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Dealble – Set Keyword Alerts on Daily Deal Sites

19 Aug


Dealble is a little hack I put together to solve a specific problem I have having: I get way too many emails from daily deal sites like Groupon, Living Social, BuyWithMe, etc..

Opening up your inbox and discovering a coupon for something that you’ve wanted or are interested in is great, but it happens rarely. Because most of the deal sites out there use categories to target their customers, people wind up getting deals that they might not necessarily be interested in.

Because I once bought a street fighting class, that does not mean that I am interested in all types of classes.


Dealble lets you type in words or phrases that you know you want and then alert you when deals that contain those words or phrases pop up. You can set alerts for things like “movie tickets”, “skydiving” or even “50% off”. You don’t need to constantly check your inbox and wade through all of the junk, hoping to find a gem.

Currently Dealble is using the Yipit api to aggregate the content from over 482 daily deal sites across a variety of cities. Users can set multiple keyword alerts and the system pings the Yipit database every 4 hours so you can be sure that you’ll never miss a deal’s deadline.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

Diggin in the crates

19 Aug

Diggin in the crates

Diggin in the crates is the beautiful thesis of designer/developer Roland Loesslein, and is an interactive installation which offers possibilities to explore Sampling as a production technology of modern music.

Diggin in the crates

While dynamic data visualizations will be navigated using modified turntables, information graphics as well as auditory contributions will help participants to understand the complex contents and relations.

Diggin in the crates

To learn more, and see some gorgeous dataviz, watch the Diggin In The Crates video on vimeo.


23 Nov


For the past few months I have been working on a building a Q&A cooking community that has recently gone live, Wetawa. Because I’m admittedly not a fantastic cook, a Q&A site is something that is a necessity for someone like me.

The current landscape for online culinary knowledge leave a lot of be desired. Almost all google searches bring up recipes,which is great if that is something that you’re experienced. But, im my position, I’m still left dumbfounded. What if I dont have all of the ingredients? Which substitutes can I use? What if I don’t know what some of the terms mean, or how to change the number of servings?

Cooking isn’t just recipes, there is a whole knowledge base that isn’t easily accesible online. That is what we are trying accomplish with Wetawa, our goal is to make cooking and food in general more approachable, easy and fun.


The project began almost a year ago when my old colleague, Akeem Philbert, approached me with the concept. What started as a simple question and answer site has grown into an intelligent, merit-based community that actively rewards participation. The site experience is also fully customizable. All content is tagged with keywords that users can like or dislike. Those likes & dislikes, combined with their location and browsing history allow us to offer really powerful and appropriate recommendations to our users.

The content of each page can be adjusted in realtime to narrow the results to quickly find whatever it is they are looking for. The site also leverages one-click, Open ID account creation. If you have a Gmail, Yahoo, Aol, Facebook, or Twitter account then you can quickly and easily start participating in the conversation.

After a short invite-only beta test we have decided to open Wetawa to the general public. Although the site is still in its infancy, we are excited about the response that we have gotten so far. We have a long list of new functionality planned – lots of cool features for bargain hunters, bloggers, and both budding and established chefs.

Please join in the conversation and let us know what you think!

Temporary Ties and the rise of social “Like”

24 Jun

A few months ago the Facebook ‘Become a Fan” button died a quiet death. Its replacement was the “Like” button. Overall this doesn’t seem like much of a big deal but because of the level of perceived commitment the new ‘Like’ button took off.

Like is the New Fan

Recently I read a great article about how entertainment brands were seeing a surge in popularity on Facebook.

The bar was lowered in terms of commitment for people, Facebook thought they’d get a better conversion, while believing people would be more in favor of following a page if it was simply a ‘like thing’ rather than a ‘fan thing.’ And they were totally right.

Reading this article reminded me of the concept of temporary ties, as written about by Paul Adams here.

Temporary ties have always existed, but the web is bringing them to the fore. Think about some people you’ve only interacted with once. You don’t actually know who they are. A store assistant, a call center employee, the person you bought from on eBay. These are examples of your temporary ties. Temporary ties are much more common online than offline.

I think that the recent changes in Facebook have only added to the momentum of temporary ties’ popularity. We may not realize it but we use these temporary ties to influence our behavior constantly – I buy product that have highest reviews, I watch videos that have lots of “likes’, I look at similar items that others have also viewed, I read stories that have lots of votes, etc…

In almost every case I do not know the other people, but they have helped influence my actions. Because of the low level of commitment required, often just a click (a vote, a rating, a like, etc..) users are not cautious about engagement. I think in the future we will start to see many more site designers and architects bubble up these temporary ties and more users taking advantage of the benefits.

If you are interested, here are some great articles on the subject:

If you enjoyed this blog post – click the like button below :)

Real Life Tron

18 Jun

ENVISION: Step into the sensory box. Under this name hides the immersive experience offered by Alcatel-Lucent to its customers at the last Mobile World Congress. An experience-based video mapping designed by the agency and the Department SUPERBIEN New Media Agency \ Auditorium. The public was invited into a cube and discover an artistic vision of the tagline of the event: Transforming the mobile experience.

