Twitter Facebook Dribbble

Posts Tagged with “Design”

IDEO on Autonomous Cars

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 4.37.03 pm

IDEO have built a nice site called where they explore ideas and concepts about the future of, among other things, driverless cars.

There are some really interesting stats on the site and some nice mock-ups of how cars may look.

One stat that caught my eye was this: “Each autonomous shared vehicle could replace 11 conventional cars”.

That is the first time I’ve seen anyone put a figure on it and that’s a pretty significant figure.

If you’re interested in the topic, the site is well worth a look.



Designing Transportation Systems

Recently I’ve become very interested in the technologies being developed around optimising and improving transportation for people.

From my very initial reading, it seems that in the next 5 years we will have commercially available self driving cars and in the next 20 years, entire networks of self driving cards that will be available to most people in the developed world.

This week Google released an update on where they are at with the development of their own self driving technology. (See above)

I’m particularly interested in the infrastructure that will be needed to be built to support this breakthrough. It doesn’t seem hard to imagine a scenario where you use an UBER type application on your smart phone to book a car to take you out to dinner or to work each day.

Exploring the businesses models around these developments is very interesting. It may be that our kids will never actually own a car, rather they might pay an annual fee to be able to hire a car on demand. Most of the time our cars sit idle costing us money, so an on demand service makes sense.


Self driving cars, apart from being safer, will also be more economic, being able to drive other people around while you are at work.

Above is a sketch of a multi story car storage and maintenance centre where the cars could also charge, assuming they are electric. Existing energy companies like BP, may in the future own these buildings which could be used by any number of cars made by different manufactures providing they have a standard charging interface.

I’ve not read enough yet about this work happening in this space, but I’m looking forward to learning more and sharing some ideas around how we might be able to design the transportation systems of the future.


UPDATE: There are a group of engineers and designers from Ann Arbor, Michigan, who have a goal to become the first city in the world to have a driverless car network. (See video below)

Interesting statistic: 80% of driver accidents are caused by human error. There are 1.2 million deaths globally caused by cars. Remove the drivers, and we save around 960,000 lives. This number of course assumes the driverless technology is evenly distributed globally which wouldn’t be the case initially, but its a goal to work towards.

An Email About The Design Industry

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 10.29.31 am


I wrote this to a friend this morning and wanted to share it because I hear these topics talked about all the time. The text from the screenshot above and ‘*’ on ‘Understanding’ is below.


Hard to know what roles they are thinking about filling, but I wouldn’t be surprised if their were jobs in the industry that weren’t being filled by the output of the education system here. The gap between industry and education is every widening.
I believe that we are at a really unique time in the design (specifically graphic) industries history.
Demand to be a designer and ‘work from home‘ + abundance of courses teaching design + access to design hardware and software +wider community understanding* (thanks Steve & Apple)  = Over supply of designers, many under qualified.
Key points that concern me about the Australian design industry:
1. Most People Speak Different Languages
(Generally speaking) Design and business are still talking to each other in different languages. Firms like IDEO, Frog & Tank don’t make this mistake. This is where value is miss-understood. Design effectiveness isn’t measured. That’s insane.
2. Digital Design & Education
(At a graphic design level) Digital design is extremely underrepresented in the curriculum’s of most education providers.
3Design & Business Education
The number of students that are graduating without adequate business skills is remarkable. Our industry is unique because even before you start your formal training you can begin freelancing or running your own business. Unlike law or medicine you don’t need any formal qualifications to be a practicing graphic designer. You also don’t need to complete any work experience. This means we have lots of students graduating and starting their own ‘Motherbird’ studio without any idea of how to charge clients or manage projects or understand billable hours.
I’m not convinced that forcing students to complete industry practice is the right way to go (although it would help). I’d rather see a much larger investment in educating our students about running a business and helping them understand that we are in a service industry. The market is impartial. It doesn’t care if we can’t manage our own time.


*Understanding: this is still relatively low. People look at Apple products and launch events and understand that design is somehow linked to increase value, but I’m not convinced that they understand why or when to use design.

Post 20: Standardise & Compare

Have you ever tried to hire a designer? I’ve mentioned this problem a few times in the past few weeks, and it keeps coming up mainly I think because it’s such a painful problem for a lot of people.

A typical application can include a LARGE .pdf folio, a .pdf resume, links to personal website and links to 3rd party sites like Facebook, Dribbble & Behance. Some companies can get 500+ of these for a single job.



