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Empowering Nonprofits with Design

Danny wrote this on June 16, 2016 in . 789 reactions

Video explaining ZURB Wired

After nearly two decades, we've seen firsthand how Progressive Design has the power to transform entire organizations, and nowhere else is this transformation more startling than during Wired. ZURB Wired is our annual event where we give back to our community and dedicated 24 straight hours of our time and resources to help one special nonprofit achieve their goals. Our office becomes a command center, with our team and volunteers working straight through the night to create a new responsive website, print material, content, videos, shirts and more.

The work that our team creates in just 24 hours is so impactful that many of the organizations we've worked with are still benefitting from it months and even years later. But our goal isn't to create design artifacts, we want ZURB Wired to be a catalyst for lasting, positive change. By working directly with our team, each nonprofit learns our Progressive Design methods, strategies and processes which can help them continue to improve and grow their organization through design.We're extremely proud of the work we've accomplished so far, and we're ready to roll up our sleeves and do it again this year!

Highlights from Last Year: Downtown Streets Team

Last year, we selected Downtown Streets Team, an incredible nonprofit that's on a mission to end homelessness through the dignity of work. It was a coffee-fueled 24 hour frenzy to create an entire marketing push for their campaign to clean up our streets, educate our community about the causes of homelessness, and place those in need with jobs and housing. We even posted the entire project online to get live feedback from the thousands of people following along in real time.

Working with their team, we came up a message that all of our content and design revolved around, 'See. Change. Fight.' It was an aggressive approach with provocative language and a strong call to action to get involved to combat the causes of homelessness in the community. With a clear direction, we created a redesigned website, print collateral, digital assets, a video and marketing content.

Downtown Streets Team Regional Director Chris Richardson had this to say after ZURB Wired 2015 wrapped up:

'Everyone had the best things to say about the whole experience. I am so proud of the work we created between the ZURBians and Downtown Streets Team and am excited to put it to good use. Their expertise in design and the many different technologies required to give us a complete facelift, not to mention their dedication, made the 24 hours a huge success. Most of all, they were a blast to work with and our staff had some great bonding time.'

Become This Year's Nonprofit

Do you have an inspiring cause and a passionate team? If so, you may be the nonprofit we're looking for! We are now accepting applications for this year's Wired. The deadline is July 15, 2016. We have two requirements:

  • Your nonprofit must be a registered and IRS compliant 501(c)(3)
  • Your nonprofit must focus on providing services to the Bay Area community

In addition these requirements, we'll need you to submit a proposal. Here's what your proposal needs to include:

  • Inspire us with your organization's mission.
  • Name three teamwork tactics that will make your organization a perfect fit for ZURB Wired.
  • Describe a clear goal that your entire organization wants to accomplish.
  • Say which team members will commit to participating all day and night.
  • Name one or two people from the team who are capable of making executive decisions on the organization's behalf. There's no time to consult with the board at two in the morning!

We'll review submissions over the next couple of weeks to pick one nonprofit. We can't wait to mobilize our team and put our experience to work for positive cause. Apply today!

Submit Your Nonprofit's Proposal!

ZURB Wired 2015 Has Begun!

Danny wrote this on August 27, 2015 in . 10 reactions

It's GO time! We've just kicked off ZURB Wired 2015 with Downtown Streets Team! You can keep up with our progress in real-time as we publish our work through blog posts, photos and videos on our ZURB Wired page over the next 24 hours. You can get involved too! Keep an eye on the blog because we'll be posting Notable sets asking for your feedback on our work as we go.

You can help keep us pumped by cheering us on! Tweet us using our @ZURB handle and use the #ZURBWired hashtag and we'll be sure to share it with the teams here.

Lastly, every few hours we're going to hop on Periscope for some live video streaming. Keep an eye on our Twitter feed to be alerted when that happens!

So be a part of the action and follow along over the next 24 hours as we race to help Downtown Streets Team create an amazing marketing campaign!

ZURB Wired 2015: Announcing Downtown Streets Team as This Year's Nonprofit!

