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Posts About ZURB

Empowering Nonprofits with Design

Daniel wrote this on June 16, 2016 in . 785 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!


Curious, Creative and Vegan. Introducing Our Newest ZURBian

Daniel wrote this on May 27, 2016 in . Share this Post

If there's one quality that is shared amongst all ZURBians, it's curiosity. Curiosity is related to inquisitive thinking such as exploration, investigation, learning and is the fuel for innovation. It's something we look for it in others and do our best to nurture within our team. Our newest ZURBian brims with a curiosity about the world around him and is endlessly exploring. Needless to say, we liked him immediately. Without further ado, meet ...

John Cheng

John Cheng, Designer

John was born in Hong Kong, but grew up in the San Francisco bay area. Curious by nature, he once took his bike apart to explore the way it worked but wasn't able to put it back together. Fortunately, his parents didn't mind, and always encouraged him to learn, investigate and experiment. That thirst for knowledge, combined with a passion for people are two things that have driven John throughout his life.

In high school, a photography class was the basis of his creative foundation. His teachers encouraged him to go to art school, but John spent his years exploring all kinds of things including astronomy and mathematics. He also continued learning about people, spending a few months in Mongolia to learn about their culture and customs. John went on to graduate from UC Davis with a degree in Sociology and Communications, but design remained the focus of his career.

In addition to creating leadership programs for college students at a nonprofit, John joined a design accelerator. There he spent time doing work for clients but also innovating on their design curriculum and mentoring new designers.

Jenn, one of our designers, first introduced John to ZURB.

I fell in love with the energy, the diverse client work, and the amazing internal projects!

In his free time, John enjoys learning about gospel and jazz piano, modern art museums, architecture, and finding awesome food spots on Yelp (vegan only!).

John brings a lot to our team and really understands what it means to 'Design for People.' One of John's first assignments will be to help us expand and communicate our Progressive Design system with the world. With his stellar design talent and keen understanding of people, we think he's the perfect man for the job!


Meet ZURBA: A New Video Game System for the 20th Century

Daniel wrote this on April 01, 2016 in . 782 reactions

The worlds of video games and design share many common elements and have influenced each other for decades. We here at ZURB are on a quest to change the way people design, and what better way to get people interacting with our work than the medium of electronic games!

With our deep knowledge of design and cursory knowledge of videogame hardware, developing our own console was a no brainer. We're proud to announce the future of video gaming, ZURBA!

Features

  • A once cutting edge 8 bit graphics processor for eye popping visuals and zoetrope quality animations!
  • An adrenaline pumping mono MIDI synthesizer audio engine capable of 4 note polyphony!
  • A high latency, near ergonomic, single button wired joystick controller!
  • A diverse lineup of launch titles including the puzzler 'Wobbly Woos,' the 'Yeti's Islet Jr.' platformer, the 'Legend of ZURBA' RPG adventure and the genre bending 'Car and G.U.N.' Each launch title features the beloved Notaballs characters from your favorite design platform, Notable!

Check out these lukewarm reviews!

The critics we spoke to did not want their names included in this article

Video games have taken one step forward and about three steps backward with ZURBA
ZURBA is the console I would have dreamed about if no other consoles had come out in the last twenty five years.
You control the car game with a gun controller?

ZURBA hits store shelves this summer (price TBD), but check out the link below to see the teaser commercial:

Check it out!


5 Ways to Improve Communication With Your Team to Achieve Big Wins

Shawna wrote this on March 15, 2016 in . 70 reactions

Contrary to popular belief, 'the lone genius' locking themselves away and coming back with the magical solution to all of our problems is a myth. Unfortunately, it's a myth that is especially persistent in the design community. We've been told that there are magical unicorns that understand all of the problems and know all of the answers. We 'ooh' and 'ahh' as they lift the veil and reveal their latest and greatest product. A product that seems near effortless for them to create, the result of things simply 'clicking.' We hate to break it to you, but that's not how it works. We've helped over 300 companies big and small design and develop sites, products and services, and it's never as easy as the keynote portrays. It's time people know how the sausage is really made.

The truth is that teams are intrinsic to designing and building amazing products. This includes everyone that supports the design of the product. But this presents a ton of challenges. As design leaders, we haven't necessarily had the training and mentors to be effective leaders. It's a very different thing to go from being an awesome designer to an awesome leader. While it's easy to make progress when you're working solo, it can be extremely difficult to work with a group of people in an effective way.

