zuLIVE

zuLive is home to musings from the zuCrew, photos, and generally anything that interests us. Don’t expect anything too polished, this is where we let it all out.

Dimensions: A Sprint for the Future of Android

By on

zu Designer, Brittany Lloy, was invited by Google to participate in a Design Sprint in San Francisco. An array of innovative Android app concepts emerged, including Safespace, designed by Brit's team as a place for survivors of sexual trauma to safely and anonymously find community and support. We asked her about her experience learning about Material Design, presenting to the Google Ventures team, and the greater benefits of applying a Google Design Sprint to your projects.

1. For those who don't know, what's a Google Sprint?

A Google Sprint is a framework developed by Google by combining many different "design thinking" methods. This framework is meant to take place over a short time span (typically 3-5 days) and helps solve problems, generate ideas, and reach your business goals,

...
Read more

The Potential of Untapped Data

By on

Data: humans are generating more and more of it and at an increasing rate. So much in fact, that 90% of the data that exists today was generated in the last two years alone.1 Big corporations have taken advantage of the huge value this data represents by focusing their efforts on collecting it - including intimate details of our lives. From our likes, dislikes, location, and political leanings, to our “private” conversations, data mining has stimulated a buzz around privacy concerns.

An infinite resource

I recently read two articles which provided an interesting perspective on how BIG “big data” has really become. The Economist makes the bold claim that “The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data”, and draws many analogies between the two industries. Both oil and data

...
Read more

6 things to consider before starting your next web project

By on

In the last decade, the web has drastically changed. From mobile, responsive, apps, and social, to the Internet of Things, it’s intimidating for anyone embarking on a digital project. Having said that, capitalizing on all the new technology is only one side of the equation when it comes to launching a project. We often get so distracted by all the shiny ideas of digital, that we sometimes lose sight of the pillars of a successful project.

I was curious to see what our zu crew viewed as important factors to a successful project, so I sat in the kitchen the other day and asked various people around the office to answer this simple question:

“For clients who are embarking on a new project, what should they REALLY be thinking about?”

Here’s some of my favourite advice:

Think about

...
Read more

Dear <insert bank name here> Customer - You’ve been phished!

By on

We've all seen the emails; they look like they're from a legitimate source, maybe your bank, maybe the Financial Director of your company. They're usually simple enough, telling you that you need to verify some information, or that there's some problem with the money. The mail might be addressed to you directly, or be addressed to "Dear Friend". They might be very sophisticated, or simple in form. But they're all doing the same thing – trying to bilk you out of personal and banking information, or your money.

The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) estimates that in 2014, almost $215 million US dollars were lost to this form of scam.⁠[1] The scams are becoming more sophisticated, and harder to detect. It's easy to fall victim to them, and it's not just individuals that are being

...
Read more

Top Three Lessons from Day One of The Gathering 2016

By on

Photo

Day One of #TheGathering2016 has been a whirlwind of inspiring and thought provoking speakers from some of the world’s best brands. While we take a moment to process the day’s events, we reflect on a few of our top takeaways so far:

  1. Know who your monsters are. What are you fighting against? Is there a cause you stand behind, a misperception of your brand or business that you need to clarify? For Airbnb, the monster they had to tackle was the concept of “the stranger”. In order to overcome the hesitation that hosts and travelers have towards sharing space with someone they don’t know, Airbnb launched a campaign to make the scary familiar. By knowing what it is that keeps potential customers away, this opens up the opportunity for brands to combat it face on.

  2. Build your brand on

...
Read more

10 Lessons Learned from the Past 20 Years

By on

Over the last two decades, we’ve grown, shrunk, failed, and won on many occasions. Maturing as a business was especially hard. In the early days, because of our industry and geographic location, there were very few examples to model ourselves upon. But here we are. We’ve made it through some interesting times, and can now look back at some of the bigger lessons learned:

1) Choose a rising market over a mature one

We started our career in business with what we knew: Printing. This was the boom of desktop publishing with Apple-based page layout programs, and the beginning of Photoshop, Illustrator and QuarkXpress. On the downside, big box office stores were cutting in on the trade and a million home-based designers were also putting downward pressure on pricing. In 1994 we looked beyond

...
Read more

Are You Building a Website or an Application?

By on

The other day, I had a spirited rant discussion with my friend who is a franchisee of a supply chain company. She was looking for business advice and had to decide between staying with the current system or developing one of her own. One of her advisors mentioned that the current website platform (a service that manages franchises and deliveries for customers) can easily be recreated for between $10-20K. I got worked up (as usual) and offered my two cents. Though this was a web-based system, it was far from a simple website. I was dumbfounded at how effortlessly this was passed off as a simple bump in the road.

The system provided a very customized service, and I could identify at least 13 significant features, which could be broken down into hundreds of user stories. One of these features

...
Read more

Developing Websites with Responsive Mobile-First in Mind

By on

With more than half of all website traffic in North America now originating from a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet, the way people browse the Internet has evolved enormously in recent years. There’s also growth in the mobile-only user, who accesses the Web exclusively from a mobile device, illustrating the trend that tablets and phones are fast becoming the main personal computer for consumers everywhere. With these changing browsing habits, web designers, developers, and digital marketers absolutely must be able to accommodate mobile devices by offering an optimized user experience and responsive web design for the small screen.

Real World Developments

Recently, Google began indicating to users in their search results whether or not a site is mobile friendly. Then on

...
Read more

Marketing is a Strategic Driver for SMBs

By on

As marketers, we’re always trying to find new ways to engage our existing and potential clients. We are constantly seeking out the latest solutions that technology has to offer, observing the best in our industries, learning from them, and adapting our own best practices. For many of us, it’s the reason we get out of bed in the morning.

Before reading a recent report published by The Economist Intelligence Unit, and commissioned by a leading marketing automation solution, Marketo, I was blissfully unaware of the battle that is being fought by many marketers in their small to medium sized organizations. The epidemic, it seems, is that marketing tends to be seen only as a cost centre, and not the demand-generating, funnel-fueling, shareholder-pleasing center of intelligence that it

...
Read more

Top Takeaways From UX Intensive: Brooklyn

By on

We laughed, we cried, we wireframed. What a week it was in downtown Brooklyn, at Adaptive Path’s UX Intensive workshop, working through four jam packed days with 70 UX practitioners from around the world.

The days were split into 4 streams: Design Strategy, Research, Service Design and finally, Interaction Design. Each course was led by a different member of the Adaptive Path team, while the others helped teams along the way. We have quite a few key takeaways from these workshops. Some are being implemented into our overall process at zu, while others are on the horizon. Here are our Top 8 Takeaways:

1. New practical approaches to user research

You are not your user. This theme was repeated often, and thus we were taught several methods of collecting feedback from users. While most

...
Read more

CIRI 2014: Three Takeaways for Digital Investor Relations

By Tony on