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nemeroff

Why I love the Design Sprint

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Last year, when we began the work of re-designing the Blue Bottle Coffee website, we went out to San Francisco for a five-day Design Sprint being run by the team at Google Ventures. We didn’t know it at the time, but this session would have a profound impact on our work going forward. Since then, we have hosted a Design Sprint for four other clients, and have found the exercise to be invaluable. Here are the basics about the Design Sprint process, and the reasons we love it.

Background

More and more of our projects arrive in the studio without concrete definition — which we’re really happy about. This allows us to work alongside a client to better define the vision, and to test assumptions we all hold about how people will ultimately interact with it. The challenge of defining the work — and even on a simpler level, choosing what to build first — is usually handled with some combination of Kickoff meeting, User Story session, and Thinking Really Hard about the Strategy. In some cases, we’d even pitch an initial “Discovery” phase that was purpose-built to better scope out the final deliverable. Though all of these tasks can be fruitful, they often left us feeling like the choices made were obvious, the same people spoke the whole time, and the deliverable we ended up “defining” still remained vague. There wasn’t enough good meat — we often had a lot more to discover after the Discovery. 

The Design Sprint, and its purpose, is different. We now have an end goal that is clear and a process that is consistent (and fun, to boot).

The Process

The goal of a Design Sprint is to validate assumptions and provide a clear path forward. To accomplish this, we run through the steps of a Sprint over five consecutive days.

The steps look like this:

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Sep 15, 2014

posted by nemeroff

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braidn

Become A Better Developer Through Tinkering

Tool tweaking often times gets a bad rap in the programmer community. Everyone has heard their fair share of ‘yakshaving’ or ‘bike shedding’. The definition of these two concepts are as follows (for the uninitiated): Focusing on a myriad of smaller, meta tasks that don’t have any direct correlation with what the original task resembled.

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Aug 4, 2014

posted by braidn

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dynabeckii

Social Media: 10 Tips to Engage Your Audience

Icons designed by Natapon Chantabutr, Bangkok, TH 2013

If you’re anything like us at Dynamo, then you’re really feeling the challenge of getting your audience to genuinely engage with you through social media. So after a bit of brainstorming and research, I’ve put together a few helpful tips to help you boost up your engagement levels without spending a penny.

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Jun 30, 2014

posted by dynabeckii

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phoqueyeah

Does Your Site Harness the Power of Scrolling?

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The above photo is a print out of the Daily Mail’s homepage. Stretching a whopping 8.6 meters long, it’s a nice visual reminder of just how far web design has come since the days of “above the fold.”

A few years ago, long scrolling and infinite scrolling pages started to become accepted as the norm, and there are countless studies out there that prove that most users will now automatically scroll when they get to a web page. So if scrolling is the ONE thing we can almost guarantee our user will do when they get to our website, then in what ways can we capitalize on this action, and this action alone?

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Jun 9, 2014

posted by phoqueyeah

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dynabeckii

The 24 Hour C2MTL Design Challenge

On May 28 and 29th, C2MTL hosted a Design Challenge by Tata Communications. 15 local designers were selected, and then grouped into teams of 3. Our brief was to create a project that displayed our vision of how teams would collaborate in the future. We were given a couple of project requirements, but it had a fairly open scope as to how realistic or futuristic our projects could be. 

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Jun 5, 2014

posted by dynabeckii

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braidn

Spectacular Assets With Bower And Cloud66

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Application asset management has exploded in the last few years with a myriad of options. No longer is sprockets the only player in the game. However, actually finding time in a busy day can block us from experimenting with these new tools.

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Jun 2, 2014

posted by braidn

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dynabeckii

Social Media: Don’t Break the Bank

We all want more followers, likes, shares, and overall more engagement with our Facebook pages and posts. Have you ever invested your money into Facebook by using their “boost”, “advertise” or “promote” feature? I hope your answer is no. I’m going to explain to you why it’s a bad idea. 

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May 27, 2014

posted by dynabeckii

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phoqueyeah

The 90’s Called and They Want Their Design Aesthetic Back

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In attempting a little design trend round-up for the first half of 2014, I realized that I’m bored of most of them, and guilty of pretty much all of them. But I did come up with a few trends that I’m still happy to see (don’t let the blog title or image fool you). And for today’s post I’ll be honouring all things 90’s inspired because I don’t know about you, but I’m still not over all the vibrant colours and patterns and playfulness, and it’s really fun to see how this trend has made it’s way, not just into fashion, but into design and the web.