Guiding teams to be productive and generate consistent results requires that design leaders learn how to communicate in a way that drives action. With our focus on empathy, you would think this is an easy skill to master, but it isn't. Empathy will only get you part way. There are several other tactics we can employ to help us build trust, grow influence and keep our teams productive. Here are five small things you can start doing today to improve your communication as a design leader and guide your team to big wins:

1. Get to know your people

Get to know your people illustration

If you have the luxury of being in a smaller team you have the opportunity, scratch that, the obligation to get to know the people on your team. As you do this, you'll soon realize that everyone is in different places in their life, and that people can't separate home life and work life as well as they think they can. Stress from outside of work can manifest itself at inopportune times. While we as professionals should keep this to a minimum, it happens, we're human. Putting forth the effort to help a team member stay on track and work through their projects during a stressful time will win you loads of trust and goodwill.

Building trust is important for a number of reasons. Most people like to feel some sort of attachment to the people they work with, especially those they work under. This isn't to say you need to be best friends with everyone, but it helps to be a little candid. Talk about mistakes you've made in the past and what you've learned. Above all else, have a sense of humor. Laugh at yourself. If your team sees you as human, they'll be more willing to trust you and open up when they experience problems. Trust begins with you.

2. Do the work

Do the work illustration

I think we've all had the experience of that one boss that had no clue about how long things took or what went into what they were asking. How did it feel working for them? Did you respect them or even like them? Probably not. A boss with outrageous expectations and no understanding of what it will take to meet them doesn't extract the best work out of their team. On the contrary, they usually find their team will purposely underperform out of sheer resentment. Not good.

As a leader, you should have a clear understanding of everything you ask your team to do. Ideally, you should have hands on experience. There's no faster way to lose respect from your team than not understanding the work and having unreasonable expectations. Now, this is not to say you have to be an expert, but you should take an interest and learn as much as possible.

Anyone who comes into a managerial role and has no interest in learning about what goes into the work they demand usually ends up with a bitter team and zero respect. So get your hands dirty. Learn as much as you can about everyone's roles, ask lots of questions, and become as familiar as possible with the process it takes to get everything done. Doing this will help you speak from a place of understanding, make sure your expectations of people are reasonable and earn you the respect of your team.

3. Check in

Check in illustration

As a leader, it's your job to make sure that your team is productive. The problem is that it's rarely ever as simple as telling someone to do something and coming back moments later to see it finished perfectly and on time. Projects can be complicated and things never go to plan. In addition to that, people encounter all kinds of roadblocks, both external and internal that can bring momentum to a screeching halt. The solution? Check-in regularly with your team.

Are you thinking of the boss character in Office Space? Don't. That's not the kind of checking in we're talking about. These interactions should be positive and built on a foundation of empathy and trust.

Ask what each person is working on, have them actually show the work to you, and ask them how they're feeling about it. It's not enough to just ask 'How things are going?' and leave it at that. You won't get any meaningful answers, and you may not even receive the truth. Remember, people don't always voice when they are stressed or overwhelmed. You'll have to be perceptive and pay attention to things like body language. There's a difference between the look of someone who's concentrating and someone who is drowning in stress. If you've built up enough trust with your team, they'll open up about what's on their mind and you'll have a chance to coach them through it. Do this right and they'll feel supported by their team and you'll earn more trust. Everybody wins.

4. Tell them the 'why' behind your requests

Tell them the why illustration

You want to know a great way to get people to do what you ask them to? Tell them why it's important. People want to know that what they're devoting their time and talent to is going to result in something positive. Explaining all of the details, and multiple times, will help keep everyone on board.

We've all been there, you ask 'Does anyone have any questions?' *Crickets*... So much silence. People will not always let you know if they don't understand or are confused. When it comes to this awkward moment, think of what questions people may be thinking and ask them yourself. When people are well informed and see how their contributions fit into the whole, they put forth their best work.

5. Listen

Listen illustration

Did you know there is a difference between 'hearing' and 'listening'? Hearing is the act of perceiving sound. During the course of your day you 'hear' thousands of things. Planes flying over head, the buzz of an airconditioning unit, the squeak of office chairs, etc. Listening is different. Listening is paying attention to draw meaning from the sounds you are hearing. Listening requires effort.