Last week I published this video on YouTube showing a prototype of the product I’m working on. A couple of people (thanks Zac & Theo) suggested that it could be useful and/or interesting to compare people’s cards.

Zac even pointed me to the Apple website as an example of a place that allows you to compare products well.

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 11.45.05 am

A comparative analysis of anything is best suited and really only available to you when the things you are comparing are close to equal.


It is possible to compare things that are structured differently, but the time taken to evaluate them increase as the differences increase.


As Theo and Zac correctly pointed out, building a system that requires customers to complete a similar set of outcomes (e.g. fill out 5 cards) opens up the possibility for quick and useful comparisons.



What you ask customers to create then becomes an art and science problem. Leaving, the cards in this case, completely blank with no required structure is no good, but likewise holding their hand too much means you end up risking looking like LinkedIn.

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 12.03.55 pm

To try and determine what requirements should and shouldn’t be included, I’m asking people I know that are looking for work or who are just interested in the product, to fill out 5 cards from this .ai template to see if there are any consistencies that are worth formalising.

In some circumstances I’m actually sharing these with the people they are looking to gain employment from to see if they find reviewing 5 cards any more valuable than reviewing a resume or portfolio.

This is helping me validate assumptions like:

  1. Viewing summaries of peoples careers on cards on mobile devices is a value adding experience;
  2. Individuals are able to adequately ‘tell their professional story’ or communicate the key points of their career in 5 iPhone sized cards;
  3. Giving individuals semi-blank canvas’ will allow for more personal information to be communicated – increasing the amount of context about the person that is communicated

There has been a bit of work happening around what information would people want to see outside of these 5 initial cards?

That’s the next blog post.


Post 4: Facebook Paper & Interface Ideas

2013 saw the rise in popularity of ‘cards’ in interface designs (See Why cards are the future of web). There is something about the ‘card’ based interface that I find really interesting. The restraints on size and content are one thing, but I think it is its link with physical cards in the real world that really grabs me.

[See more card interfaces here]

Generally speaking, most mobile applications don’t take advantage of the technology their built on – they often function like web sites, with your finger acting as the mouse pointer.

I was a really big fan of the UI that Tinder went with last year. Swiping left for ‘No’ and right for ‘Yes’ was simply, easy to learn and fun, taking full advantage of the touch screen.


Yesterday Facebook announced they would be launching a new way “explore and share stories” called Facebook Paper (watch the video). The demo shows cards folding and sliding all over the screen. It looks great.


Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 1.03.12 pm


Late in 2013 I began sketching ideas (I can’t code :/) around how card elements might move in the app interface I’ve been working on over the past few days. Cards invite gestures and behaviours that regular web-based interfaces can’t.

Almost everyone has played with a deck of cards at least once in their lives and I believe that really helps the users feel more comfortable with more playful UI designs.

If you’re interested in animation in interface design, I highly recommend watching the presentation below (50mins) given by Pasquale D’Silva. It gives a great insight into how animation can make the difference between a clunky and smooth and enjoyable user experience.

All of this has got me thinking about all the possibilities for my own interface.

Post 3: Rough Mock-up



This is what’s in my head, almost. At a very high level, the structure feels correct to me. It has occurred to me that I might just be creating an alternate interface for LinkedIn here… one that is more mobile friendly. I’m not sure.

There is something about “Add a new card” CTA, that feels exciting. A lot more exciting than “Add a job” on LinkedIn.

Am I ‘gamifying’ LinkedIn? (I apologise for saying the word gamify).

The text in the above image mentions that users could purchase cards for the ‘decks’ from within the app. There hasn’t been much tough go into that idea. Maybe you can have 5 portfolio cards by default but need to pay $.99 to add more.


UPDATE: I hadn’t explored what a company profile would look like or what the structure of it might be. It could be interesting to view companies employees and clients, although I think it would be unlikely that all would want to disclose this sort of information.

Really just feels like Twitter for your career at this stage :/

Connecting The Dots

In his 2005 commencement speech at Stanford, Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forwards, you can only connect them looking backwards.”

It’s been almost 5 years since I naively started my first online venture. ‘Mobile’ wasn’t ‘A Thing’, very few Australian’s Tweeted, and the word Selfie didn’t exist.

