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FlightSafety Product Design System in Sketch

FlightSafety Product Design System in Sketch

Hello All

This week we start off with a long look at several User Experience articles. I have been a big fan of Sketch for years as it enables UX Designers to quickly build strong libraries of assets to used and re-use within wireframes, designs, and layouts. The first post documents a strong process of creating a Product Design System, a document within Sketch to hold a styleguide, assets, and symbols library. I have been working upon a document here at FlightSafety, which enables the UXD team to build consistent designs, assets, and wireframes. This process can be slow and methodical, but as Alexandre Trimoulet describes in detail, a proper Design System is never complete. As products grow, change, and incorporate feedback, so must the Design System. Adaptation for any system within a large corporation will take time, but the benefits of all the hard work will eventually pay off dividends. I like to think that building a strong Symbols Library in Sketch allows designers and developers to take an object-oriented design approach with building products and consistent experiences across devices.

The next several links cover Flat & Material Design, and their relationship to Skeuomorphic Design. Material Design is a mature system which takes the good aspects of both Flat and Skeuomorphic, but yet enables consistency and adaptability. Motivating users is a tricky bit of work. Some social networking applications create a strong sense of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) through notifications, endless-scrolling, update emails, etc; all of which bring users back and back again in an almost addictive way. While I do not condone that type of motivation, there are effective ways in which to provide value to users without becoming a Pavlovian habit. Next we look at reasons why feature-creep can send projects into a tailspin, and how to avoid this occurrence. Lastly a great piece on the dangers of social media apps and how some users are feeling manipulated. The solution? Delete some of these apps and take a healthier and more deliberate approach to social networking.

Managing people is never an easy task for anyone. Think back to some of the best teachers, coaches, and managers for whom you have learned from and worked. What enabled them to motivate and reach you? To be effective, communication and transparency are essential, as solving problems together builds unity and cohesion between groups of individuals. This post from Harvard Business School outlines several effective methods for all team members to improve communication and collaboration.

Next we move on to look at several links within tech. Could drones be used to help deploy supplies for the Puerto Rico relief effort? Google announced several new devices this past week, but was notable was their work in response to research from Xerox Parc. Ubiquitous computing has grown in leaps and bounds over the years and we are fast approaching a period in which enough cameras, microphones, and services can be used to create a better life for ourselves. Dyson may be entering the electric automotive business. Could their appliance design and development push the automotive industry in a new direction? AirBnB is adapting and providing their users with more services. Pivoting for any large business is essential to stay relevant and adapt to a changing business landscape. How could we adapt our business and work to better serve our customers? Well worth a discussion. Next up is Tom Petty’s final interview. Taken a few days before his tragic passing, Tom discusses the merits of working with a group of musicians and friends over a long period of time.

Finally we look at the stark realities of gun violence in the United States. This NY Times graphic simply shows that over 477 days, 521 mass shootings took place in the United States, and there was 0 action from our Congress. Zero.


1. Creating A First Product Design System In Sketch
“My journey on creating the first Product Design System at Agorize. The problem is that we have a product with a consumer-facing side and a client-facing side, and that they were based on 2 two different front frameworks. He told me that my main mission was to find a way to visually merge the 2 parts of the product. I understood I will have to make a styleguide, to have one source of truth and make our product consistent, while working on new features planned in the roadmap.”

2. Making Flat Design Usable
“The hazards of flat design and 5 key UX guidelines for making flat design usable.”

3. Flat Design VS. Material Design: How Are They Different?
“But what are the differences between the two, really? Is one inherently better than another? Better for certain uses? In fact, some people wonder how much difference there is between them in the first place. Let’s start with the basics: it lies in the amount of skeuomorphism present in each one.”

4. Two Types Of User Motivation: Design To Satisfy
“No doubt, every designer — as well as any creative person — wishes to make something desired by lots of users, preferably on a regular basis. There is a group of creators who claim that they are interested in the process or the fact of creation and don’t care about the further life of the product, still, it’s incredibly tiny if compared to the number of people who want to see the results of their creative work usable, useful and regularly used. One of the key factors to achieve this goal is knowing the final users and ways to motivate them. So, today let’s take another little journey to the psychology of users, this time concentrating on types of motivation and their influence on design solutions.”

5. Your App Is An Onion: Why Software Projects Spiral Out Of Control
“You start with the best of intentions. You hire a developer to build out your startup idea. But almost every week, it feels like the project needs tweaking. Features start creeping in, and the scope slowly expands. It’s as if the project has a life of its own, and is trying to destroy your life.”

6. Stop The Endless Scroll. Delete Social Media From Your Phone
“All social media is designed to keep us coming back, but that’s especially true of mobile apps. In recent years, there’s been pushback against the sticky interface design on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Features like autoplay, endless scroll, reverse chronological timelines, and push notifications were once heralded as frictionless, user-friendly design. Now they’re described as manipulative.”

7. 7 Effective Ways To Lead Teams
“Managers of teams require communications skills, organizational capabilities, and a knack for judging how people might work together. Research from Harvard Business School investigates the challenges of team leadership.”

8. Where Are The Drones That Could Be Saving Puerto Rico?
With the crisis in Puerto Rico unfolding—and expanding—daily in the wake of Hurricane Maria, the scale of the devastation is coming into horrifying focus. It’s not just that the American territory has been, by many accounts, “destroyed.” It’s that crucial relief supplies aren’t reaching the island.

9. Google’s Gadget Vision: Same Stuff, Different Screens
“In 1999, Mark Weiser, the chief scientist at the famed Xerox Parc research lab, wrote a paper called “The Computer for the 21st Century.” In it, he outlined a world in which technology became mostly invisible, electronics and computers running for our benefit but without our constant attention. He also imagined a different kind of gadget. “Ubiquitous computers will also come in different sizes, each suited to a particular task,” Weiser wrote. “My colleagues and I have built what we call tabs, pads and boards: inch-scale machines that approximate active Post-It notes, foot-scale ones that behave something like a sheet of paper (or a book or a magazine), and yard-scale displays that are the equivalent of a blackboard or bulletin board.” These things would adapt and interact, allowing people to use any device they could find any way they wanted. Some things worked better on small screens; others on large ones. But anything was possible.”

10. Dyson’s Bid To Build An Electric Car Just Might Work
No automaker likes hearing someone refer to one of its vehicles as an ‘appliance.’ In an industry that trades on passion and excitement, reducing a car to the equivalent of a toaster or microwave—utilitarian, mundane—feels like failure. But the auto industry might need a new insult, if the man who made a fortune building some of the world’s coolest appliances pulls of his plan to create an electric car.

11. AirBnB May Start Booking Restaurant Tables. 4 Steps That Make Big Pivots Possible
“The company recently added restaurants to their booking options.”

12. Tom Petty: The Final Interview
“”The thing about the Heartbreakers is, it’s still holy to me,” he said with no air of loftiness or pretense. “There’s a holiness there. If that were to go away, I don’t think I would be interested in it, and I don’t think they would. We’re a real rock ‘n’ roll band — always have been. And to us, in the era we came up in, it was a religion in a way. It was more than commerce, it wasn’t about that. It was about something much greater.”

13. 477 Days. 521 Mass Shootings. Zero Action From Congress.
“Each colored square represents a day in which at least one mass shooting took place in the United States.”