 @WeWork, 115 W 18th Street, NY

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The following speakers presented

Brian Streem @Aerobo (build and service drones) talked about the drone market. After showing two videos: Chromaticity and Paint the Sky (about the shooting of Chromaticity), Brian spoke about

  1. The Aerobo mini – a lightweight drone designed to provide live broadcast quality feeds which can be transmitted up to 3 miles.
  2. They have a 333 exemption from regulation which is required to commercially fly a drone in the U.S. They anticipate new FAA rules that may relax some of the current requirements, such as requiring a pilot’s license for commercial flights. Also he anticipates that a category of micro UAVs will be created with alternative licensing requirements.

Next, Donn Morrill @AmazonEcho talked about the hardware and software of the echo and how Amazon is targeting it to be the center of smart home integration. He provided some insights into the design philosophy of the software including

  1. They will probably not release tools to analyze the tone, volume, speed of speech detected by the API since they are sensitive to user experience and want to product the brand
  2. In a similar vein, they do not plan to allow skills to be self-initiating (all skills require you to initiate the conversation) to avoid verbal spam.

Next, Matt Turck interviewed John Udashkin  & Justin @Raden (luggage with a battery and Bluetooth). Justin initiated the product following extensive travel experience when he worked in the fashion industry. Fashion dictated the design of a product with simple lines as in the iPhone and Beats.

Justin and John noted

  1. Justin researched the luggage industry under the tutelage of a retired executive at Tumi.
  2. This contact allowed him to gain credibility when looking for a manufacturing partner
  3. They chose VC over crowd funding for its greater flexibility
  4. John formerly worked at Quirky, so he had the manufacturing contacts needed for the electronics
  5. Integrated the electronics was difficult since luggage and electronics factories are very different: luggage factories are larger and dirtier, electronics factors are smaller and emphasize cleanliness.
  6. They were careful to avoid problems passing air transport security such as limiting the size of the battery and making it removable. Also wiring and Bluetooth can be accessible if the bag is inspected.
  7. They eventually see their app as a full utility platform with information such as TSA wait times, real time flight updates, etc.
  8. They are looking beyond online sales and see the advantages of retail outlets such as malls.
  9. Their product can be seen at a popup store at 72 Spring Street, NY

They also talked about pivots during development

Design change. They tested a biometric lock, but found it was not useful and can create electronics issues since luggage gets knocked around.

The electronics enclosure was originally different, but it suffered damage & wire breakage. The eventual design has a strong backplate to shock proof and water proof the electronics.

Finally, Joao Barros @Veniam talked about the communication network developed in Porto, Portugal (also known for the elegant arch-truss bridge constructed there by Gustav Eiffel). Porto has a mesh network consisting of wi-fi hotspots supplemented by hot spots in vehicles. These hotspots allow seamless integration of wi-fi, cellular and 5.9GHz networks.

Joao said that vehicles offer an ideal platform for hotspots

  1. They are mobile so they can collect data throughout the city = smart city
  2. Their batteries are recharged by the engine
  3. They are large enough that it is not an inconvenience to have a box large enough to hold multiple communications devices
  4. They can provide in-vehicle entertainment
  5. They can be used as an emergence communications backup for other systems
  6. They can be used to avoid vehicle collisions

The key technology is the ability to perform seamlessly handoffs across different networks (wi-fi, cell, 5.9GHz).

Specific applications are sensors of garbage cans indicating when they have already been emptied and heart rate monitoring of drivers indicating issues on the roads.

The system is also installed in Singapore and they will soon announce a rollout in the U.S.

posted in:  hardware, Hardwired NYC, Natural User Interface, NYC smart city and energy data, startup, UX    / leave comments:   No comments yet

The Rise of the #DataArtist

Posted on March 9th, 2016


03/09/2016 @ PivotalLabs, 625 6th ave, NY

Olivier Meyer & Ryan Haber@Zoomdata talked about the advantages of interactive #DataAnalysis. They showed how a single picture can show the ruin of an army through cold and casualties. This was done by Charles Minard in his graphic of Napoleon’s 1812 invasion of Russia. There, 6 time series are displayed to great effect.

