Silhouette of two construction workers on a scaffold
Silhouette of two construction workers on a scaffold
Photo by Yancy Min on Unsplash

If you’re a designer in technology I am fairly certain you know design debt. It’s that insight that never made it to the implementation phase, that solution that was deemed not important enough to build, or the ever-growing number of styles within the application due to the lack of a UI style guide. The list goes on and on. To my knowledge the term was coined by Ward Cunningham who said:

“Design debt is all the good design concepts or solutions that you skipped in order to reach short-term goals. It’s all the corners you cut during or after the design stage, the moments when somebody said: “Forget it, let’s do it the simpler way, the users will make do”. …

Image for post
Image for post
Foto de Clay Banks en Unsplash

Hace unos días se dio a conocer que la producción nacional cayó en Mayo un 7.5% en términos interanuales, en gran parte (pero no completamente) debido a la pandemia del COVID-19. Adicionalmente, de acuerdo con datos del ICT del 2016, el turismo aporta cerca del 8.2% del PIB del país en ingresos directos e indirectos. Esto representa cerca de 5 mil millones de dólares. No cabe duda que es imperativa la reapertura de las fronteras para la reactivación de la economía del turismo y en general la reapertura de las economías del país. …

A table displaying a set of tools, like a hammer, an axe and gloves
A table displaying a set of tools, like a hammer, an axe and gloves
Photo by Todd Quackenbush on Unsplash

If you’re anything like me, as a designer you want your organization to understand, respect, and help you build your design practice. Maybe you’ve wondered “How can I build a sustainable method of communicating and collaborating with Engineers and PMs that moves design out of a last-minute, pixel-only activity, to a long-term strategic practice?” In other words: “How can I mature the design practice at my organization?” …

Boy… this took me longer than expected! If you haven’t read Part I, you can actually skip it, but if you want to know more about the motivations behind all this work, feel free to take a peek. Now on to the good stuff!

So, how do you design better digital products (including visualizations) in the fields of bioinformatics and life sciences? I have an answer, it probably isn’t the best, and it certainly isn’t the only one, but I’ve been using it for the last year and a half in vastly different industries and it has passed the test of time: I started working on this thing almost two years ago while I was still doing a masters and working as a visualization researcher in a lab focused on infectious disease and evolutionary biology. Now I work in a private company where I create visualizations to analyze millions of records of clinical data and to improve the way people design clinical trials. …

I’ve been working as a digital designer at the Sabeti Lab of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard since June. There, I help design data visualization tools for genetic and clinical data, and digital products for both experts and non-expert users. A few months before joining the lab, I moved from Costa Rica to Boston to pursue a Masters in Information Design and Visualization at Northeastern University, where I’ve learned about data literacy, programming, statistics, systems thinking and design for experience. This has been an incredible personal and professional journey, and I want to share some of the things I’ve learned so far through a series of short stories. …


Antonio Solano

At the intersection of interaction design, data visualization and health sciences. I help make clinical data more accessible to researchers at TriNetX

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