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10 Important UX Design Tips for UX Designer One of the most crucial steps in web and app development is designing the user interface. No matter how rich and awesome your application is, if the interface is not user-friendly, the users won’t take too long to remove the application or stop using it. In general, the UI/UX designing is one of the leading IT careers in today’s world with an average pay of $73,800 per year (according to PayScale). However, to fully excel in the field, there are a few tips you should know which will help you deliver better results. Know your Client or Audience Every web or mobile application is designed for a purpose and is intended for a specific audience. When designing the application or website’s user interface, you should have a clear understanding of who the target audience is and whether they will enjoy the user experience. Understanding the audience requirement essentially requires research and observation of the stakeholders. For instance, meeting with the stakeholders in the early design process to inquire about their communication style or asking them to show some of the apps they use on daily basis can help in designing an effective user-interface. Put Yourself in the User’s Shoes To be a good UI/UX designer, you need to start thinking like the user. Ask yourself these questions, is the font readable? Will the design appear well on every device? Should I add an on-screen guidance? Does the color combination complement the type of services the business offers? It is also important to consider how the end-user will interact with the website or app and this can only be done by exploring the design thoroughly and understanding what challenges one might face when using the product. Responsive Design A responsive design makes your product look admirable in all devices. Today, everyone owns a mobile phone, a laptop, and a tablet and you can never know whether your designed website is being accessed on a mobile phone or a laptop. This is why the product design should be responsive so that all the information is presented in the most effective and efficient way possible. In web development, a responsive design also helps to decrease the page load speed, improve SEO ranking and simplifies content management. Adopt Iterative Development Technique Iterative development involves gathering useful information from evaluation methods such as user testing. For instance, adding an in-app user behavior analytics in the product can help you in receiving feedback from the users and other important insights which will enable the designer to make appropriate changes in the design. Avoid Excessive Scrolling Scrolling has become very common in both websites and mobile applications these days. However, there are multiple types of scrolling and deciding which one to use is important to keep the audience engages. One of the types is Infinite Scrolling which is mainly popular with social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Infinite Scrolling is used when there are tons of content and the user is continuously looking for fresh information. Whereas, Parallax Scrolling is popular with gaming sites as it provides a visual 3D effect when browsing content. Being a designer, it is important to decide the type of scrolling to use depending on the product usage and content. Make use of Typography Typography, if done right, elevates the whole UI design and makes it appear compelling to the user. The crucial step is to pick the right type of typography so that it looks elegant and does not cause a problem with readability. Typography makes the content interesting as it presents the information in an attractive manner and conveys the message effectively. However, if after using typography, the user has a problem reading the content, you may have definitely done something wrong. Prototype and User-Testing Directly launching the main product can be disastrous for the company especially if it has design flaws. For this reason, creating a prototype initially is important as it can help you in recognizing any problem with the product. There are various prototyping techniques; for instance, rapid prototyping is used to quickly construct a future state of the product and having it tested by a group of users. Similarly, user-interface testing is important as it involves validating information about the product from different users which are mostly stakeholders. Explore new Design and Trends Being a UI/UX designer, it is necessary to remain up-to-date with any new design trend and innovation happening in the creative industry. A lot of successful UI/UX designers are active members of different websites including Behance, Dribble, DeviantArt, MaterialUp, Creatica and more. Pinterest is another useful source where you can find inspiration and know exactly what is preferred by the general public. Follow the KISS Principle The “Keep it simple stupid” model, also called the KISS principle is a design philosophy which states that any product will work best if it’s designed is kept simple and does not include any complication. As a UI/UX designer, following the KISS principle is important since users mostly prefer a simple UI where the task can be achieved with minimal steps. Content is King To effectively deliver your message using graphics, it is important to add text as well. However, only relevant content should be added as quality matters more and the audience will only read the compelling information. https://ift.tt/2LjUntQ

December 14, 2018

from Pradodesign 10 Important UX Design Tips for UX Designer

One of the most crucial steps in web and app development is designing the user interface. No matter how rich and awesome your application is, if the interface is not user-friendly, the users won’t take too long to remove the application or stop using it.

In general, the UI/UX designing is one of the leading IT careers in today’s world with an average pay of $73,800 per year (according to PayScale). However, to fully excel in the field, there are a few tips you should know which will help you deliver better results.

Know your Client or Audience

Every web or mobile application is designed for a purpose and is intended for a specific audience. When designing the application or website’s user interface, you should have a clear understanding of who the target audience is and whether they will enjoy the user experience.

Understanding the audience requirement essentially requires research and observation of the stakeholders. For instance, meeting with the stakeholders in the early design process to inquire about their communication style or asking them to show some of the apps they use on daily basis can help in designing an effective user-interface.

Put Yourself in the User’s Shoes

To be a good UI/UX designer, you need to start thinking like the user. Ask yourself these questions, is the font readable? Will the design appear well on every device? Should I add an on-screen guidance? Does the color combination complement the type of services the business offers?

It is also important to consider how the end-user will interact with the website or app and this can only be done by exploring the design thoroughly and understanding what challenges one might face when using the product.

Responsive Design

A responsive design makes your product look admirable in all devices. Today, everyone owns a mobile phone, a laptop, and a tablet and you can never know whether your designed website is being accessed on a mobile phone or a laptop. This is why the product design should be responsive so that all the information is presented in the most effective and efficient way possible.

In web development, a responsive design also helps to decrease the page load speed, improve SEO ranking and simplifies content management.

Adopt Iterative Development Technique

Iterative development involves gathering useful information from evaluation methods such as user testing. For instance, adding an in-app user behavior analytics in the product can help you in receiving feedback from the users and other important insights which will enable the designer to make appropriate changes in the design.