Next, they talked about the complexity of displaying facts buried in large data sets. This complexity creates a new category: Data artist who sits between the business analyst and the data scientist

They demonstrated how their program facilitates the interactive search for patterns in the data by retrieving only the relevant subset when needed for the graphics display. They call this microservices & data sharpening (initially a rough picture is presented, but results are refined as you watch).

Many interesting points were brought up in the discussion.

  1. Before diving into the data, one needs hypotheses of what is relevant to decision making
  2. Care must be taken, since interactive graphics (as in all graphics – see Darrell Huff “How to Lie with Statistics”) can inspire misleading or unfounded conclusions
  3. The data artist is obligated to present graphics that are truthful
  4. Generic templates may not be the best data presentation
  5. One needs to balance the customization of the data presentation with the time & effort expended to create an improved graphic
  6. Graphically inspired conclusions need to be supported by relevant statistics
  7. Frequently, statistics (alone) are not the best way to present findings
  8. The best way to communicate is dependent on the audience.
  9. The tools for data exploration may or may not be different from those for presenting conclusions.

posted in:  UI, UX, UX+Data    / leave comments:   No comments yet

Express Yourself: Extracting #emotional analytics from #speech

Posted on March 7th, 2016


03/07/2016 @WeWork, 69 Charlton St, NY

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Yuval Mor & Bianca Meger @BeyondVerbal talked about the potential applications for their product. BeyondVerbal produces software, including their Moodies smartphone app, that assess one’s emotional state through the intonation of one’s speech.

They take 13 second vocalizations (excluding pauses) and report the speaker’s emotional state based on 432 combined #emotions (12 emotions x 12 emotions x 3 levels of energy), based on 12 basic emotions (which can appear as pairs: 12 x 12) times 3 levels of energy (pushing out/neutral/pulling). They also monitor 3 indices: arousal, valence (pos/neg), temperament (somber/self-controlled/confrontational).

The software can be tricked by actors (and politicians) who are proficient in projecting emotions of the characters they play. They do not do speaker separation and are resilient to some types of background noise. Speech after voice compression may be difficult since various frequencies are removed, however, they have improved their ability to analyze youtube clips. They said there were differences in the diagnostic abilities for phonetic languages vs tonal languages, but many characteristics appear to be cross cultural.

They claim to measuring 100 different acoustic features, but did not provide citations to academic research. Their validation appeared to be primarily internal with a team of psychologists evaluating spoken words.

One potential application is in predicting the onset of a heart attack base on one’s voice versus a prior baseline. They are currently conducting this research on 100 patients at Mayo clinic.


posted in:  HUI Centrql, Natural User Interface, NUI Central, UX    / leave comments:   No comments yet

Design Driven NYC: Assembling great #design #teams

Posted on February 14th, 2016


02/10/2016 @NewSchool, W12th Street, NY

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Four speakers spoke about team building as it relates to design:

The first speaker, Katy Kasmai @TeamExponent talked about a method of brainstorming for ideas to solve large, impactful, long-term, impossible projects, a.k.a. #moonshots or 10x moonshots. She conducts workshops that employ a #DesignSprintMethodology. Some of the key touch concepts are:

  1. Team commitment
  2. “Yes and !”
  3. Do it!

In the second presentation, Ben and Ben spoke about many aspects of the company emphasizing their team approach to improving the product. Jet, like Amazon, sells online. Since they are smaller and newer than Amazon, they look for competitive advantages, such as options to forego returns, etc. Their company is based on full availability of data to all in the company (this includes salaries). Real-time sales data are displayed prominently in the work area. All know the results of A/B testing in real time.

They Structure their teams to act. They build small vertical teams that are autonomous and self-select projects. All teams have unfettered access to data and research and are empowered to push ideas into the live sales environment. Anyone can hold a group brainstorming session.

The use a home grown tool, Juice, to design ideas. The tool is design so one can fail fast and better. It is a css based design system which creates a small screen first and is highly responsive. Better prototypes make better research.

