Cover-photo-2016-06-26_09_33_49__0000-1482320160626-3-1tm730e
Jon Myers

Jon Myers

Designer, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Joined almost 3 years ago

  • 5 stories
  • 287 comments
  • 20 upvotes
  • Posted to Does anyone here work remotely and travel?, Jul 04, 2017

    I'm an American based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

    I've lived/ worked from - - Buenos Aires, Santiago, Dubai, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Taiwan, etc., etc.,

    It's quite possible.

    3 points
  • Posted to Fixing the terrible design and usability of financial services., in reply to Thomas Michael Semmler , Jun 28, 2017

    You're welcome! My pleasure.

    I do suppose many assume the lengthy response writers are a bit bat shit crazy. :)

    In truth, I have a process for it that uses dead time.

    It's rainy season here in Vietnam and I'm cabbing everywhere. I simply find discussions I care about and write my thoughts in Letterspace in transit.

    Copy, paste, done.

    0 points
  • Posted to Fixing the terrible design and usability of financial services., in reply to Pedro Pinto , Jun 28, 2017

    Cool, thanks for the encouragement.

    Yeah, there will be a lot of tulips exchanged in the ICO hysteria.

    Some of it has legs.

    Swarm.City is one that caught my attention.

    0 points
  • Posted to Fixing the terrible design and usability of financial services., in reply to Pedro Pinto , Jun 28, 2017

    Yes, excellent point. We will indeed see more of these types of acquisitions. Though, at least in the US market, the playing field is still thin. Maybe if N26 breaks into the US market - -

    Simple Bank now - personally, I was asphyxiated by their most recent, incoherent redesign. I went on one hell of a rant about it here:

    https://www.designernews.co/stories/72631-site-design-simple

    I wonder how things are going there.

    Additionally to that point of acquisitions - the banks themselves are partnering with fintech organizations and forming their own venture backed cooperations.

    The Financial Solutions Lab is a $35 million dollar collaboration between Chase and CFSI to incubate and invest in fintech startups.

    http://finlab.cfsinnovation.com/

    One other point related to that is the M&A activity around banks buying up design firms.

    Capital One bought design firm Adaptive Path back in 2014. And in 2015 they bought Oakland based Monsoon design.

    I've spoken to a few insiders there - and it sounds like there may be the culture clash one would expect from putting oil and water together.

    With regards to the results - - I suspect most major US banks (Chase, Capital One, etc.,) - have simply given up on their websites. It shows.

    That said, to their credit - I find many have focused on native mobile apps and some are decent. I find the Chase mobile app to be above average. Though I find the color story, controls and icongraphy to be reminiscent of Fisher-Price Toys. It feels a bit honky tonk, bossy out of scale, unsophisticated and impersonal for a place dats' holdin mah monay.

    --

    I agree that cryptos have a shot at disrupting financial industries. I've been involved with a few bitcoin related startups. I suspect the myriad ways many speculate crypto will disrupt financial services may not come to fruition. And, whatever disruptions that take place may be extremely sharp, unseen and not what most expect.

    The Black Swans are circling.

    Crypto is still in its Make Out Club, Friendster, Live Journal phase and transitioning to the MySpace phase. We’ll see more and more radical decentralization, more attempts at centralization - and perhaps power laws may kick in - or not.

    Anyhow, the incumbents are not necessarily in total denial and asleep either.

    Major financial institutions have formed something called, The BlockChain Alliance - with the purpose of resolving institutional transactions via Blockchain.

    Though, Goldman has already dropped out of this - thus, expect power struggles, and start and stop sputtering.

    The area of most promise for crypto may be in developing markets where most are unbanked. There is obvious, existing precedent for the symbiosis of mobile, mobile payments and mobile banking in massive markets (China, WeChat) and emerging markets.

    In emerging markets one of the biggest inhibitors to banking is trust.

    As broader understanding of these technologies and their implications take hold, perhaps we will see crypto (related Blockchain technologies) become the defacto trust agents in these markets.

    Further, adoption of these technologies by governments in emerging markets may address their major pain point - revenue collection.

    I can envision a city that’s overlaid with a mesh of transactional inflection that powers day to day life. Use the road, ding - it hits your wallet. Use the park, ding. Throw something in the trash, ding. Basically, pay for services as you go.


    Shoot - I could GO ON and ON about this stuff. Sorry for rambling. I love this topic. I was thinking about starting a newsletter to leverage the sources I have and to track it.

    I’m just a little spent for time working on a new startup, building a team, etc., (unfortunatley, not in fintech) - guess, I shouldn’t be writing so much on DN. :) - but, I did just write this on my phone in a taxi.

