Behind our redesign for the Barnes Foundation

When we were approached by the Barnes to redesign their website we couldn’t have been more excited to work with them. Not only were we huge fans of the museum, but the more we engaged with Thom Collins (Executive Director and President) and Shelley Bernstein (Deputy Director of Digital Initiatives and Chief Experience Officer), the more we were inspired by their vision to reinvigorate the experience of the Barnes—and their recognition of the role design and technology can play. If you’ve been following along, you’ll have read about the Barnes’ forthcoming wearable and how they are rethinking museum collections online. It wasn’t just these refreshing initiatives that impressed us, but the user-centered, data-driven approach that supported them. Our ethos was aligned and we just had to work with them.

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Choosing a 3rd party service without losing your shirt

Choosing a 3rd party service without losing your shirt

Segment enables you to collect customer data with one API and send it to hundreds of tools for analytics, marketing, and data warehousing.

As digital product engineers, there are a few over-riding principles that govern our work. As an agency, one of the most critical of these is “build once, use many times.” Using existing building blocks for standard features allows us to develop rapidly while leaving budget for the innovative features that will actually differentiate our clients’ product.

In many cases, these building blocks are part of our own arsenal of code, standardized for reuse. In other cases, we evaluate 3rd party services that allow us to introduce production-ready features without the expense of developing and maintaining them.

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Maps and Places

Maps and Places

Just Map It

Before joining AREA 17 two years ago I spent a year and a half trying to get my startup, justmap.it, off the ground. I wanted to create a simple app where people could log and share places. And while it’s been a grind, I’ve pushed forward and will be releasing a new, much more polished version soon. Maps and places continue to intrigue me and seem to always find a way into all of my work.

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Designing with Unpredictability

Designing with Unpredictability

The language of interactive design is still in its infancy and frequently draws parallels from its more established counterparts in architecture and the Fine Arts. These creative disciplines do share many similarities and often warrant a dialogue that isn’t mutually exclusive. However as design becomes more ubiquitous in every aspect of our lives, and informs decisions in boardrooms around the world, it’s worth reconsidering how we talk about it. One approach is by embracing simplicity and harnessing the virtues of unpredictability.

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Five Ways Good Design Can Help Your Business

Five Ways Good Design Can Help Your Business

The Cognitivie Puzzles Ogilvy campaign for IBM Software. Illustration by HORT and Carl De Torres.

This article was originally published on Adage.com as the third in a three-part series authored by AREA 17’s leadership team.

Good design is good business. Now more than ever this well-worn phrase, coined by long-time IBM Chairman-CEO Thomas Watson Jr., is worth repeating. In an increasingly competitive business landscape, design is the new battleground and the success of your business depends on it.

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Five Things Your Interactive Agency Should Be Doing for You

Five Things Your Interactive Agency Should Be Doing for You

This article was originally published on Adage.com as the first in a three-part series authored by AREA 17’s leadership team.

Is your interactive agency doing everything in its power to make your projects — and business — successful? How do you know? Whether you’ve just hired your interactive agency or have had a relationship for years, you may wonder if you’ve made the right choice. With digital budgets increasing year after year, it’s a question worth considering.

Here are five things to look for to make sure an agency is truly right for your organization.

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The New York Times Innovation Report: The Cliff Notes

The New York Times Innovation Report: The Cliff Notes

If you are in digital publishing and haven’t heard about the New York Times Innovation Report, well, maybe you aren’t really in digital publishing. I’m kidding. But, chances are you’ve heard about it but didn’t have time to read all 90 pages. No worries, here are the critical things that the New York Times thinks it should be doing and, by inference, you should too.

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Product Management with Trello

Product Management with Trello

Here at AREA 17 we like to track project scope with User Stories. I completed Scrum Master Certification a few years ago and have been trying to find a suitable alternative to a physical project board ever since. In my opinion there isn’t any better way to track a project’s progress than using physical story cards pinned to a board. Having a visible representation of project status for everyone to see works incredibly well.

At AREA 17 almost all of our projects have a distributed team — often in very distant locations (New York, Paris, Argentina, London, Manchester). This makes sharing project status using a physical device almost impossible.

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Project kick-offs: agenda, scope, team, emotions

Project kick-offs: agenda, scope, team, emotions

A few you must wonder what us Producers do all day as we hit our keyboard keys, talk on the phone and go in and out of meetings. There’s more to our fancy Gantt chart timelines and chasing you to do your timesheets — I promise! I plan on sharing a series of posts on OC that capture a Producer’s life behind the scenes. Enjoy post #1.

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Scrum vs. Waterfall

This is a post that I published on my (now defunct) personal blog a while ago. It’s a general comparison of some concepts in Scrum and their equivalent in a traditional project management workflow. I’ve intentionally avoided mentioning the advantages or disadvantages of either — you can make up your own mind about that.

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