The conduct in house research every Thursday in which, get customers do a live shop-in in which all members of staff can observe. They use an eye tracker to determine whether certain design elements really matter to the customer.

They also conduct impromptu “research on a budget” (a.k.a “sip and study”) where they go to a local coffee shop and ask customers to spend 15 minutes looking at a site.

They also conduct remote testing in the customer’s home, in both moderated and unmoderated sessions (see my previous notes on this topic)

Next, Jen @18F talked about working on a distributed design team. They are a civic consultancy for the U.S. government within the U.S. government. They help other agencies improve their web site and create tracking tools to monitor usage of those sites.

They have 159 people located throughout the U.S. with only 44% in D.C. Their design team has 30 people who are linked by weekly video calls and Slack. They have a team culture including weekly 15 minute updates by each person. Members are encouraged to give and receive backup and create self-organized critique groups.

They find it important to know the real-world context in which everyone works. So people post what their workspaces look like.

They do almost all communications online, but realize that it is important to meet, so they have an annual physical get together.

They try to over-communicate so everyone if comfortable when stuff gets hard people can talk to colleagues. They encourage mutual support (similar to moonshots, “Yes and !”) and have an appreciation bot in Slack which contains a channel for all message of appreciation.

They also have online Design studio exercises in which problems are presented and individuals present and upload their ideas to

The last session was an interview with Khoi conducted by Dan Kozikowski.

Khoi talked about a wide range of topics ranging from design organizations, his daily routines, etc.

He views the organization as being secondary to creating a team and having the team work together well. However, he feels that great products can also come from individuals.

In the design process he feels quieter is better so mornings or evenings are best. He talks with people during the day.

He starts with paper and pencil combined with research online using Pinterest. He feels there are few original ideas and wants to see what has worked or not worked

He uses compCC as a bridge between pencil and paper and Photoshop

He uses Basecamp or Slack for feedback. The best designs come from lots of healthy iterations including time spent thinking about the problem and away from the problem.

For his group, he looks for people who want to learn things especially at startups since they change rapidly.

He is methodology agnostic and is driven to solve problem with new tools and methods.

He notes that learning specific tools will not make a career and communication (especially writing) makes your career.

Mentoring requires development of a personal relationship to know how the other person defines their world.

On web design, current there is a lot of sameness, especially with flat design breaking the site into blocks with big photos and block letter. He sees the next step as development of designing rules (rather than layouts), especially content aware designs. Theses will consider key colors reflected in the layout and have tools using machine learning and computer vision.

He foresees tools moving from desktop to mobile. This will give all designers more flexibility to work in their best environment. Some of this process is already happening with cloud based apps such as Google docs, Dropbox, etc. The move from box to subscription software also moves in this direction as the ecosystem becomes an essential part of the infrastructure.

posted in:  DesignDrivenNYC, UX    / leave comments:   No comments yet

DesignDrivenNYC: Creating a good #Design, #CorporateCulture, #Networks and #Skills

Posted on January 13th, 2016


01/13/2016 The New School, 66 W 12th St, NY

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The four speakers were

Soraya Darabi – spoke about the importance of good design, saying that much of what differentiates unicorns from others is design. It matters what the founding team was thinking and that is reflected in the design of the produce/experience.

She was attracted to work for Foodspotting by the vision of the founders to highlight beautiful presentations of food. ZADY is designed to a beautiful web site emphasizing the sustainability and ethical production of the products. In this way, their luxury products are differentiated from mass marketed clothes. The design becomes the foundation for a sustainable brand encouraging millenials to vote with their dollars. Transparency with the supply chain is a key part of the brand.

Hullabalu, has immersive games for children and is designed by asking questions such as “how does a five year old interact with the main characters, a panda”. This then leads to design questions such as the color of the panda and what the panda’s friend should look like, etc.

A good designer thinks about choices to get an appropriate reaction from people. This is more than just differentiation or following the crowd.

Next, Aaron Weinberg talked about the importance of culture in motivating people and what TED does to encourage a productive environment.