It is absolutely critical that you, as a leader know how to listen. Believe it or not, not everyone has been taught how. The first step involves letting people talk without interrupting them, learn to hold your tongue and listen. Another helpful strategy is to take notes and ask questions. Lastly, don't worry about having all the answers right then. A good leader knows that sometimes people just need to get things off their chests. Ultimately, it's your responsibility to make sure that the work environment is a place where people feel they can share what's on their minds.

Strength In Numbers

No matter how talented we may think we are, teams, not lone geniuses, are at the heart of great product design. When groups of people are in sync and working towards the same goals, their potential for impact is nearly unlimited. Improving internal communication removes roadblocks, boosts morale and fosters camaraderie to strengthen your team. Implementing these five tactics will help you grow your influence no matter what your position within a company, and guide your team to big wins!


A New Designer Comes Aboard to Help Us Fulfill Our Mission!

Daniel wrote this on January 13, 2016 in . 2 reactions

Last year we announced our new mission to change the way people design connected products and services and we were blown away by the response. All kinds of conversations were sparked and it's inspired designers the world over to step up and design for influence. A talented designer has answered the call and joins our team to help us reach new heights! Without further ado, meet...

Shannon Rhodes

Shannon Rhodes, Designer

Shannon hails from the birthplace of rock n' roll, Memphis, Tennessee. Even as a kid, Shannon was a problem solver, always building things, taking them apart and figuring out how they worked. While other little girls played with Barbies, Shannon was drawing bugs she collected from the yard and building Lego sets.

In college, she earned a BFA with emphasis in Graphic Design at Mississippi State University and eventually settled in the city of Jackson, Mississippi. It was there where she accidentally stumbled into web design and front-end development. What she thought was a print designer position actually turned out to be a web designer role, but that didn't phase her. Always eager to learn new things and take on new challenges, Shannon rolled up her sleeves and learned how to crank out all kinds of marketing websites.

After a few years of building her web chops, Shannon moved back to Memphis to focus on visual design for the web. She worked her way up to an Art Director role, responsible for maintaining visual consistency and quality.

Shannon came across ZURB and fell in love with our mission and values. We've set a pretty ambitious mission of changing the way people design connected products and services, and Shannon wanted to get involved. Realizing that ZURB was a place she could learn and grow at, she packed her bags and moved out to California to come join our team.

I came across ZURB and instantly got excited as I read their design principles. I love the idea of teaching the world that design is more than pretty pictures. I knew this was the place that I wanted to learn and grow at.

In addition to exploring the natural beauty and culture of the San Francisco Bay Area, Shannon is eager to dive into solving problems for our clients in our Studios business. We're looking forward to seeing all of the awesome ways Shannon will help us change the way people design!


Help Us Celebrate Our New Customer Advocate!

Ryan wrote this on December 15, 2015 in . 2 reactions

The various teams at ZURB have been on a roll lately, coming off the brand new Foundation 6 release and some exciting new updates in the works for Notable. With all of this new growth, we needed a new Customer Advocate to be the voice of our customers and help us collect valuable insights. Without further ado meet ...

Photo of Ryan McCready

Ryan McCready, Customer Advocate

Ryan comes to the left coast all the way from the state of Maryland, the same place as our new Business Designer, Chris. But that's no coincidence, they're siblings! After we brought Chris onboard, she introduced us to Ryan who wowed us with his customer advocacy skills. There's some magic in those McCready genes, and we're happy to 2x our share.

Ryan spent his early years with family in Maryland, engaging in hobbies like archery, ultimate frisbee and gaming, but he always had a desire for adventure. When his best friend told him of his plan to move out to the island of Maui, Ryan started packing his bags. In Maui, Ryan worked in the real estate business where he sharpened his people skills and soaked in the local culture.

Even though family and the support of family is incredibly important to Ryan, the fact his sister made the cut wasn't all that drew him to ZURB. Ryan was looking for personal growth and decided ZURB was the perfect place for him to learn from others and share a few insights of his own.

I wanted to experience a company where I can truly grow with it, while both affecting it's growth and learning from it as well.

Ryan will make an impact as one of our Customer Advocates, the people who serve as the bridge between our customers and our dev teams, making sure we're delivering an amazing experience to the people we serve.

