WeChat and the future of CX

The story of the internet has mostly run west to east, San Francisco to Shanghai. WeChat has proven an exception. In China, it has become the dominant platform for everything from social media, bill pay, and messaging.

In the last 2 years, it has added digital storefronts to it’s roster. Businesses like HeyTea are primarily using it–instead of their own app or website– to reduce wait times through mobile ordering.

Image result for heytea whatsapp

Why it’s hot: 

With Facebook looking to integrate Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp with each other and with business payments, it’s worth asking whether a unified online experience with one app for all purchases, messages, and media is the customer experience that we will ultimately demand, or whether a series of apps and websites–each with their own usernames, passwords, and interfaces has benefits that will stand the test of time.


The Office: An In-Depth Analysis of Workplace User Behavior

The New York Times came out with another interactive long-form piece, this time about workplace culture.

Replete with button sound effects and office ASMR.

Lot’s of fun buttons to push to reveal quotes of office confessions from NYTimes readers.


Engages their community.

Overall, great UX.

Mid-century-modern design style points.

Elevator doors open onto 7 different floor with links to articles constellated around the theme.

Why it’s hot:

It’s great to see the way journalism outlets are pushing the envelope in online media. This kind of cool, interactive reading experience keeps people on the site and makes this content very sharable.



Domino’s v. Disability

In 2016, Guillermo Robles, a visually impaired man, sued Domino’s Pizza because their website and app were not compatible with screen-reading software, making online delivery impossible. Robles’s lawyers argued that this violated the American Disability Act (ADA), which requires that “places of public accommodation” be accessible. After the case was initially dismissed by a district court because of a lack of Justice Department guidelines, a federal appeals court ruled in Robles’s favor.

Now Domino’s is appealing the decision, asking the Supreme Court to decide that it does not have a legal obligation to follow the ADA online. The case pits a company defined by delivery against the very customers who need it most.

Illustration for article titled Domino's Could Fuck Up the Internet for People With Disabilities Because They Won't Just Fix Their Website

Why it’s hot

At stake is the future of user experience. If courts decide that the American Disability Act extends to the internet, then designers may be legally required to accommodate all users on all projects that accommodate the public.

See the full Gizmodo article here.

How Headspace rebranded meditation

Head of design Anna Charity worked to wring “all the mysticism and cliched imagery” from meditation–and instead position it as a tool for solving everyday problems. In an interview with Doreen Lorenzo (for ‘Designing women’), Anna shared some of her strategies on doing so. Here are some of the most interesting excerpts from the interview:

DL: What were some of the challenges you encountered from a design perspective?

AC: Meditation is a skill, and it’s also a hard thing to explain. Moreover, it has a lot of clichés attached to it. We wanted to offer more of a raw, honest look at meditation as something that feels more accessible, rather than the mystical faraway imagery that a lot of people don’t necessarily relate to. Headspace is about using meditation to deal with the challenges we face in life. It’s not about zoning out or escaping our problems. The fact that we have access to all these incredible stories through Andy (the cofounder and voice of Headspace) means we can talk about meditation in a compelling way. And these narratives have become an integral part of the experience.

DL: Does it differ from culture to culture as you design this? This is an international program.

AC: One of the main things that we considered when we created the brand was that meditation should feel like it’s for everybody, and it should feel accessible and inclusive. More importantly, we try to show meditation in a really everyday way–we show it in contexts that people can easily imagine. And one thing that all of us have in common is, is that we have a mind. Ever since Headspace’s inception, we have always used characters and storytelling to explain meditation. As we all know, our minds are a complex place. They are full of different thoughts and emotions, and it isn’t always an easy place to inhabit. (That’s the reason meditation is so valuable.) From this, we knew we had to develop a style that communicated these ideas in an approachable and relatable way. And more importantly, we found that characters are a great vehicle to represent the weirdness inside your head because they feel playful and memorable.

Why it’s hot: Great design solving real-life problems for everyday people.

Source: FastCo


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.