  1. Cultivate Culture – who is around you and what are their traits? Gender diversity helps. Absence of ego is important.
  2. Find the right people – they get people who have an affinity for TED content. Look for nice, motivated people and then evaluate their skills. They hire people who are already motivated and then work to inspire them. Money is not the compelling reason to work for TED – it’s a non-profit. Not a deep company so not a lot of ladder climbing.
  3. Stay connected – the team goes to the TED conference where bonds are built as the team works together. They also have an annual 3-day retreat, all hands quarterly meetings. off-site tech summits.
  4. They want people to believe in why they are doing what they are doing.

In the third presentation, Gary Chou talked about the goals of Orbital – part co-working space, part incubator,… and a home for launching new ideas.

Orbital was the culmination of his thinking on networks which started when he worked at Union Square Ventures. He talked about the entrepreneurship course he teaches and how the class project (raise $1000 using networking, kickstarter, etc.) is designed to raise the student’s awareness of the power of the network. Orbital was founded with a similar goal.

Gary talked about what it takes to be successful creator today?

  1. Deal with failure.
  2. Need to think about the conditions and environment you are in

One then adds

  1. Need constraints – constraints eliminate decisions and allow you to concentrate
  2. A way to mark time – some metric needed
  3. Access to dialogue – engagement with other people.

To build something we combine

  1. Product
  2. Process
  3. Network – the infrastructure you need

Finally, Joel Califa spoke about the conflicts that he, as a designer and as a developer, faces when trying to keep up with the rapidly changing workplace requirements. Specifically, trying to keep up with trends in multiple areas creates what he calls “full stack anxiety”: his list of things to learn grows bigger and he must decide what to learn and what he can no longer keep up with.

To ease his anxiety he proposes the following path

  1. Look at the big picture. What kind of work do I want to do in the future?
  2. Create some structure – don’t treat everything you learn at the same level. Write them down to get them out of your head.
  3. Take the decision out of the moment: if ___, then learn it. What is more important to learn? This ordering reduce your cognitive load. Create a list and then do it. Constraints are good as they eliminate anxiety
  4. Stop following trends – There is always a new (and better) thing. Use the tools that are convenient for you and you need for your current role. Prioritize transferable skills
  5. Prioritize happiness – don’t be anxious. Work can be fun. If you really enjoy doing it, then learn it.

Joel neglected to say that we all face this issue, even those who are just developers. It’s also something that is not new in the world: in the past it just took longer to become obsolete.

posted in:  DesignDrivenNYC, UX    / leave comments:   No comments yet

Portal Strategy in a #B2B world

Posted on December 16th, 2015

Jersey City  Java Users Group

12/15/2015 @Pershing, 95 Christopher Columbus Dr.  Jersey City, NJ 07302


Roderick Thomas @Pershing spoke about his company’s techniques to customize the look and feel of a web site for a standard set of building blocks. The goal is to create different themes for a common back end or permit plug-ins or moves to an alien #web page while maintaining a seamless experience.

One of the biggest challenges for traditional financial advisers is their aging clientele and their inability to attract younger clients. Building a new set of tools with a different look and feel is one way to appeal to younger potential clients: simplify, multiple platforms, empower self-serve, collaboration, etc.

Roderick talked about how #components (= web #widget bound to data) can be customized using css from responsive designs done in concert with the server (not just client side).

Integration tools include

  1. Web components – suite of W3C specs: custom elements, shadow dom, templates; but limited adoptions – only evergreen browsers (not IE and not Safari), for Chrome and Firefox. Instead use doJo to cover more browsers.
  2. Polymer/ react / angular/… – alternative to web components. React – limited to the view: virtual dom – does a diff so it does not need to rewrite the entire page. Angular – complete framework – similar to components but does not integrate with other solutions.
  3. Open F2 – open financial framework – sponsored by Yahoo, TD, RBC, etc. and others in finance. Designed so components from multiple financial vendors mesh together.

Technical strategy adopted

  1. Dynamic page layouts & Themes – provide an alternative look and feel (like WordPress themes).
    1. Started with a conservative theme for older clients.
    2. then brought out ADA for government clients – designed for those with disabilities.
    3. Now working on theme for the millennials – everything is displayed and you scroll down for more content (ala Facebook).
    4. Eventually will have a HNW theme showing financial data differently.
  2. Branding – private label offerings. Moving from page to page on a web site, you may navigate to different vendors, but the look and feel remains the same. Use CSS to get color scheme and behavior.
  3. Omni channel support – pc, tablet, phone, tv,…

They use the html5 spec for all development.