With his people skills and passion for people, we think he's the perfect man for the job!


We're Thankful for Our Two New ZURBians!

Daniel wrote this on November 25, 2015 in . 776 reactions

Around this time of year, people take time to think about what they're thankful for, and one thing that we are most appreciative of is our amazing team. It's absolutely astounding to look back at everything our small but mighty team has accomplished so far this year, and we're even more excited about what we have planned for the near future. To help us reach our goals, we've brought on two new talented ZURBians that we're confident will accomplish some amazing things!

Kevin Ball: Rails Engineer


Photo of Kevin Ball

Our new Rails Engineer joins us from Socal, San Diego specifically although he also spent some time growing up here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Attending college in San Diego wasn't all sunshine, palm trees and craft beer though. Kevin studied physics and was especially interested in the elaborate models of astrophysics and quantum field theory. You know, the easy stuff.

After college, Kevin found himself back in the Bay Area and ended up at a tech company. It was there it all clicked for him, he could use that fascination with elaborate models to create software that did amazing things. An engineer was born! Kevin went on to start a few companies and is actively involved in the development community, organizing and attending events and finding like minded creators.

Kevin first connected with ZURB through a friend down in San Diego, and really dug our unique culture and the passion for learning and creating everyone on team exudes. A natural builder and creative thinker by nature, Kevin fits right in.

In addition to building awesome things, he enjoys public speaking, playing soccer, dancing (salsa, swing, hustle, ballroom), and reading a wide range of books. We're excited to bring Kevin on as our Rails Engineer, where he'll be working with the Notable team to make the design collaboration platform even more powerful!

Chris McCready: Business Developer

Photo of Chris McCready

Chris comes to us all the way from the Chesapeake Bay in Southern Maryland, where she spent her childhood participating in Blue Crab-picking contests. Besides the mild crab obsession, Chris is also an artist, specializing in oil painting and graphic novel style art. A hardcore fan of the X-men comic series, Chris can tell you the origin story of just about anyone in the Marvel universe, from Ant-man to Xavier himself (Better known us laypeople as Professor X).

Career wise, Chris has always found herself in in the worlds of marketing, sales and business development which she recognized early that she had a real knack for. In addition to being able to build buzz and close deals, Chris has a passion for coaching others which fits right in with our values here at ZURB.

Chris stumbled across ZURB on the interwebz by accident, but fell in love with our values, goals, work and overall nerd-charm, and we fell in love with her easy-going nature, top notch biz dev skillz, and rad-tastic tattoos!

We've got some big goals for the next year and we move incredibly fast here at ZURB, but Chris is more than up for the challenge. We're excited to see how she'll help us up our game on the business front, make it rain, and help spread Progressive Design far and wide!

2016 is poised to be our biggest year ever, so we're thankful to have these two talented new ZURBians to help us reach our goals!


We Mustache You a Question, Have You Met Our Newest ZURBian?

Daniel wrote this on October 15, 2015 in . 21 reactions

He's got a sweet motorcycle, a sweet mustache and some sweet coding skills. We're thrilled to see what this natural born builder is capable of. Without further ado meet...

Chris Oyler, Engineer

Chris grew up on a farm in northwest Missouri, but always had a desire to see the rest of the country and take on new adventures. He's lived in Kansas City, Albuquerque, Austin and now calls San Francisco his home.

From early on, Chris has been a creator and problem solver. Building things and learning how to use tools comes naturally to him. From model planes and rockets to furniture and motorcycles, Chris has spent his life learning quality craftsmanship. The only difference now is that his tools have changed and gotten a little less risky. Instead of hammers and nails, Chris uses code editors and computers, crafting high quality code as the newest member of ZURB's engineering team!

Now I get to build and create things everyday, minus the risk of smashing a thumb or gluing my fingers to something.

A graduate of a bootcamp style coding program, Chris toured our offices and asked a question none of the other visitors thought of, 'Are you hiring?'

I was the guy in the back of the room that asked, rather loudly, if they were hiring anyone. Turns out that anyone was me.

We loved Chris' moxie, charm and sweet coding skillz!

In his free time, Chris loves tinkering with motorcycles, baseball, football and tabletop games. We're thrilled to have him on the team and are excited to see what great things he'll build for ZURB!


ZURB Wired 2015 Has Begun!

Daniel 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!

Daniel 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!