Posts About ZURB
Posts About ZURB
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
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
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!
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!
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!
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!
Design is hot. Companies have realized that good design is good for business, that technology alone isn't enough to get customers excited, and that today's consumers have come to expect a smart and delightful experience in every product they touch. Designers are a hot commodity these days. Companies are going all-in, scooping up talent so their competitors won't. The stakes have never been higher.
However, it's clear that not many companies seem to know how to play their hand and they just haven't figured out what do with their design teams. Product managers are still at the helm, doing most of the decision-making, and passing their credo down to the design team to execute on. Too often, designers get put in a waterfall production line, stuck working on a sliver of the customer experience they so want to impact.
The Dull Reality
Many of us who pursued the career of design did so looking for an outlet for our creative ambitions. It's extremely exciting to design products, and we want a piece of the action (and glory for the product's success). The bigger the piece the better.
One might argue that when the pieces do get put together, the whole is stronger than the sum of its parts. The production line is very efficient, no doubt. Everyone is focused on their part — just UX, just visuals, just marketing, just mobile. Except as work gets passed from one designer or team to another, decisions get lost in translation. UXers can't quite vouch for the strategy, visual designers can't quite articulate the workflows.
It's a game of design telephone. A designer who's invested in a single part of the process can't possibly have full context for the solution they're designing. Every team layers in their own interpretation, and designers get stuck working on artifacts instead of having an opportunity to influence the relationship between the business and its customer.
Something Has to Change
To design cohesive customer experiences, designers must touch every part of the design process. Simple as that. But that's just not always possible, you might say. Many businesses are just not set up for that. At certain size, they have to rely on an org chart to keep accountability in check, and changing organizations is hard. We face this often in our Studios business, when a team is trying to move products and meet roadblocks the large org bought into their vision. So where to start?
You can start with transparency — the smallest step toward awareness. When full-on collaboration isn't possible, teams just have to share what they're working on. Say, when there's a place to see what everyone is doing (shameless Notable plug) — from strategists to marketers to designers — the onus is then on the team to be aware of where the product's been and where it's going.
Transparency opens the door to communication. For example, the marketing team shares their strategy, the onboarding team runs with the marketing concept, the product team incorporates the messaging from both in the app. Yes, it's still technically a waterfall. But it's a waterfall that talks to each other. Hopefully a lot! Which in turn creates trust and opens the opportunity for honest feedback. So teams can stop working on isolated features and together design a complex, cohesive, emotive experiences.
Change Is a Choice
It's easy to sit back and complain about lack of design leadership. It's not so easy to do something about it. Every member of the team is on the hook for having the guts to change the company culture. Driven people don't just sit around and wait for someone to rescue them. They fight or flee.
Change from the top can be met with resistance and resentment, unless operation pieces are in place to support this change, i.e. a process for holding the middle management layer accountable for follow-through. Small shifts at the team level can prove more sticky with less effort — that's how Slack got into big orgs, actually — when teams start being proactive and taking charge. Hiding behind the retina display isn't going to create the influence designers desire.
(Side anecdote: In advertising, why more copywriters become creative directors? Because when it comes to putting final touches on the presentation, the art director is pushing pixels while the copywriter talks up the ECD.)
Designers need to keep fighting for their seat at the table. Ask more questions. Learn the product marketing strategy. Talk to people on other teams, grab coffee with leads. Pick up the phone and talk to a group of customers, collect feedback and have a candid conversation with decision-makers.
And in reality, it won't always work. So what then? Ambitious designers will move on and find a place that will let them create impact. Maybe if more designers stopped putting up with being parked in front of their monitors and upped the ante, more companies would start paying attention to what design can offer to their business.
The Shift Will Happen
We've watched the appreciation for design grow over the last decade, and it's only the beginning. Businesses know they need good design to compete for customer dollars. And they're willing for fork up a lot of cash to bring great talent to their team. They just haven't quite figured out how to use it. Yet.
It will happen. It must. Because there's no amount of culture or resume clout that can tie down a passionate designer in a place where they can't practice and expand their skill. Instead of just accepting what they've been dealt, they'll find ways to create impact and hit it big or go looking for a place where they can. You can bet on it.
The origin of the English word 'team' comes from a word that referred to a group of draft animals all working together to pull something forward. Back in ye olden days, the best 'teams' were animals that were the same species, the same size and moving in the same direction. But that doesn't really work when it comes to humans. Teams are made up of different people with different skills, weaknesses, goals, values, etc. How do all these individuals work together to do something more complicated than pull a plough, something like say, designing and building a successful product?
