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



Part of the problem seems to be that nobody these days is content to merely put their dent in the universe. No, they have to fucking own the universe. It’s not enough to be in the market, they have to dominate it. It’s not enough to serve customers, they have to capture them.

No More Pencils, No More Books


Great article on the efforts, problems and promises of integrating technology to improve schools and learning. The article nicely lays out the problem that happens many times when an industry tries to adopt new technology. They completely lack the sensitivity required to create a human experience supported by technology.

A Cross-Platform, Global Network


Our future depends on our ability to continually learn from a global audience that is engaged on many platforms, and to use that knowledge to make better news and entertainment. As a global company, we are learning from more markets, which gives us an advantage over competitors that are primarily in one country. As a company that makes content in many formats, for many platforms, we can learn more than a competitor that is primarily a website, or just a collection of YouTube channels, or just an app. Likewise, as a company that makes news, entertainment, and lifestyle content, we can learn more about our audience than a company narrowly focused on a single-content vertical. Increasingly, we are also learning about how content moves between countries and across platforms. We see a post like “26 Problems Only Anxious People Will Understand” with 10 million views on our site evolve into multiple videos with 10 million views across YouTube and Facebook (including this one from Australia) and turned into a comic on Instagram and into our Snapchat Discover channel. We see a news story like artists reacting to the Syrian crisis originally by a reporter in our London office or a first-person essay about taking in Syrian refugees originally written in German from one of our Berlin reporters viewed over 3 million times because of translations to five languages. Or a story that first goes viral in Germany, is translated, and goes viral in the U.S. and globally. Or a video on how to make three-ingredient Nutella brownies that got over 75 million views in five languages. We are establishing a global adaptation desk and a new collaboration process with BFMP to facilitate cross-platform adaptations, and our tech team is building exciting new tools to support this work.

And I thought my job was hard…


Most folks used the mobile app to buy stuff (not just during BBD). The more I ventured into the village, or in construction sites (where a majority of the orders came from), there was no option but the mobile app. A majority of Indians will never see a laptop, and it was obvious how they will do the majority of their online shopping. And they will indeed do a lot of online shopping since there is really no offline retail for most of their needs. And it was a revelation to look at the phones. All Android. Most lower cost devices like Moto G. These small, dusty, scratched up devices hold the key to the entire world for these folks. We have to figure out how to ensure a great experience on these phones, even if there is bad network, low memory and small battery life.

What it means to be great


Apple is a company that builds greatness because they built a process to make their customers better. They do it without permission and they do it without offense. But when the buyer perceives the change they feel in debt to the object. Getting payments on that debt of gratitude is how Apple is rewarded.

Why no one has solved event discovery


A really thorough view into the world of event services. From the outside, it's easy to look at an industry and think it would be easy to build a great service. But the details and dynamics, like the ones described in this post, only become apparent when you dive deep. A good thing to keep in mind.

Apple's approach to privacy


The most personal technology must also be the most private.

Really digging this page and the language they use to clearly explain how they use data. No legal lingo, not abstract language. It's written in a way that you simply can't disagree with it.

The State of JavaScript on Android in 2015 is… poor


In a nutshell, the fastest known Android device available today -- and there are millions of Android devices much slower than that out there -- performs 5× slower than a new iPhone 6s, and a little worse than a 2012 era iPhone 5 in Ember. How depressing.

Grit is for cowboys


Grit is a convenient trait for enticing others to comply with the uncomfortable or the uninteresting. It elevates the perseverance of such adversity to a virtue in and of itself. Just dangle that long-term goal in front of them, accuse them of lack of grit, and compliance will oft follow. But far more important than to be capable of suffering for your cause is to ask “what cause”? Am I the beneficiary here, or is someone else? Being high on grit may well mean sticking with a faulty cause for far longer. Grit is an optimization for local maxima. If you’re able to change the function, drop the grit.