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Trying to sift through the noise of America’s politics in 2018 is almost an exercise in futility. There’s real news, fake news, actual fake news, and a seemingly endless roster of talking heads hoping their next screaming match ends in a viral tweet.

After launching the new destination for BuzzFeed News, my team turned our attention to the upcoming Midterm election.

When tasked with designing BuzzFeed News’ Midterm election coverage, the questions we posed had more to do with society and our political climate than KPIs and OKRs.

How do we break down the complex and make it understandable for our society’s ever-decreasing attention span?

How can we leverage BuzzFeed’s brand to connect with a millennial audience notorious for being loud but not showing up at the voting booth when it counts?

The Workshop

We kicked off this project with a workshop inspired by Jake Knapp’s design sprint. The key word being “inspired” as it lasted 5 hours instead of 5 days. I would’ve loved to have a week with all of the project stakeholders and contributors but it was impossible as the news waits for nobody. …

More and more, we’re using apps to facilitate real world actions. Our smartphones are becoming bridges between our personal wants and needs and the physical world. Button is connecting the growing app economy to help users discover their next action, and help mobile businesses grow.

When we launched our first product, Actions, the user flow looked like this.

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A user tapped an Action in the Publisher app, like “Ride there with Uber” and was deeplinked into the Merchant app. …

Having played Fantasy Football for the better part of a decade, I immediately took interest when two friends started DraftSmarts, a tool to assemble and maintain the perfect fantasy team. After their initial launch on Product Hunt, I put together a few design concepts for the duo to mull over during the 2014 NFL season. Eventually, we agreed to work together and take DraftSmarts to the next level.


For our brand and identity, the challenge was standing out in a heavily saturated market where billion dollar behemoths like ESPN, Yahoo, DraftKings, and FanDuel have the upper hand.

Our product had a lot of difficulties to overcome. For starters, we were just a team of three who all have full-time jobs at growing tech companies. On top of that, draft optimization tools had a short window of usefulness before becoming obsolete. We needed to solve this or else DraftSmarts would continue to have a month long life cycle. The biggest challenge was an inevitable launch date as I doubt we would have been able to convince Roger Goodell to push the NFL season back for us. …

Button is a startup and at (good) startups, things move fast. As a result of prioritizing partner launches and new features, our small design team realized that our products’ interfaces and experiences had gotten away from us. Our Dashboard’s submenu sometimes represented progress but at other times it served as a way to access additional features. Sometimes icons were filled and in other places they were single-stroke outlines.

We were all trying to do our best and everybody’s intentions were well-meaning, but it had become unnecessarily hard to create great products. …

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At Button, we practice a philosophy called “omotenashi.” It’s most commonly used in Japan’s travel industry to refer to extreme hospitality. However, when applied to building software it’s stretched to include anticipating your users’ desires and needs. Omotenashi is the basis of our Contextual Commerce product — to provide consumers with what they want and need at the exact right moment.

In the Summer of 2017, our product and design teams took stock of areas where we could provide more omotenashi to our customers. …

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Keep’s highly rated mobile app is the best way to shop the latest trends in fashion, home decor, accessories, and design. A talented friend of mine had recently joined as an iOS engineer and mentioned their designer abruptly left to travel the world. They needed help designing filters for their search result feature and redesigning their item detail screen.

I soon met Charles Myslinsky, Keep’s Head of Product. Together, we worked to scope out the features in need of attention as well as defining how the work would be executed across product, design, and engineering. …

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Onboarding screen for “Pay with Hailo”

Every two seconds, Hailo’s app enables a passenger to get a taxi or licensed car to transport them around England, Ireland, Spain, and Japan. In early 2014, Hailo’s New York City team recruited me to design the Pay with Hailo feature. As part of the “New Networks” team, I was excited to be working on a product that pushed the boundaries of current technology while also making a meaningful impact to Hailo’s business.

I’m really proud of Pay with Hailo as it took a full-team effort across business, engineering, and design to create something so much better than what passengers were subject to using. …


Patrick N. Lewis

Freelance designer. Formerly @BuzzFeed @Button & @TheKnot. Fan of Michigan football and Rubirosa pizza.

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