Never before has the death of someone I’d never met filled me with such sadness. Steve Jobs was the creative force behind the products I delight in using on a daily basis and the visionary that gave birth to the industry I’ve made a living in for the past fifteen years. So when it came time to express my feelings of loss I turned to my iPhone and found comfort in the fact that I was not alone. Millions of people turned to tools that would not have been possible without his passion, drive, and creativity. He truly was a man who saw things differently and succeeded in pushing the human race forward.
Identifying a user’s primary interaction with your website is essential to understanding where to focus a development team’s limited resources. At Google, the search box and corresponding results are so important that the company tests every interaction no matter how minor. During my time at Wikia I continually advocated for the company to focus similar attention on the Rich Text Editor (and source mode) which is used to write, edit, and add images to every article in every wiki. So I’m excited to see that my redesign of the editor has finally made it’s way out of development and onto the site. While this was the last project I worked on at Wikia I always felt it would make the largest impact on the user base.
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.
Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.”
Zoran Lucić is a graphic designer from Bosnia and Herzegovina who created a stunning series of soccer posters titled “Sucker For Soccer“. Each illustration oozes with personality as it captures great players from the past to the present. Together, they form a magnificent visual history of the stars that have played the beautiful game. With wildly varied artistic styles, the collection reinforces different eras and styles that have influenced the game of football (soccer in America) throughout the years. Below are a few of my favorites:
It’s been a little over two months since I started working at Kiva. In that time I’ve polished a number of small elements around the site but nothing felt substantial enough to brag about. Yesterday, that changed with the launch of Kiva’s invite challenge – a major portion of which was designed by yours truly. The promotion allows Kiva users to invite friends to make a free $25 loan on the site. Response to the free trials have been huge – with over 8,000 invites handed out in under 30 hours (demand was so great that Kiva doubled the initial allocation of 4,000 trials).
“You become empowered every time you put one of these things together that supports your life. Your water system, your electricity, you build your house.”
“Every person whose heart is moved by love and compassion, who deeply and sincerely acts for the benefit of others without concern for fame, profit, social position, or recognition expresses the activity of Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara).”
Bokar Rinpoche Chenrezig: Lord of Love
“We found that turning up at the bank wearing a suit whilst pointing at a series of useless numbers on a spreadsheet is the best way to get a business loan.”
James Watt, founder of BrewDog from an interview on the blog Signal vs. Noise
Dana Tanamachi creates chalk drawings. Her work is charming and the lettering she creates is beautiful and intricate, all accomplished without aids such as stencils or a projector. For me the most appealing aspect of her drawings is the fleeting nature of working with chalk – meaning her creations won’t be with us for long, they won’t be preserved for centuries like an oil painting would. But none the less Tanamachi approaches her chalk pieces with just as much care and dedication all the while knowing that her hard work will fade away sooner than later.
Last week I began a daily commute to the Mission to work as Senior Visual and Interaction Designer at Kiva.org. A little over five years ago I learned about Kiva, a micro lending website, and have been using the site ever since. The website allows a person – usually based in the developed world – to lend money to an entrepreneur in the developing world. Kiva’s mission always struck me as the embodiment of the egalitarian promise the Internet’s creators always envisioned. So when an opportunity to join the company as their first full time designer came up, I jumped at the chance.