    0 points
  • Posted to Fixing the terrible design and usability of financial services., in reply to Eliot Slevin , Jun 27, 2017

    You’re absolutely right. Many of these principles can be applied to other institutions and verticals, and I have done just that - in areas of cyber security, bio-tech, etc., etc., yet, I try to distill the essence and approach each situation agnostically and try to get as close to the truth; customer, market environment and problem space as closely as possible.

    Yep, agreed - many just don’t switch.

    I suspect a lot of that does indeed have to do with parents helping (relationship at the bank with a banker) - also, many banks aggressively recruit college students and lock them in.

    I also suspect (in the US) - this will change with age and different financial goals.

    Many young people just aren’t that concerned yet with banking. Switching is a hassle. However, that time will come.

    Another vector to this picture is the role of those that are unbanked (no bank account at all) - and the underbanked.

    Those are especially high numbers still at this point where fintech could be play a key role in providing low income people affordable, dignified financial services.

    But yeah - "fuck banks" lol

    1 point
  • Posted to Fixing the terrible design and usability of financial services., Jun 27, 2017

    I have a lot to say on this topic. I’ve been doing design work in financial services for over 20 years.

    And, I’ve seen the shit show play out dozens of times. As many try - and fail.

    A few years ago, I helped (lead product design, UX/ UI) a venture firm launch a new digital bank (mobile first) here in Vietnam. They’ve now acquired over 100,000 customers.

    Thus, as I said, I have many opinions on the topic of design and fintech. Blah, blah, blah - lol

    Design is not a silver bullet

    One thing that is critical to understand when designing in this environment - design is not a silver bullet.

    It must be approached holistically, it requires a process for stakeholder buy-in and consensus, and a design thinking approach must be at the core of the organizational DNA from the top to the operations, to the product, security and compliance teams to the customer service team, and so on.

    And, there cannot be an ivory tower approach to design - where the lead designer and design team goes away for weeks and presents the brass with their findings.

    Design has to be in the executive suite.

    And, basically, every single inflection point of the customer experience across multiple core personas must be considered.

    Core banking design patterns: information, action & intelligence

    In the banking project I mentioned above, I captured this holistic approach by distilling banking down to its essence, and breaking that essence into three key components that defined our design process:

    1. Information - at the core of all banks and the customer experience is information. Your balance, your account activity, what’s happening.
    2. Action - Moving money, saving money, the core activities of banking.
    3. Intelligence - this may be represented by the categorical spending analyses many banks now present. Perhaps, a “safe to spend” - yet, there are opportunities here for innovation. Versus just telling a customer “what happened” - there are ways to illustrate what “might happen” - and there are ways to suggest or automate changes to a customer’s behavior to drive them towards their financial goals.

    I wrote about this in more detail on Virgin: https://www.virgin.com/entrepreneur/what-will-future-innovation-banking-sector-look

    We then ran product decisions through this framework - and formed a core set of interaction principles that realized these components (information, action and intelligence) - and further, prioritized these interactions based on actual use cases.

    I then created a design system, which had these components of how it works as their foundation, and we tested and validated our assumptions with multiple types of user testing.


    The unbundling of finance

    Going back to my point of design is not a silver bullet -

    I’ve seen countless companies crash and fail who try and use design as a silver bullet.

    In my time, I can’t tell you how many startups I saw who tried to make a prettier Craig’s List.

    Once upon a time, Ebay snagged a board seat on Craig’s List, owned 25% and made a run at the classifieds market with Kijiji - they eventually got sued and shot down.

    Yet, my point - even with inside information - Ebay money, and a “prettier design” - they failed to put a sizable dent into Craig’s List business.

    Why?

    The business approach was leveraging a stale, dying paradigm.

    Further, there is an interesting bit of business analysis out there on Craig’s List - and one that comes to mind is something called - The Unbundling of Craig’s List.

    https://alexshye.com/2013/08/15/the-unbundling-of-craigslist-and-reddit/

    The gist

    You can go to Craig’s List and point to a billion dollar unicorn like Uber, Airbnb, etc., who versus attacking Craig’s List head on - the genesis of their business concept originated there and they hit the market sideways - creating a new market.

    I believe finance will be unbundled in a similar fashion and you’re already seeing it.

    You can go to Chase’s shitty, portal homepage - and point to a billion dollar unicorn.

    I can see Kabbage and I can see Acorns lingering in the links of their homepage. Listening to the Robinhood co-founder on TWIS it's clear they're making a run at retail banking.


    Fintech startups get the majority share of venture capital investments

    Last year, fintech startups received the lion’s share of venture capital investments totaling $16 billion usd.

    Further, banks are some of the most hated institutions in the world and have earned little customer loyalty.

    The Millenial Disruption Index confirms this fact: http://www.millennialdisruptionindex.com/

    And, you can see banks like Chase punching back and winning Millenials over with the Chase Sapphire card:https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2016-09-22/how-chase-made-the-perfect-high-for-credit-card-junkies

    Thus, it's an arms race between the incumbents, tech giants like Facebook and Apple, and well-funded startups.

