Now is the most exhilarating time to be a circle

The future of design is circular. IDEO has created a new guide for designers that encourages them to create products that stay in closed loops and business models that discourage waste.

Designers are traditionally part of the linear economy—creating products from raw materials that would eventually end up in a landfill. But they’re beginning to consider the entire system and design products with materials that can be used in closed loops.

Why its HOT:

IDEO tends to be on the forefront of design and methods of applying it to develop new products and services. There is some merit to thinking about ways in which you can reduce waste while also keeping users using your product or service over time without needing to search for something new. For instance, when Philips designed its light-as-a-service model, it created custom light fixtures with components that can be individually replaced, saving material and making the lights last as much as 75% longer.

“Effective circular design looks beyond a single product lifecycle for a single user, to designing a bigger system—one that creates more value by enabling multiple usages and users of that material.” – Chris Grantham

Google Helps Nudge People Toward Solar Power


(Source: Google Project Sunroof)

A team of Google engineers just released a tool called Project Sunroof to help users understand the sun your roof gets and the benefits of installing solar panels to capture that energy. They adapted the high-resolution aerial maps from Google Earth to estimate the total sunlight a rooftop receives throughout the year. The tool then tells you how much you can expect to save with solar panels under different financing plans (you can plug in your current electric bill for a more refined calculation) and connects you with local companies that do installations.

Why It’s Hot:

This tool is certainly valuable for anyone thinking about a solar panel installation, and for anyone who wants to know whether he or she should be thinking about it. It’s a potentially valuable tool for Google as well since those suggestions for companies to install solar panels for you are sponsored by the companies themselves. In other words, Google is giving you a tool with unbiased information to point you in the direction of a service (paid advertiser) that can help you with the install. Providing a simple to use service that helps solve a problem or overcome a barrier leads to a better customer experience and ultimately a purchase.


We are Screwing Up the Mobile Experience

In this article, Steve Smith rants, and commenters add more fuel to the fire:

Along with eyeballs, time spent, content and ad dollars, the clutter and crap that has made the overall desktop Web experience a horror show had gone mobile too. Too many publishers are so frantically chasing monetization that the overall UX is degenerating quickly. My main pet peeves:

Native Run Amok: Publishers are piling on so many different modes of native ad monetization now, that the one-column mobile feed is cluttered and editorial voice is unclear.

Intrusive Ads Are Becoming Obstructive: a.) in-feed mobile ad units that hijack the basic scroll gesture. b.) microscopic Close buttons that are designed to be missed or to trigger the ad click.

Persistent Banner Obstructs Navigation: In Safari, the Back/Forward menu disappears when you start scrolling a Web page and is reinvoked by a gentle tap. A bottom-lying persistent banner confuses the user, who risks clicking into the ad rather than the menu.

Banners Are Not Scaling: As often as not, ad units look poorly sized in. Even large square units carry microscopic information. Likewise, banners scaled to a mobile are making their way onto tablets. So you get a ridiculously small ad unit combined with creative that is too small even for the mobile phone format, on a larger screen.

Ad Clutter Is Real: Sites are stacking their house app ad on top of a standard banner and then following it with a sponsored post. One article refers to house app interstitials as Kanye West-style hijacking:

Kanye West’s hijacking of Taylor Swift’s big moment:

Kanye West UX

Kanye-style hijacking of the UX:

Guardian mobile app

A Kinder Way of Delivering the App Offer:

Amazon mobile screenshot

“Responsive” To What? To Whom?:  The components of most sites make a lot more sense in the multi-columned desktop or tablet format. When stacked atop one another they feel like a random content pile-up.

Why It’s Hot: We’re buying more mobile inventory everyday; following the eyeballs, time spent and content…and landing in the middle of some very frustrating consumer experiences. We can talk to partners about concerns and exercise more caution when considering ad placement, as well as can help our clients to develop more satisfying user experiences for their own mobile site visitors.