Companies, especially in the competitive world of tech, have been trying to figure out the answer to that question for a while now. It seems like the best solution they've come up with is issuing matching hoodies with company logos on them. While these 'Zuck-xedos' are cool and all, faithfully wearing matching sweatshirts doesn't mean you're a team.
Real teamwork requires investment and consistent effort from every individual involved. Contrary to popular belief, there is an 'i' in team, you and everyone else. Each team member should ask themselves 'What can I contribute to the team?' and expect the same from others.
Here at ZURB we have a set of values that we look for and cultivate in our team members. They keep us focused on our common goals, but also inspire us to think about what we can contribute as individuals for the greater good. This results in a strong team that can do mighty things. We just went through the process of refining our values. Here are a few of the simple ideas that inspired them and can help you become a valuable member of any team you join:
1. Pull Your Weight
Every member in the team needs to be contributing value. This doesn't mean we always need to do everything perfectly or have all the answers, nobody can rightly expect that. But everyone on the team should be seeing us put forth effort. This is closely related to the ZURBian value 'Make It Happen.' Sometimes in order to make things happen we need to go above and beyond. A few late nights might be necessary to wrap up a project and earn that win!
But what if we're trying but struggling? Take initiative and reach out to the team, don't just ignore or avoid the problem. Asking a lot of questions and reaching out for help early and often shows others that we're serious about solving the issue and are willing to put in the work to learn new things.
2. Stick Together
It's easy to stay close to each other when a product is doing well or a project wraps up to rave reviews. It's when things don't go right, when the team fails, that everyone has an opportunity to show they are real team members, a.k.a. ride or dies. Losing, whether as a team or as an individual, is never easy, but it's always an opportunity to learn. When faced with a fail, we try to step up and point out the silver lining in the loss. Doing this can help the team pull a win from the experience. When the team does achieve a win, it's embraced as a team. ZURBians use the mighty 'we' when celebrating our victories and look for ways to highlight the efforts of everyone involved. This is closely related to our value of 'Find Wins Together.' Focusing only on raising your own profile usually backfires and breaks up team solidarity.
3. Lend A Hand
Every ZURBian is encouraged to 'Be a Coach,' not just the partners or leads. If someone has the skills or know-how that can benefit others, we share it and elevate the team without hesitation. While everyone would probably like to think they are 100% awesome by our own design, the truth is we've all had mentors throughout our careers that helped us along the way. Remember that and pay it forward.
When others ask for help, it can be tempting to reply back with "Sorry, I've got stuff to do." But guess what? We all have stuff to do, but we try to make time to be there for your teammates. We also try not to hesitate to reach out if we're having trouble. It can be difficult to admit when you're struggling, but get over yourself. No one is perfect and no one should expect you to be, just tell your team how you're struggling. And when help is offered, let go of the ego and allow people help you do things better.
4. Improve Yourself, Improve the Team
Sometimes new learning doesn't happen during the 9 to 5. We may need to put forth extra effort to build up some skills or learn some new things. We also need to continually improve our communication because it's the glue that holds teams together. Learn to work with people, not just alongside them. Real teamwork isn't just about getting work done it's working to accomplish a goal together. You'll need to communicate. A lot.
Look for ways to add more value, and help your teammates do the same. This is related to our value 'Build on Opportunity.' Be advised, the side effects of teamwork may result in extreme frustration, anger, euphoric happiness, hi-fiving, cheering, and possible group chants. If you experience one or more of these symptoms do not discontinue, you're doing it right.
Being a real team requires hard work from everyone involved. You're only as strong as your weakest link. So invest in yourself and each other, and keep asking about the 'i' in your team. What can I do to help others? What can I do to improve my skills? What can I do to help my teammates? Get these things right and those matching hoodies will actually start to mean something.
Ah summer. BBQ's, sunny weather, watermelon, sparklers, the beach and vacations are just a few of the things that make this a magical season. But we're also incredibly excited about all of the big projects we're working on these summer months that are sure to take ZURB to the next level. To help us tackle these challenges and achieve our goals, we're happy to announce two new designers to the team. Without further ado, we'd like for you to help us welcome...
Kevin Chu: Designer
Kevin is a California native, growing up in both the San Francisco and Sacramento areas. From early on, Kevin's been an artist, doodling anything from Disney and Anime characters to family members and friends. As he got older Kevin expanded his skills with digital painting in high school and then studied graphic design in college, graduating with a BA in Visual Communications from UC Davis.
Kevin learned about ZURB from using our Foundation framework to design and build responsive sites and soon floored our entire office with an immaculately designed microsite that he designed, illustrated and built. We're excited to welcome Kevin to our Design team where he'll be crafting eye catching designs for a clients and internal projects!
