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Hello All

After a short break, we return with several engaging articles and topic within this post of the UXD Weekly Inspired Reads.

Onboarding can be a game changer for users as they first learn about the application and experience, regardless of the device. While we mostly see onboarding within mobile apps, the first couple of articles cover exactly why we need to pay so much attention to this crucial first impression. User Interviews are also highly useful to help designers, product managers, and developers build experiences, features, and tools that users actually want. Creating a product without engaging users, gathering feedback, and incorporating revisions is akin to designing in the dark. At FlightSafety, our primary color is blue, which incidentally is the most frequently used color on UI design.

Next we read about Marvel’s approach to Product Management and the Design Process. Designing products can be a lengthy task, but this piece does an excellent job of examining the roles of individuals and teams within both Human/User Design and Design thinking processes. Our next piece is a tremendous interview with Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx apparel. Sara’s father helped lay the foundation for her success by helping her to fail faster and constantly learn from her mistakes. While this concept is not new, failing is often the best teacher we may have as we strive to learn from our mistakes and improve. What have you failed at this week?

The next several articles cover Artificial Intelligence and the role it may have within our ever evolving future landscape. Will work as many of know it exist in the future? What can we replace with intelligent automation to allow us to focus our time on better tasks? Autonomous driving is certainly coming our way, though Bob Lutz believes that automobiles with Internal Combustion Engines as we know them now, will be largely extinct within five years time. I give it more time that than, but AI is bringing about changes that will have many major repercussions.

We look at what changes and safety measures have been employed within NYC, post Hurricane Sandy. As evidenced by the onslaught of more powerful storms this year, our world is changing. Are we prepared? The next piece looks at poverty and the widening gulf between winners and losers. But author Anand Giridharadas challenges us to “Do more good” along with “Do less harm”. He poses hard questions like the following: “Ask yourself: Does the world need more food companies donating playgrounds to children, or rather reformed food companies that don’t profit from fattening children?” Challenging oneself to do more good while also doing less harm are ideals worth pursuing.

Lastly, we take a look at the tragic death of former Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays baseball pitcher Roy Halladay, who tragically lost his life piloting an Icon A5 Aircraft.


1. App Onboarding 101: 7 Tips for Creating Engaged, Informed Users
“App onboarding is key for one core reason: if users don’t understand your app, they won’t use it. The onboarding process is a user’s first impression of your app, and when designed correctly, increases the likelihood of successful adoption. When a user launches your app for the first time, the onboarding process reinforces your app’s value and provides instructions that highlight key benefits and features. A strong onboarding process is essential to your app’s success – in a case study conducted with Slice, we found that retention rates went up 50% after implementing a solid onboarding process.”

2. 15 Tools To Onboard And Engage New Users
“Acquiring new customers is the biggest hurdle any new business faces. To solve this challenge, there are emerging tools and technologies designed to measure customer sign-up success and empower users with effective self-service tools and content. The process of converting new sign-ups into active users, or onboarding, demonstrates your product’s value, educates users and guides them through the features of your website or application.”

3. Instructional Overlays and Coach Marks for Mobile Apps
“Almost every app on the market today has some sort of coach mark (a transparent overlay of UI hints) or tutorial shown on the first launch. While the presence of such instructional screens is often unnecessary, there are times when it is helpful to the user to get a nudge in the right direction. If you have decided to include a coach mark or some other form of hints and tips to explain a unique feature of your app, follow these guidelines to increase your odds of the tip being seen as helpful, and not as a hurdle to jump past.”

4. The Art Of The User Interview
“It’s pretty unlikely that you’ll ever design a product for yourself. If you want to make a product that will be used by other people, it’s essential to talk to them to discover their wants, needs and, experiences.”

5. The Most Important Color In UI Design
“As you probably already guessed this article is dedicated to blue color. Without a doubt, blue is one of the most important colors in UI design, and one of the most frequent. Just look at your smartphone app icons, and you’ll see that a lot of them are blue: Facebook, Twitter, Shazam, Safari, etc.”

6. How To Mash-Up And Benefit From PM And The Design Thinking Process
“Ever struggled with managing your projects or PMs trying to do so? Well, there is an app… hmm… or something different for that… This is not about comparing the HCD process to PM but to overlay the two disciplines in order to gain an understanding when working in an environment where people rely one or the other.”

7. Billionaire CEO Sara Blakely Says These 7 Words Are The Best Career Advice She Ever Got
“Sara Blakely founded Spanx in her late 20s. The company made $4 million in sales in its first year and $10 million in its second year. In 2012, Forbes named Blakely the youngest self-made woman billionaire in the world. She is clearly massively successful. Yet when asked what the best advice she ever received was, she doesn’t talk about success. Instead, she talks about how, as a child, her father would sit her down at the dining room table and ask her the same question: ‘What did you fail at this week?'”

8. The Meaning Of Life In A World Without Work
“Most jobs that exist today might disappear within decades. As Artificial Intelligence outperforms humans in more and more tasks, it will replace humans in more and more jobs. Many new professions are likely to appear: virtual-world designers, for example. But such professions will probably require more creativity and flexibility, and it is unclear whether 40-year-old unemployed taxi drivers or insurance agents will be able to reinvent themselves as virtual-world designers (try to imagine a virtual world created by an insurance agent!). And even if the ex-insurance agent somehow makes the transition into a virtual-world designer, the pace of progress is such that within another decade he might have to reinvent himself yet again.”

9. AI Will Get Smarter When We Better Understand Our Brains
“The holy grail for AI research has always been creating machines that can think like (or better than) humans. Whether it’s making Alex or Google Assistant better at natural language processing or using reinforcement learning to develop AI that can teach itself, the ultimate goal has always been clear – creating smart AI that can rival, or even exceed, the level of complexity exhibited by the human brain.”

10. Bob Lutz: Kiss The Good Times Goodbye (from Dan)
“‘Everyone will have 5 years to get their car off the road or sell it for scrap'”

11. Five Years After Sandy, Are We Better Prepared?
“While much of New York City’s battered infrastructure has been repaired and even improved, most long-term resiliency measures are still years away.”

12. The Thriving World, The Wilting World, And You
“The world, especially the developing world, has hugely reduced poverty in recent decades. Yet we plainly live in a new Gilded Age, in which extraordinary changes in our economies and technologies have created, as revolutionary times always do, extreme winners and extreme losers.”

13. Roy Halladay, 40, dies in plane crash in Gulf of Mexico
“Roy Halladay, a two-time Cy Young Award-winning pitcher who retired from baseball nearly four years ago, died when his plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday. He was 40. Halladay’s ICON A5, a small, single-engine aircraft, went down around noon Tuesday off the coast of Florida, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said at a news conference.”