Technologists have always pushed the boundaries of gathering and distributing information.Early in our history, we used stories, fables and myths to communicate values, lessons and historical context.

The invention of paper allowed us to record our history, and the printing press gave us the ability to distribute information to more than just the anointed few.

We declared the pen mightier than the sword and we endeavored to create faster ways of distributing the words we wrote. Napoleon’s semaphores, Morse’s telegraph, Bell’s telephone and Licklider’s Intergalactic Computer Network, were all inventions designed in the race to deliver faster, ubiquitous and affordable information.

Simultaneously, inventors sought to enhance human capabilities through mechanization.
Jacquard’s mechanical loom, Hollerith’s tabulating machine, Turing’s universal machine and the 1946 ENIAC, were all innovations designed in the race to automate human capabilities.

The arguably inevitable advances in telecommunications, storage, computing power and binary abstraction gave us the ability to commoditize delivery, infrastructure, platforms and software.

A pretentious monument of fiber, silicon and code.

I believe that we have sought only to solve problems as engineers, and not as empathetic human beings. and that we must lose our technophile bigotry before we become relegated to the ranks of tech support.

I believe our industry must abandon its desire to mechanize people by relegating them to “users”

We are now faced with innovating a new era for humanity. An era where the human condition will be transformed through the technology we design.

The infrastructure now exists for rapidly deploying advanced, scalable, and complex systems, but our legacy will be written by the interfaces we create.

For the last 8 years I have been blogging and speaking to convince companies why user experience matters. They now get it.

For the last year, we have seen exponential growth in our space. Even though my company, EffectiveUI, was the first, we are certainly no longer the only firm saying that designing for user need is critical for success. However, we are entering a time where those words are becoming commoditized. Just because a company understands how to talk about the value of what we do does not mean they understand the practice, the “how”.

I have made a conscious decision last year to focus my energy on defining the DNA of a successfully launched software product. I asked the EffectiveUI team, “end-to-end, what does it take to define and build something that meets business, user, and technical objectives?” I studied not only the strategy,  research and design practices, but also the development methodologies that are most successful.

It would be egotistical (or, should I say even more egotistical) for me to say the world should come to only us if they want to get things done in the right way. The entire team at EffectiveUi has recognized that our customers have a desire to use us to get the important projects our quickly, but also need to bring user experience in-house. This is a macro-trend right now; companies are scouring for UX talent while attempting to create their own UX culture.

To that end, we created an arm of EffectiveUI focused on education and training. For our customers, we have developed a flexible curriculum to help them adopt the world’s best practices. For the community, we have partnered with Galvanize’s gSchool to train the next generation of practitioners.

The gSchool philosophy is cleverly unique. They understand that intensive, skills-based learning is the future and, if their first offering is any indication, they have hit the nail on the head. Our program, geared for training “Experience Architects“, will train designers on how to work through all aspects of leading a user-experience focused design initiative.

I’m looking forward to helping our lead instructors teach the “how” in the coming year and watching the first class go on to build amazing products…



This Hangout tackles questions such as: The shifting transparency debate: from expenditures to lasting impact Whether increased transparency improves quality of work Tools/techniques the sector is embracing to augment transparency

Water For People’s Ned Breslin hosts this discussion with our colleagues:
(Speakers from left to right)
Anthony Franco, EffectiveUI
James Leten, Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI)
Jennifer Platt, WASH Advocates
Patrick Moriarty, IRC
Rachel Cardone, Independent Consultant
Tom Murphy, A View from the Cave blog
Ned Breslin, Water For People
Binayak Das & Alexandra Malmqvist, Water Integrity Network

I just heard about the site that is taking bets on what Apple is planning on announcing next week – it inspired me to make a few predictions on my own (note that I am not placing bets though)


  • It will be called the iPad 3 (not the 2s)
  • Will have a “retina display”
  • 12 megapixel camera
  • Offered in 32, 64, and 128 gig models
  • Battery life will be increased by 50%
  • New processor “system on a chip”
  • new iOS release with better integration with iCloud
  • better “touch” capabilities (think finer input for drawing more fine details on the higher resolution display)
  • same form factor, no major changes in the physical design
  • new covers, available in 6 colors

Apple TV

  • New set-top box, an upgrade to the existing offering
  • new “Apple TV app store”
  • iOS version to better batch iPhone and iPad
  • Microphone for Siri input
  • 1080p
  • no announcement on an actual physical television
  • New iOS remote app
  • FaceTime camera ore input for a web-cam

Had to share this funny Facebook moment. My mom  is brand new to Facebook. In fact, she is brand new to technology in general. She’s only been texting for the last 3 months, so I thought it was time to graduate her to an iPad with a facebook account.

Today I was messing with the info that shows up on my facebook page – tweaked my religious description, removed my relationship status altogether, organized my photos, etc. My Mom wrote a semi-personal message on Facebook’s auto-status “Anthony changed his relationship status from single”

The following is the un-edited txt conversation that followed:


My mom posted this on my wall this morning:

… and our text exchange that followed:

Mashable today broke the news on the recently introduced DO NOT TRACK ME ONLINE ACT

As far as I can see, the only true benefit is for political gain for those that are introducing the bill. They are latching onto the recent studies that show consumers are worried about their privacy. The bill spells out some interesting exemptions. Like, the government can still track your behavior. Really, that’s no surprise. But also, anyone who does not track user behavior as their “primary business” can you as well. This means all retailers, entertainment sites, facebook, etc could conceivably escape the penalties of the law.

Additionally, do we really want the kind of privacy this bill introduces. Mashable talks about sites tracking our shoe sizes as if it were a bad thing. All it will do is spawn a news cycle that will get people all frenzied about how unsafe technology is. I remember on the Today Show a few years back the big headline was something like:

Your computer is storing these evil things called cookies. The world is going to end unless you block them.

(this might be a bit of an exaggeration)

The truth is, our government is WAY WAY WAY behind the times when it comes to regulating technology and understanding things like privacy, patents, trade agreements, identity theft, and digital fraud. Not sure if i have a great answer – just saw a soapbox that needed my feet planted on it for a second…



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