The Thomas Edison of text messaging

Lloyd Cotler is a first-mover and leader in SMS campaigning. About 10 years ago he went all-in on messaging, eschewing the email bedrock that powers the progressive space because he saw an opportunity to elevate what supporter communication and engagement could be.

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Lloyd Cotler — The Thomas Edison of text messaging

As SMS Campaigns Manager at Hillary for America, Senior Strategist at Mobile Commons / Upland Mobile Messenger and most recently, Director of Political and Nonprofit Solutions at Hustle, he’s learned a thing or two about what works, what doesn’t and why.

Lloyd and his partner Kate Myers have recently launched their own firm, Banter. They’re laser-focused on delivering results for political campaigns, causes, and companies who are doing good. …


Rating: B+ | Music | V 1.12 | Get it

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YouTube’s new app provides a “More Killer, Less Filler” approach to experiencing their massive music collection. Theres a free version and a paid one via YouTube Red. Both tiers present a few custom stations based upon your interests, and much like Pandora, create ad hoc stations from songs you explicitly play. YouTube Red enables you to listen to songs when the app’s in the background and to stream audio-only versions which makes this feel like a real music service.

Using the app is a pleasure, its feature set is more constrained than full blown YouTube, which flattens the learning curve and keeps the mental model small. …


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Please enjoy a short list of what I think are the best-looking “robotic” icons in Slack’s App Directory. I do use a couple of the bots listed here, however this is a purely visual roundup of cheeky well-designed icons. There’s some other good ones in Slack’s directory for sure, but the charm of these robot renderings pushed them to the top. To that end, I present my completely biased selection of the best “robotic” icons in the Slackbot ecosystem. Enjoy.

  • Bugbot: Finally, your GitHub Issues in Slack!
  • Lita: A chatbot scriptable with Ruby.
  • Awesome: Stay in sync, cut through the noise, and uncover insights.
  • Appbot: App reviews from all countries.
  • Hubot: Github’s scriptable chatbot.
  • Felix bot: Everyday just tell Felix your daily goals.
  • Beep Boop: A ridiculously simple hosting platform for Slackbots.
  • Geekbot: Asynchronous standup meetings in Slack.

Rating: B+ | Health & Fitness | V 2.3.1

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Lark’s conversational experience is designed to help users monitor their diet and activity via daily prompts and short questions. Instead of detailed nutritional analysis, Lark tracks high level dietary and activity patterns and coaches users on how to eat better and stay active.

The app has a friendly feel and low learning curve due in part to the CUI “Conversational UI” it employs. This paradigm is interesting from a UX perspective as the bulk of the interaction is realized via back and forth text banter. …


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I’m glad I finally took the time to read this seminal work on cognitive science and design by the influential author and professor Don Norman. This quote-list covers the book’s second version which was released in 2013. The original came out in 1988 and apparently it’s not extremely different due to the timeless human-centered design principals it addresses.

Of the many topics covered in the book, Don’s explanation of signifier usage, the importance of creating mental models and organic mapping really stood out. …


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Designing for Touch by Josh Clark outlines how ergonomics, evolving interaction paradigms and legacy desktop experiences affect design decisions for multi-touch devices.

The book didn’t cover a lot that was new to me, but it was still helpful to steep in the domain for a day. Of note, was the research data presented around how people hold various devices and the reality that the thumbs are the prevailing digits at play on both phones and tablets (optimizing layout around thumb placement and device size are crucial to delivering a comfortable experience). Josh also did a nice job of reviewing some nuts ‘n bolts design differences between iOS/Android/Mobile web that should be considered when designing an optimal experience for each platform. …


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Having worked with startups for the past six years I’ve learned the value of making informed product decisions sooner than later. I’ve developed my research methodology through reading, doing and learning from others. I’m always looking for pragmatic ways to gain useful insights that’ll help me solve product or business problems. Although I’ve got a lot from being in the trenches, I know there’s still a lot to learn regarding research techniques. The digestible promise presented by Erika Hall’s book Just Enough Research spoke to this desire. Below are some quotes from the book that resonated with me.

  1. “Conducting a good interview is actually about shutting up.”

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I’ve been designing and building web apps for years now, but I’ve never taken the time to document how I approach greenfield projects. To help me consider my own process and provide others with insight into how I work, I’m going to walk through the way I approach app design.

The problem

Many offices and public spaces are absurdly over air conditioned in the U.S.. This a huge pet peeve of mine! The amount of energy and money wasted to make a space miserable is beyond me. …


If you’re like me you have a stack of biz cards on your desk from people you’ve met over the years. It often takes me a minute to reach out to the people behind the cards. During that time, it’s easy to forget who the cards are from. I know the name’s there, but that’s worth little without a face to link it to.

If you want people to have a better chance of remembering you, there’s one simple thing your card must have… A photo of you. That’s it really. Beyond that, make sure you stick with the conventional 3.5″ x 2″ format. Oversized, undersized, square or goofy-ass die cut cards are easy to loose or may not even fit in a wallet. Finally, just put vital info on the card. No need to turn it into a spread sheet. …

About

Elliott Golden

Research-Driven Product Designer

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