Avoid Excessive Scrolling

Scrolling has become very common in both websites and mobile applications these days. However, there are multiple types of scrolling and deciding which one to use is important to keep the audience engages. One of the types is Infinite Scrolling which is mainly popular with social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Infinite Scrolling is used when there are tons of content and the user is continuously looking for fresh information.

Whereas, Parallax Scrolling is popular with gaming sites as it provides a visual 3D effect when browsing content. Being a designer, it is important to decide the type of scrolling to use depending on the product usage and content.

Make use of Typography

Typography, if done right, elevates the whole UI design and makes it appear compelling to the user. The crucial step is to pick the right type of typography so that it looks elegant and does not cause a problem with readability. Typography makes the content interesting as it presents the information in an attractive manner and conveys the message effectively. However, if after using typography, the user has a problem reading the content, you may have definitely done something wrong.

Prototype and User-Testing

Directly launching the main product can be disastrous for the company especially if it has design flaws. For this reason, creating a prototype initially is important as it can help you in recognizing any problem with the product. There are various prototyping techniques; for instance, rapid prototyping is used to quickly construct a future state of the product and having it tested by a group of users. Similarly, user-interface testing is important as it involves validating information about the product from different users which are mostly stakeholders.

Explore new Design and Trends

Being a UI/UX designer, it is necessary to remain up-to-date with any new design trend and innovation happening in the creative industry. A lot of successful UI/UX designers are active members of different websites including Behance, Dribble, DeviantArt, MaterialUp, Creatica and more. Pinterest is another useful source where you can find inspiration and know exactly what is preferred by the general public.

Follow the KISS Principle

The “Keep it simple stupid” model, also called the KISS principle is a design philosophy which states that any product will work best if it’s designed is kept simple and does not include any complication. As a UI/UX designer, following the KISS principle is important since users mostly prefer a simple UI where the task can be achieved with minimal steps.

Content is King

To effectively deliver your message using graphics, it is important to add text as well. However, only relevant content should be added as quality matters more and the audience will only read the compelling information.

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Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hogwarts House? Slytherin, Naturally Makes sense. Slytherin are known for their resourcefulness and ambition. https://ift.tt/2rzZ7m1

December 14, 2018

from Pradodesign Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hogwarts House? Slytherin, Naturally Makes sense. Slytherin are known for their resourcefulness and ambition. https://ift.tt/2rzZ7m1 https://ift.tt/1P9I4xH
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Amazon Echo speakers now play friendly with Apple Music Amazon recently said Apple Music would find its way onto Amazon Echo devices sometime soon — and sure enough, it appears to be rolling out now. To make Alexa work with Apple’s streaming service, you should just have to jump into the newly updated iOS/Android Alexa app and link up your account. You can find the option under Settings > Music. Once done, commands like “Alexa, play music by Halsey on Apple Music” should work. Or, if you don’t want to have to say the “… on Apple Music” bit every time, you can just set Apple Music as the default service. If you don’t have a specific artist in mind, you an also request playlists or genres. One catch: as 9to5mac points out, it appears this currently only works with Amazon Echo speakers, and not yet with third party speakers (like the Sonos ONE or Polk’s Audio Command sounder) that happen to have Alexa-support built in. Not a fan of Apple’s offering? Alexa also works with Spotify, Pandora, Tidal, Deezer, and Amazon’s own Music service. Using Google devices, rather than Amazon’s? Alas, still no word on if/when proper Apple Music support might come to Google Home. https://ift.tt/2GgfuOP

December 14, 2018

from Pradodesign Amazon Echo speakers now play friendly with Apple Music

Amazon recently said Apple Music would find its way onto Amazon Echo devices sometime soon — and sure enough, it appears to be rolling out now.

To make Alexa work with Apple’s streaming service, you should just have to jump into the newly updated iOS/Android Alexa app and link up your account. You can find the option under Settings > Music.

Once done, commands like “Alexa, play music by Halsey on Apple Music” should work. Or, if you don’t want to have to say the “… on Apple Music” bit every time, you can just set Apple Music as the default service. If you don’t have a specific artist in mind, you an also request playlists or genres.

One catch: as 9to5mac points out, it appears this currently only works with Amazon Echo speakers, and not yet with third party speakers (like the Sonos ONE or Polk’s Audio Command sounder) that happen to have Alexa-support built in.

Not a fan of Apple’s offering? Alexa also works with Spotify, Pandora, Tidal, Deezer, and Amazon’s own Music service.

Using Google devices, rather than Amazon’s? Alas, still no word on if/when proper Apple Music support might come to Google Home.

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‘Donald’ debuts at No. 23 on worst passwords of 2018 list Almost 10 percent of people on the interwebs used at least one of the 25 worst passwords on SplashData’s annual list, which was released this week. And nearly three percent of you are still using “123456,” the worst password of the entire ranking. The eighth annual list of worst passwords of the year is based on SplashData’s evaluation of more than 5 million passwords leaked on the Internet. Most of the leaked passwords evaluated for the 2018 list were held by users in North America and Western Europe. Passwords leaked from hacks of adult websites were not included in the report, according to SplashData, which provides password management applications TeamsID, Gpass, and SplashID. This year revealed the same takeaway as previous ones: computer users continue to use the same predictable, easily guessable passwords. For instance, 2018 was the fifth consecutive year that “123456” and “password” retained their top two spots on the list. The following five top passwords on the list are simply numerical strings, the company said. There were a few newcomers on the list. President Donald Trump debuted on this year’s list with “donald” showing up as the 23rd most frequently used password. “Hackers have great success using celebrity names, terms from pop culture and sports, and simple keyboard patterns to break into accounts online because they know so many people are using those easy-to- remember combinations,” according to Morgan Slain, CEO of SplashData. SplashData does offer some tips to protect your data, including the use of passphrases of 12 characters or more with mixed types of characters, using different passwords for each login, and protecting assets and personal identity by using a password manager to organize passwords, generate secure random passwords, and automatically log into websites. https://ift.tt/2rBBcT6

December 14, 2018

from Pradodesign ‘Donald’ debuts at No. 23 on worst passwords of 2018 list

Almost 10 percent of people on the interwebs used at least one of the 25 worst passwords on SplashData’s annual list, which was released this week. And nearly three percent of you are still using “123456,” the worst password of the entire ranking.

