We've officially kicked off ZURBwired 2014 with Sacred Heart! Over the course of the next 24 hours, we'll publish our progress through blog posts, photos and videos. If you haven't seen our previous wireds, you can check out the previous years to see what an amazing group of people can accomplish under a 24 hour ticking clock.
Follow along over the next 24 hours as we race to help this nonprofit create an amazing marketing campaign for both their 50th anniversary and holiday drive:
We're counting down the hours to tomorrow's ZURBwired event, our yearly design sprint to help a nonprofit through a marketing campaign. And we couldn't be more excited to work with Sacred Heart, this year's nonprofit! We want to thank all the nonprofits who sent in so many excellent proposals!
The timing couldn't be more right for Sacred Heart. This year, they're celebrating 50 years of their mission — to help struggling families get food and gifts for their children they need during the holidays.
Not only did the folks at Sacred Heart have a strong mission, but their team had the magic mix of energy and clear goals we look for in a nonprofit. And they're willing to lose an entire night's sleep to get things done.
We're impressed with Sacred Heart's overall mission: end poverty in the community they serve. They help more than 75,000 people and families that...
Product teams competing on features are racing to the bottom. The design process and the design feedback loop are crucial to a successful product, and this feedback isn't just important on fleshed out prototypes, but for initial rough ideas as well.
We talked about PRDs and the unnecessary constraints that an archaic document will place on the team and how that hinders innovation. Here, we will look at the situation from the opposite point of view — what kind of product will result from an uninhibited flow of ideas?
The Engine of Design Thinking
You'll hear us talk about this a lot. This is design thinking. Designers cannot succeed without a feedback loop made up of design work, feedback, and iteration. At the center of this is the design work, which is not important in itself, but it is a way to solicit feedback and get the conversation started. Feedback is the...
Wow! We're both humbled and awed by the excitement behind Foundation for Apps — hundreds of thousands of people reading, sharing and reaching out to us about it! The response has amped us up, and we're continuing to push forward.
As we've mentioned before, Foundation for Apps has three main parts: the Grid, AngularJS integration and Motion UI. We've discussed the Grid, we've shown how we made Foundation for Sites accessible, and now we want to chat a little about the web and motion.
An Open Web Always Wins
2014 is the year of "Native Apps vs. Web Apps." Dozens of Medium posts and tech blogs have exhausted the pros and cons of both, and the results are fairly consistent. The general consensus: web apps are ideal for limiting work for the business and maximizing reach, while native apps tend to feel more slick and put together.
"Slick" is often a term...
ZURB Wired — our yearly design sprint to help one nonprofit though a marketing campaign — is around the corner. This year's event is on September 18th. And we're ready to take applications from interested nonprofits.
Just as we gear up for this year's event, we want to give a special shoutout to our friends at Rebekah Children's Services, who just redid their site on Foundation for Sites. They were 2011's Wired nonprofit and they took what they learned from working with us, and used that knowledge when it came to their website refresh.
In every Wired event we work alongside the nonprofit's team, teaching them how do more with less using Design Thinking and a feedback loop. And it's satisfying to see that our previous nonprofits continue to take what they learned and keep winning.
(Design) Thinking It Through
Tell us if this has happened to you. You've had a brilliant idea while collaborating with a teammate and sketched it out on the whiteboard. You don't want to lose your idea, so you snap a photo of it. Then you get back to your desk 15 minutes later. Voila! It looks awful. There's a glare from the lighting and you can't make out what you've sketched.
It's happened to us. You'd think that recording a collaborative whiteboard sketch would be easy — grab a smartphone, tap a button, and you've got a pic. In reality, we've had to squint our eyes and say, "Here's a layout. If you squint at this part ... ". Not ideal. And communicating our ideas is important, so we came up with a little photo trick.
Last time on the blog, we told you about the new grid in Foundation for Apps. A new framework doesn't mean we've abandoned Foundation 5, which is now part of a larger Foundation family that also includes responsive emails. Today, we're excited about our latest release of Foundation for Sites — version 5.4.
This isn't just another point release. It's a step toward creating a fully-mature framework that's accessible for everyone. Yep, you heard right — accessible. Along with the usual stellar fixes and features — like multi-level off-canvas navigation — we focused on web accessibility for this release.
A lot of good people have been making the web more accessible for people with vision, hearing and motor skill impairments. More and more designers are talking about accessibility. That's because the web is maturing and becoming less of a wild, wild west. There are...
Those who believe that great design speaks for itself are likely not in the problem solving business, and that results in dumb design. Product design problems are messy and twisted, and the only way to get them untangled is to talk them out and get teams aligned on the path forward. Designers, often eager to fight for their seat at the so-called table, underestimate the training it takes to win over the Devil's Advocate in a work session or presentation.
Design work needs to be strategically presented, and conversation delicately controlled. Beside being data analysts, interaction gurus and code junkies, every product designer needs to have a bit of a salesman in him. Not the slimy let-me-tell-you-what-you-need type, but more of a smart conversationalist, who plays to his strengths and knows how to shut down doubts in his audience.
These skills can be developed...
Foundation 5 is now "Foundation for Sites." Ink is becoming "Foundation for Emails." And Foundation for Apps will be the newest of our family. We're working on a ton of new features — all from the ground up and using Angular JS, some amazing Motion UI and a swank, new grid.
"New grid, you say? Tell us more."
No problem, here we go!
Using a Hammer When You Need a Nail Gun
Building things is hard. Building things with the wrong tools is even harder. The web has changed over the past several years and will continue to rapidly change. We're racing away from an advertising web that discusses things to a web of doing and creating things.
The shift from native apps to web apps has begun. Yet, we're using the wrong...
We're gearing up for our seventh ZURB Wired event, where we work alongside a nonprofit to get over a design hump. The catch: everything has to be done in a 24 hour time crunch.
We've worked with a number of nonprofits over our 16 years. We've noticed that an inspiring mission wasn't always enough to propel a nonprofit to success. For nonprofits, that mission is half the battle. The other half, however, is volunteers.
Volunteers come and go, like the ebb of a river, because life gets in the way. Nonprofits are constantly competing for a volunteer's free time. There are a dozen distractions that can get in the way. So it becomes very hard for nonprofits to mobilize their volunteers and get stuff done. Projects can linger and it seems like nothing will ever move, especially web-based projects. Everyone loses focus and sight. Priorities shift. A web project can...
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