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The AYCL Blog

Learn about what’s new, what’s coming, and find blasts from the past.

Are You Our Spring & Summer Front-end Web Intern? 

January 29, 2020
by Jared Spool

Are You Our Next Front-end Web Intern? We’ll be looking for an amazing Front-end Web Developer Intern for a paid, 6-month internship. It starts in early April in our offices just north of Boston.

Fast Forward Six Months… We’d like to thank you for doing a fantastic job as our spring / summer Front-end Web Developer Intern. You’ve excelled at maintaining, editing, and documenting our stable of web properties. You spent much of your time creating all of our outbound HTML emails, and managed those campaigns through MailChimp. You supported those campaigns with social media managed through Sprout and added related posts to Medium.

Your site development skills are top-notch, as you worked closely with our web team to improve our online products. You worked your magical HTML5, and CSS3 skills to get our next version closer to what our users want. You explored WordPress and other builder tools.

To top it off, you’ve even helped us improve the documentation for our Git-based development process to make life easier for future interns and mined useful data from multiple databases for our Director of Marketing.

Thanks for your energy and enthusiasm during your internship. We know you’ll succeed at your future ventures.

Now back to today… If you’d like this to be your story, send us:

  1. Your resume.
  2. We need to see evidence that you can hand code HTML & CSS (some examples). A personal portfolio is best. Public GitHub repos are good.
  3. Extra credit: A short list of the things you’d like to learn in your 6 months with us.

While we’re less concerned with your skills and qualifications, we won’t compromise on your ability to deliver team results. We’ll be back to you in 48 hours if you can follow these simple directions and have what it takes to achieve something special.

You might even want to check out our web sites— aycl.,, and—for some insight into our current efforts. Best of all, hear what past interns had to say about the experience— We you’ll be excited by where we are today and the challenge to get us where we’re going.

You will work in our North Andover offices. (Sorry, we do not hire remote interns, or those not already in the United States.) We’ll provide all the equipment you need, including Apple hardware and Mac software to bring out the best in your talents and skills.

We’d like this internship to begin in early April, with the ideal individual working up to 40 hours per week, but offer flexibility to the right candidate. This temporary position is not eligible for full-time benefits, such as health insurance.

Send your resume and write-up to: [email protected]

or: Adam Churchill / Director, Online Products / User Interface Engineering / 510 Turnpike Street, Suite 102  North Andover, MA 01845

Most Watched Seminars of 2019

December 25, 2019
by Jared Spool

We've gathered some seminars from UIE's All You Can Learn Library tat were the most-watched in 2019.  

#1 - Hunches, Instincts, and Trusting Your Gut

with Leah Buley
A 31-minute recorded seminar

Take your critique skills—something we value greatly in the UX community—to the next level with tips and tricks to evaluate designed elements.

Watch the seminar


#2 - Is Design Metrically Opposed?

with Jared Spool
68-minute recorded seminar

Talk to your teams about what you really need, help management interpret the data, and create analytical experiments that provide design insights.

Watch the seminar


#3 - Managing Outcomes in Three Easy Steps

with Josh Seiden
26-minute recorded seminar

Focus on outcomes over outputs by remembering that our work isn’t about creating stuff, but rather creating results.

Watch the seminar

Accessibility: A Three-Part Series from Whitney Quesenbery (20-minute seminars)

September 23, 2019
by Jared Spool

In three short webinars, Whitney Quesenbery, cofounder of the Center for Civic Design and an expert in accessible UX, shares the secrets behind creating truly accessible products. Through insights, examples, and experiences, she illustrates the issues and explains how to build a design process that includes accessibility.

The Curb Cut Effect

Discover the importance of true accessibility and how to get there by asking one question: How do we create a good experience for everyone every time?

  • See why it’s important to put people first and design for differences
  • Learn how to get a new perspective on your product—and accessibility—by viewing it through different lenses

Watch Part 1 - 20 minutes

Accessibility Thinking

You'll gain a new understanding of accessibility and the tools to create a better, more successful product.

  • See how to set goals by asking the right questions
  • Learn how to redefine QA as it relates to accessibility
  • Find out how to get new perspectives by expanding your community

Watch Part 2 - 20 minutes

Connect to Recruit

Understand why having a diverse group of participants is important and get concrete steps to take to find them.

  • Learn the importance of finding research and usability testing participants with disabilities
  • Find out about organizations and places that can help connect you with potential participants
  • Learn how to establish respectful, fruitful relationships

Watch Part 3 - 20 minutes

This series of webinars will leave you with a new understanding of accessibility, what’s needed to achieve it, and the tools and steps to do just that.

Winning UX Workshops

May 31, 2018
by Jared Spool

We’re all familiar with bad workshops: hours—or days—of unstructured discussion that ends with no clear outcome. Good workshops, however, are the perfect way to kick off a project, conduct discovery, and collaborate with coworkers. In this seminar recording of Winning UX Workshops, Austin Govella gives us a three-part surefire formula for effective, productive, and winning workshops: frame, facilitate, and finish.

  • Discover what makes a good workshop—and what makes a bad one
  • Learn how to properly frame the question
  • Get a guide to the four stages of facilitation
  • Find out how to finish strong

Winning UX Workshops

Create Graphics with Meaning

March 31, 2018
by Jared Spool

Graphics are such an important part of any design, but too often they don’t seem to have any real purpose and are just put there to look pretty and take up space. So how do you create graphics that are actually useful to your users? Here are some tips from Patrick Hofmann.

