Blog

May 17, 2011

Designing for Good, My New Job at Kiva

Hand sketched Kiva logo on crumbled paper background

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.

April 13, 2011

Tab Bar Design for the iPhone

Many examples of iPhone tabs from various apps displayed in a grid

With our latest project Farmanac, an iPhone app for fruits and vegetables, 2 Out of Three dove headfirst into app development. We spent days reading through Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines (HIG) and mocking up navigational models and screen flows. For the initial release of Farmanac we kept the feature set and navigation simple by using a basic list view which leads to a detail screen for specific items. But we’ve got a number of features we plan on implementing in subsequent versions that will require a more complex navigational model – which probably means introducing a tab bar. Luckily for us, Petter Silfver recently shared his thoughts concerning the do’s and don’ts of tab bar design in an article titled The iPhone Tab Bar, Lessons From Reality.

March 16, 2011

Sustainable Surf Craft

Surfboard laying on the beach with trash

Kevin Cunningham, a surfboard-shaper based in Rhode Island, has embarked on a project to create a series of boards from trash he finds washed up on the beach. Over the years the surf industry has dipped it’s toes into sustainable board design but this project is downright audacious. Drift wood and plastic will become the skin and ropes; fishing nets will act to strengthen the board; and plastics (bags and sheets) will be pressed and formed into fins. The boards will be both art and functional water craft. Initially they will be shown in galleries around the country . . . hopefully after they have been put through the paces in the ocean.

March 14, 2011

Japan, Before and After

Shocking satellite photos from Japan presented by the NY Times. The use of a slider to control the before and after images is very effective. Jaw dropping damage.

March 14, 2011

Recent Design Work – Wikia Labs

A screen shot from Wikia Labs showing active and inactive buttons which allow users to enable beta type features in Wikia

Wikia Labs, a new feature introduced by Wikia last week, was one of the most exciting features I designed during my time with the company. If you’re familiar with Gmail Labs you’ll understand how it works. Users (specifically admins) on Wikia can turn features on and off – the set consists of Top Ten Lists, Gallery Exhibitions, and Article Comments. This new ability gives administrators a greater level of control over their own wiki. Additional it provides a limited environment for Wikia to launch new features and gather feedback from users. For Wikia’s devoted user base, change can often be scary and invoke a backlash from the most passionate users comfortable with infrastructure currently in place. Wikia Labs serves as a bridge to acclimate users to new tools and gather feedback to ensure the the company is delivering features that are needed and wanted by the community.

December 31, 2010

Mule Design On Giving Feedback

Well worth the read whether you’re a designer or in a position where you’re providing the feedback. It just might save your next project from looking like a mullet.

“John in marketing wants to be able to log in directly on the home page, but Tim in Engineering would prefer it on its own page. Can we compromise?”

No. We cannot compromise.

If you tell your barber that you like it short, but your significant other likes it long, you’re gonna get a mullet.

December 23, 2010

The Web as we know it is being threatened

Wep Trends Map with quote from Tim Berners-Lee "The Web as we know it [is] being threatened".

Yesterday the FCC proposed new rules which cripple the free and open nature of Internet. Among the many loopholes in the so called “Network Neutrality” regulations is the ability for phone and cable companies to apply fees for Internet services and/or content. For example AT&T could charge an extra two cents per megabyte to use Facebook on your iPhone. Or, Comcast could bill you an extra fifty cents a month to get videos from YouTube at a faster speed. The rules which are being touted by Barack Obama as a compromise on Network Neutrality are in fact worse than doing nothing. For the first time they explicitly approve online discrimination. The implications of this are far reaching and truly matter for anyone who uses the Internet.