Jon Nemeth: Design Lead
Jon grew up in the garlic capital of the world, Gilroy, California. Bouncing around just about ever city in Silicon Valley, Jon picked up web chops early, learning HTML at the ripe age of 11 years old. Coding up tables, frames and throwing in the occasional flame gif, Jon developed a passion for web design which perfectly fits his natural problem solving (and some time causing) nature.
In time Jon founded his own boutique web design agency in Monterey County. Working out of various Starbucks coffee shops and visiting the beach in between client calls, Jon refined not only his technical skills but also his interactions with clients. He later joined a larger web development agency, serving as their Technical Solutions Manager, interfacing with clients, international teams and assisting in nearly all aspects of the company.
Jon first stumbled on ZURB through our Foundation framework, and was inspired by our work, team and mission. We're excited to welcome Jon aboard as a Design Lead where he'll be putting his years of experience to good use, coaching our designers and leading projects big and small!
We're working on some of the most ambitious projects we've ever attempted this summer, and it's going to take teamwork to accomplish our goals. We're excited about the skills Kevin and Jon bring to the table and are confident we are going to achieve great things together!
Six years ago we embarked on our first defined mission with a general sense of direction and cautious optimism. It was ambitious and pushed us to where we are today- an amazing design company that turned the idea of a consultancy upside down. We had the foresight to understand that solving digital design problems required more than just delivering some assets. Nothing about the mission was easy, but we did it. As a leader I was committed to making it happen for ZURB.
Today we're publishing our new mission. It's equally ambitious, but backed by the knowhow of seventeen years of design experience and the momentum of millions of designers around the world. We're excited to share our vision and hope that you can support us as we aim to provide the world with new and effective ways of solving design problems. The process of aligning everyone on the team around a set of statements that define our business wasn't an easy task. Quite frankly, it took numerous restarts to get things to stick.
Change the Way People Design Connected Products and Services
Our business purpose started with the idea of helping people design for people. It was easy to remember, but lacked the clarity our team wanted. This really was the spark that helped us get things moving to define the next phase of our business. It took about a year with commitment from our leaders and a desire to put a stake in the ground. As a team we dug deep and challenged our assumptions, and through a process of continuous iteration, we were able to define our mission and purpose statements! I'm so proud of our company.
We're a fun and intense group at ZURB, so our ambitions to change the way people design connected products and services shouldn't surprise many of our customers. We're dedicated to pushing the web forward, through frameworks like Foundation, training and design lessons, our design collaboration platform Notable and through our one-on-one Studios interactions with clients. When we pulled back to view our offerings, it was clear that everything we do is about inspiring people and teams to approach design problems in a different way.
This year we introduced a few of the ideas that capture this new design worldview- helping designers lead by design, finding ways to make design thinking practical for teams, and returning us to a place where we trust our design intuition. We call this Progressive Design and we're excited to share this with the world. It's captured in our mission:
Teach fifty million people how to effectively use progressive design to create better products & services through our consulting, training and software.
We believe Progressive Design will change the way designers and teams use design to create value for their users and business. We've put over a year into our thinking and can't wait to invite people into the conversation.
Finding Our Way
It's great having solid business goals. It's even more important to shape the way our team thinks about their role in this journey. We're a learning company that's based on a pod system, which means we give a lot of ownership directly to employees to solve problems. These core tenets at ZURB form the foundation of our success. We believe in our employees, and we want their success.
We've learned that finding a common purpose requires helping employees create pathways that align with the business. We've put a significant amount of time into defining these pieces. Without them, moving forward can feel downright scary and overwhelming. We want all employees to know that they're supported in this effort to change the way people design. This is the stuff that gets you all warm and fuzzy to start a day. It also creates friction that can make your head literally smoke. This isn't easy for ZURB or the employee, but we wouldn't have it any other way!
Together, We'll Make This Happen
Most businesses align their employees to products- at ZURB we put a heavy emphasis on team development to cross pollinate our ideas and skills. That means each team has a set of tenets they live by to create value for their teammates and the business. These are commitments to make ZURB stronger.
Teams also provide pathways in which ZURB can support individual career paths. Over the last year we've embarked on a new and exciting way to lead employees on a personal mission. Teams play a huge role in this effort and we're smitten with excitement to see our employees shine in this new system. Teams are the backbone of ZURB and we're committed to shaping the learning our employees get through this powerful organizational structure.
To the Future and Beyond
The next five to seven years will undoubtedly provide challenges we can't even envision yet. But with a strong purpose and vision for changing the way we think about design, we're confident we'll prosper as a team through all the changes that will come. With a solid direction, core values that help us find our center and a team committed to our goals, I can't see anything other than success. It's inspiring!
