Here are 3 lightning talks about innovation, emerging tech, and voice design from NICAR 2018 (with slides)

Last week I spoke on a panel titled “How emerging technologies can aid your storytelling,” alongside Padraic Cassidy, Simon Rogers, and Emily Withrow, and moderated by Marc Lavallee. We each gave lightning talk-style presentations around three major themes: which emerging tools we’re using and excited about, why it’s worth making the case for experimentation, and how to incorporate experimentation into your workflow and user experience. 

My lightning talks are shared below. Enjoy!

Innovating on a Legacy Platform

Innovation tends to evoke new products, interactions, or interfaces. What usually does not come to mind are monolithic, existing infrastructures that are already in use. At Vox Media, that existing infrastructure, some of our oldest technology, is our content management system, called Chorus.

Chorus is an incredible tool, but it’s also a heavy, workhorse CMS where innovation is difficult. This talk walks through how our teams still found opportunities to experiment and make bets while working within the confines of our legacy CMS.

 

Designing for a New Interface

While on Vox Media’s innovation team, I designed a voice bot without having worked with voice before. This talk shares the three things I took away from that experience that will help you the next time you’re faced with designing—or conceiving or developing—a new interface.

 

Lessons from Alpha (our short-lived-but-quite-informative innovation team)

A few years ago, I led design on Vox Media’s first-ever innovation team called Alpha. Alpha was short-lived and eventually sunsetted, but it made an impression that long outlasted its actual run time at the company. Even now, we still talk about Alpha on the product team—in fairness, we mostly talk about what we’d do differently, but we also recognize Alpha’s strengths and what we can take away and apply to our product teams moving forward.

This final talk details my takeaways from my time on Alpha. I hope these tips will help you if you are considering pursuing more experimental projects or even spinning up an innovation team.

UX and Design, Design

A Highly Subjective Guide to Design Prototyping Tools

A few weeks ago, my design director asked if I’d mind making a quick six-screen prototype that we could test with users. The mocks were done, and all I needed to do was string them together into a prototype that we could load into our testing suite.

I flipped through my mental rolodex of prototyping tools. Sure, I said. I estimated a few hours, tops. Those few hours soon stretched into a week.

Design, UX and Design

Three questions I asked myself after attending IxDA’s Interaction 17

Last week, I attended Interaction 17, Interaction Design Association’s annual conference. Alongside more than 1,000 other designers and makers, I listened to dozens of presentations about applying design to real world problems. I heard folks detail the challenges of expanding internet access in far-flung regions of Africa, designing interactions for automated cars, and staying mindful while still engaging with wearable technology products

Design, UX and Design, Journalism

Speaking at Society for News Design's conference in Charlotte this April

I’m thrilled to say that I will be speaking at the Society for News Design’s conference in a few months. I’ll discuss how I approached adapting the design process for a voice-based interface, inspired by this case study I wrote last year for Vox Media's product blog. SND interviewed me for their website, and I figured I’d repost it here. Enjoy! 

UX and Design, Project Development

Five Questions to Consider When Onboarding New Users

Onboarding is the process of introducing new users to a product. At its most basic level, onboarding should explain how your product works. But truly effective onboarding sends an even deeper message. It should let users know how your product will enhance their lives. Most users call it quits after only a few times trying a problematic app—onboarding may be your only chance to convince users that your product is worth their time and energy.