The eighth annual list of worst passwords of the year is based on SplashData’s evaluation of more than 5 million passwords leaked on the Internet. Most of the leaked passwords evaluated for the 2018 list were held by users in North America and Western Europe. Passwords leaked from hacks of adult websites were not included in the report, according to SplashData, which provides password management applications TeamsID, Gpass, and SplashID.

This year revealed the same takeaway as previous ones: computer users continue to use the same predictable, easily guessable passwords. For instance, 2018 was the fifth consecutive year that “123456” and “password” retained their top two spots on the list. The following five top passwords on the list are simply numerical strings, the company said.

There were a few newcomers on the list. President Donald Trump debuted on this year’s list with “donald” showing up as the 23rd most frequently used password.

“Hackers have great success using celebrity names, terms from pop culture and sports, and simple keyboard patterns to break into accounts online because they know so many people are using those easy-to- remember combinations,” according to Morgan Slain, CEO of SplashData.

SplashData does offer some tips to protect your data, including the use of passphrases of 12 characters or more with mixed types of characters, using different passwords for each login, and protecting assets and personal identity by using a password manager to organize passwords, generate secure random passwords, and automatically log into websites.

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Google agrees not to sell facial recognition tech, citing abuse potential In recent months, pressure has been mounting for major tech firms to develop strong policies regarding facial recognition. Microsoft has helped lead the way on that front, promising to put in place stricter policies, calling for greater regulation and asking fellow companies to follow suit. Hidden toward the end of a blog post about using artificial intelligence to benefit health clinics in Asia, Google SVP Kent Walker affirmed the company’s commitment not to sell facial recognition APIs. The executive cites concerns over how the technology could be abused. “[F]acial recognition technology has benefits in areas like new assistive technologies and tools to help find missing persons, with more promising applications on the horizon,” Walker writes. “However, like many technologies with multiple uses, facial recognition merits careful consideration to ensure its use is aligned with our principles and values, and avoids abuse and harmful outcomes. We continue to work with many organizations to identify and address these challenges, and unlike some other companies, Google Cloud has chosen not to offer general-purpose facial recognition APIs before working through important technology and policy questions.” In an interview this week, CEO Sundar Pichai address similar growing concerns around AI ethics. “I think tech has to realize it just can’t build it and then fix it,” he told The Washington Post. “I think that doesn’t work,” adding that artifical intelligence could ultimately prove “far more dangerous than nukes.” The ACLU, which has offered sharp criticism over privacy and racial profiling concerns, lauded the statement. In the next paragraph, however, the company promised to continue to apply pressure on these large orgs. “We will continue to put Google’s feet to the fire to make sure it doesn’t build or sell a face surveillance product that violates civil and human rights,” ACLU tech director Nicole Ozer said in a statement. “We also renew our call on Amazon and Microsoft to not provide dangerous face surveillance to the government. Companies have a responsibility to make sure their products can’t be used to attack communities and harm civil rights and liberties — it’s past time all companies own up to that responsibility.” The organization has offered particularly sharp criticism against Amazon for its Rekognition software. This week, it also called out the company’s patent application for a smart doorbell that uses facial recognition to identify “suspicious” visitors. https://ift.tt/2SOM77w

December 14, 2018

from Pradodesign Google agrees not to sell facial recognition tech, citing abuse potential

In recent months, pressure has been mounting for major tech firms to develop strong policies regarding facial recognition. Microsoft has helped lead the way on that front, promising to put in place stricter policies, calling for greater regulation and asking fellow companies to follow suit.

Hidden toward the end of a blog post about using artificial intelligence to benefit health clinics in Asia, Google SVP Kent Walker affirmed the company’s commitment not to sell facial recognition APIs. The executive cites concerns over how the technology could be abused.

“[F]acial recognition technology has benefits in areas like new assistive technologies and tools to help find missing persons, with more promising applications on the horizon,” Walker writes. “However, like many technologies with multiple uses, facial recognition merits careful consideration to ensure its use is aligned with our principles and values, and avoids abuse and harmful outcomes. We continue to work with many organizations to identify and address these challenges, and unlike some other companies, Google Cloud has chosen not to offer general-purpose facial recognition APIs before working through important technology and policy questions.”

In an interview this week, CEO Sundar Pichai address similar growing concerns around AI ethics. “I think tech has to realize it just can’t build it and then fix it,” he told The Washington Post. “I think that doesn’t work,” adding that artifical intelligence could ultimately prove “far more dangerous than nukes.”

The ACLU, which has offered sharp criticism over privacy and racial profiling concerns, lauded the statement. In the next paragraph, however, the company promised to continue to apply pressure on these large orgs.

“We will continue to put Google’s feet to the fire to make sure it doesn’t build or sell a face surveillance product that violates civil and human rights,” ACLU tech director Nicole Ozer said in a statement. “We also renew our call on Amazon and Microsoft to not provide dangerous face surveillance to the government. Companies have a responsibility to make sure their products can’t be used to attack communities and harm civil rights and liberties — it’s past time all companies own up to that responsibility.”

The organization has offered particularly sharp criticism against Amazon for its Rekognition software. This week, it also called out the company’s patent application for a smart doorbell that uses facial recognition to identify “suspicious” visitors.