Danny wrote this on August 21, 2015 in . 61 reactions

After meeting with several amazing nonprofits, we've selected Downtown Streets Team for ZURB Wired 2015! We want to thank all of the other organizations who put together some amazing presentations for our team and look forward to keeping in contact for Wired 2016!

Downtown Streets Team is celebrating 10 years of helping the homeless transform their lives through their unique work and community beautification programs, in addition to assistance with housing, medical care and education. Our team was incredibly impressed by their personal success stories and the impact they're making in our community. Their team is committed, passionate and just crazy enough to take on this 24-hour sprint with us!

The difference that Downtown Streets Team has been making in Silicon Valley is absolutely astounding, and the facts prove it. Since operating in the city of Palo Alto, there has been 50% reduction in crime, 75% reduction in panhandling, and a 54% reduction in homelessness. But they aren't resting on their laurels, they're committed to even bigger and better things in 2015 and that's where we come in!

We're going to help them with a brand new marketing campaign that includes a spiffy new responsive website, trifold brochure, postcard sized pamphlets for handing out on the streets, posters and some t-shirt designs. All of this will be done in 24-hours straight, mobilizing our entire team and resources to get it done. Our goal with Wired is to educate nonprofits to do more with less resources. We'll work closely with Downtown Streets Team so that they can continue building great things for years to come long after Wired is done.

Wired gets underway August 27th at 8 AM and goes until August 28th at 8 AM. You'll be able to follow along with our progress and cheer us on through our blog posts on the Wired page, Twitter (@ZURB and remember to use the hashtag #ZURBWired) and even live streaming on Periscope! Stay tuned!

Attention Nonprofits: We're Now Taking Applications for ZURB Wired

Danny wrote this on May 28, 2015 in . 68 reactions

Over the last few months, we've talked a lot about the power designers have to influence change in organizations. But we're looking beyond impacting mere business outcomes. It's our sincere belief that design can cause real, positive change in the world. ZURB Wired is proof.

Each year we volunteer our time and resources to help one special nonprofit craft a complete marketing campaign in 24 coffee-fueled hours. ZURB HQ becomes a hive of activity as our entire team, along with volunteers, work all through the night to create a website, print material, engineering support, written content and even videos. To accomplish this, we use the same process and methods we use in our Studios business to help companies do incredible things in short amounts of time. The event itself is timeboxed to 24 hours, but the results of our work are felt long after.

Now in its eighth year, ZURB Wired is testament to the power of both design and community, accomplishing months worth of work in mere hours. We're extremely proud of what we've achieved so far, and we're setting the bar even higher this year!

A Look Back: Sacred Heart Community Services

Last year, Sacred Heart Community Services was our chosen nonprofit organization. Sacred Heart's mission is to build a community free from poverty by creating hope, opportunity, and action ' goals that resonated with our team. Sacred Heart provides food, clothing, and housing assistance to those in need, as well as offering services like employment assistance, family mentoring, along with adult and youth education programs.

Our team created a marketing campaign to help them procure the resources they needed, raise the necessary funds, increase the number of new donors and re-engage with past donors. The campaign included a redesigned website, print collateral, digital assets, a video and marketing content.

The fruits of our labor continued after the 24-hour Wired rush. Jay Pecot, Director of Development and Communications shared this with us:

Even with an improved economy, more people than ever before are seeking Sacred Heart's help. That is why Wired was such a tremendous experience for us. This year, because of ZURB's help, we are ready for our holiday fundraising campaign celebrating our 50th birthday with a comprehensive set of paper and electronic communications. During Wired, we watched carefully how ZURB's staff took us through the design process. We are going to do the same for our next big campaign. And most importantly, we will set aside time to build the campaign together, rather than fitting it in between other tasks. Thank you, ZURB.

Become This Year's Nonprofit

Do you have an inspiring cause and a passionate team? If so, you may be the nonprofit we're looking for! We are now accepting applications for this year's Wired. The deadline is July 17, 2015. We have two requirements:

  1. Your nonprofit must be a registered and IRS compliant 501(c)(3)
  2. Your nonprofit must focus on providing services to the Bay Area community

In addition these requirements, we'll need you to submit a proposal. Here's what your proposal needs to include:

  1. Inspire us with your organization's mission.
  2. Name three teamwork tactics that will make your organization a perfect fit for ZURB Wired.
  3. Describe a clear goal that your entire organization wants to accomplish.
  4. Say which team members will commit to participating all day and night.
  5. Name one or two people from the team who are capable of making executive decisions on the organization's behalf ' there's no time to consult with the board at two in the morning!

