Find of the Day: 29 August 2016

Prepared by product design greats for the Supreme Court, this is the definitive guide to using product design to build a brand, market, and sell great products, backed up with design history and cognitive science.

We’re about to get schooled by the product design greats.

Here’s the quick backstory, with all the curious information you might need to know. IDSA — the Industrial Designers Society of America — submitted an amicus curiae — an unsolicited brief submitted to a court by an uninvolved third-party to assist with a case — to the United States Supreme Court for the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Samsung.

It was signed by 113 design greats including the infamous Dieter Rams, and the heads of design at Microsoft, Bentley, Nissan, Lego, Louis Vuitton, Motorola, Calvin Klein, Herman Miller, and professors of design at Savannah College of Art and Design, and Harvard, among others (as a Hokie, I’m also proud that two Virginia Tech professors are among the 113 signatories).

This crash course in design theory for the justices distilled from modern product design a few fundamental rules, drawing on cognitive science, design history, marketing theory, and consumer technology.

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When you create color palettes for your web design projects, are you testing the color combinations for contrast? If you’re not, you might not be considering the eventual readability of the design and thus losing potential audience.

The goal here is to simply show that a little bit of effort can go a long way when it comes to selecting colors with optimal readability in mind. Check out W3C for a more thorough explanation. Also, check out Contrast Rebellion for an interesting look at the contrast problem.

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Lately, blockchain technology has created a lot of attention and excitement. As a novel way of organizing transactions and contracts, it has the potential to completely change the way we think about money, social organization and trust. But what is it, and how does it work?

Since 2008, blockchain has served as the backbone of a new digital currency, the Bitcoin. The reason for why it is so crucial for Bitcoin and other digital currencies is that it allows for transactions to be made reliably, but without third parties – which is also why it could transform not just money, but other forms of social organization, such as voting, property, or work.

Simply put, the blockchain is a distributed database, where every unit of transaction contains its own transaction history. It consists of blocks of timestamped transactions where each block contains the hash function – basically, a key – of the next block in the chain. Thus the name blockchain.

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India’s southwestern coast was once a crossroads for traders, travelers and imperialists — the Chinese and Japanese, the Dutch, the Portuguese and the British. Cochin was a center of the spice trade, with huge wooden warehouses filled with cardamom and cloves, cinnamon and ginger.

But these days, Cochin, now called Kochi, and its home state of Kerala, are looking to the future, with dreams of becoming a high-tech manufacturing hub in the era of the “Internet of Things.”

This also happens to be a part of India’s own national ambition, to turbo-charge its once anemic manufacturing sector — anemic, at least, compared to China’s — and make that a more important contributor to India’s GDP growth, and to the global economy. There’s now a “Make in India” campaign, and India is fast moving up the ranks in manufacturing — it’s now sixth in the world.

In this effort, Kerala has much to offer. It already has the highest literacy rate in India, an impressive e-literacy rate — like, smart phones and computers — and aspirations to have India’s highest f-literacy. That’s “f” for fabrication, and the idea that as many people as possible become comfortable using high-tech tools to make what they use, and use what they make.

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Data visualization, or data viz, is the graphic presentation of data. These portrayals are the most effective way to succinctly translate large amounts of data and complex information to a wide audience. Successful visualizations are aesthetically beautiful and also provide layers of detail that efficiently generate insight and new understanding. They can be fun and interactive as well!

The field is growing, and whether you’re a data viz expert or just learning the ropes, there are a wide range of books available to keep you ahead of the game. Overwhelmed by where to start?

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