My design expertise lies in the digital realm, creating experiences that unfold as web sites, iPhone apps, or video games, so it’s rare that I see my work in a tangible format like print. But in the past few months we’ve had the opportunity at Kiva to release a few high profile print advertisements that appeared in Variety Magazine, USA Today, as well as one of our own mailers. These pieces not only increased Kiva’s exposure outside the digital medium, but they’ve also helped establish one of our core design principals: story telling.
Kudos to the Wikimedia foundation for focusing on the development of a new editor for Wikipedia. During my time at Wikia I stressed the need for a simple editing experience in order to diversify its users and increase contributions. Wikipedia has become the central repository for information in the digital age but it suffers from a small and insular user base among its editors. Today, most contributions to Wikipedia are from white middle-aged males with a college degree, living in a developed country and with a strong technical understanding. This skews both the type of articles that appear on Wikipedia and the perspective which they are written from. The challenge they face is how to expand the demographics of those writing and editing entries. They need to attract more people in developing countries, more woman, and users who are less technically savvy in order to become a true digital encyclopedia representing the the world’s collective knowledge.
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).
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.
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.
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.