April 2019 #DesignInTech Briefing

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From the April #DesignInTech Briefing

Four Things That I’m Thinking About Design In Tech

* With the 2019 Design in Tech Report now out and available in short-form and long-form on YouTube, I’ve started collecting material for 2020 from all the interesting (and interested) feedback that I’ve received online.

* My biggest “a-ha” has been a strong reminder that creativity is like Gordon MacKenzie would say, something that takes time. Or as Wieden+Kennedy dogma puts it, “It’s the idea buried ten feet under the ground.”

* Tony Ruth’s exquisite four-frame illustrated take on inequality, equality, equity, and justice emerged in the final minutes before the report went live. It literally came from nowhere, and not a moment too late.

* I’m in love with long-form blogging again after remembering how it’s so easy for a 2nd- or 3rd-party’s clickbait-y article title, or even a tweet, to be interpreted just as if it were a complete summary of all your thoughts.

Three Things I’ve Noticed In The Last 30 Days

* Accenture’s acquisition of Droga5 made me look deeper into what pundits say about consultancy versus agency. Conclusion: AI and data science look to be pit against humans and creativity — it doesn’t have to be that way.

* The Google People (HR) team released their new study on “distributed work” acknowledging that a third of their meetings involve folks in more than two time zones. Expect more tools for increasing timezone inclusivity on teams.

* Nieman Lab reported that Facebook’s News Feed algorithm change last year to increase user engagement has succeeded by as much as 50%. Divisive topics are more easily pushed up by peer networks in priority over publishers’ content. Yay?

Two Unsolicited Non-Tech Products That I ❤

* B.LeekS luggage suitcase wheels make my roll-about bag glide better than when I first got it. Pro-tip: The first size spec pertains to the actual diameter of the wheel.

* Twelve South has discontinued their Surfacepad for Macbook leather wristpads, but you can fight with me on eBay for them. Use an X-Acto blade to cut and fit for your laptop.

One Special Link

* I’m a bit behind on this month’s briefing because I needed to re-draft my upcoming book. Pushing out the 2019 Design in Tech Report changed a lot of my thinking, so the book needed some refactoring. https://howtospeakmachine.com

One Final Point

* AI is a topic that is moving from “oh no!” to “what is it?” — which means we have the opportunity to move from crisis to curiosity if the invisible forces of computation are eventually understood instead of summarily feared.

January 2019 #DesignInTech Briefing

If you’d like to get my monthly #DesignInTech Briefing sign up here to get it in your inbox first.


From the January #DesignInTech Briefing

Four Things That I’m Thinking About Design In Tech

* There is a new tool for effortless product x dev x design collaboration born every week that will solve everything. Not.

* Scaling design at the speed of Moore’s Law is not possible. Scaling design IS possible at a slower-than-desirable velocity.

* Inclusive design has achieved broad acceptance among designers as important, but for non-designers it can be a harder sell.

* Although there is palpable fear with respect to AI’s impact, there’s also some creative curiosity out there.

Three Things I’ve Noticed In The Last 30 Days

* Given how an app like TikTok can succeed outside of China, I wonder how many more popular apps will be proudly Designed in China?

* Boomers, Gen X-ers, Gen Y-ers, and Gen Z-ers all question the value of social media platforms while we watch TV (aka YouTube or Netflix).

* Software is reclaiming its “craft” heritage roots in response to our weakening trust of the big cloud services. Organic, locally-sourced apps anyone?

Two Unsolicited Non-Tech Products That I ❤

* Conus textile shells are both beautiful and affordable, and resemble Wolfram’s Rule 30.

* Little Eyes by Katsumi Komagata is a die-cut picture book for children under 3-months.

One Special Link

* https://designintech.typeform.com/to/Qnh5AA is the new 2019 #DesignInTech Contributor Survey

One Final Point

* Getting techies to learn from non-techies is surprisingly difficult because they don’t live in the same places — which is a sign of a deeper problem.

Design Is … -isms

In preparation for the upcoming Design In Tech Report I’ve gone back to look at my Twitter feed over the last ten years to see what I thought design’s meant to me. Some of these “-isms” are more right or more wrong depending upon the era that they came from so it’s a little embarrassing to look back like this. But that’s how we all learn: by trying out all of our ideas in public to see what might stick! —JM

Continue reading “Design Is … -isms”