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Design Thinking

We’ve written 22 blog posts about Design Thinking. View all topics »

  1. Art + Science: Creating a Comprehensive SEO Strategy That Complements a Beautiful Design

    Let’s face it – SEO and UX design don’t have the greatest history together. In the early, nascent days of the web, designers used to joke that if you talked to an SEO professional, they’d advise that your website should include nothing more than a white background with black text, lots of hyperlinks, and repetitive, monotonous copy, all in the name of “keyword density.” Indeed, in the early days of search (going back to the era of Yahoo!, Excite, Hotbot, and Dogpile – before Google was even a public company), simplicity was key — and search engines could do little beyond scanning text on a page.

  2. Going Off Script

    I have a confession to make: I was a theatre nerd in high school. The heights of my nerdom were reached when I joined an improv troupe that was aptly named “Awkward”—a ragtag bunch of 16-year-olds literally making it up as we went along. Perhaps you remember our renowned performances at the local Chick-fil-A?

  3. The Design Value of Content Audits

    “We have so much content, we don’t even know how many pages are on our website.” “It’s impossible for anyone to find anything.” “Our call center spends too much time answering questions about already-available information.” “I’m more likely to Google what I’m looking for than dig for it.” “I just bookmark everything.”

  4. A Key Player on a Wicked Team

    3/10/16

    by Abby Fretz

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    Recently I attended a workshop run by the legendary designer and boundary-pushing problem solver, Bruce Mau. The workshop, hosted by PennPraxis and the Penn Institute for Urban Research (PennIUR), focused on a large scale (citywide) question, “How Do We Design a More Equitable Philadelphia?”

  5. Switching it up

    A few weeks ago, I left my comfortable, everyday life in Philadelphia to travel by myself to Southeast Asia. I learned about the culture and history of the areas I traveled to, but the most important lesson I took away was that it’s necessary to switch up my normal ways of life in order to grow. When I came back to the States (and work), my fellow designer Dana and I were given the opportunity to – well, wouldn’t you know it? – literally switch it up.

  6. Get to Know Your Work

    I decided to experiment with keeping a journal of my projects: an iterative, running log that captures all the small day-to-day decisions made internally or with the client, in one place. It began as a way to keep myself more organized, but I’ve noticed a few benefits to this practice, and overall, it’s been a way for me to get to know my work much better. Unexpectedly, presenting my design work has become much easier, as this journaling has been a way for me to rehearse and commit to memory exactly what happens when anything is clicked, why I made each design decision, and how this will all come together in the CMS.

  7. Avoiding #RWD Limbo

    Almost four years ago, I wrote a Cognition post about my Rule of Threes. In it, I explained that pushing a design effort far enough often resulted in stronger, better-conceived, and more thoroughly vetted solutions. If you didn’t read the article, let me give you a quick recap:

    At the conclusion of the information architecture phase, multiple designers worked in unison to evolve three unique design concepts. Each effort was aimed at different, but agreed upon goals. By varying art direction, user-interface interpretation, and content prioritization, the Rule stressed designing a “range” of static mock-up solutions to present to a client. Whichever concept garnered the most attention became the “base model” that was iterated on and drove the overall look and feel moving forward.

  8. A Healthy and Balanced Website

    Do you ever overcompensate? Maybe you’ve gone on an “unplugged vacation” to combat device addiction or embarked on a juice cleanse after an indulgent weekend. I’ve been there often.

    I’ll spare you the details of my “10-Day Sugar Detox,” but I can share a little about how I’ve overcompensated in my design work. You see, my early designs were chock-full of inconsistencies—every style I created had a unique embellishment. One day, I became fearful that I had become one of “those clueless designers” that frustrated developers write scathing articles about.

  9. The Web on the Web’s Terms

    After finishing journalism school, I worked for a series of terrific newspaper and radio companies. Barely two years into it, after flirting with the web, I quit.

    Compared to the web, print and radio had limited reach and were clumsy to use. In print, we plugged content into a fixed canvas and delivered the same experience to every reader. The closest we got to flexibility was an evening edition or special insert. The web attracted me because it couldn’t have been more different. It challenged me to design and build something that can reach anyone on any web-browsing device—a cause worthy of committing my career to.

  10. Quick, grab a pencil and paper!

    If I had a nickel for every time someone has asked me, “what is your favorite tool for responsive web design,” I would have enough nickels to buy a cup of coffee… in 1941. I’ve realized, collecting nickels is a terrible way to get rich, so I’ll give you the answer for free. My favorite tool for any design project is: pencil and paper.

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