Design + AI

The traits that make us human and that we are automating little by little

Illustration titled: Untitled #53, from a series of explorations. Juan F. Mena
Illustration titled: Untitled #53, from a series of explorations. Juan F. Mena
Untitled #53, from a series of explorations

Invention and Creativity are traits that make us humans human. But how do you develop these? And if there’s a way to do it, can it be automated?

The following are brief thoughts I had around these questions, which were ignited after reading the latest research by OpenAI and GPT-3, DALL·E: Creating images from Text.

First, let’s start with some context and definitions.

1. Repetition & Iteration ♾

Repetition and Iteration are (some of) the basic tasks that can help us develop a resilient and creative mindset.

Here’s how I see it:

  • Repetition is doing one thing, multiple times.
  • Iteration is doing one thing, in…


DESIGN PROTOTYPING

A look into the potential of Microsoft Lobe and no-code tools.

Disclaimer: This post is not intended to be a tutorial, but a brief account of my experience using no-code tools to dabble with Machine Learning.

A bunch of cards from Magic: The Gathering used for this demo
A bunch of cards from Magic: The Gathering used for this demo
Some of the cards I used as “the data” to build the model.

I’d like to open with an invitation to put aside any “Code vs No-code” mentality when reading this article. I’m not interested in the debate of which one is better or which one should people go for. When it comes to processes and tools, I prefer to think in terms of “and” instead of “versus”, and I invite you to do the same.

I’ve been following the growing community of No-code tools, and I identified…


Image of fireworks at Magic Kingdom
Image of fireworks at Magic Kingdom
Photo by Park Troopers on Unsplash

In April 2015, I joined the Disney Parks creative team to design mobile experiences for the happiest place on Earth. I learned a lot from a diverse group of humble, creative, and smart people.

Here’s a brief list of learnings specifically about prototyping from my time contracting as an Interaction Designer from 2015 to August 2019.
(I won’t discuss Disney’s process nor projects. I kept it high-level, so each insight is useful for everybody, regardless of the industry you work on).

Insight 1: Prototyping helps fill in the blanks left by static designs.

  • As an Interaction Designer, you need to find the ideal moment to bring prototyping to the design process.
  • When…


Working with vector-based animations in Framer

I have always advocated for using code as a tool for design exploration.

But at the same time, whenever I’m in a team that’s trying to adopt code in their design process, I identify the designers that are not on board with it. Not all of them speak it out loud for fear of being judged, but I try to stand up for them and their right to not use code.

This may sound contradictory — as I don’t share their point of view — but it’s important to respect their choice and to understand where they’re coming from. …


UX notes on planning transitions and scrolling behaviors.

Framer + Moleskine.

A common challenge when designing digital products, specially when creating design deliverables, is having to explain an app flow, a transition between two screens, or even a change between two or more states in the same screen.

A designer’s skill to imagine these transitions is almost as valuable as the skill required to explain them, to create a visual representation that will help maintain one same vision for the product among different teams (Design, PMs, Development, etc).

Static deliverables, like wireframes, comps, app flows in PDFs, etc. help to communicate the visual side of the product. But motion, behaviors and…


with Framer Studio

On observation & exploration

Deep observation improves prototyping, and vice versa.

Picture a guitarist composing a new song. His eyes are closed while his mind is exploring different rhythms and melodies through the skill of his fingers. His hands dance between previously learned chords, a hard earned technique that improved his capacity to unlock new ideas.

At the same time, there’s people creating music with the help of software, without ever needing to touch a real musical instrument in the process.

There’s something similar going on with designers right now: In order to explore ideas for new interactions, the “chords”…


Brief usability notes of a recent experience: coming back to iOS.

Context

I left iOS a bit after iOS7 was announced. I moved to Android and experienced the evolution of KitKat and Lollipop on my Nexus 5.

Out of curiosity, and now that the OS has been greatly improved, I decided to get into iOS again and bought an iPhone 6. I’ve been using it as my main phone and there are two areas in which I find myself struggling a lot: navigation and keyboards; this post is about the later.

I often jump between 3 keyboard languages: Spanish, English…


“Replicant” / IlLustration by: JL Flores Mena

Breve observación en evolución de ansiedades.

Hace poco leí un estudio que se hizo en habitantes de países desarrollados en los cuales el concepto/palabra ‘iPhone’ causaba una huella neurológica similar a la del concepto/palabra ‘amor’. Aunque el dato llama la atención, no creo que se esté descubriendo algo nuevo; más bien es una evidencia de un hecho presente desde hace muchos años: nuestra evolución apunta a una despersonalización alimentada en los placeres materiales.

Ese dato tiene la misma novedad que en los 80s Madonna tenía cantando ‘Material Girl’. No necesitaba existir un iPhone para tener a alguien ‘enamorado’ de bienes materiales. Si se hubiera analizado a…

Juan F. Mena

Design strategy. Exploration through prototyping. @72mena

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