We'll review submissions over the next couple of weeks to pick one nonprofit. We can't wait to put our experience and resources to work for positive cause. Apply today!

Submit Your Nonprofit's Proposal!

Holy Changes, Batman! Surviving Negative Feedback

Danny wrote this on April 22, 2015 in . 205 reactions

zurb signal

The Batman comic series has one of the most passionate fandoms in history, and never was this more apparent than in the summer of 2006 when it was officially announced that Heath Ledger had been cast as the film's iconic villain, the Joker.

The internet exploded as fanboys and fangirls largely panned the decision. Vitriol spewed from forums all over the web.

This guy couldn't act his way out of a paper bag.
I am NOT seeing this movie if he's in it.
Probably the worst casting of all time.

Believe it or not, there are a few lessons designers can learn from this story that can help us stay on track and focused as we develop new products.

Big Changes Can Spark Big Reactions


Director Christopher Nolan was tasked with completely revitalizing a damaged brand, and almost every part had to be refreshed to bring it back on track. As designers we are sometimes asked to completely refresh a product, fix a broken interface or improve an interaction. Our changes may be exceptional and undeniably better solutions than what existed previously, but we have something working against us. Science has proven that people don't like change. Whether we're aware of it or not, we all have a bias for the familiar. When we see something really different or unexpected like, say, the star of "10 Things I Hate About You" being cast as one of the greatest villains of all time, we tend to be negative.

Recently we had two members of the Rdio design team, Geoff Koops and Mike Towber, over for one of our Soapbox events. In the Fall of last year, Rdio underwent a drastic redesign that included bold use of album art, typography and image blur. It caught many people by surprise. Some users expressed frustration over some of the interface changes and were quick to voice their criticism on social networks.

Strong Opinions = Users Who Care

Nolan's unexpected casting decision prompted such a strong reaction because fans have an incredibly personal connection to the Batman mythos. In the same vein, Rdio's passionate users have a deep connection with music and the way they consume it.

"We are blessed with passionate users," Geoff said half-jokingly. While we all chuckled a bit, Mike was quick to expand on Geoff's thought, "It always feels great to have people care enough to say something." They touched on something that everyone who has created anything should understand: If people have strong opinions, even negative ones, it means they care. They care enough to voice their opinion. They're engaged with your product. These are the kind of users you want to have!

Keep Calm and Carry On

keep calm superhero

After launching our product or redesign, negative feedback can make us feel threatened, causing us to panic. There's a biological reason for this, our fight or flight response kicking in.

Recent neuroscience research has shown that our brains and bodies can respond to certain interpersonal situations the same way we react to literal threats to our physical safety.

Harvard Business Review

In the face of less-than-flattering feedback, our brains tell us we're in danger. We make hasty decisions as if our lives depend on it. These knee-jerk reactions can harm us in the long run. The solution? Stay calm and try to delay your response if possible.

Be Prepared to Fight for Your Ideas

At ZURB, we're not afraid to explore crazy or outlandish ideas. When we first dive into a project, we try to explore all kinds of things, because even bad ideas can lead to great ones. Riskier ideas require more support through the process, but that risk can often pay off in big ways.

Sometimes we need to step up to the plate and defend an idea to prevent others from trampling over it. Nolan's risky decision was based off of data he had gathered and long conversations with Heath about the direction he wanted to take the character and the story in general. He defended his choice to the media and had the data to back up his decision. The Rdio team did data gathering as well, through a custom tool built to test new ideas amongst different customer categories based on their behavior.

"It was ugly," joked Mike Towber, "but we tested tons of users. It helped us." The data this tool yielded influenced and validated their designs, making it possible for them to be confident in their choices.