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Lime continues to battle San Francisco’s electric scooter decision Electric scooter and bike-share company Lime is not giving up on San Francisco. This afternoon, Lime plans to protest on the steps of SF City Hall to petition the city’s scooter selection process. “We are calling the SFMTA to expand equitable transportation options throughout the City by allowing more choice and greater options, by requiring a scalable low-income program that ensures equal access to scooters and other mobility options, and by working with experienced operators with a proven track record of success,” Lime wrote in its petition. “The SFMTA scooter selection process resulted in an extremely small service area as well as an absence of robust equity options. If you are as frustrated as we are, come let your voice be heard.” In the #BayArea? Frustrated with the SFMTA scooter selection? Join us on the steps of #SanFrancisco City Hall at 1:00pm to deliver thousands of petitions from people from all over San Francisco and let your voice be heard! https://t.co/Rbx2UGtMRo — Lime (@limebike) December 14, 2018 The SFMTA has previously said it was “confident” it picked the right companies. When the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency selected Skip and Scoot as the only two electric scooter companies permitted to operate in the city, competitor Lime took legal steps to attempt to prevent Skip and Scoot from deploying. A San Francisco judge, however, promptly denied Lime’s request for a temporary restraining order. Meanwhile, Lime had officially appealed the SFMTA’s decision. Other companies, including Spin and Uber’s JUMP, have also appealed the scooter selection process. Earlier today, the SFMTA heard Lime’s case. It’s not clear how it went, but I’ve reached out to Lime and the SFMTA to learn more. Based on Lime’s actions, it seems as if it didn’t work out very well for the company. Electric scooters are back in SF https://ift.tt/2PHMmzC

December 14, 2018

from Pradodesign Lime continues to battle San Francisco’s electric scooter decision

Electric scooter and bike-share company Lime is not giving up on San Francisco. This afternoon, Lime plans to protest on the steps of SF City Hall to petition the city’s scooter selection process.

“We are calling the SFMTA to expand equitable transportation options throughout the City by allowing more choice and greater options, by requiring a scalable low-income program that ensures equal access to scooters and other mobility options, and by working with experienced operators with a proven track record of success,” Lime wrote in its petition. “The SFMTA scooter selection process resulted in an extremely small service area as well as an absence of robust equity options. If you are as frustrated as we are, come let your voice be heard.”

In the #BayArea? Frustrated with the SFMTA scooter selection? Join us on the steps of #SanFrancisco City Hall at 1:00pm to deliver thousands of petitions from people from all over San Francisco and let your voice be heard! https://t.co/Rbx2UGtMRo

— Lime (@limebike) December 14, 2018

The SFMTA has previously said it was “confident” it picked the right companies. When the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency selected Skip and Scoot as the only two electric scooter companies permitted to operate in the city, competitor Lime took legal steps to attempt to prevent Skip and Scoot from deploying. A San Francisco judge, however, promptly denied Lime’s request for a temporary restraining order.

Meanwhile, Lime had officially appealed the SFMTA’s decision. Other companies, including Spin and Uber’s JUMP, have also appealed the scooter selection process.

Earlier today, the SFMTA heard Lime’s case. It’s not clear how it went, but I’ve reached out to Lime and the SFMTA to learn more. Based on Lime’s actions, it seems as if it didn’t work out very well for the company.

Electric scooters are back in SF

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New Paintings and Sculptures by Seth Globepainter Explore the Psychological Depths of Childhood “Scientia Potestas Est,” Painted resin and a collection of books, installation in situ at DCG London French street artist Julien Malland, known as Seth Globepainter (previously), currently has two solo exhibitions collectively titled Chambrum Rangeam, or “clean up your room,” at Dorothy Circus Gallery’s locations in London and Rome through December 24, 2018. The title references the common phrase uttered by ones’ parents in childhood in order to present a space of youthful freedom in the two concurrent shows. The exhibitions include new sculptures, like Malland’s piece “Scientia Potestas Est” (above) which presents a young boy on a stack of used books. Malland also recently released a lithograph print that fuses the precision of printing with the often messy medium of spray paint. The piece, titled “The Ladder,” features a boy sitting on top of a singular cloud looking off into the distance. Propped against his resting place is a multi-colored ladder, produced by the artist in dripping lines of spray paint. For the limited edition, which was released on December 7th and has already sold out, Malland collaborated with the Parisian printing house Idem Paris. Although the base of each work will be uniform, his added hand-painted gestures make each completely unique. You can see more documentation of his new works included in the exhibition on the gallery’s website, and follow Malland on Instagram. “E Fructu Arbor Cognoscitur,” Acrylic, spray paint, and rags on canvas, 114 x146 cm “Aut Viam Inveniam Aut Faciam,” Acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 114 x 146 cm “Temet Nosce,” Acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 97 x 130 cm https://ift.tt/2GeVb4l

December 14, 2018

from Pradodesign New Paintings and Sculptures by Seth Globepainter Explore the Psychological Depths of Childhood

“Scientia Potestas Est,” Painted resin and a collection of books, installation in situ at DCG London

French street artist Julien Malland, known as Seth Globepainter (previously), currently has two solo exhibitions collectively titled Chambrum Rangeam, or “clean up your room,” at Dorothy Circus Gallery’s locations in London and Rome through December 24, 2018. The title references the common phrase uttered by ones’ parents in childhood in order to present a space of youthful freedom in the two concurrent shows. The exhibitions include new sculptures, like Malland’s piece “Scientia Potestas Est” (above) which presents a young boy on a stack of used books.

Malland also recently released a lithograph print that fuses the precision of printing with the often messy medium of spray paint. The piece, titled “The Ladder,” features a boy sitting on top of a singular cloud looking off into the distance. Propped against his resting place is a multi-colored ladder, produced by the artist in dripping lines of spray paint. For the limited edition, which was released on December 7th and has already sold out, Malland collaborated with the Parisian printing house Idem Paris. Although the base of each work will be uniform, his added hand-painted gestures make each completely unique.

