Sep 21, 2020 29 min

Why are elections so hard to design well?

The fundamental design feature of a democratic society is a citizen's right to vote. But ensuring that every person is able to vote is not as easy as it seems. Everything from how you design a paper ballot, build an electronic terminal, process a mail-in ballot, engineer a public space for private voting, and so on, brings hundreds of complicated design decisions. We look at how design choices are sometimes at odds with political ones.
Sep 07, 2020 27 min

Can an app actually help you relax?

A third of America's population struggles to sleep through the night. For many of us, stress and anxiety play a big role in that. Some designers believe they can help us tackle these problems and calm our minds. The sleep-aid market is a multi-billion dollar industry, so it's no wonder companies are trying to design solutions for us. But can apps and gadgets designed to help us sleep, and keep us calm, really help? Or are they just a kind of digital snake oil?
Aug 24, 2020 30 min

How streaming services design interfaces to keep us watching

On just one day this Spring, at the height of global stay-at-home orders for Covid-19, Americans watched 27 billion minutes of streaming video. Dozens of online streaming services court us with an ever increasing amount of television and film content. And yet, more streaming services are coming online. But in the battle to win over subscribers (and our subscription dollars), how much of a role can good UX interface design play in crowning a video streaming champion? Does the best interface matter, or is content truly king?
Aug 10, 2020 27 min

How crowdfunding design makes it easy for us to give

As the pandemic created health and employment crises, a lot of people found themselves in urgent need of financial help. As a result, crowdfunding platforms are proving more popular than ever. They create personal connections between those of us asking for help, and those of us with money to give. We look at how platforms like GoFundMe, Kickstarter, Patreon and Chuffed deploy different strategies in their UX design to encourage us to give, and give more.
Jul 27, 2020 27 min

Why can’t dad unmute himself on Zoom?

Your dad’s dog is barking in the background, but he doesn't know how to mute his video chat. Your uncle can’t get Netflix working on his new SmartTV. And grandma still can’t find where her favorite songs are stored on her tablet. Why is your family always depending on you for tech support? Sometimes design, technology, and getting older doesn't add up. And if design is failing older generations, it will eventually fail us all.
Jul 13, 2020 25 min

Covid-19 is changing how designers think

With our first episode, we tackle the Covid-19 pandemic question directly: how has it affected designers and the work they do? Our episode explores the changing nature of work from a designer's perspective. We also examine what it means to design during a pandemic - and how our anxieties and concerns intersect with the responsibilities UX designers already have in making technology work better for us.
Jul 06, 2020 2 min

Season 3: The UX of life has changed

With the pandemic, the user experience of life has changed. It has affected how we feel, how we communicate, how we think and how we entertain ourselves. This season, we examine how good UX design can help technology support some very current anxieties. Can design help us sleep? Can it encourage us to be more charitable? Can it solve our family tech support conundrums? Can it entertain us with better online content? And come November, can it help us vote?
Oct 22, 2019 28 min

Falling in Love with Good Design

Can an app really help you fall in love? Sometimes using a dating app feels like getting hit by cupid’s arrow - and sometimes it feels like you’ve been stung. We talk to designers and daters to see whether the UX of these apps is meant to help you find that someone special, or just to keep you swiping left indefinitely.
Oct 15, 2019 22 min

Faking Good Design

The world of FUI or fantasy user interface design is responsible for on-screen depictions of UX. Like the heads up displays for superheroes, or what a hacker sees as she cracks the government’s mainframe. All of these worlds are designed by someone. But, when it comes to designing these worlds, the lines between fiction and reality are often blurred. How do FUI designers create the futures we see on screen, and how do they influence the traditional designers who are building our real-life futures?
Oct 08, 2019 24 min

When Everything Looks Like Good Design

Design critics Jessica Helfand and Emily Heyward, founder of Red Antler, discuss what's at stake when everything looks the same -- and what designers can do about it.