In the End, Good Will Prevail

Good will prevail superhero

"The Dark Knight" was released in North America on July 18, 2008 to nearly unanimous acclaim. Nolan's epic crime drama captivated critics and audiences alike. Much of the buzz revolved around Heath's mesmerizing performance, which immediately spurred Oscar talk. Forums everywhere espoused Nolan's 'genius' casting choice, vindicating the director.

Rdio too, is enjoying an uptick in traffic due to their innovative redesign. Music is now exactly where it should be, front and center. Users are finding it easier than ever to discover and listen to music on their own terms, the main goal of the redesign.

There's much we can learn from both Christopher Nolan and the Rdio design team:

Stay calm: Don't take things personally. Passionate users are users who care. They're connected with our product on a deep level. Stay calm during that first wave of criticism and try not make any rash decisions. We should welcome feedback of all kinds and look for ways to improve, but hasty changes will hurt more than help us in the long run.

Make decisions with data: Nolan had several deep conversations and knew he had found someone with the talent and understanding to execute his vision. The Rdio team went to great lengths to understand their wide spectrum of users, analyzing listening styles and behaviors to find out what people value most.

Be prepared to defend your choices: If we've done our homework and feel strongly about our choices, be prepared to explain them to others. Truly great ideas need advocates, especially if they're a little crazy. Some of the biggest advancements in history came because people were willing to take risks, and design is no different.

We want to thank Geoff Koops and Mike Towber of Rdio for coming down and sharing their insights at our last Soapbox event. We're incredibly excited to sit down with our next guest, Tim Van Damme of Dropbox at noon PST April 24!

Don't Miss Out on Our Next Soapbox

Stories Not Screens

Danny wrote this on March 26, 2015 in . 286 reactions

paper to pixel

It's no secret that web design has its roots in print. In the early days of the web, the influence of print on web design was pretty inescapable. Websites were essentially virtual brochures, static pages with little or no interactivity. Designers were still learning the potential of this new medium and the technology had to mature. Slowly but surely, the differences between print design and web design became evident. But many designers are still thinking of their designs in terms of screens and images.

At one of our recent Soapbox events, Braden Kowitz, Design Partner at Google Ventures summed it up perfectly:

When you look at how people use products, they don't look at the screen, they don't look at the feature. They take this pathway through all your screens and features' So what you really need to design is that experience and that story.

Thinking of themselves as storytellers might be a new concept for many designers, but it's a fitting analogy. Unlike print designs, which serve a singular purpose and are meant to be viewed, design work on the web is entirely interactive. Users take various pathways through websites and apps as they try to accomplish a variety of things. Designers gently guide their users around obstacles, shepherding them to desired outcomes.

Put Yourself in Your User's Shoes

In order to become a successful storyteller, designers need to develop empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, to put yourself in their shoes. Designers need to know their users. They need to understand exactly what the user is trying to accomplish and care about their experience through the entire process. Even with the best planning, there will always be problems you didn't think of, interactions you didn't anticipate or things you didn't take into consideration. The only way to discover these issues is by trying a design yourself.

Braden and his team do this through sketches, a process he calls "story-centered design." He describes these mockups and their purpose like this:

Designers present every sentence the customer reads, every action they take, and every screen that system generates in response. The designs follow a customer from an initial trigger all the way through completing a goal, and they show how the design supports every step in that flow.

Like any good author, designers need to know exactly how their stories end so they can guide their users most effectively, knowing exactly which routes are available and designing the most pleasant experience.

Storytelling is in Our Blood

At ZURB, we've always thought of product design as storytelling, and we've been using Progressive Design to sharpen our storytelling skills and create amazing experiences. Our process has many steps that ensure we keep the user in mind at all times, because we design for people.


As with most anything at ZURB, it all starts with sketching. Like Braden and his team, we sketch out each screen and map out every workflow. Even at this very lo-fi level, we begin to define the paths users will take to achieve their goals. The next step is scanning these sketch sheets into clickable prototypes using Solidify. This tool in the Notable Platform helps us to interact with our designs as close to how the end user will as possible, exposing anything we left out and helping us refine our work.