You can see more documentation of his new works included in the exhibition on the gallery’s website, and follow Malland on Instagram.

“E Fructu Arbor Cognoscitur,” Acrylic, spray paint, and rags on canvas, 114 x146 cm

“Aut Viam Inveniam Aut Faciam,” Acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 114 x 146 cm

“Temet Nosce,” Acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 97 x 130 cm

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Disney invests $15M in educational gaming app Kahoot at a $360M valuation When Kahoot, the startup that operates a popular platform for user-generated educational gaming, raised $15 million in October of this year, we mentioned that Disney might take a larger stake in the company, beyond the small investment it took after Kahoot passed through the Disney Accelerator. Now with some 60 million games on its platform, today Kahoot announced that this has come to pass: Disney has backed Kahoot to the tune of $15 million — working out to a four percent stake in the startup at a $360 million valuation, based on the current share price of 28 Norwegian kroner (shares of Kahoot are traded on the Norway OTC as an unlisted stock). Kahoot declined to comment for this story beyond the investment announcement posted on the exchange, but for some context, this is a nice bump up in Kahoot’s valuation from October, when it was at $300 million. Other sizeable and notable investors in the company include Microsoft and Nordic investor Northzone (which has backed Spotify and other significant startups out of the region). On the part of Disney, it’s not clear yet whether its Kahoot stake will lead to more Disney content on the platform, or if this is more of an arm’s length financial backing. The entertainment giant has made nearly 50 investments by way of its accelerator program. In some cases it increases those to more significant holdinga, as it has in the case of HQ Trivia, Sphero, Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite (a very different take on gaming compared to Kahoot), Samba TV and more. Disney has been dabbling in both gaming and education as vehicles to market its many brands, and also as salient businesses of their own — no surprise, given that one primary focus for it has been on younger consumers and their needs and interests. In some cases, it seems it may use strategic investments to do this, for example with Disney-themed nights on HQ Trivia. Interestingly, although it doesn’t appear that Disney invests in Byju’s — which itself just raised $300 million — the educational app, which has been described as “Disneyesque”, teamed up with Disney in October to develop co-branded educational content, another sign of Disney’s interest in the field. Kahoot has been around since 2006 but has seen a sharp rise in users in the last few years on the back of strong growth in the US — benefitting from a wider trend of educators creating content on mediums and platforms that they know students already use and love. Kahoot’s last reported user numbers come from January, when it said it had 70 million registrations, but its CEO and co-founder Åsmund Furuseth told TechCrunch in October that it was on track to pass 100 million by this month. Kahoot didn’t release updated figures today, but my guess is that Kahoot has hit its target (maybe even passed it), and that is one reason why Disney decided to exercise its investment option. Kahoot is not your average gaming company: some games are created in-house, but the majority of them are user-generated — “Kahoots” in the company’s parlance — created by the people setting the learning tasks or those trying to create a more entertaining way of remembering or learning something. These, in turn, become games that potentially anyone can use to learn something (hence the name). There have been about 60 million of these games created to date, a pretty massive amount considering this is educational content at the end of the day. Kahoot has developed its business along two avenues, with games for K-12 students and games for business users, building training and other professional development in a wrapper of gamification to engage workers more in the content. In practice, about half the games in Kahoot’s catalogue are available to the public and half are private, with the split roughly following the company’s business model: games made for corporate purposes tend to be kept private, while the educational ones tend to be made publicly available. The business model also follows that split, with Kahoot’s business users accounting for the majority of its revenue, too. We have contacted Disney for comment too and will update this post as we learn more. https://ift.tt/2rDJqds

December 14, 2018

from Pradodesign Disney invests $15M in educational gaming app Kahoot at a $360M valuation

When Kahoot, the startup that operates a popular platform for user-generated educational gaming, raised $15 million in October of this year, we mentioned that Disney might take a larger stake in the company, beyond the small investment it took after Kahoot passed through the Disney Accelerator.

Now with some 60 million games on its platform, today Kahoot announced that this has come to pass: Disney has backed Kahoot to the tune of $15 million — working out to a four percent stake in the startup at a $360 million valuation, based on the current share price of 28 Norwegian kroner (shares of Kahoot are traded on the Norway OTC as an unlisted stock).

Kahoot declined to comment for this story beyond the investment announcement posted on the exchange, but for some context, this is a nice bump up in Kahoot’s valuation from October, when it was at $300 million. Other sizeable and notable investors in the company include Microsoft and Nordic investor Northzone (which has backed Spotify and other significant startups out of the region).

On the part of Disney, it’s not clear yet whether its Kahoot stake will lead to more Disney content on the platform, or if this is more of an arm’s length financial backing. The entertainment giant has made nearly 50 investments by way of its accelerator program. In some cases it increases those to more significant holdinga, as it has in the case of HQ Trivia, Sphero, Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite (a very different take on gaming compared to Kahoot), Samba TV and more.

Disney has been dabbling in both gaming and education as vehicles to market its many brands, and also as salient businesses of their own — no surprise, given that one primary focus for it has been on younger consumers and their needs and interests.

In some cases, it seems it may use strategic investments to do this, for example with Disney-themed nights on HQ Trivia. Interestingly, although it doesn’t appear that Disney invests in Byju’s — which itself just raised $300 million — the educational app, which has been described as “Disneyesque”, teamed up with Disney in October to develop co-branded educational content, another sign of Disney’s interest in the field.

Kahoot has been around since 2006 but has seen a sharp rise in users in the last few years on the back of strong growth in the US — benefitting from a wider trend of educators creating content on mediums and platforms that they know students already use and love.

