Reading Status in March


Just recently finished Design is a Job by Mike Monteiro. Enjoyable, practical and recommended for anyone involved in the business of design. It was a confirmation of some of the things that our team believes about what we do and how we do it.

As an aside here, An Event Apart just yesterday posted Mike’s presentation from An Event Apart, Austin 2013. I watched it and it’s also recommended.

Currently reading Tim Brown’s Change by Design. Five chapters in and I’m really enjoying it. Love the combination of theory, practice and examples. Also, very jealous of my friends Adam and Jodi who met him today at IBM Design.

Also, can I just say that I’m loving my Kindle Paperwhite that I received at Christmas. Late to this party, but it’s an awesome device.

Fascinating Discussion on the Process of Making WordPress Accessible

In my morning reads, I came across this fascinating conversation related to the process making WordPress accessible.

If you are at all interested in user experience design and development or accessibility, I would highly recommend reading it. It’s a tremendously interesting read that highlights many of the challenges of making an experience accessible as well as a discussion on how to organize a design and development team to make it happen.

For those who might not be aware (just as a little bit of background), WordPress is a widely adopted open source web publishing platform. According to Matt Mullenweg, one of the founders of WordPress, the platform powers almost nineteen percent of the web. Just this past Thursday the WordPress team released a new version of the software. Apparently, after the release, there were some accessibility issues that were discovered as users began to upgrade to the new version.

What caught my eye about this discussion is that probably in just the past three months I’ve been seeing more and more discussions around our IBM Interactive clients tackling accessibility issues and requesting our assistance in these efforts. In response to this increase in interest, our team is actively discussing the current best approaches and methods to support the design and creation of accessible experiences.

Personally, I think that the increased focus on this topic, which is obviously a good thing, is only going to grow over the coming months as businesses and other organizations continue to recognize the business need to design and deliver great experiences.

As an aside, part of what also makes this conversation such a great read is the incredible transparency of the WordPress development community. Another part is just that I find the WordPress community itself is an incredibly interesting entity. It’s a combination of an open source project linked to Automattic, Matt Mullenweg’s commercial organization linked to numerous other businesses built on enhancing and servicing the platform. (On this topic, one of my next planned reads is Scott Berkun’s The Year Without Pants: and the Future of Work.) How the ecosystem interacts and organizes to continue to successfully develop the platform is to me a fascinating laboratory related to how collaboration and business models (among many other topics) continues to evolve.

A New Studio for IBM Interactive Boston

Studio PictureIt’s been an exciting past couple of weeks at IBM Interactive Boston. After being temporarily relocated for the past couple of months, we’ve finally moved into our new studio.

Our new space is still located at 1 Rogers Street in Cambridge, but we’ve moved to the other side of the building. It’s not yet one hundred percent complete; we’re waiting on some monitors, some white boards (never enough) and some additional furniture; but beyond the standing desks (which seem to be popular with everyone), there are a couple of aspects of the new space that I believe are going to be excellent evolutions in this latest iteration of our Boston Studio.

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Interesting Snippet Regarding the Design of Morse Code


By counting the number of copies of each letter in a box of printer’s type, Morse and Vail designed the code so that the most common letters had the shortest equivalents in code; “E,” the most comment letter, was represented by a single dot.

From The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph the Nineteenth Century’s On-line Pioneers by Tom Standage

Web Design Manifesto 2012 – Jeffrey Zeldman Presents The Daily Report


Web Design Manifesto 2012 – Jeffrey Zeldman Presents The Daily Report.

But for right now, I don’t think this design is a mistake. I think it is a harbinger. We can’t keep designing as we used to if we want people to engage with our content. We can’t keep charging for ads that our layouts train readers to ignore. We can’t focus so much on technology that we forget the web is often, and quite gloriously, a transaction between reader and writer.

State of the web: of apps, devices, and breakpoints – Jeffrey Zeldman Presents The Daily Report


State of the web: of apps, devices, and breakpoints – Jeffrey Zeldman Presents The Daily Report

When I see fragmentation, I remind myself that it is unsustainable by its very nature, and that standards always emerge, whether through community action, market struggle, or some combination of the two. This is a frustrating time to be a web designer, but it’s also the most exciting time in ten years. We are on the edge of something very new. Some of us will get there via all new thinking, and others through a combination of new and classic approaches. Happy New Year, web designers!