The Progressive Design process involves constant iteration and feedback. We share our work with the rest of the team, inviting them to respond with any questions or concerns. If we're working with a client for our Studios business, we walk them through each workflow, using user personas to explain how different customers will interact with the product or website. If anything isn't working along the way, we step back, ideate more solutions, and test again. At times we use surveys to gather information about how real people interact with our work. This data helps us improve our stories.

Only when the workflows and paths within our products are complete do we focus on on polishing our visuals and refining our interactions. This user-centered approach helps us to eliminate problems early, prioritize the workflows and help our users accomplish their goals.

A Shared Story

It was great to hear how Braden and his team agree that designers need to be storytellers, a sentiment that many of our Soapbox guests have touched on as well. We'd like to thank Braden for taking time out and sharing his insights with us and our audience.

We're looking forward to our next event with Geoff Koops and Mike Towber of Rdio, amazing designers who have been telling some engaging stories with their users. We hope you can join us at the next Soapbox!

Don't Miss Out on Our Next Soapbox

Mesmerize Users With Something Unexpected

Danny wrote this on February 19, 2015 in . 147 reactions


You're out on the town with friends and you decide to find a place to eat. Whipping out your cell phone, you launch the Yelp app and scroll through nearby restaurants. Suddenly, you see it peeking at you from behind the menu — a hamster. You begin pulling the menu down to set it free only to watch the hamster jump into a rocket and blast off!

Did this funny easter egg help you accomplish your task? No. But did it bring a little joy or excitement to the experience? Definitely.

This kind of unexpected detail is an example of "Surprise and Delight," a design trigger that can make any experience more exciting and keep users engaged. Two talented designers recently came through ZURB HQ to get on their Soapboxes with different perspectives about surprise and delight and the role it plays in their designs.

Marissa Louie, of Yahoo, brought up the word "enchantment" again and again when describing her designs. Her goal as a designer is not just to provide a solid, usable interface, but to create an experience that connects with users emotionally. To accomplish this, she employs surprise and delight to create "sticky experiences" that keep users engaged and coming back for more.

On the other hand, Wesley Yun of Lytro was hesitant about devoting too much attention to unnecessary visual details. For Wesley, a designer's main focus should be making sure the product accomplishes its purpose. He warned that too much attention on extra details can actually harm the design, rendering it less effective.

So when should designers use this trigger, and how can they use it effectively?

Surprise and Delight Right

Surprise and delight increases satisfaction and makes experiences more exciting, but as with any tool, it needs to be used properly to be effective. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Visuals Will Only Take You So Far

No amount of visual appeal can make up for a product that doesn't work right. That's why sketching is so important to us here at ZURB. Before we even write one line of code or draw one graphic, we focus on creating solid, useable and useful designs with Sharpies and paper. If something isn't working or doesn't feel right, we scrap the idea and move on.

If something is really working at that lo-fi level, we know it will be amazing once we add all the visual polish. It's only at that point where we start thinking of embellishing the designs with some surprise and delight.

Keep in Mind the Context

Meaningful surprises can make user experiences more engaging, fostering brand loyalty and encouraging customers to dig deeper into a site. But if you're not careful, surprises can disrupt the normal flow of activity, irritating users rather than delighting them.

Mint, a personal finance website and app, does a good job of employing surprise and delight at just the right moments. It's typically a disheartening experience stumbling across a 404 page, but Mint softens the blow with this unique and humorous image:

mint 404

Introducing some surprising element while a user was connecting their bank account or entering some important financial information would probably not be a welcome addition and have undesirable consequences.

The product itself may determine if it's appropriate to include surprise and delight, and to what degree. The customers that Wesley is designing for are in many cases using the Lytro cameras for work and have an expectation of reliability. For photographers, nothing can get in the way of capturing the perfect moment. Wesley called this the "can't fail" moment. In this application, a user would definitely not want any surprises. Distractions would be detrimental to the product accomplishing its purpose.

Marissa uses surprise and delight in Yahoo News Digest, an app designed to inform and entertain users. In this context, there is greater freedom to surprise users with unexpected details that turn an otherwise predictable experience into an exciting one.

