Product Design Insights: Seven Great Reads for September

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

Published by J.P. Holecka on 09.15.2020

This month, our experts have been reading about the importance of accessibility, how much people remember about products, low code-no code predictions, and what we've lost in the push to agile software development. Happy reading!

A collection of Design Systems for Figma from all over the globe

Category: Product Design

Recommended by: Gord Brown, Senior Designer

Figma, a platform that helps teams create, test, and ship better designs from start to finish, has exploded in popularity. As enthusiastic users of the tool, we were excited to see how many other well-known companies also use it. This collection provides real-world Design System resources from some of the biggest companies from around the world.

People remember less of your product than you think

Category: Product Branding

Recommended by: Priscilla Ho, Lead UX Designer

Products exist to support people in accomplishing a task. If the user succeeds, the app has an increased chance of continued use and remaining in people’s memory. To test how much individuals really remember about products, the author conducted an experiment using Uber. The findings? “A good product provides people with the right clues for using the right memories in order to finish their goal,” said researcher Teisanu Tudor. “However, even a well-built product, backed up by a powerful brand, is only partially remembered. Hiding clues and assuming people learn and get familiar with the product, due to its success, is a risk and a potential harm to their experience.”

Firebase vs. Vercel (aka Zeit)

Category: Technology

Recommended by Nathan Marshall, Technical Lead

The options for web hosting technologies have grown over the last two years. Some solutions have made it easier, while some have increased the complexity unnecessarily. We recently did a deep dive into Firebase (read here) and were curious to learn more about Vercel. Vercel is built on top of AWS Lamda, where they use a chunking strategy to break projects into multiple Cloud functions. This setup explains why they have specific integration templates (such as Next or Gatsby, for example), which helps reduce cold start times. For those looking to integrate with APIs requiring high availability, this setup makes it challenging to do so, making Firebase a stronger contender for hosting Next.js-like apps in 2020.

5 most annoying website features I face as a blind person every single day

Category: Accessibility

Recommended by: Brendan Betts, Software Developer

Accessibility in software development matters. No one with a disability should be excluded from using or interacting with a product. This article provides a firsthand account of the five most inaccessible web elements faced by a blind screen reader user, and how to fix them. “These issues may seem small to sighted users,” said the author, Holly Tuke, “but they’re the difference between me being able to use a website independently or not.”

Is low-code/no-code the future of application development?

Category: Technology

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

We’ve been reading about and watching as the low-code/no-code trend explodes in software development. With the onset of the pandemic and millions of people forced to work from home, low-code tools gained popularity because they gave non-programmers the power to develop business workflow applications without as much assistance. But is it the future of programming? Experts appear to be on the fence.

What we've lost in the push to agile software development, and how to get it back

Category: Process & Design

Recommended by: Cary Newfeldt, Director of Technology

Most organizations run their projects in an agile fashion and leave the upfront design work to a minimum. Assuming these details will be planned out as the process moves along, many teams miss out on critical architectural, design, documentation, and modelling opportunities. This article advocates for a shift in thinking, and recommends four components that should be part of the upfront design process.

How IoT sensors and analytics can make inside air safer in schools and offices

Category: Client News

Recommended by Trevor Westerlund, Senior Business Development Director

The Internet of Things (IoT) has become ubiquitous and companies all around the world are using devices’ computational power to make impactful change. As organizations develop back to work plans and kids return to school, it has been vital to focus on how a building’s existing infrastructure affects people’s safety. Delta Controls developed their innovative 03 Sensor Hub (with help from POWERSHiFTER), which is now being used to reduce the spread of coronavirus indoors. This is only one example of the benefits of integrating digital products into the IoT ecosystem.

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