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May 23, 2014

posted by phoqueyeah

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dynabeckii

Reading This Will Not Make You Happier

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On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you? Stefan Sagmeister, one of the most celebrated and influential designers of our time, set out on a mission to find out how to become a happier person. The Happy Show was the chosen venue to display all of his findings and revelations that he has made during his 10 year journey. 

Sagmeister used the FITC Toronto 2014 conference platform to pass on his recommendations for becoming a happier person. I was lucky enough to hear him speak live, thanks to Montreal Meets & Dynamo. So now I am sharing these insights with you.

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May 6, 2014

posted by dynabeckii

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phoqueyeah

We’re a Nominee and Honoree for the 18th Annual Webby Awards!

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We’re thrilled to announce that our Deep Dish Mtl app has been nominated for Best Lifestyle App in the 18th Annual Webby Awards. Hailed as the “Internet’s highest honor” by The New York Times, The Webby Awards, presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, is the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet. The judging panel is comprised of web industry experts including media mogul Arianna Huffington, Skype CEO Tony Bates, Mozilla CEO and Chair Mitchell Baker, and Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom, to name a few.

Needless to say, the competition is stiff— so we need your vote! Others in the running for Best Lifestyle App are Jamie Oliver’s Recipes and Glenlivet—The Cask, while Honorees went to Whole Foods Market Recipes, Food Network— In the Kitchen, Harrod’s Magazine, and My Volvo Magazine. Not bad!

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Apr 9, 2014

posted by phoqueyeah

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andre-valle

Dynamo’s Good Practices for Mobile Commerce - Spree Webinar

Today André Valle and Max Kaplun delivered a webinar for Spree where they talked about good practices Dynamo has identified on our quest to optimize our clients’ sites and businesses. 

Going forward, ‘optimization for conversion’ is Dynamo’s next killer new feature! For that reason, we’ve been working hard to add that intelligence to our business practices, and in the case of commerce sites, we’re confident that it’s of extreme importance. 

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Apr 9, 2014

posted by andre-valle

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andre-valle

Join Dynamo’s conversation on Mobile Commerce at SpreeWebinar this Wednesday.

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This Wednesday, Dynamo continues the conversation started by Bryan Mahoney at SpreeConf 2014 in NYC. 

In this version of the talk, our art director Max Kaplun and content strategist/web analytics expert André Valle will talk about Dynamo’s quest to optimize our clients’ sites and businesses. More specifically, they will talk about optimization for mobile eCommerce sites.

So if you, too, are eager to learn about how Mobile Commerce, optimization, art direction, a/b tests, web analytics, and content strategy all fit together: Join us!!

15 Best Practices for Mobile Commerce - From the Real World

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 
2:00 PM EDT

Click here to register!

See you there!

Apr 7, 2014

posted by andre-valle

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klloydh

Dynamo’s Shiny New Help Desk

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“You’re only as good as the company you keep.” If this common sentiment bears any fruit, then Dynamo is pretty great; we keep great company, from our top-notch clientele to our world-class team of strategists, designers, project managers, analysts, engineers, and everything in-between. But even a bevy of elite professionals won’t negate that other old truism: Artisans are only as good as their tools.

With that in mind, Dynamo recently set out to expand our toolbox with a new support platform. This article tells the story of our selection process.

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Apr 7, 2014

posted by klloydh

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phoqueyeah

What Is A Brand?

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I’ve always really enjoyed the process of creating or enhancing a brand, though if asked “What is a brand?” I’m not sure I could come up with an immediate, definitive answer. Is it a logo, a tagline, an ad campaign, an intangible feeling?

So I’m in the middle of my first-ever online course via FutureLearn entitled The Power of Brands (big thanks to Johnny Dynamo for the tip) and during the first week the president of the design division of Sterling Brands, Debbie Millman*, contributed a short list of possible answers to the question, “What is a brand?”

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Apr 3, 2014

posted by phoqueyeah

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phoqueyeah

Stop Trying to Look Productive.

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Which employee is more productive: The one lying on the sofa staring at the ceiling, or the one sitting at their desk staring at their computer?

First, a little backstory. After 8 years of working onsite as an art director for various design agencies, I recently moved across the Atlantic to Stockholm, but have maintained a spot on the Dynamo roster as a remote art director. I now do exactly the same thing I did before, all without ever setting foot in the Dynamo studio. 

I’m now two months into this new arrangement, and it seems as though the combo of freedom and responsibility is teaching me a few things about myself and how I work best. And with remote working becoming more and more of a viable solution for businesses and employees alike, these new habits I’m forming may soon be regarded as pretty darn normal for any style of workplace in the very near future…

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Mar 25, 2014

posted by phoqueyeah