Community and connections, SNDMakes-SF invents new experiences for the news and civic designers

Home for the next few days. #sndmakes

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We are about mid-way through the SNDMakes San Francisco rapid prototyping sprint, and if you have been following along in real-time — on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook — you know that, of any update that we could provide, these would put it best:

Day one at #sndmakes #sanfrancisco: My hands are permanently colored blue #design #prototype #webdesign

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Below find some short project synopses from each team’s stenographer:

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Team BARTChris Coyier, Meagan Gamache, Dan Hill, Kawandeep Virdee
Flock connects American news designers and local, closed groups based on work experience and interests. Group managers validate incoming members, and designers learn the etiquette and guidelines of the groups that match their profile. As private communities grow on a variety of digital platforms, Flock broadens access for qualified designers while protecting community values.

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Team Corona HeightsAviva Loeb, Angelica Rogers, Dave Stanton, Ashley Wu
We are designing a database for news design, where organizations and individual users can upload their designs, comment on other designs, and search by platform, topic or organization. We hope this will help in brainstorming, seeing what is going on in the industry and creating more of a conversation around news design.

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Team DogpatchAlex Duner, Kyle Ellis, Aliya Mood, John Osborn
We are working on a community driven directory that allows users to facilitate meaningful connections at events, and continue networking opportunities after them.

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Team EmbarcaderoDavid Leonard, Allison McCartney, Robert Simmon, Jess Soberman
There’s no easy way for information and news designers to “show their work.” We are building a “view source” for data-driven stories that guides authors and visualizers to document their workflow and show the provenance of data. This will help journalists, developers, designers, and researchers document their own design process, learn from each other, and enable additional reporting.

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Team Golden GateKatie Briggs, Daniella DeVara, Simon Galperin, Joe Siebert
It can be hard for information designers of any skill level to find reputable and useful resources. Golden Gate lets information designers discover and share online resources, legitimized by recommendation. With a simple submission process, anyone in the news and information design community can recommend a link they love, and people looking to learn more can easily discover new resources.

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Team Mission BayAidan Feay, Jenny Hanlon, Melissa Riggs, Jenny Zhang
Two Cents is an inclusive, user-curated social platform where newbies and industry veterans alike can engage with each other and follow trending topics in news design without having to slog through a backlog of posts or rely on extensive knowledge. Users share links to content around the web, upvote and categorize each other’s posts, and use our platform as a launchpad to find and join in conversations on other social media such as Twitter. Whether at work, at home, or on their daily commutes, users can pop in for a quick dose of design inspiration and share their “two cents” on what’s brewing in their minds or buzzing in their community.

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Team Twin PeaksTed Han, Rebekah Monson, Julia Smith, Nicole Zhu
Strong communities start with one-on-one relationships that grow into networks. But what if you’re a solo designer, a student or someone in a remote area without accessible, experienced peers nearby? Babbage is a low-hassle matching service that structures and schedules half-hour online feedback sessions on projects or career advice. Babbage pairs people up based on needs, skills, identities and experience levels, and encourages designers to commit to a single half-hour session each week to help a peer with feedback via a Google Hangout. For those who need help, we hone feedback requests into structured formats with specific outcome goals to make the best use of everyone’s time.

A photo posted by Chris Coyier (@chriscoyier) on

TOMORROW! We will be live on Periscope feeds during lunch (PST). If you’d like to tune in, we start final presentations at 11 a.m. Pacific time, Wednesday, Apr. 6. Yes, we know that the presentations are scheduled in the middle of a work day and so we will be live-streaming via Periscope plus publishing a recap that links to each team’s work. Feel free to follow along in real-time on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook… or just catch our event recap the following week.

ICYMI: Find the list of SNDMakes-SF makers prototyping for the news and civic design community this weekend, and find more at SND.org/topics/SNDMakesSF. SNDMakes-SF is our sixth SNDMakes rapid prototyping event with previous ones in Indianapolis, Boston, D.C., Austin and most recently in Chicago.


Thank you! San Francisco event partner, hosts and funders:

We are currently working out of San Fracisco’s “most transitioning” neighborhood at the Code for America amazing office space. It takes a village to program each ‘Makes’ event, and this one wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of our event partner, the inspiring CfA team, and particularly we thank David Leonard, frontend developer and designer at CfA.

And, also, would not be able to pull it all together without our amazing SF-event hosts: Alley Interactive, CodePen, InVision, John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships, Medill School and Northwestern U. Knight Lab, and finally Planet Labs.

We are grateful for the ongoing SNDMakes program support from The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and our scholarship funders: Dow Jones News Fund, Scripps Howard Foundation, and Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation. The SNDMakes community would not exist without their support.

Interested in becoming a future SNDMakes event partner or event host? Our partners are exactly as the word implies, they help to design the event as well as provide space, some materials, production and co-communication support. Our event hosts provide the funds necessary for production support and much more. For example, past event hosts have helped to provide the event’s five meals, snacks and beverages, evening team-building activities, materials and technology. We’d love for more to get involved. Please contact us at sndmakes [at] gmail for more information.


Contact the team:

Find us out in the wild and follow along: #SNDMakes, Instagram, Facebook. Send us an email at sndmakes [at] gmail, or directly to one of the team:

  • SNDMakes Co-Director: Ramla Mahmood, @ramoved, Designer at Vox Media. SND board member, Diversity.
  • SNDMakes Co-Director: Miranda Mulligan, @jmm, Consultant and innovation events producer. News design veteran. SND board member, Technology.
  • Communications manager: Lauren Katz, @Laur_Katz, Audience development at Vox Media. SND member.
  • Technology manager: Adam Schweigert, @aschweig, Product at Institute for Nonprofit News. SND member.
  • Design manager: Emily Yount, @emilyyount, Interaction designer at The Washington Post. SND member.

Or, you can always reach out with general questions to Kyle Ellis (Director of Strategic Programs) and Stephen Komives (Executive Director) at Society For News Design.

Find us out in the wild: #SNDMakes, Instagram, Facebook. For updates about future SNDMakes and other programs and events, follow SND on Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo or Facebook and consider supporting programs like this one by becoming a member.