Notes on interaction design & development. Get the Feed.
By Christoph Ono, builder at GBKS, and tweetable at @GBKS.

Design Machines


What are we putting out in the world? If design is the expression of content, and the content is worthless, what is the point of good design? Most of the shit we are compelled to put out in the world doesn’t deserve the pixels it’s rendered on… and you know what? No one seems to care. We’ll even interrupt the readers who were baited into reading crap content with a popup badgering them to sign up for more crap content to fill their inboxes so we can “increase our reach.” We don’t actually care about content. We only care about what content can do for us. Why should anyone care about how it reads?

How to Use Photography in Branding


Photography at its deepest is a medium for storytelling. We are attuned to visual imagery, processing it quickly and deeply. It is a powerful tool to work with, and can either help or harm our designs depending on how it is used. Images take up a huge amount of space; make sure to use that space well by telling great stories.

The "Brute Force" School of Design: Prototyping over Presentations


We are not any smarter than our clients, and they know their business 50 times better than we do. I can’t do my job unless there is a really true partnership that is very honest, intense, and open. We never dress up or have an account guy talking for us—we are the ones talking to the CEO and designing as we talk. That is the layer of connection that we need to have that level of quality and speed. We are firm believers that the highest way to get an idea across is prototyping. All of us are working on becoming better prototypers, because it is everything. You have to touch it and use it and love it.

However I do think there are core, fundamental values if you really want to get into this. Learn your grids; they are everything. It is the language of what we do. The second thing is type. You can’t teach someone typography, because it takes like ten years to get decent with it. And the third thing is prototyping. Focusing on those three things is important, but honestly, the only way to get ahead is if you are working harder than the guy next to you.

No Stack Startups


Of course, most of these are not even "mobile-first" businesses - they are "mobile-only". They often don’t even have web sites (or, apps for that matter): "the homepage once conferred some sense of reaching your canonical destination, it’s now your name on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Amazon etc. that consumers are searching for”

BuzzFeed’s CEO Says Modern Media Is About Pushing Actual Content, Not Links


But creating viral content isn’t about getting people to share information, it’s about sharing emotion.

The “Share Statement” is what BuzzFeed internally calls the words you use to describe things you post on social media, like its articles. Peretti says the “Share Statement is “often more important than the headline” because it’s says why, not just what, they’re sharing.

BuzzFeed closely watches these Share Statements to learn what its audience wants to see. Peretti concluded “BuzzFeed doesn’t make a product. We’re a service that keeps getting better at creating content over time.”

AMA: SimpleScott


The creative process is a system that is needs to be designed. At SHW, while we work on projects we try to imagine designing not only amazing work but also designing the process it takes to create that work. The reality is most of the creative process doesn't happen in a vacuum. It involves others, collaborating, and sharing is at the very core of the creative process. How you design that interaction is key to successful creative projects.

The Shape of Things to Come


He craved products that didn’t force adjustments of behavior, that gave what Powell Jobs called a “feeling of gratitude that someone else actually thought this through in a way that makes your life easier."

What should I do about Youtube?


A lot of people in the music industry talk about Google as evil. I don’t think they are evil. I think they, like other tech companies, are just idealistic in a way that works best for them. I think this because I used to be one of them (*4). The people who work at Google, Facebook, etc can’t imagine how everything they make is not, like, totally awesome. If it’s not awesome for you it’s because you just don’t understand it yet and you’ll come around. They can’t imagine scenarios outside their reality and that is how they inadvertently unleash things like the algorithmic cruelty of Facebook’s yearly review (which showed me a picture I had posted after a doctor told me my husband had 6-8 weeks to live).

2014 in review


Year three of consulting as a user experience designer and front-end developer has been really great, and also very busy. Here's a quick list of projects I was part of: * A conceptual iPad app for ordering food and drinks in restaurants * An iPad app used in schools by both teachers and students * A quoting tool for insurance agents * A conference website for an insurance company * An in-store touchscreen display for browsing beauty products * A social media display for the website of a fashion brand * Redesign of a utility ticketing system * Redesign of an online photo printing service * An iOS app for Cornify * Two real-time social media displays for events

I can only mention a few of the clients I've worked with, such as Pearson, ASOS, Nestle and NARS, but I can mention all the great agencies and friends I've worked with. I've now been working with Chad and Chris at Dive Creative for 3 years, and we've found a really good rhythm. Through them, I've had the chance to support Fino Consulting in New York with user experience design work. Also in New York, it's been great to reconnect and collaborate with the Made for Humans crew, old friends from agency times at Fi. There are several people I've talked to about projects that didn't pan out, but I'm hoping we can correct that in 2015.

Much of my time this year was eaten up by client work, so my own initiatives unfortunately suffered a little. The biggest things I got done were a redesign of Wookmark, updates to Capcam, the Cornify app and a redesign of GBKS. There's more in the works for each project.

The biggest challenge through the year has been to not just create functional interfaces, but to create interfaces that simply make sense to people and feel natural. Organizing information and figuring out how people should interact with it is at the core of user experience design. It is also an abstract task and will therefore remain difficult to perform at a high level. A lot of companies are realizing they have to become good at software, and they will need all the help they can. So both user experience design and front-end development are in high demand (which is amazing). A lot of great work is already being done, and with things like the Apple Watch and connected cars and homes on the horizon, I'm very excited about what will happen in 2015.