VT School of Architecture & Design


Recently I did some work for the Virginia Tech School of Architecture & Design. They want to create a repository of student and faculty essays on a common website. “This website seeks to provide a structure for the contextual understanding of architecture in history and within the broader culture. To that end it draws on geography and historical events as well as other products of culture: philosophy, literature, science, art and music.”




Starting with sketches and wireframes, then moving on to create a working prototype.



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Maternity Neighborhood


I’ve taken up work with Maternity Neighborhood, a terrific company that produces digital tools for midwifes, nurses, and their patients: expectant mothers. In its short life of four years, it produced the leading Electronic Health Record software for maternity care in the United States. No other tool assists nurses, midwives, and their patients better through childbirth.

In the not too distant future we’ll be launching an improved, redesigned EHR, and new features like billing, patient education, and scheduling. We’re expanding into the UK market as well.

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Photography Showreel


My talented wife recently finished a showreel of her photography work. It covers a lot of our trip last summer to Europe. Our baby and I make a lot of cameo appearances.

Among other projects I hope launch soon a brand new Sidwell Photography website.

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Apple Announces New iOS 7 Design


Among Apple’s announcements at the World Wide Developers’ Conference, perhaps the most interesting was the new iOS 7. “iOS 7 brings with it the most significant changes to the user interface since the introduction of the very first iOS,” says Jonathan Ive.


Flat aesthetic. Every area of the interface has been redesigned to a new aesthetic pattern that is light, sharp and flat. A light typography appears throughout. No more protruding glossy buttons, strong drop-shadows, brushed metal or leather textures. They’ve abandoned their tradition of skeuomorphism.

Simplicity. They’ve taken an already simple interface and reduced it even more. Apps are redesigned to better the experience with the principles of minimalism and clarity.

Better apps and features: Apps and features like Notifications, Multi-tasking, Photos, Camera have been reimagined and refined.

Despite all these changes, the core functionally hasn’t changed and users will have no problem learning the new OS. That seemed to be fatal flaw of Windows 8. It has a huge learning curve and most Windows users don’t want to learn it.

It’s worth it to read Apple’s treatise on the new design and to see a video walkthrough by Engaget.

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Facebook Redesign & Feature Creep



Facebook, like many of us, has done some spring cleaning. They announced a new timelinenewsfeed and search (they call “Graph Search”).

In 2011 Chris Taylor wrote “Facebook Is Getting Too D*** Complicated” claiming Facebook was suffering from feature creep. More features, icons, tools and everything was getting smaller and smaller. Places, Marketplace, Apps, Gifts, Timeline, Video Chat. Everything was crowded. The core experience of interacting with friends suffered.

“Engineers, bless their hearts, want to give us access to all the exciting new functions they’ve come up with. But they’re not great at making them simple enough for the average user, or at removing the buttons we no longer need. When a company does have the courage and discipline to slash away at its engineers’ wish lists, and adhere to the KISS principle of design (Keep It Simple, Stupid), it can rise head and shoulders above its rivals and delight its users. Apple is a great example of that, as is Nintendo (the Wii being one of the most simple — and successful — game console designs of all time.)

“Unfortunately for its 800 million users, Facebook does not appear to be that kind of company. It used to be, and its inherent simplicity was part of the reason it was so successful. But now it is falling victim to feature creep — and a roster of settings that are becoming increasingly complex.”

Luckily Facebook got wise.

In the book, Rework,  Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson suggest:

“Underdo the competition…Do less than your competitors to beat them. Solve the simple problems and leave the hairy, difficult, nasty problems to the competition. Instead of one-upping, try one-downing. Instead of outdoing, try underdoing.”

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