Kahoot’s last reported user numbers come from January, when it said it had 70 million registrations, but its CEO and co-founder Åsmund Furuseth told TechCrunch in October that it was on track to pass 100 million by this month. Kahoot didn’t release updated figures today, but my guess is that Kahoot has hit its target (maybe even passed it), and that is one reason why Disney decided to exercise its investment option.

Kahoot is not your average gaming company: some games are created in-house, but the majority of them are user-generated — “Kahoots” in the company’s parlance — created by the people setting the learning tasks or those trying to create a more entertaining way of remembering or learning something. These, in turn, become games that potentially anyone can use to learn something (hence the name).

There have been about 60 million of these games created to date, a pretty massive amount considering this is educational content at the end of the day.

Kahoot has developed its business along two avenues, with games for K-12 students and games for business users, building training and other professional development in a wrapper of gamification to engage workers more in the content.

In practice, about half the games in Kahoot’s catalogue are available to the public and half are private, with the split roughly following the company’s business model: games made for corporate purposes tend to be kept private, while the educational ones tend to be made publicly available. The business model also follows that split, with Kahoot’s business users accounting for the majority of its revenue, too.

We have contacted Disney for comment too and will update this post as we learn more.

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Niantic reportedly raising $200M at $3.9B valuation Pokémon Go creator Niantic is raising a $200 million Series C at a valuation of $3.9 billion according to a report from Katie Roof at the WSJ. The round is expected to be led by IVP with participation from Samsung and aXiomatic Gaming. The upcoming raise would bring the company’s total funding to $425 million according to Crunchbase. Niantic’s last round was raised at a $3 billion valuation. TechCrunch has reached out to Niantic for comment. The gaming startup which has invested significantly in augmented reality technologies is also behind titles such as its recently updated Ingress title and an upcoming Harry Potter mobile game. The company was founded as a startup within Google in 2010 and was spun out as its own entity in 2015, releasing its hit title Pokémon Go the next year. The company is currently working on its next big augmented reality mobile title Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, aiming to create a proper follow-up hit that can capture the excitement of its Pokémon title. The app’s success will likely be crucial to perceptions that Pokémon Go was more than a fluke breakout success. A release date has not yet been set for the title. https://ift.tt/2LjAq6q

December 14, 2018

from Pradodesign Niantic reportedly raising $200M at $3.9B valuation

Pokémon Go creator Niantic is raising a $200 million Series C at a valuation of $3.9 billion according to a report from Katie Roof at the WSJ. The round is expected to be led by IVP with participation from Samsung and aXiomatic Gaming.

The upcoming raise would bring the company’s total funding to $425 million according to Crunchbase. Niantic’s last round was raised at a $3 billion valuation.

TechCrunch has reached out to Niantic for comment.

The gaming startup which has invested significantly in augmented reality technologies is also behind titles such as its recently updated Ingress title and an upcoming Harry Potter mobile game. The company was founded as a startup within Google in 2010 and was spun out as its own entity in 2015, releasing its hit title Pokémon Go the next year.

The company is currently working on its next big augmented reality mobile title Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, aiming to create a proper follow-up hit that can capture the excitement of its Pokémon title. The app’s success will likely be crucial to perceptions that Pokémon Go was more than a fluke breakout success. A release date has not yet been set for the title.