  • Before you even start to draw, have a plan. Know what it is you are trying to accomplish. This not only helps you create a better graphic, it saves you time.
  • Provide a focus of attention to allow your users process your graphic faster and easier.
  • Determine the message your users need to receive from the graphic. This helps you figure out what you want to include in the graphic and, equally important, what you want to exclude.
  • Test your graphic by looking at it and verbalizing what you see. Is the graphic you created fulfilling its purpose, or is it confusing?

When your users see that your images are useful and meaningful, they’ll rely on them to learn, so keep these steps in mind when you create graphics.

For more tips about graphics, watch Essentials of Effective Visual Design with Patrick Hofmann.

Design Better Features by Solving Better Problems

March 29, 2018
by Jared Spool

Wren Lanier shows you in this recording, how uncovering and understanding problems creates better design, why focusing on solutions can lead to missed opportunities, and why problem discovery is a valuable process that can lead to big payoffs.

  • Learn the benefits of embracing the problem, not the solution
  • Find out how to mine user feedback to understand critical needs
  • Discover how to align user needs with business goals

Focus on Problems

Animating Experiences

March 16, 2018
by Jared Spool

Animation is a great tool to use to direct the user’s attention toward something specific in the interface. Val Head shares examples of how companies like Fitbit animate design elements to draw the user’s attention toward specific data.

Other successful uses of animation include the way interfaces mimic natural gestures, like a form that shakes when the user tries to submit it before it is completed. The action is similar to the way we shake our heads non-verbally when something is incorrect.

Quality animation can guide users and help them see a preview of an action they want to make. For example, the way drag and drop animations will show how a layout will rearrange when you move something. Val explains that these interactions are so common we forget how complicated they are to create.

Explore the elements of successful animated interfaces and learn how to better animate your designs in the virtual seminar, UX in Motion: Principles for Creating Meaningful Animation in Interfaces with Val Head.

Empowerment in an Era of Self-Validating Facts

March 8, 2018
by Jared Spool

In Empowerment in an Era of Self-Validating Facts, brand and content strategist Margot Bloomstein digs into the challenges of cultural predisposition. With some of the biggest brands, she’s uncovering new connections in how we design for empowerment—and they’ll change the way you support, guide, and engage your users.

Watch this seminar to discover how to design for empowerment, consider timing, and embrace opposing perspectives in your content all so you can help your audience embrace the courage of their convictions, on your behalf.

  • Explore the problems caused when internal truths trump external data.
  • Meet your audience where they are with your unique voice.
  • Gain your audience’s trust by delivering the right volume and types of content.
  • Reflect and rebuild trust by empowering your audience with vulnerability.

Empower Your Audience

Typography on the Web: 13 Golden Rules

March 1, 2018
by Jared Spool

When our words look good, our readers feel good.

Designers have a lot of tools available to them to achieve that standard. They also have partners in their efforts: the devices readers use and the readers themselves. By understanding how readers view words, how devices transmit them, and how the brain processes them, designers are better able to adapt to and adjust for optimal readability and engagement. You’ll understand:

  • The social and emotional impact of typography choices.
  • When to trust yourself and when to rely on the default.
  • How to harness technology to optimize your typography and design.

Get the Golden Rules of Typography

Roadmaps Relaunched

February 22, 2018
by Jared Spool

Product roadmaps offer something unique that investors, stakeholders, and even customers like to see: a clear articulation of the product’s purpose, strategy, and goals.

In Roadmaps Relaunched, Bruce McCarthy shares a brand new breed of product roadmap that focuses on results.

  • Review the components of successful product roadmaps, from a clear product vision to business objectives, themes, disclaimers, and the use of broad timeframes.
  • Establish a product vision using best practices, and learn methods for accurately prioritizing goals and features in your roadmap.
  • Hear tips for how to obtain buy-in for your roadmap, presenting and sharing it with teams and stakeholders.
  • Learn the dos and don’ts for developing your roadmap and see examples of the many forms that roadmaps can take, from Kanban boards to a slide deck.
  • Get access to a free roadmap health assessment checklist, and tips for getting started on your new and improved roadmap.

Develop a Successful Product Roadmap

Designing A Better Way To Meet

February 16, 2018
by Jared Spool

The way we meet for group workshops, project check-ins, brainstorms, and all other forms of information sharing and gathering, can be comically ineffective. By designing better ways for groups to meet, we can address some of the classic challenges that undermine group gatherings, such as:

  • People talking too much, or holding back
  • People staying in their comfort zone by keeping comments at a surface level
  • False consensus: people going along to get along
  • Debate mode, when conversations have winners and losers

Marc Rettig explores patterns of participation, dialogue theory, and the elements of good gatherings in his virtual seminar.

Watch: Good Gathering.

Service Design for the Public Sector: A Case Study

February 8, 2018
by Jared Spool

Service Design is about the design of services, from end-to-end communication materials, paper forms, call center scripts, to back and front-office software, and more. It’s a lot more complicated and bigger than a deliverable.

In this seminar, Chris details the challenges he and his team faced when trying to overhaul the system to book prison visits in the United Kingdom. It was a project fraught with complexity and not as easy to solve as getting people to agree on the research, or the problem.

  • Hear a real world application of service design principles that improved a public service
  • Learn how process and user-centered practices focused a team to find the right solution across a web of connected dependencies
  • Find out how a big legacy system challenge was solved by a low-tech solution
  • Explore creative ways to apply service design practices to big problems within a system

Watch this Case Study on Service Design