    Finally, in designing for finance - you literally have to consider the design of the business itself.

    33 points
  • Posted to Patreon Rebrands [Rectangle + Circle], Jun 19, 2017

    I read the title as "Patron Rebrands"

    Imagine my surprise when I clicked and was expecting to be greeted by tequila.

    Anyhow, yeah, stale branding.

    Then again, we're at peak branding.

    These days with rebranding, I throw these into the camp of reading Rorschach tests, reading tea leaves and horoscopes, and making shapes out of the clouds in the sky.

    "Tell me what you see and what it's saying"

    It gets redundant, everyone is trying to cobble together bits and retroactively infuse some kind of meaning into these assemblages of type and sprinkles of graphic junk.

    Mere hallucinations - of sitting around the campfire and seeing a ghost in the smoke.

    Further, for "brands" where 98% of the brand's assets and visual system lives on screens, the point is further moot.

    These rebrandings are often an inward facing, monotone effort - where that effort and productivity would be better cast on better understanding and connecting with the customers they serve and earning the brand (mindshare of the audience) versus coming at them with the visual equivalent of - me, me, me.

    4 points
  • Posted to People Don't Need Another Mobile App, Jun 14, 2017

    People don't need another blog post about why they don't need another mobile app.

    0 points
  • Posted to What are some good product design books for new and experienced designers?, Jun 14, 2017

    I've read some of these books, and it goes without saying, you need to read these type of books (literal, design discipline) to build and maintain foundational design knowledge and skills.

    Translation = we all read a lot of the same shit.

    That's not a bad thing, it helps, these literal, practical design books can encapsulate complicated ideas and give us a contemporary baseline for communication and design agreement, but in general, I find most of these books to be insightful, but forgettable.

    In my experience, the books that have shaped my thinking and practice as a designer the most are not that literal.

    One such book, The Spider and the Starfish.

    At its core, it's about centralized and decentralized networks.

    How you interpret the read and information and apply it to your design practice is another ball game.

    If you want to be in the design game and be relevant, of course, read the literal stuff.

    If you want to elevate your design game, don't solely read the same talking points as everyone else, venture outside the literal and connect the dots.

    And, that's the beauty of what we do and why.

    1 point
  • Posted to Roadmap — plan projects and manage resources with ease, in reply to Farzad Ban , Jun 14, 2017

    Hey Farzad,

    Thanks for following up.

    That makes a little more sense.

    I did hop over and created an account to poke around as well.

    Previously, my confusion may have arisen from the semantics. I got the impression project requirements and tasks for those milestones would be managed here, etc., etc.,

    Though I see task management is on the horizon, thus the use case (where and when do I refer to this in my workday, where and when do others, what do the SOPs that support this look like) and series of overlaps is still cloudy in my head.

    As of now, I can see this is straight - Project > Project Component(s)/ Milestones > Timeline (estimated) > Timeline (actual) > History, a top-level Overview of all project inputs.

    That overview can be useful, especially for smaller projects such as the marketing site example, and especially for communicating with stakeholders. However, I wonder how often people would refer to it after they've seen it once.

    Additionally, I wonder how to make this (referring to the Roadmap) a habit with a team given the shallowness and obviousness/ overlap of information.

    Would they simply refer to the Slack update and be satisfied with that update.

    Where these things break for me, for example with Elegantt - and Trello - where I've done project planning, they fall apart with complex projects.

    Especially with nesting, especially with the oscillation of category, user/ team member, and project milestone/ component, sub-components (time objects) - all competing for real estate to signal to both a singular user (to the PM, where we at) and broad audience (team where am I at - who is slowing me down, and stakeholders how is my project doing) in the timeline and status.

    I suspect Roadmap may run into similar issues with complex projects given the neutrality of the application and objective to agnostically serve projects of all and competing types.

    To further compound things with complex projects, when trying to chunk this information into coherent visual representations, you run out of visual cues.

    There are only so many colors before the waters get muddy and confusing.

    Leaning on one visual cue too heavily for complex projects - such as color, in this case, this reliance on color deadens its impact and renders the cue white noise, which distracts and potentially confuses contexts, i.e., status, project, my team, my status, etc., etc.,

    I would also be concerned about the cognitive load on the user when presented with a wall of timelines of varying colors, of timeline objects superimposed with color, containing objects (presumably a date badge) of a contrasting color to further signal a time event within an event.

    There's the potential for a lot of visual noise to get in the way of information processing.

    Then you have color blind users, you have users that literally see color differently due to their culture and means of identifying and codifying color. lol - Ugh, I know.

    Anyhow, this is a fun thought exercise and I'm thinking out loud here, which is again, hopefully useful.

    I don't have the answers either - just curious.

    I know this is an evolving product, there's certainly a need for a unified source of project truth.

    1 point
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