Responsive homepage redesign at Expedia

This was my first and last project at Expedia and I am so glad it finally launched. This is the first time that a company of this size tries to do responsive design.

Expedia homepage redesign on desktop

I was lucky to join at the right moment when the design team was still in the early stage of exploring homepage redesign. I joined as a principle lead managing the team responsible for the homepage and landing pages in August 2012. At that time the design team were A/B testing a few different homepage concepts. One of the main challenges we faced was convincing the leadership that we had to change the homepage. Since it had not been significantly changed for years and people don’t like big changes, every time we tried something drastic, it affected the bottom line. It took awhile, but my team came up with a concept that got the company excited.

After a long process of negotiation, we decided that we would go ahead and completely redesign the homepage and launch it in beta mode. We wanted to let people opt-in instead of force them into the new design. That way we could get enough traffic to test what’s working without affecting the bottom line too much. We got buyoff from the leadership team and we started the planning process.

Note: To opt-in, go to expedia.com and click on the Show Me button below the header. Make sure you leave some feedback.

Screen Shot 2013-03-09 at 4.49.32 PM

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Today Moms site responsive design

I am so excited that the redesigned Today Moms site launched. It was the last project I worked on when I was still at nbcnews.com. With a small team of super talented people we came up with this responsive design concept.

The site is built on the new platform that we built in early 2012. There are a few great ideas behind this concept, and I want to highlight a couple that makes me smile :) .

Desktop homepage

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Responsive design at msnbc.com

screenshot of msnbc.com technology blogs
Click on image to see the live site

This is a test launch of the new format that we build on our new platform. It is also our first stab at making the site feels like a native application. By using responsive design techniques, we make the site work on different screen sizes and platforms. So far it has been a successful attempt.

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Msnbc.com new mobile site: design for modularity

msnbc new mobile front
Click on image to see full size

Last year I went offline for a few months to work on a couple of personal projects and an iPhone app for msnbc.com. About a year later and after the iPhone project fell through, I was asked to design a new msnbc.com mobile version. The target audience is people who own devices that have Webkit-based browsers such as iPhone and Google Android phones. The project was a huge undertaking especially for an inexperienced web designer like myself. For people who don’t know me, I am more of a data visualization person than a web design person. I have designed and launched a few successful brochure websites, but have never worked on a large scale one like msnbc.com. Given that most other large news organizations have released their websites for these devices, we wanted to challenge ourselves to do something better.

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The answer is in the stars

nytimes puzzle graphics
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I browsed through my old computer the other day and found this piece. It is the first assignment I worked on when I was an intern at The New York Times in the summer of 2006.

Karakuri are mechanical puzzle boxes created by Akio Kamei, a Japanese puzzle designer. The artist in his own words:

At first I began to create wooden boxes with an idea of a secret box and then looked for a broader meaning. I gave it the name “Karakuri box” (trick box) rather than the secret box. Finally “Karakuri box” (trick box) was born. The trick box which you open yourself, can’t be opened if you don’t enjoy humor. Someone who has no experience with trick boxes and others who have many experiences, toe the same line. Sometimes the knowledge or the experience disturb his trial. I’m usually thinking about how I can deceive people with my puzzles. And so I wonder if my personality has come out in my work.

Adversity Index Map

Adversity index map
Click on image to view the map

Update Feb 24, 2010: I just learned that this piece won a Best in Business award for creative use of online media from Society of American Business Editors and Writers. I want to thank all the participants who made this project possible. Cheers!

The Adversity Index, from msnbc.com and Moody’s Economy.com, measures the economic health of 381 metro areas and all 50 states. Each area is in recession, at risk, recovering or expanding. On this map you can explore changes in the four components of the index: employment, housing starts, housing prices and industrial production, each shown as a percentage change from a year earlier.

This map contains more than 350,000 data points. It was a challenge because we didn’t have appropriate database tools to support the map. We had to split the data set into five big chunks and merged them in Flash. I wrote a tool that allow loading data from different subsets and merged them into one data structure that was plotted on the map.

Click here to view the map

Awards and honors
2010 – Best in business from Society of American Business Editors and Writers

Dirty Heating Oil in New York City

new york oil
Click on image to view the map

This is a map I created recently for the Environmental Defense Fund. It shows buildings in New York City that burn dirty oil. The map contains information about 9000 buildings that burn either type 4 or type 6 oil. Both types are bad for the environment.

My biggest challenge with this map was the sheer amount of data it has to load, parse and plot. Fortunately, AS3 is fast. It is a pleasure to see the parser churns through thousands of lines almost instantly. Another factor that made my life much easier was the map framework I used. I want to thank the people at stamen.com and the developers of modest map for creating an amazing framework. With just a few tweaks I managed to plot thousands of points on a map.

It seems like the story got a lot of attention. It was mentioned by The New York Times and Daily News.

To view the map, please click here

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