As a leader I'm filled with joy knowing the team worked hard to find common ground. Our leads created these ideas and our extended team shaped them. We're happy to share our vision and hope that you can help us on our mission.
Leading the charge at ZURB since 1998
There is a lot of excitement about the Internet of Things and electronics being smart. Actually the excitement right now is just around electronic devices being able to communicate with each other at all, never mind the smart part. If you can attach a Raspberry Pi to it, people will and probably already have. We recently saw a toaster oven that can send you a text when your toast is ready.
That's cool and all, but toast text messages are not nearly as interesting as a home of electronics that are designed to work together and solve people problems. Imagine your refrigerator communicating with your phone to let you know what ingredients you're out of when you're at the grocery store, or a washing machine that alerts your smartwatch that your clothes are done so you can move them into the dryer so they don't sit wet all day. That will be the difference between just an Internet of Things, and the magical world of tomorrow we're all waiting for.
This type of seamless connectivity, connectivity for a purpose that solves real problems, is what we set out to achieve with the new Notable, our product design platform.
Designing a Winning Product for Winning at Product Design
Over the last six years we've built a number of products, each designed to solve a problem or pain point that we hit when practicing product design. Notable was originally created to help us create product audits. Verify was built to quickly validate design decisions through gettting ideas in front of real people. Solidify was designed to create clickable prototypes with the goal of quick iterations, not wasting time building complex prototypes or spending hours attempting this in Keynote. Influence was made to help us quickly and professionally present our design work when we were manually posting everything as static HTML.
We love each of these products and as a complete product design solution use them significantly in our own process. Not only do they help us to solve acute problems, we've found that they actually make us better product designers.
But we always knew that what we were creating was more than just individual solutions. The real impact would come from all of the apps working as a whole. For example, getting the results from a concept test and being able to click straight to the prototype and see where people are getting stuck is an entirely different experience than hearing about the test going poorly in a meeting and trying to track down the designer to get a peek at the prototype.
Twelve months ago we began work in earnest to combine all of these distinct offerings into into a single platform. Now hundreds of sketches, thousands of commits, and millions of pixels later it's complete.
The New Notable: Helping You Win From Concept to Code
Notable was the first product we created. It was about leaving notes on screens, but it was also about doing 'notable' work. Some teams build products to make a lot of money, some build products to serve a company or community need, still others build products to create marketing value. But all creators or products want people to take note of what they have done, they want their work to have value and mean something. They want to do something Notable. That is the aim of our platform, and why we took the name from our first application (Notable) and made it the name of our entire platform.
Like the Internet of Things, our goal was to do more than simply connect our products together. Our goal was to create a set of design tools that are cohesive and easy to use to connect you, your team and your work. The new Notable walks you through product design, from concept to code, helping you collaborate more easily and keeping your whole team in the flow of forward momentum.
120 Days to Public Release
We've been using the new Notable in production here at ZURB every day for the past 8 months. It's all of our tools and techniques in one powerful package, and has both sped up and improved our work. Battle tested day in and day out, we're continuing to iterate and evolve the platform up to our public launch and beyond.
The new Notable will be available to the public in 120 days. Until then, it's in private release and we're letting in a limited number of people to start using the applications now. If you're interested in getting your hands on these powerful design tools and seeing how your team can build something truly Notable, sign up for the Private Release today and let's get you started.
Our newest engineer started out as an intern, working his way through complex problems and putting the time in to build up skills while working on our Library revamp. We can't wait to see what other great things he'll contribute to the team! Without further ado, meet...
Zoran Pesic, Engineer
Born in Berane, Montenegro, Zoran moved to the United States at a young age, growing up in New Jersey before settling in the San Francisco Bay Area. Originally thinking he would do something in the art world, his curious nature began leading him towards computers and coding. His first contact with ZURB was through Foundation, our responsive front-end framework. Enamored with the possibilities it opened up for him, Zoran dove head first into the code and eventually wound up on the ZURB homepage.
After learning more about the company and our culture, Zoran applied for our engineering internship and was quickly put to work updating our Library pages. The task we set before him was a tough one: rebuild all seven of our Library applications into a single web app. With multiple code bases and all kinds of backend complexity, even seasoned engineers would have found it a challenge!
But without any hesitation, Zoran jumped in and wowed us with his dedication to the project, spending long nights and weekends hammering through complex problems. His stellar work ethic and passion for learning continues to impress all of us, and we're thrilled to have him on board as a full fledged member of the engineering team!
I have the kind of personality that thrives off of solving problems. I love the feeling of awesomeness that comes over you when you figure something out in a clever way!
We're confident that Zoran will be feeling all kinds of awesome as he continues to help us conquer new challenges. Help us welcome him to the team!