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A tale of two cards

If you’re at all interested in the Oscars or are surrounded by people who are, by now you’ve probably seen this:

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And I know what you’re thinking:

what a badly designed card!

Here’s one designer’s articulation of why this card is ho-hum and what we can do to improve it.

To get things started, the first thing we need to ask ourselves in any design problem is along the lines of…

What problem are we solving?

In this case, the card holds the answer to a specific question: “what is the winner of the Oscars Best Picture award?”

So the problem that we’re trying to solve may be stated…


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If you whip out your phone and log into your Instagram account right now, at the time of writing, you might see something like this:

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Screenshot taken on a Nexus 5

I know what you’re thinking. So what, right? I want you to pay special attention to this right here:

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Do you see it?

If you’re at all like any of the millions of repeat Instagram users, you may have noticed the introduction of this icon into the Instagram universe late in 2016. It was a relatively quiet addition, but for a repeat user, definitely noticeable.

Noticeable, but likely casually shrugged over. After all, it seems pretty innocuous doesn’t it? Not very turbulent to the Instagram experience many of us have come to recognize and appreciate. …


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Ladies and Gentlemen — the POTUS (Photo: Jae C. Hong, AP)

I know, I know.

Another Trump piece.

Another arm-chair know-it-all’s take on Disruption Theory.

And the last thing you want to read is a Trump piece about Disruption Theory.

But hear me out. If for nothing else but pseudo-intellectual fun.

Anyway, here goes.

*deep breath*

So, I was on the bus, on my daily 1.5 hr commute from work to home, when I started scrolling through the troves of messages my family had been frantically sharing with each other about last night’s momentous rollercoaster of an election that capped off what felt like the most exhausting 18 month run-up to an election ever (and I’ve only lived through and remember 5 of them). …


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What made this unlikeliest of teams effective?

Over the past two years of trying to drive a culture of design and innovation from my little pocket of the large financial enterprise of which I am a part, I’ve had some time to reflect on a question that’s been stuck with me for a while: what do effective product teams in large enterprises have in common?

I was reminded of an exercise I took part in during a corporate communications class. The exercise was meant to reveal the “gets” of personality traits of individuals in the workplace and their effects on that individual’s assertiveness. Inspired by those traits, I noticed that there was a lot of applicability with respect to the effectiveness of teams. And so, after some thought about it, I’ve settled on the following list of things that effective teams get. …


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In June 2015, my wife, Sehrish, and I were contacted via Facebook by a distant and trusted family member. She told us about a girl named Sanam from rural Pakistan.

I am requesting for your support to a needy student from Chitral studying in Aga Khan Higher Secondary School Kuragh in FS year II. The parent of the student are illiterate having no means of earning. I work for needy but talented students, hence from the past 11 years through some local donors i have helped this girl continue her studies. Now she just need Rs.15000 to pay her five month dues of AKHS. …


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Since early July, 2015, monsoon rains in regions of northern Pakistan alongside glacial melting have taken lives, destroyed homes and severely impacted every day living. The Chitral Valley, a district in the northern-most area of the province, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has been affected the worst by this natural disaster.

While evacuation attempts and emergency relief is being executed in the area, the continued torrential rain, coupled with the badly damaged infrastructure have rendered Chitral practically choked off from the rest of the country, limiting access into and out of the region.

We are writing this as an appeal to anyone reading to help out the flood-afflicted population in Chitral, Pakistan. Your donations will go a long way to supply much needed food, clean water, medical supplies, shelter, and sanitation to the region and displaced residents. …


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Image source: http://www.businesszone.co.uk/blogs/martin-robert-hall/personal-excellence/going-good-great

Last week I read a great little blog post by Denmark-based UX designer, Lars Damgaard, entitled “How to avoid UX design trends and why you should”. In it he says (emphasis his):

“… we need to wisely reflect on how we use [design] or how we are inspired by [design] instead of just blindly reproducing [others’ designs], because this is what looks cool just now.”

He goes on to list a few design trends that he has seen which he cautions us, other designers, to be wary of when implementing.

This piece was an important one. Too often we are attracted by shiny design elements and patterns out there and we wish to replicate them in our own designs. Or whenever we have a design decision that needs to be made, we fall back on the “well, if it works for them, then it should work for me!” heuristic. And why not? It’s the easier/faster thing to do. And after all, didn’t Steve Jobs famously say: “Good artists copy; great artists steal”? …


I occasionally run brainstorming sessions and design studios. Normally, these sessions have less than a half-dozen participants rapidly sketching ideas on paper in Crazy Eight or Six Up fashion. The sketches are meant to be explorations into possible designs and solutions for a stated problem or objective that had been presented earlier to the team.

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In every single one of my exercises, there’s at least one person whose entirety of ideas and sketches represent mobile apps.

I call these people (and with all due respect, of course) Appholes.

And I don’t want you to be one.

In this rapidly changing, hyper-ambiguous, and opportunity-laden world of ubiquitously connected devices, commercial quadricopters, petabytes and petabytes of data, an onslaught of wearables that are more powerful than the computers of yesterday, domestic manufacturing, and many other forms of user interfaces that don’t even have their own categories yet, being locked in the confines of a mobile device seems passé. …


This is meant to be a continuously updated list curated from the experiences of the growing number of entrepreneurs out there, i.e. You. If there is anything you’d like me to add to the list, please leave a comment and I’ll update it accordingly.

People complain a lot. But often in entrepreneurship, hardship can usually disguise the underlying signals that you’re doing something right. Call it Success Pains.

If you are an entrepreneur and are facing some of these problems, then take respite in the fact that you are probably on the right path:

1. I cannot meet my customers’…


An Application of Nir Eyal’s Hook Model

As I clicked the big green “Take This Course” button I became acutely aware of an uneasy feeling creeping up on me. This would be the 22nd course I’d have signed up for on Udemy.com, one of the world’s leading platforms for teaching and learning classes online. I had become a binge-learner.

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My To-Learn list on Udemy.com

Or had I? After scanning my enrolled course list, I gathered the following stats:

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And so the uneasy feelings that were gnawing at my insides started bubbling to the surface. With 13 courses that were virtually untouched since the moment of enrollment (after having paid anywhere between nothing and $30 for each of them) I, naturally, started deriding myself. I thought I was a non-finisher, bad at commitments, and lacking of focus. Perhaps even a compulsive buyer, financially carefree, or worse yet, a wanna-be learner. …

About

Ali R. Tariq

Teach a man to start a fishing business / product design guy / innovation geek / @alirtariq

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