ENVISION : Step into the sensory box from SUPERBIEN on Vimeo.

There seems to be quite a bit of speculation as to how exactly it was done. But, by any method, the outcome is absolutely stunning.

James Roper

11 Jun

James Roper is an artist & illustrator from Manchester, English who showed in New York last summer. Unfortunately I missed his show, but have ever since been enamored by his work. After doing a bit of google kung-fu I was able to find his website and more examples of his work:

Artist and Illustrator James Roper

Artist and Illustrator James Roper




Looking Into the Past

25 Feb

Looking Into The Past

Looking Into the Past is a Flickr pool that lays two picture of the same location, but from different times, over each other. It’s a fun and creative way to see how scenery has changed over time. You can see how structures have been built, modified and demolished.

Looking Into The Past

Looking Into The Past

Jasonepowel, the group admin, has this note about the group:
This group is for images you make where some part of a modern day scene is overlapped by an old photograph. For example, you hold up an old photo so that you can see its place in the modern context.

Check out the whole Flickr pool here:

Wireframes vs No Wireframes

16 Feb

I recently read an article in UX Magazine of all places, questioning the need for presenting wireframes to clients. This article seems to take the stance that wireframes are the blue-print for visual designs and can have negative repercussions when they are discussed with the client.

The author states that: [Wireframes] provide guidance for the rest of the design process …for the designer. They can, however, be problematic or useless for the client and in some cases they’re simply a waste of time…..Put another way, many designers generate and present wireframes to clients not because they know it’s a good idea in a specific case, but because they’ve seen or heard of others doing so and they therefore think they’re supposed to as well.

In my professional experience wireframes should not be treated as blueprints for designs. Project managers or project leads that treat wireframes like this will get uninspired, over engineered designs.

Wireframes are a granular way for developers to see the functionality and interactions that need to be developed. If they have any questions, they should be able to refer to an annotated wire frame to get their answer. Wireframes are crucial to designers, to educate us to what needs to be on the page but even more crucial to the developers that are building the page.

From a visual standpoint, wireframes are just a guide. As I design a site I ask myself questions, “Does this have to be a traditional tab or could it be a pill-slider? Could this text be represented by an icon? ”

The wireframes serve my purpose as a list of what has to be on the page and give me contextual hierarchy. The interpretation of what is on the page is (usually) left open to the designer. When it comes time to go through a review process, I try to show an early take on the design next to the related wireframe. This educates the client to that fact that there is still a design process remaining after the wireframes are finished. They can see, and approve, a wireframe and then see the evolution of that wire into design. They realize that wireframes are not visual design.

Educating your client about the process is cricual to getting successful results and a happy client. The article is interesting mostly because of the conversations that it sparked within the user comments:

Ross Racine

5 Jan

Artist Ross Racine is an artist who does freehand drawings of fictional, planned communities from an aerial perspective. I like his work because all of the pieces are photo-real yet contain patterns and an level of symmetry that wouldn’t be found in the real world.

I am reminded of various data visualization techniques when I see Racine’s execution of the work and think about each item being a household with living, breathing families.

Investigating the relation between design and actual lived experience, the works subvert the apparent rationality of urban design, exposing conflicts that lie beneath the surface. These digital drawings are a comment on the fears as well as the dreams of suburban culture.

You can see more of his work and get info about the artist here.

Burton Web Presents

22 Dec

I just bolted up out of my office chair and ran 6 blocks, down crowded Manhattan streets, to a store I rarely go to for a brand whose products I’ve never owned. I did this all because a recent online campaign and if that is not successful marketing, then I’m not sure what is.

Burton WebPresents

Last week Burton Snowboards launched an interesting social campaign. For 10 days straight they will broadcast 24 hours a day from their Vermont headquarters. The hook is that randomly, over the web-cast, they will be giving away thousands of dollars worth of prizes.

Burton WebPresents

Come for the webcast, but stay for the prizes. Giveaways will range from t-shirts and stickers to custom Series 13 boards, season passes, shopping sprees, and special trips—this is one webcast that you won’t want to miss.

From prizes, team interviews, and haircuts, to challenges ranging from sending faxes and searching your local shop for hidden treasure, the entire webcast is sure to insight a riot. The exact details concerning size and scale of giveaways and promotions are still secret at this point, but all clues lead to big doings.

What I find successful about this marketing campaign is the level of activity that the consumers are participating in. I found out about it because my friend, psychosaif had been following them on twitter for the past 3 days. The moment they announced the location of the NYC giveaway he instant messaged me and told me what to do and where to go. After running to the store (and finding out I was the 2nd person) I got back to the office and looked them up on twitter.

Burton is maintaining conversations with consumer all across the US/CA in real time. Winners of the contests are interviewed via the web cam and broadcast to all of the viewers. Chat rooms, available on their website, are full of consumers talking about the interviews and begging for clues to the next giveaway. The dedication of their fan-base is astounding. Whatever the total cost of the giveaways, having your target audience be glued to your website 24/7 and still remain captivated is priceless.

The Burton Web Presents ends on December 25, so check it out while you can.