Find the Right Frequency

Surprises by their definition do not occur at regular or predictable intervals. If the unexpected is expected, it loses its meaning and effectiveness. Experiment with the amount of surprises you include to determine what the right balance is. Sometimes less is more.

One site that breaks this rule is Flickr. Every time you log in you'll be greeted in a different language. While the greeting is expected, it's always delightful seeing it in a new language. Bonjour, Flickr!


It's Not All Visual

The amount of appropriate surprise and delight will vary according to the product and so will the format. Sometimes something as small as some playful copy or unexpected interaction element can come as a surprise.

Normally, website footers are straightforward and stale, but Campaign Monitor catches us off guard with a bit of humor in their heading:


Surprise and delight doesn't have to be aggressive or blatant to be effective, subtle touches can be just as compelling.

As Always, Go With Your Gut

Ultimately, there are no hard and fast rules and it's up to designers to use their good judgement. The amount and kind of surprise and delight that will be effective largely depends on the product, the user and the goals of the project.

We want to extend a special thank you to Marissa Louie and Wesley Yun for sharing their insights with us at their Soapboxes. We're looking forward to our next guest, Braden Kowitz, Design Partner at Google Ventures, tomorrow at noon. We hope you can join us for what is sure to be another exciting Soapbox!

Don't Miss Out on Our Next Soapbox

Mobilizing Nonprofits Through Design Thinking: Announcing ZURB Wired 2014!

Ryan wrote this on July 28, 2014 in . 96 reactions

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 be put way down on the list as nonprofits have to reallocate resources elsewhere.

Worse, if an organization is wildly inefficient or disorganized, then it's likely to see a quicker volunteer exodus. One of the recommendations to prevent volunteer burnout (and thus departure) is better project management.

Mobilize in Shorter Bursts

The solution: leverage those volunteer skills for shorter periods of time. Mobilizing teams in a tighter time constraint keeps team members focused. Which is what we at ZURB do for every client project we have, and it's a skill we pass on to the nonprofits that participate in our annual ZURB Wired event. We've been doing Wired since 2006 and helping nonprofits accomplish a specific goal — such as an entire marketing campaign that includes print and web materials — within a 24-hour sprint.

The timebox — an ultimate one of 24 hours — we're able to keep the nonprofit fixated and move quickly through decisions. Instead of waiting for every decision to be thought out and validated over the course of weeks, months, years — it takes mere hours as we move through our entire design process from ideation to prototype to implementation.

Do More With Less

We also work in smaller teams, doing more with less. A common problem faced by nonprofits is throwing too many bodies at a problem and not everyone can contribute. Smaller teams allow us to move quickly through iterations. What gets us moving fast is the design feedback loop.

ZURB feedback loop

Our Design Feedback Loop at ZURB.

The design feedback loop is the cornerstone of ZURB Wired. We work side-by-side with the nonprofit, teaching them design thinking and coaching them through the feedback loop. More importantly, we involve the stakeholders at every stage of the game, getting their feedback so that we can validate ideas quickly and get to the right answer.

Last year, we worked with Rebuilding Together Peninsula. They needed help creating a campaign — including a new website and a video — for their 25th anniversary. We began by exploring many options, either through brainstorms or sketches. We broke up into specific teams: content, print, web and video.

Executive Director Seana O'Shaughnessy jumped from team to team, listening to each team's ideas and giving feedback at each step. This allowed us to cut out the middleman and get direct feedback so that we could move forward.

Stay on Target

But making decisions on the fly isn't always smooth. There are going to be bumps. And as you approach a crucial deadline, there's bound to be panic. One year that's exactly what happened.

Nonprofits are programmed to get every last detail right before taking action. And it can be scary to let things go, which happened when it came to our print deadline. All the print materials, artwork and copy, had to be at the printers by 5 PM. For example, we had a nonprofit's team still fiddling with the copy, even though we'd long agreed on a direction and had it proofread. They floundered a bit on what we had written. But it was too late — the copy had already been sent to the printers. We had to reassure them that we were on the right path. It also helped that one of the nonprofit's manager loved the copy that was written. And he was the one person the nonprofit said we'd have the hardest time getting approval from. He actually felt at ease with the process and moving through fast decisions.