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Existential education error: Failing to train students on software Ryan Craig Contributor Ryan Craig is managing director of University Ventures. More posts by this contributor Facebook is going back to college Broadening education investments to full-stack solutions Although many of the milestones of the digital revolution have sprung directly from the research output of America’s colleges and universities, like Athena from Zeus’s forehead, on the instructional side, American higher education has taken a laid-back approach. Sure, there are more courses in computer science, millions of students taking courses online and MIT just committed $1 billion to build a new college for AI. But a campus-visiting time-traveler from 25 or 50 years ago would find a very familiar setting — with the possible exception of students more comfortable staring at their devices than maintaining eye contact. This college stasis may be even more surprising to visitors from the transformed workplace. Jobs that made no or marginal use of digital devices 10 years ago now tether workers to their machines as closely as today’s students are glued to their smartphones. Processes that involved paper are now entirely digital. And experience with relevant function- and industry-specific business software is required in job descriptions for many entry-level jobs. This hit home a few weeks ago when speaking to an audience of 250 college and university officials. I asked which of their schools provide any meaningful coursework in Salesforce, the No. 1 SaaS platform in American business. Not one hand went up. There are many reasons for this. Few if any faculty have dedicated their careers to (or even get marginally excited about) equipping students with the skills they need to secure and succeed in their first jobs. No one’s losing their job (yet) over failure to help students get jobs. Another is the cost of teaching; with strong employer demand for these skills, finding and hiring capable faculty costs more than teaching non-technical subjects. Finally, there’s the rapid pace of change in technology, and the sense that any educational effort will be obsolete in a few years. (Of course, the reality of business software is quite different; foundational platforms like Salesforce have a long shelf life — 10-plus years and counting — and some platforms are expected to last for a generation.) But the primary reason colleges aren’t educating students on the software they need to launch their careers is the notion that it’s unnecessary because millennials (and now Gen Zers) are “digital natives.” The idea of digital natives isn’t new. It’s been around for decades: Kids have grown up with digital technologies and so are adept at all things digital. It’s certainly true that today’s college students are proficient with Netflix and Spotify and smartphones. But it’s equally true that the smartphones they’ve grown up with haven’t remotely prepared them to use office phones, let alone career-critical business software. Business software is really hard, even for digital natives. Eleanor Cooper, co-founder of Pathstream, a startup partnering with higher education institutions to provide business software training, notes that millennials and Gen Zers are “accustomed to Instagram-like platforms which are both intuitive and instantly gratifying. But without exception, we find the user experience of learning business software to be exactly the opposite: instant friction and delayed gratification. Students first face an often multi-hour series of technical steps just to get the software set up before they begin working through tedious button-clicking instructions, which are at best mind-numbing and at worst outdated and inaccurate for the current version of the software.” In an article in The New Yorker last month, “Why Doctors Hate Their Computers,” Dr. Atul Gawande describes the challenge of implementing Epic, a SaaS platform for managing patient care: “recording and communicating our medical observations, sending prescriptions to a patient’s pharmacy, ordering tests and scans, viewing results, scheduling surgery, sending insurance bills.” First, there’s 16 hours of mandatory training. Gawande “did fine with the initial exercises, like looking up patients’ names and emergency contacts. When it came to viewing test results, though, things got complicated. There was a column of thirteen tabs on the left side of my screen, crowded with nearly identical terms: ‘chart review,’ ‘results review,’ ‘review flowsheet.’ We hadn’t even started learning how to enter information, and the fields revealed by each tab came with their own tools and nuances.” Business software is really hard, even for digital natives. Today’s students are accustomed to simple interfaces. But simple interfaces are possible only when the function is simple, like messaging or selecting video entertainment. Today’s leading business software platforms don’t just manage a single function. They manage hundreds, if not thousands. Gawande references a book by IBM engineer Frederick Brooks, The Mythical Man-Month, which sets forth a Darwinian theory of software evolution from a cool, easy-to-use program (“built by a few nerds for a few of their nerd friends” to perform a limited function), to a bigger program “product” that delivers more functionality to more people, to a “very uncool program system.” Gawande points to the example of Fluidity, a program written by a grad student to run simulations of small-scale fluid dynamics. Researchers loved it, and soon added code to perform new features. The software became more complex, harder to use and more restrictive. And so beyond cumbersome interfaces, the second reason why business software is really hard is that it has become inextricably and tightly wound up with business processes. Salesforce consultants will tell you it’s easier to conform your business practices to Salesforce than to try to customize (or even configure) Salesforce to support the way you do business today. And that’s true for almost all business software. As Gawande notes, “as a program adapts and serves more people and more functions, it naturally requires tighter regulation. Software systems govern how we interact as groups, and that makes them unavoidably bureaucratic in nature.” The myth of the digital native is convenient for colleges and universities, because it allows them to stay focused on what faculty want to teach rather than what students actually need to learn. Software-defined business practices are increasingly standardized across functions and industries, and highly knowable. And because they’re knowable, hiring managers want to see candidates who know them. So it’s not just about educating students on software; inherent in preparing students on business software is equipping them with industry and/or job-function expertise. And that requires much more than 16 hours of training. “Why can’t our work systems be like our smartphones — flexible, easy, customizable? The answer is that the two systems have different purposes,” Gawande explained. “Consumer technology is all about letting me be me. Technology for complex enterprises is about helping groups do what the members cannot easily do by themselves — work in coordination.” The myth of the digital native is convenient for colleges and universities, because it allows them to stay focused on what faculty want to teach rather than what students actually need to learn. But it’s self-centered, superficial and silly. Rather than thinking about technology in terms of Netflix and smartphones, walk down the street and take a look at the software being utilized to manage your college’s admissions, financial aid and human resources functions. Indeed, 95 percent of your graduates will begin their careers working in places that look a lot more like this than like the faculty lounge. And that’s if they’re lucky. Otherwise they’ll begin their careers working in places that look a lot more like Starbucks. In his article, Gawande notes that despite the many challenges of adapting to working (and living) on a business software platform, software is eating the world for a good reason: to improve outcomes for consumers. The Epic implementation should allow hospitals to scan records to identify patients who’ve been on opioids for more than three months in order to provide outreach and reduce risk of overdose, or to improve care for homeless patients by seeing that they’ve already had three negative TB tests and therefore don’t need to be isolated. “We think of this as a system for us and it’s not,” said the hospital system’s chief clinical officer. “It is for the patients.” These improved outcomes are synonymous with the data analytics revolution — a revolution that has colleges and universities excited about new programs and increased enrollment. But all the additional data to improve these outcomes needs to be captured first. And that’s done with complex business software. So it’s unfair, or at least hypocritical, of colleges and universities to attempt to pick the fruit of big data without first sowing the seeds. And sowing the seeds entails a serious investment in preparing students with the technical and business process knowledge they’ll need to use the software that makes big data possible. https://ift.tt/2EwmG7D

December 14, 2018

from Pradodesign Existential education error: Failing to train students on software

Ryan Craig Contributor

Ryan Craig is managing director of University Ventures.

More posts by this contributor

Facebook is going back to college

Broadening education investments to full-stack solutions

Although many of the milestones of the digital revolution have sprung directly from the research output of America’s colleges and universities, like Athena from Zeus’s forehead, on the instructional side, American higher education has taken a laid-back approach. Sure, there are more courses in computer science, millions of students taking courses online and MIT just committed $1 billion to build a new college for AI. But a campus-visiting time-traveler from 25 or 50 years ago would find a very familiar setting — with the possible exception of students more comfortable staring at their devices than maintaining eye contact.

This college stasis may be even more surprising to visitors from the transformed workplace. Jobs that made no or marginal use of digital devices 10 years ago now tether workers to their machines as closely as today’s students are glued to their smartphones. Processes that involved paper are now entirely digital. And experience with relevant function- and industry-specific business software is required in job descriptions for many entry-level jobs.

This hit home a few weeks ago when speaking to an audience of 250 college and university officials. I asked which of their schools provide any meaningful coursework in Salesforce, the No. 1 SaaS platform in American business.

Not one hand went up.