Right now I am continuing to work on my current company and also doing various consulting work for some great clients – but recently there have been all sorts of dots that have started to connect for me and I’m starting to explore what, if anything the mean.

It could all be nothing, or it could be something.

Either way, I’ve decided to share the ‘connecting dot exploration’ here on my blog as a way of personally documenting the process and maybe also creating some value to anyone else who is trying to connect their own dots.

I’ll write some more about the dots soon, but in the mean time, here are some sketches and mock-ups of the ideas that I’ve been having.

Can design be taught online?

“…and it will all be done online.” they said.

Today I learned that a local education provider will join a few others and from next year, start offering a full time Graphic Design course ‘online’.

Automating my to-do list across multiple devices? Tick. Storing and categorising all of my receipts automatically? Tick. Being able to carry all the worlds music (almost) in my pocket. Tick. So many things can and should be made easier, quicker, cheaper for us by taking them online. Things that machines can do better than us should be. Education is not one of them. At least not entirely.

Education is no doubt in need of some pretty significant changes, a revolution even, but some things need to be learned with your hands, with skilled people teaching you, not online in forums and through .pdf’s.

When I was first taught ‘graphic design’, we had CS1 and we had the third gen iMac’s, but as any decent designer will tell you, the tech doesn’t mean shit. The tools don’t make you a better designer.

Our class was forced to draw hundreds of A4 proportioned thumbnails to learn about scale and proportion. We made posters using old boxes of Letraset, and were asked to layout magazine spreads by photocopying existing type, then cutting and pasting around images. If we didn’t like the design, you had to start again from scratch, by hand. No ‘create new page’ buttons.

It’s clear that technology can and is already having a huge impact on education, (I’m a fan of the work Treehouse are doing in this space). But there is a part of me that feels like we are failing students when we offer an entire ‘Graphic Design’ course online that has little to no human contact necessary to pass.

Like many things, design is a craft and once upon a time it was taught through apprenticeships with masters of the craft. Education has evolved overtime, but today I was given a reminder that maybe we are pushing things too far. When a designer is no longer required to make things with their hands, I think we’ve strayed way off the path.

Maybe our education providers are measuring the wrong metrics. Instead of measuring the number of students to enrol and graduate, we should pay close attention to the number of students who find their passion and adequately learn the skills required to create value*.

Harder to put in a spread sheet I know, but we could try?

*or something similar?


full-office-cubicles-449-297“When did not having purpose become the norm?”

I don’t remember who said it, me or the person I was talking to, but that questions summed up a lengthy conversation last night about education, design and other things.

It’s true that it’s now the normal to go through life without purpose, without the feeling that you are working towards something worthwhile, something important to you as an individual.

When did that happen? And more importantly, why? More importantly again, how do we start to reverse it?

Early this week in a Medium post, Nick Crocker said “If you said to me, go and design a Diabetes store, I would just take you to the supermarket.”

I wonder if you someone asked you, “Can you design me an environment that reduces the chance of someone discovering purpose in their work and life”, whether you would just take them to a standard university or office suite.

Everyone is passionate about something, everyone is capable of finding purpose in their work, but to achieve that we might need to start rethinking how, where and why we learn and work.

Deliberately designing models and systems that encourage the discovery of purpose in life and work and in everything, should surely be one of societies highest priorities.




Up and Away


This morning I took delivery of a piece of tech that promises to help me ‘Know Myself’ and ‘Live Better’. The Jawbone UP – is a band that you wear around your wrist that measures things like the quality of your sleep and the number of steps you take in a day. I’ve heard mixed reviews, but I’m willing to give it a shot.

I’m the kind of guy that looks forward to the day when I can have a chip in my arm that tracks my fitness and let’s me pay for lunch without having to grab my wallet, so this is a start.

With the new addition of the UP to my life, it felt like the right time to push the ‘publish button’ on this blog. I’ve been writing for a few month’s but haven’t hit go. I just did.

I spend my time designing and making things or talking to people who design and make things. Posts will be popping up every now and then. Common post tags are likely to be: <User Interface> <Tech> <Biz> <Travel> <Ideas> <MVP> <UX> <Design>.

For those interested, the sign up process for UP was really great. I only grabbed a couple of screen shots (see below), sorry. The UI is flat-ish and nice. I’ll let you know if I find it useful.

Thanks to @smithjw for the UP. (I owe you some cash).

Up Screen