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Weekly Inspirations: October 16th, 2015

Here are the things that I think are worth reading and checking out this week:

Savant And Ammunition Make Smart-Home Programming Easy As Taking A Screenshot

The consensus on smart-home electronics so far is that they’re long on promise, short on delivery. Sure, it’s possible to set up a system to dim your lights on command, but that often takes thousands of dollars of professional installation and programming to accomplish. Savant, a leader in ultra-high-end connected home systems – one of their points of pride is kitting out Steve Jobs’s yacht – is bringing a new family of wireless products to the public that aims to make the connected home more accessible and “democratize lifestyle automation.” It looks pretty cool and like it might finally be the one home automation to run them all.
Read the article here.

5 Reasons to develop your personal brand

Personal branding allows a professional to show the world what he or she is about as an individual employee. A personal brand can show the skills and qualities that someone has, defining what makes them important or different. In a competitive world, it is very important that individuals are able to find an edge on their competition. Here are five reasons you need to develop your personal brand.
Read the article here.

MIT Invents A Flowing River Of 3-D Pixels That Lets Objects Assemble Themselves

When MIT’s Tangible Media Group first unveiled its shapeshifting display, the inFORM, one thing the team pointed out was that it had a lot of possibilities for the manufacturing and industrial sectors. With Kinetic Blocks, a follow-up of sorts to the inFORM, the Tangible Media Group chose to explore this potential, showing how the conveyor-belt assembly lines of today could be replaced by flowing rivers of 3-D pixels. Like the inFORM, Kinetic Blocks is a flatbed “shape display” made up of computer-controlled pins, with a Microsoft Kinect as an overhanging eye. What has been supercharged here is the ability and granularity with which those pins can manipulate objects. In their video demonstration, the Tangible Media Group shows how the Kinetic Blocks platform can be used to stack, rotate, twist, and move blocks, without any human intervention. It can even construct preprogrammed structures.
Read the article here.

How To Customize UX For Mobile

So what does psychology have to do with it? When it comes to user experience, almost everything. With so many device types and sizes and so many different ways to design websites for those devices, the user experience a designer creates is what determines overall success of the site and whether a user will return.
Read the article here.

Tools That Help Inform Design Decisions

These implementation tools are indispensable and part of my daily workflow. Other tools that I find indispensable are services that I use to gather information and help inform design decisions. I’m surprised when I talk to other designers who don’t use or have access to these types of tools for research and insights. Without these tools I’d be blind and making decisions based on intuition and best practices, which can only get you so far. Both quantitative and qualitative research help us validate decisions, discover new opportunities, measure and improve experiences. We don’t want to make decisions based purely on data. But if there is data available or an existing user base, we should be doing everything we can to collect and understand it, before designing our solutions.
Read the article here.

A UX Legend On The Much-Rumored Death Of The Design Firm

Today, there are dozens of examples of hugely successful, design-driven companies. The message is getting through: User experience design makes you more successful. And so it’s understandable that company men nudge each other and grunt, “We need some of that design stuff!” They hire independent firms. They gain value from a novel perspective. Then, after a while, these same business people ask themselves if they might not save money by bringing some designers in-house. Wouldn’t it be more efficient, they ask, if these designers worked for us instead of for some outside firm? The answer, of course, is that it would be more efficient. But that simple answer hides the more significant question: Is more efficiency what you need? Is efficiency going to help you succeed? The companies buying design firms may ultimately find that they didn’t get the benefit they imagined. Bringing a troupe of independent practitioners in-house likely will not dull their practice, but it certainly ends their independence, and it is precisely that independence that allows us to work our magic.
Read the article here.

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