This week, start here:
Many of you will already have read Mike Kruzeniski of the Twitter Design Team on Macrointeractions — and three ‘categories of problems’ that stand between a great product and adoption (12 min.): network defects, barriers to entry and people and processes. Our friend Anne pointed us toward this piece, and we were struck by how much of the thinking it contained applied as closely to the role of the strategic planner as it does to the designer, to wit:

One way to get to know the kinds of barriers that sit in front of your product is to regularly start fresh with the product you’re working on. Not just from the unboxing or signing up with a new account, but from the earliest possible touchpoint. Consider how someone would first learn about your product and try to start there. Walk into a store that’s selling it and try to buy it. Follow your marketing links and see where they take you.


Steve Daniels of Makeshift dives headlong into the duct tape economy and makes a thoughtful argument that it represents one of the last great frontiers for design research (6 min.). We’re inclined to agree — one of the reasons that jugaad has been so central to some of our richest conversations in 2014.

We heart our colleagues at ThoughtBot, and Joshua Ogle’s piece on the mechanics and flow of spiking — think sketching with code (4 min.) — is exactly the kind of thing we’ve come to admire about them.

Ivo Mynttinen has published a comprehensive set of iOS design guidelines (20 min.) — updated for iOS 8 —  that are worth bookmarking if you build things for mobile users.

McKinsey’s take on the evolving role of the corporate strategist (18 min.) is interesting on a number of levels — particularly the notion of CSO archetypes and the evolution toward strategic specialization.

If we hadn’t led last week with Dan Hill’s take on the predictive analytics of cities, we’d have led with him this week: his post on prototyping wearables that unlock cities for the visually impaired (6 min.) is elegant design and systems thinking.

Speaking of wearables, consumer grade 360-degree 3D cameras (1 min.) are coming, and will seek to do for Oculus what GoPro has done for Vimeo. Unless, of course, it all ends up on our mobile devices (4 min.).

Cinematographer James Buckhouse has written a moderately well-circulated, but ultimately quite compelling piece on color strategy in creative storytelling (7 min.).

Justin O’Shea of MyTheresa.com on the new normal in fashion buying (9 min.):

Buying is a much more analytical experience than before. But it’s not analytically guiding your taste, it’s guiding you to quantify in the right way, both in terms of the consumer and the product categories. We have a global customer and if you say you’re the world’s finest edit of luxury fashion, you can’t be there unless you are servicing them down to the final detail of sizing.

The incomparable James Bridle documented a walk around London, mapped to surveillance cameras (12 min.). You’ll not perambulate unmolested again. Store this away:

Suspicion is a global variable. Once triggered it bubbles upward through the entire system.

In a similar vein, Michael Price dissects the 46 page privacy policy that comes with his new smart television (3 min.).

Of course, there is always the “dumb” option. Users may have the ability to disable data collection, but it comes at a cost. The device will not function properly or allow the use of its high-tech features. This leaves consumers with an unacceptable choice between keeping up with technology and retaining their personal privacy.

If, as articulated by Leslie Hand of IDC in Luxury Daily’s thought-provoking piece on technology integration at retail (4 min.):

The luxury shopper wants a higher level of personalization, only made possible when they opt in to relationship / location based programs, but the luxury brand must honor and protect privacy commitments.

The challenge Price points to is only going to become more profound.Found in the New York Times’ profile of Japanese decluttering sensation Marie Kondo (7 min.), this gem on our tactile relationships with the objects we own:

When we take our clothes in our hands and fold them neatly, we are, I believe, transmitting energy, which has a positive effect on our clothes.

The good news: racial discrimination in collaborative, peer-focused roles is approaching near negligible levels. The bad news, racial discrimination in customer-facing roles is rampant (55 min.) — or so suggests a paper from economist Richard Alan Seals. Don’t have an hour to burn? Read Marginal Revolution’s cliff notes on the paper (2 min.)


Finally, if you’ve made it through the links above, you could always spend some time with The Fader’s profile of Tyler, the Creator (18 min.) — among our favorite things we’ve come across this week. Thanks again for all of the kind notes and tweets about the revised, mobile-friendly Dark Matter that debuted last week. As always, we’d love to hear what we can do to make this better for you, our readers. Just drop us a line ( darkmatter at bealmighty dot com ) or reply to this email.

Have a great week.