Design Thinking Toolkit, Activity 1 – The Love/Breakup Letter

Welcome to our series on Design Thinking methods and activities. You’ll find a full list of posts in this series at the end of the page.

The Love/Breakup Letter

Primary Goal To identify positive and negative attributes/elements/features in your brand, product, company, or event.
When To Use During a kick-off session with a group that is familiar with a pre-existing concept, brand, event and/or application.
Time Required 30-45 minutes
Number of Participants 2-6 (ideally)
Who Should Participate? Stakeholders, Users, or Product Teams
Supplies Pens or pencils, lined sheets of paper (bonus supply: heart or smiley/sad face stickers for dramatic effect)

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Design Thinking Toolkit, Part 2: The Supply List

This is the second post in a series on Design Thinking methods and tools. You’ll find a full list of posts in this series at the end of the page.

Before we dive too deeply into design thinking exercises, I want to help you set the stage with the proper tools and materials. At Atomic, we’ve been holding workshops and project kickoffs for 15 years, so we’ve done all the user testing for you! Here, you’ll find a collection of our most loved and used tools for group activities. Read more on Design Thinking Toolkit, Part 2: The Supply List…

An Introduction to Website Image Optimization – Part 2

This post is the second in a two-part series on the process Atomic Object uses to optimize images for the web. To review, our basic image optimization process at Atomic follows these four basic steps:

  1. Eliminate unnecessary images
  2. Choose the appropriate image format
  3. Scale image to the correct dimensions
  4. Apply compression

Read more on An Introduction to Website Image Optimization – Part 2…

An Introduction to Website Image Optimization – Part 1

Image optimization is the process of reducing image file sizes as much as possible while maintaining an acceptable level of visual quality. It can be a complex topic; there are endless ways to optimize images for the web, and the best technique for a given image depends on its content and context.

In this two-part series, I’ll offer some compelling reasons about why you should use image optimization, and I’ll cover our approach for choosing techniques.
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Your Design Review will Succeed or Fail in the First 5 Minutes

It’s the moment that every designer both loves and dreads: the design review with your customer or stakeholder.

Whether you realized it or not when you set out to become a designer (I’m guessing “not”—I’ll admit that I didn’t), effective communication and presentation are core parts of a designer’s job—and these skills set the excellent designers apart from the rest. Read more on Your Design Review will Succeed or Fail in the First 5 Minutes…

Making Sense of User Interviews in 5 Steps

Atomic is a software design and development consultancy, not a research firm. There are all kinds of research consultancies that specialize in market research, which isn’t our niche. Still, we try to find a middle ground on our projects and utilize research techniques such as observation and interviewing as a part of our human-centered design process. Planning time for user interviews can pay off and lead to insights that otherwise would be hard to gain. Read more on Making Sense of User Interviews in 5 Steps…

Asking “Why” in Design – A Cautionary Tale & Six Resources

Though great designers employ a myriad of tools to solve problems, perhaps the most powerful tool is effective use of the question “why?” Why? Because it helps the designer understand the deeper need (the why), as opposed to a solution (the what).

Having become more proficient at asking “why” myself, it’s become more evident to me when a designer does not ask this critical question. I’m going to describe a failed user experience I had recently using Microsoft Project — the negative consequence of Microsoft’s team not asking “why.” Read more on Asking “Why” in Design – A Cautionary Tale & Six Resources…