IBM | Visual Designer

A Cover Letter

To Those Cutting Edge IBMers Concerned,

You want someone who creates irresistible user interfaces. Someone who builds storyboards and task flow designs with pixel perfect precision to enable both prototypes and production. Someone who works alongside UX designers and Researchers. And someone who will evangelize design research within IBM. I can do the first set of things you’ve listed, but I want to be a part of the last one. The idea of showing the importance of design research within such a venerable organization is, to put it mildly, exciting.

You want someone who learns to understand users and markets with research. Someone with a fundamental awareness of enterprise, tech, dev, and design trends and strong strategic skills in assessing user and business scenarios. And someone with an understanding of how designs translate into HTML/CSS/JavaScript and demonstrated knowledge of best practices in type, color, layout, and icons. I have those skills and can use them to deliver against your goals. My background has given me a unique aptitude for spotting technology trends, as well as deriving the purpose behind a given tool.

But, what is Bluemix?

Why is the Bluemix brand nowhere on the website? The logo, which I didn’t see before watching this Bluemix marketing video, isn’t anywhere to be found. And while the full logo uses a difference in type weights, the product name is used on the website without the contrast from ‘IBM’. This makes it harder for the product name to resonate as a brand.

The website lays out the breadth and depth of what the marketing video communicates in a more narrative form. Yet the copy isn’t clear enough to guide a potential user toward trying Bluemix. The person who recognizes some pieces of coded language will use those as keys to navigate by. But if they arrived at the site with a less structured or informed context, how do they know where to start?

The first pieces of unique iconography on the page describe public, dedicated, and local instances for Bluemix. Those icons do a poor job of conveying the core message of that section: Where your Bluemix instance can live. This is a missed opportunity for clarity.

The Bluemix blog, which I found from an icon at the bottom of the sitemap¹, is also frustrating. There are no dates on posts and the reuse of imagery across posts is confusing. The only way I know it’s a blog is the snippets of personal language. Given a blog for your purposes is there to communicate with words, using a design that does not let the user read misses the mark.

This case study video makes things much more clear. Bluemix provided everything necessary for a furniture company to modernize how they participate in their industry gathering by helping them evolve a whole set of business processes at once. That story not only tells the user why to be interested in your product, but it clearly explains what the product is:

Bluemix is the collection of tools, services, and partners for businesses to employ state of the art IBM technology in achieving their goals.

If that is what you’re trying to do then I’m on board. I want to start by questioning how your website tells the story of what Bluemix means to people. Combinations of jargon and extensive catalogs of capability can be meaningful to different types of users, you’ve got to address the human being first.

That’s what I want to evangelize across IBM.


JD Lewin

  1. The section of the site that should render blog posts was empty.