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Feedback Culture, Design Thinking, UI History, and Data Visualization: What We’re Reading

Feedback Culture, Design Thinking, UI History, and Data Visualization: What We’re Reading

This week we’re reading about how to improve feedback on creative work, design thinking for business, the history of clicking on "X" to close, tools for data visualization, and teaching machines to recognize outdoor scenes. 

What are you reading?

The key to happy, productive designers: teaching your team to critique

The premise of this article is simple, “To deliver great design, teams need a culture of healthy feedback.” Unfortunately, the feedback that designers get is not always “healthy” and isn’t even always actionable. The solution? Take a lesson from design programs and teach all stakeholders how to critique design while providing them a meaningful structure for doing so. 

How Design Thinking Transformed Airbnb from a Failing Startup to a Billion-Dollar Business

Critiques are a formal practice that can help improve the quality of design within an organization. Design thinking is an approach that can transform the organization itself. This case study shows how the founders of Airbnb stopped trying to code their way out of business problems and started, in essence, designing their way out of them. Lesson Number One: Don’t make “scalability” your focus. Lesson Number Two: Take a walk in the shoes of your user. Lesson Number Three: Be a pirate (read the article to find out what that means!).

X to Close

Some common elements of user interface design, such as clicking on “X” to close a window, are so ubiquitous that it’s easy to forget that they actually reflect design decisions made by actual human beings. This little bit of detective work takes us back to the early days of graphical user interfaces to find the first use of X to close (it can be found in an Atari interface), though the author insists that we have a last minute design change in Windows 95 to thank for the now familiar icon’s proliferation.

14 Tools For Data Visualization

If you have a lot of data, and want to tell a story to make it easy for users to comprehend it, visualization is really the only way to go. The 14 tools in this collection will make it much easier to conceptualize and create eye-catching and informative graphic representations of all that data.

Transient Attributes for High-Level Understanding and Editing of Outdoor Scenes

This academic paper may be a little to, um, academic, but it’s worth a read if you are interested in two things: teaching computers how to identify elements of photographs (“was this photograph taken in the summer or in the winter?”), and editing outdoor shots changing “high-level attributes,” such as changing the season depicted from summer to winter. Again, it’s kind of nerdy but, hey, so are we!

Image Source (Creative Commons): Peggy2012CREATIVELENZ.

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