“The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.” This might be an overused quote from the the creator of the World Wide Web himself, Tim Berners-Lee, but it’s worthy and it emphasizes the importance of accessibility and inclusivity—subjects of today’s Macchiato.

Before we go any further, I’d like to give a shout out to my colleague and friend, Jordan Dunn, who will be speaking at SXSW taking place March 10-19, 2017. If you’re going, make sure to attend his session.

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To many observers, 2016 was at best a lackluster year for mobile innovation, save the Pokemon Go craze (which ended up not unleashing an AR revolution) and the new Google Pixel phone. Some have argued innovation in mobile has run its course and we are destined for performance-only improvements for the foreseeable future, like we’ve been seeing in the desktop market for a decade.

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I hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was filled with superb food, inspiring company, and rich gratitude. Looks like I skipped the whole month of October, but I’m back for a bit and hope to get a Macchiato delivered to you four more times before 2017—enjoy this week’s cup!

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  • I believe gratitude is a virtue and practicing it is the mark of a kind and noble soul. This time of year we are reminded to reflect on the things we value most in life. To share the spirit of gratitude, the InVision community has shared the things they are most grateful for as designers and as humans. What are you thankful for this year? What are designers thankful for?
  • How can we relate Thanksgiving with UX Design? Check out the Thanksgiving design experience—discover, define, design, and feedback—UX and Thanksgiving.
  • InVision has launched their version of Zeplin, Inspect. Inspect supports your team’s transition from design to development. I very much appreciate the team we have at WillowTree and I’m glad we can openly communicate as we work together. With tools like Zeplin and now, Inspect, collaboration and productivity are further supported when building apps. We value collaboration above all.
  • With the festive season approaching, is your website all decked-up and stacked for record breaking sales? Prepare your e-Commerce Website for the Holiday Season.
  • Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is these five design books. Love, Your Favorite Designer. Here are 5 Books Every Designer Needs courtesy of Jennifer Aldrich, UX & Content Strategist at InVision. Thanks Jennifer!
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I was recently invited to talk to a group of students in a Masters Data Science program at a nearby university. Long story short, my mandate was to help prepare them to find jobs after graduation. There are worse positions to be in these days than having a Data Science degree, but many of these students have never interviewed for anything more than an internship so I covered everything from resumes through offer letters.

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What is a Markov Chain? How are they used in language auto completion, video game AI, or other predictive applications? How can we make a bunch of sentences to laugh at for hours? Let’s find out in this episode of WillowTalk!

 

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In the mobile development world, regardless of the platform, lists that display data to the user are commonly used in many projects. The Android platform gives us two different types of views that can be leveraged to display lists of data—the  ListView and the RecyclerView.

My friend and team member, Brandon Carter, wrote a post about creating performant ListViews, which I highly recommend reading if you need to use a ListView in your project. Today, however, we are going to focus on the more advanced Android view-type to present lists—the RecyclerView.

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I’d like to start by saying I fully admit it’s kind of funny to be reading a blog post written by a recruiter about counteroffers. It’s comical, of course, and only natural that a recruiter would be biased—especially if we’ve made you a job offer. Conflict of interest aside, though, I’ve seen a lot of counteroffers in my career as a recruiter and even have my own story to share. What I’d like to offer you is some advice on considerations to make if you find yourself in a counter-offer situation. Read the full article here.

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Smartphones are crucial to modern life. They are our communications platform, our entertainment hub, and our most-used utility. They are our constant companions. Until recently, smartphones have missed out on deep integration into what is usually our second biggest investment: Cars. The big trend in automotive tech lately has been integrating them seamlessly with the car’s head unit either via Apple’s CarPlay or Google’s Android Auto. The only problem? You had to buy a new car or a rather expensive (and at times complicated to install) head unit to use these new features!

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While I was exploring my new Pixel XL, one of the things I noticed while setting up the perfect home screen was a pop-up menu when long pressing on certain apps. This immediately piqued my curiosity so I went looking to see what this mystery menu was; and then I discovered app shortcuts. App shortcuts are new in Android 7.1 and can be seen on Nexus and Pixel devices. You can have up to five shortcuts for your app at one time (although Google recommends four) and users of your shortcuts can also pin them to the launcher.

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Every day people ask me questions like, “Where is mobile going?” “Aren’t apps a fad?” “Will everything go to the browser?” “Aren’t chatbots the future?”

Humans interact with technology to do something better or faster. It’s that simple. The big breakthroughs of the past two centuries (telephones, cars, airplanes, radios, TVs, computers, the internet, mobile devices, etc.) show this to be true.

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Our user-centered focus is paramount here at WillowTree. What good is an app, after all, if it doesn’t serve and delight its users? That’s why our testing process is designed with a series of user checkpoints. We want to make sure we’re delivering a product that results in satisfaction and smiles.

As some of our clients are targeting a very specific audience, it’s not always easy to get our designs in front of the right people. From doctors to celebrities, expecting mothers to selfie-loving teens—we have a spectrum of users who use a spectrum of technologies. That’s why we’ve collected an assortment of tools to help with the hurdles of user testing: recruiting participants, setting up tasks, reviewing videos, coding user feedback, and compiling clips into reels for clients—it can be a lot of work!
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