In these moments, the best advice comes from "Star Wars" — stay on target. Remember the end goal and don't allow yourself get caught up in minutiae. Focusing on the goal helps push through anxieties and create amazing work.

Want to Participate in Wired or Know of a Nonprofit?

If you're a nonprofit or know of a nonprofit that needs help mobilizing its team, we'd love to hear from you. You can email us at or you can give us your email and we'll reach out to you.

Want to be the next Wired nonprofit or know of a nonprofit?

Designers, Ignite a Revolution in Health Care

Alok wrote this on October 22, 2013 in . 6 reactions

The recent kerfuffle and the hefty $300 million price tag for the federal government-run highlight that there's a serious need for innovation in health care. The fraught industry is primed for a technological revolution ' and we believe that product design can help bring that about. Which is why we're stoked to host the Ignition hackathon for the second time this year!

Teams will have 48 hours to get a jump start on solving problems in caregiver support, medical advice and end-of-life planning. The opportunity for other designers: to mentor these teams, guide them through this challenge and turn the health care on its heels.

The Problems These Teams Will Solve

Design teams will work over two days to flesh out concepts to solve these particular problems. They'll present their early concepts. If a team's idea is chosen, then they'll get one week to build a prototype, which they'll pitch to potential investors such as Cambia and Regence.

Let's break down exactly what challenges the hackathon teams will be facing:

1. Caregiver Support

Take 10 folks who are 65 years or older and you'll find that four of them worry about becoming an unnecessary burden to their children.

The opportunity: What technologies and tools can we create that ease this burden and give these folks the care that they need?

2. Understanding Medical Advice

Sometimes it's not easy understanding what your doctor's telling you. There's a lot of jargon that we have to wade through. And it doesn't get any easier as we get older because our cognitive abilities to process complex information decreases as we age. It doesn't help that our diagnoses also get more complex.

The opportunity: What solutions can we develop for a widening senior population to better understand a doctor's advice?

3. End-of-Life Planning:

According to Prebacked, organizers of the hackathon, 75% of doctors haven't discussed life expectancy with elderly patients who have a chronic serious illness.

The opportunity: How can we facilitate conversations to ensure wishes are honored?

Darnit, Jim, I'm a Designer, Not a Doctor

It sounds like a daunting task for a designer. After all, most designers aren't medical experts. But then again, was Jack Dorsey an expert in payments when he revolutionized the world of payments with Square? He's a designer, not an accountant. He didn't use his background as an excuse. He used it to his advantage.

These entrepreneurial teams can benefit from the design process. And other designers can help coach them so they can take complex ideas and tie it back to human needs. You can help infuse these teams with design thinking during the early stages, from ideation to paper prototypes.

Designers can leverage their expertise in strategizing and designing interactions and visuals for web apps, native apps and marketing sites to help these teams revolutionize health care.

Are You In?

Join us this weekend and work with passionate entrepreneurs and industry-thought leaders to solve the grand challenges of our time. You'll be helping solve the big, hairy problems in health care!


Saturday & Sunday, October 26th - 27th, 2013
Doors open at 11:30 AM on Saturday, October 26th
Doors open at 10:00 AM on Sunday, October 27th


100 Rincon Ave
Campbell, CA 95130

Sign Up to be a Mentor

ZURB Wired 2013 Kick Off

Bryan wrote this on August 08, 2013 in . 1 reaction

We've officially kicked off ZURBwired 2013 with Rebuilding Together Peninsula! Over the next 24 hours we'll publish our progress through blog posts, photos and videos. If you curios about how this will unfold, check out our previous years to see what amazing groups of people can accomplish in 24 hours.

Follow along over the next 24 hours as we race to help this non-profit creating an amazing marketing campaign for their 25th anniversary:

chief instigator bryan z

Bryan Zmijewski

Leading the charge at ZURB since 1998

Our fearless leader has been driving progressive design at ZURB since 1998. That makes him quite the instigator around the offices, consistently challenging both the team and our customers to strive to always do better and better.
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