29 September 17 -

Super8: Eight intriguing articles from September.

It’s September, and our office is singing the praises of Spring. With a welcome change in season, I’ve curated a selection to keep you company during the sunny days to come.

I’ve collected eight eclectic articles we’ve been sharing this month to add to your readings. From exploring the electric bike conundrum, to considering what it takes to become a senior developer—Super8 September has a piece for everyone to delight in.

1. The electric bike conundrum.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Thomas Beller. 
  • Contributor: Mark Davis. 

Do you commute on a ‘traditional’ bike? Electric bikes are increasing in popularity in major cities around the world due to their power, speed, and convenience. Who doesn’t like increased velocity with half the effort?

This article from the New York Times shares the internal conversation of two traditional cyclists who are skeptical about travelling in the fast lane.

And yet, for all our shared sense that something was wrong with electric bikes, we agreed that, by any rational measure, they are a force for good.

2. Amazon’s exclusive patent for online commerce has just expired.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Keith Collins.  
  • Contributor: Trish Cave. 

Good UX principles tell us that the less steps someone needs to take online, the better the sales. Filed in 1997, Amazon’s patented ‘1-Click’ technology for shopping cart checkouts expired as of September 11, 2017.

Revolutionary? Not really. Legally impressive? Totally. The innovation is not in the technology itself, but the legal nous it took to patent it. Read on to learn how Amazon kept the feature theirs for almost 20 years.

3. What does the iPhone X’s AR engine mean for UX Designers?

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Andrew Wilshere. 
  • Contributor: Athalia Foo.  

Among the latest incremental updates to Apple’s product suite, the arrival of iOS 11 delivers something more unique—an Augmented Reality (AR) system. The inbuilt AR could change the way we interact with our smartphones—and the way we design for them to be used.

This article explores the future of AR applications, and discusses a $162 billion-dollar question: will we even use it?

Tim Cook is in no doubt:

I view AR like I view the silicon in my iPhone, it’s not a product per se, it’s a core technology.

4. So you want to be a senior developer?

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Chris Coyier. 
  • Contributor: Kurt Smith. 

Becoming a senior developer goes beyond the code. It’s a combination of experience, dedication, and a few other factors: like becoming a force multiplier.

The best (and most senior) developer on a team is the one who multiplies the effectiveness of their fellow developers. Perhaps that amazing developer on your team is able to be that way because someone else is freeing up their day to make that possible.

Chris Coyier runs us through his choice qualities for senior developers. From building a track record of good judgement to developing soft skills, here are five tips to boosting seniority to benefit your team, while helping you hone the craft of code.

5. Stealing your way to original designs.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Dan Mall.  
  • Contributor: Daniel Banik.

In this article by Dan Mall, he outlines a framework for getting new designers up to speed in skill, technique, and execution.

It’s a simple three step process: Imitate. Remix. Invent. Dan argues there’s nothing new under the sun, and to combat this idea, designers must perfect the art of stealing. Learn how to transform work from a variety of sources, and create something ‘original’ in the process.

6. You’re already living inside a computer.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Ian Bogost. 
  • Contributor: Mike McCusker.

By 2020, the estimated value of the smart-something market could reach $250 billion. Is the ‘rise of the machine’ on the horizon, or has it already arrived?

Everything from your toaster to your garden hose has the capacity to become a computer—our reality is more computer-driven than we think.

Computers already are predominant, human life already takes place mostly within them, and people are satisfied with the results.

Ian Bogost discusses why we choose to use computers is based on enjoyment, not just efficiencies.

7. Five ways to think like a designer.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Anuja Shukla. 
  • Contributor: Melanie Bruning.

If you’re a designer with a problem solving, tech-led mindset, here are five ways to go back to the basics. This article by Anuja Shukla asks designers to start with questions, whether large or small, that put humans at the center.

It’s about the value of collaboration and curiosity as a means to design from the heart, while challenging any assumptions along the way.

8. How brands can get into gaming.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Andy Fairclough.
  • Contributor: Lucas Mounsey. 

With more people tuning in to watch the eSports League of Legends championship on YouTube than Usain Bolt in the Olympics 100m final, gaming has officially made the big time.

As one of the only remaining industries that still maintains its core belief that the audience comes first with the community essentially driving the end product, it’s the strength of this community that holds most of its power.

Andy Fairclough takes us through some of the ways we can learn to engage with the burgeoning gaming community, including getting to know their audiences, key players, and social media habits.