37: A Stark difference in design

👋 Hey there! Last week’s read had a 37% open rate. Low dip was an answer to our A/B test — more on that below! The most popular link was the Designing accessible escape hatches. Got your coffee ready? ☕️ Let’s read…


1. The new wave of political branding

The folks at Invision interviewed Josh Higgins, President Obama’s former design director, on the new wave of political branding.

“We need to work cross-functionally with other disciplines in order for it to actually change the world. One of the biggest things that I feel is frustrating about our profession is that I’ve always heard, “Design can change the world.” I totally agree with that, but it’s only part of what can change the world. You must have a good, solid idea that is beneficial for the world as well.”

2. How exclusion shapes bravery

Asking questions, listening, and observing adults and children in this environment allowed me to recognize the external factors that shape behaviors that lead to each interaction. I was then able to make changes to the layout of the gym and my business plan that would allow beautiful moments to happen more often.

Sometimes, we just need to share the same space with people who are different from us to understand what actually connects us.

We love coming across pieces that present and detail design challenges that are rarely discussed in the tech and design industry bubbles. Bravery Kids Gym is an indoor play space that offers a fun, safe and stimulating learning environment to promote childhood development through play.

The biggest difference to many you see on a day to day basis? It removes the exclusion.

3. How to recognize exclusion in AI

But for AI to fulfill its promise, the systems must be trustworthy. The more trust people have, the more they interact with the systems, and systems use more data to give better results. But trust takes a long time to build, and bias can tear it down instantaneously, doing real harm to large communities.

This couldn’t ring more true. I shared a little tweet thread about this not long ago.

4. Why I will start including accessibility information in my restaurant reviews

“You made a joke in your review of Old Ebbitt Grill about the stairs to the basement restrooms showing the age of the restaurant,” the Vienna reader emailed. “But the thing that jumped out at me — a person with a disability who cannot use stairs without assistance — is that the restrooms … are down a flight of stairs.” Like others who have contacted me, Popkin says she would like to take advantage of the area’s bustling restaurant scene, but she needs to know if she will be welcome: at the entrance, in the restroom, by the staff.

What’s new from Stark

+ What are you using Stark to design? #starkdifference

Designing something and using Stark to simulate colorblindness and validate your contrast? We’re kickstarting a hashtag to enable us to collect, showcase, and re-share all of your work!

Tag #starkdifference when you share it on Twitter!

+ A/B Testing our subject lines

Our last newsletter (No. 36) had an open rate of 37% and a decent breakdown percentage of links clicked. Why the low dip? We tested (for the second time) having topic previews in the subject after someone requested them. This was something we did for a few newsletters some months ago and noticed a dip in opens and links clicked then as well. However, with more subscribers (4 shy of 600 as of right now), we wanted to see if that would change. So we tested one more time to validate or debunk our initial assumption of the changed subject line.

A/B test was successful. For our newsletter, putting topic previews in the subject causes a decrease in opens and less engagement with the content. Viola.

UI Goodies: Accessibility Guide

Thanks UI Goodies for including us in your Accessibility Guide for colorblindness and contrast checking.

+ Dribbble’s Hang Time NYC

This week, Stark is hanging at Dribbble’s conference. I’m thrilled to be speaking! If you’re going to be there, be sure to say hello!

Benefit from this newsletter? Give it a like or buy us a coffee. Find us talking shop on Twitter or community chat.

–Team Stark