Examples of different looks for the same data

conventional (conservative) look


more contemporary (millennial) look


posted in:  applications, Jersey City Java Users Group, Programming, UX    / leave comments:   No comments yet

Design Driven NYC: #TypeFace, an online space for #Designers, #Design for non-designers and designers

Posted on December 9th, 2015


12/8/2015 @ TheNewSchool, 66 West 12th Street, NY

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Four speakers talked about design related concepts:

In the first presentation, Gale Anderson @SchoolOfVisualArts shared her knowledge and enthusiasm for different type sets. Gale talked about various design projects from her largest, a sign on the campus of the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design in Lancaster, PA to her smallest, a U.S. stamp commemorating the emancipation proclamation.

She as co-authored with Steve Heller 12 books typefaces and wrote the book “Outside the Box” on hand drawn type on packages.

Gale also talked about how her passion for type extends to a collection of bottle caps and pictures of outdoor signs in NYC.

Gale spoke about the many authors who have inspired her and given her insight. These include

  1. Paul Rand and Alex Steinweiss
  2. Alvin Lustig
  3. Beverly Thompson
  4. Bruna Munari
  5. Saul Bass

Some of her favorite contemporary designers include

  1. Fred Woodward
  2. Paula Share
  3. Louise Fili – signs in Italy & Paris

She recommended as a reference book – Ellen Lupton “thinking with type”

The second speaker talked about a site for posting your accomplishments in the world of design. Anil Dash @Makerbase has created a site where designers can memorialize their work and seek like minded people.

Anil talked about the difficulty in getting credit for your accomplishments and how the site strives to make the site a good environment. He talked about discouraging “drive-by contributors” with the following rules

  1. Persistent identities – so you can see the history of what you have done. Don’t require real names, but you cannot be anonymous
  2. Adding accountability around content
    1. Whenever you change things – the editing actions are visible in context.
    2. Show your actions to your peers – receive email notification.
    3. Trust people to use their judgment.
    4. You can edit your own page.
    5. All your actions are viewable in your profile.
    6. There is a moderator for content who will get an alert if there is an “edit battle” (if a page is being modified frequently by two individuals) or other disturbances
    7. Make it easy to flag anything, anywhere
    8. Make a place people can trust
    9. Anything you put on the site is public.

He said the biggest challenge is to get people to come back and also for people evaluate what other people are doing.

He wants to make the site a place to share information on how to solve problems.

Next, Sara J Chipps @Jewelbots talked about how she, as a non-designer, manages designers.

Sara loves good design and spoke of how important design is in the products (Amazon Echo, Glossier , Bustle, Caeden (headphones)) she uses and the games (monument valley) she plays. However, she is not a designer. She gave recommendations on how to acquire good design if you are not a designer and how to communicate with designers.

Sara’s Principles (for those who are not good at design):

  1. Copy those who know how to design – Googled “beautiful slide deck”: Solid color background, sans serif, mostly in caps, etc.
  2. Illustrator and photoshop are difficult. Like pixelmator since it is easier to use.


When dealing with designers in your business

  1. Hire for perfection – and passion for the craft
  2. Never be prescriptive – better to share what your emotional response when you view the page.

Finally, Josh Long @Oscar (health coverage) talked about how design fits into a rapidly growing company that needs to design for many groups: patients, doctors, etc.

He talked about ways to make design work

  1. Don’t wait for things to happen – come up with your own objectives.
  2. Everyone has the right to come up with ideas, so respect what other are creating
  3. Experts need to make the big decisions – it’s a balancing act
  4. Don’t be precious about anything – your first idea might not be the best

Embrace the chaos.

When asked about the type face for the whimsical ads on the subway, Josh said that they wanted to balance the playful nature of the graphics with serifs on the type face to emphasize the serious nature of the product.

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