There are many reasons for this. Few if any faculty have dedicated their careers to (or even get marginally excited about) equipping students with the skills they need to secure and succeed in their first jobs. No one’s losing their job (yet) over failure to help students get jobs. Another is the cost of teaching; with strong employer demand for these skills, finding and hiring capable faculty costs more than teaching non-technical subjects. Finally, there’s the rapid pace of change in technology, and the sense that any educational effort will be obsolete in a few years. (Of course, the reality of business software is quite different; foundational platforms like Salesforce have a long shelf life — 10-plus years and counting — and some platforms are expected to last for a generation.)

But the primary reason colleges aren’t educating students on the software they need to launch their careers is the notion that it’s unnecessary because millennials (and now Gen Zers) are “digital natives.”

The idea of digital natives isn’t new. It’s been around for decades: Kids have grown up with digital technologies and so are adept at all things digital. It’s certainly true that today’s college students are proficient with Netflix and Spotify and smartphones. But it’s equally true that the smartphones they’ve grown up with haven’t remotely prepared them to use office phones, let alone career-critical business software.

Business software is really hard, even for digital natives.

Eleanor Cooper, co-founder of Pathstream, a startup partnering with higher education institutions to provide business software training, notes that millennials and Gen Zers are “accustomed to Instagram-like platforms which are both intuitive and instantly gratifying. But without exception, we find the user experience of learning business software to be exactly the opposite: instant friction and delayed gratification. Students first face an often multi-hour series of technical steps just to get the software set up before they begin working through tedious button-clicking instructions, which are at best mind-numbing and at worst outdated and inaccurate for the current version of the software.”

In an article in The New Yorker last month, “Why Doctors Hate Their Computers,” Dr. Atul Gawande describes the challenge of implementing Epic, a SaaS platform for managing patient care: “recording and communicating our medical observations, sending prescriptions to a patient’s pharmacy, ordering tests and scans, viewing results, scheduling surgery, sending insurance bills.”

First, there’s 16 hours of mandatory training. Gawande “did fine with the initial exercises, like looking up patients’ names and emergency contacts. When it came to viewing test results, though, things got complicated. There was a column of thirteen tabs on the left side of my screen, crowded with nearly identical terms: ‘chart review,’ ‘results review,’ ‘review flowsheet.’ We hadn’t even started learning how to enter information, and the fields revealed by each tab came with their own tools and nuances.”

Business software is really hard, even for digital natives. Today’s students are accustomed to simple interfaces. But simple interfaces are possible only when the function is simple, like messaging or selecting video entertainment. Today’s leading business software platforms don’t just manage a single function. They manage hundreds, if not thousands.

Gawande references a book by IBM engineer Frederick Brooks, The Mythical Man-Month, which sets forth a Darwinian theory of software evolution from a cool, easy-to-use program (“built by a few nerds for a few of their nerd friends” to perform a limited function), to a bigger program “product” that delivers more functionality to more people, to a “very uncool program system.” Gawande points to the example of Fluidity, a program written by a grad student to run simulations of small-scale fluid dynamics. Researchers loved it, and soon added code to perform new features. The software became more complex, harder to use and more restrictive.

And so beyond cumbersome interfaces, the second reason why business software is really hard is that it has become inextricably and tightly wound up with business processes. Salesforce consultants will tell you it’s easier to conform your business practices to Salesforce than to try to customize (or even configure) Salesforce to support the way you do business today. And that’s true for almost all business software. As Gawande notes, “as a program adapts and serves more people and more functions, it naturally requires tighter regulation. Software systems govern how we interact as groups, and that makes them unavoidably bureaucratic in nature.”

The myth of the digital native is convenient for colleges and universities, because it allows them to stay focused on what faculty want to teach rather than what students actually need to learn.

Software-defined business practices are increasingly standardized across functions and industries, and highly knowable. And because they’re knowable, hiring managers want to see candidates who know them. So it’s not just about educating students on software; inherent in preparing students on business software is equipping them with industry and/or job-function expertise. And that requires much more than 16 hours of training.

“Why can’t our work systems be like our smartphones — flexible, easy, customizable? The answer is that the two systems have different purposes,” Gawande explained. “Consumer technology is all about letting me be me. Technology for complex enterprises is about helping groups do what the members cannot easily do by themselves — work in coordination.”

The myth of the digital native is convenient for colleges and universities, because it allows them to stay focused on what faculty want to teach rather than what students actually need to learn. But it’s self-centered, superficial and silly. Rather than thinking about technology in terms of Netflix and smartphones, walk down the street and take a look at the software being utilized to manage your college’s admissions, financial aid and human resources functions. Indeed, 95 percent of your graduates will begin their careers working in places that look a lot more like this than like the faculty lounge. And that’s if they’re lucky. Otherwise they’ll begin their careers working in places that look a lot more like Starbucks.

In his article, Gawande notes that despite the many challenges of adapting to working (and living) on a business software platform, software is eating the world for a good reason: to improve outcomes for consumers. The Epic implementation should allow hospitals to scan records to identify patients who’ve been on opioids for more than three months in order to provide outreach and reduce risk of overdose, or to improve care for homeless patients by seeing that they’ve already had three negative TB tests and therefore don’t need to be isolated. “We think of this as a system for us and it’s not,” said the hospital system’s chief clinical officer. “It is for the patients.”

These improved outcomes are synonymous with the data analytics revolution — a revolution that has colleges and universities excited about new programs and increased enrollment. But all the additional data to improve these outcomes needs to be captured first. And that’s done with complex business software. So it’s unfair, or at least hypocritical, of colleges and universities to attempt to pick the fruit of big data without first sowing the seeds. And sowing the seeds entails a serious investment in preparing students with the technical and business process knowledge they’ll need to use the software that makes big data possible.

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via IFTTT

Posted in: Uncategorized