Product Design Insights: Seven Great Reads for August

A curated selection of our team's recommended digital product reads.

Published by J.P. Holecka on 08.19.2020

This month, our experts have been reading about a new all in one toolchain for front end development, why designing for inclusion is still being treated as optional, destigmatizing COVID-19 with inclusive language, documenting design, and more. Happy learning!

Introducing Rome

Category: Technology

Recommended by: Brendan Betts, Software Developer

Traditional front end development requires utilization and dependencies on many disparate tools. With the promise of unifying all within one toolchain, we were curious to give Rome a try. Building upon a shared base offers the possibility of configuring a multitude of platforms in a single place, potentially reducing the overhead of bootstrapping projects. While it's exciting to see a new player come to the stage, we're waiting to see how the tool matures before adding it to POWERSHiFTER's arsenal.

How to use AVIF: The new next-gen image compression format

Category: Technology

Recommended by: JP Holecka, CEO, Founder, Product Strategist

Images give life to websites. They trigger emotions, engage visitors, and improve overall user experiences. But when images are too big, a multitude of web and product performance issues ensue (such as slowing things way down). As advocates of simplicity, speeding up experiences contributes to products feeling simpler. AV1 (.avif) is a new super-compressed image type that offers significant file size reduction compared with JPEG or WebP. It is also one of the first image formats to support HDR color. This article details how to use AVIF in development today.

Why is designing for inclusion still treated as optional?

Category: Design

Recommended by Priscilla Ho, Lead UX Designer

Accessibility needs to go beyond minimally meeting ADA Compliance. At POWERSHiFTER, we consciously fold inclusive design into every facet of our design process and methodology—from Discovery user research to recruiting people with disabilities for usability testing and including them in design critiques. We need to stop treating accessibility as a “nice to have” and recognize the importance of addressing personal biases within the creative process. This article provides tips and credible resources to enforce accessibility and inclusivity as necessary components of digital design.

New language guide helps to destigmatize COVID-19

Category: Content Strategy

Recommended by: Christie Atkins, Marketing Lead

The BC Center for Disease Control recently released a new language guide to make COVID-19 content more inclusive. The tool aims to prevent stigmatization of individuals and groups who are often excluded from health advice because they are not properly identified or defined. For anyone building digital products with a healthcare focus or promoting services related to COVID-19, this comprehensive guide is a great resource to consult to ensure your information is accessible by everyone.

Marketplace design

Category: Design

Recommended by: Priscilla Ho, Lead UX Designer

The online global market is growing. CNN recently reported that “110,000 Etsy sellers sold a total of 29 million face masks worth $346 million in the second quarter.” As people increasingly turn to online shopping for goods and services, marketplace design is becoming a more pertinent topic. Based on subject-matter-expert, Alvin Roth’s book, “Who Gets What – And Why,” this article discusses what marketplace design is, how to balance the liquidity of supply and demand, and how to build credibility with The Trust Equation.

Documenting is designing: How documentation drives better design outcomes

Category: Design

Recommended by: Gord Brown, Senior Designer

Documentation is not often spoken about in the design community—but it ought to be. In the early stages of a design project, sketching and drawing visual concepts are important. But decisions made after these steps must be well-reasoned—and one of the best ways to validate choices is to write out or talk through the logic. This article makes a case that “documenting is designing” and discusses a framework that may help those looking to formalize their process.

Getting started with React and WebAssembly using hooks

Category: Technology

Recommended by: Cary Newfeldt, Director of Technology

WebAssembly is garnering a lot of attention these days. The tool promises massive performance gains and opens web development up to multiple languages at near-native speed. Even better, developers don’t have to know how to create WebAssembly code to use the tool. This article explains what WebAssembly is and how to set up a React Application using AssemblyScript.

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