Innovative design, smart speakers and Netflix to chill

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As we edge towards autumn, here’s some articles that caught our eye and sparked some conversations.

Number 1 - Innovation by Design Awards

Another year has passed, and Fast Company has complied another Innovation by Design Awards, highlighting the most trailblazing designs of the year. Check out the website for the full list of winners across the 16 categories. Winners include a camera app for the blind, a voice enabled intelligent heat jacket, and a food peeler.

Number 2 - Familiar interfaces

Ever notice that a lot of the apps you use and love daily (Instagram, Apple Music, Twitter) are starting to look the same? Well, UX Collective noticed and wrote about why phone apps taking a leaf from the same design brief is a good thing. This sans-serif, white space, dominance can mean that there’s a greater focus on content, better usability, and a larger focus on how people use apps rather than how the app looks.

Number 3 - Smart speaker takeover

Alexa is going to take over, according to research from Adobe Analytics. Across the pond, they found that amongst US consumers, nearly half would own a smart speaker by the end of the year if current buying plans actually pan out. The Verge notes that there has been an increase in smart speaker ownership as well, since December.

Number 4 - Scroll til Sleep

Earlier this week was World Mindfulness Day. For many people, finding time to kick back and relax can be difficult, and for those who do have time, deciding how to relax can be another stressful situation. However, you could follow the suggestion from The Ringer, and scroll through Netflix. The article advises scrolling in bed on your phone (lock orientation on), and never actually clicking on a movie or show. Read further instructions here and discover a way to kick back without kicking yourself offline.

Number 5 - Design defined by data  

When designing, placeholder data can be an afterthought, but in this article from A List Apart, it’s argued that even this data shapes a design and can sometimes cause shortcuts. From the expectation of studio quality profile images, to aspect ratios for videos, the piece highlights the data that designers may be taking for granted, and that could create different experiences for different users.