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Tools: one on materials and one on process

Please Note: There’ll be no post next Thursday August 1, 2013 since I’ll be taking a family break. See you again on Thursday August 8th.

There are a couple of tools I wanted to mention this week. The first is Nike’s “Making” app to help you gage the environmental performance of materials (ostensibly for shoes and apparel) and the it’s available in the itunes store.

a screen shot shown on iTunes for Nike’s Making app

Margaret Rhodes has written a nice summary in Co.Design (Fastco):

The Making app lets designers sort through 22 different product materials such as cotton, silk, grass-fed leather, rayon-viscose, and so on. Each material is then scored within four buckets of environmental impact: water use, energy, chemistry, and waste. To keep designers on point, the app also figures for performance and aesthetic needs.

The second tool isn’t specifically related to sustainability, but could be applied to sustainable design tasks, particularly in university class settings. The tool is Google’s “Design Sprint” (link is to first of 7-part article), a process they use in their work with startups participating in Google Ventures (also written up on Co.Design). Jake Knapp developed the method and suggests it gets predictably good results in five days or less.

Crazy 8s from Jake Knapp’s design sprint for Google Ventures

The part that caught my attention was the simple process (Day 2: Diverge) for creating user stories, rapidly mocking up (on paper) a whole lot of design ideas, and storyboarding the most interesting idea. In this case the design and storyboard are for UI (user interface) but I think you could use it for other kinds of design as well. There are some nice concrete ideas, like folding a piece of paper in half 3 times to create an 8-panel sheet, and then using 5 minutes for a total of 8 sketchs (one idea per panel). Or, when creating the storyboard, giving the story a name to make it easier to discuss. And so forth.

Check these out and let me know what you think in the comments.

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