Amazon is bringing its machine learning capabilities to more business analysts and developers. The company announced Tuesday that Amazon Aurora, Amazon Athena and Amazon QuickSight users will now have access to machine learning prediction models that can easily be integrated into various applications and business intelligence dashboards.

“This makes it more straightforward to add ML predictions to your applications without the need to build custom integrations, move data around, learn separate tools, write complex lines of code, or even have ML experience,” writes Matt Asay, an enterprise strategy and evangelism executive for Amazon Web Services.

Why we should care

Amazon Web Service’s machine learning offering is giving developers tasked with writing SQL queries a low-code option to build marketing-related prediction models. Asay used the following lead-scoring example that shows how it can benefit martech developers:

“You can take a lead scoring model built by your data science team, or one that you have purchased on the AWS ML Marketplace, deploy it to Amazon SageMaker, and then order all your sales queues by priority based on the prediction from the model. Unlike in the past, you needn’t write any glue code.”

The win here is for developers and the teams who want to use sophisticated machine learning predictions models, but lack the time or resources to write complex code to do so. AWS’s machine learning offering removes the need to build out code, move data around or learn new tools — opening up machine learning experiences to more organizations using AWS products.

More on the news

  • AWS reports “tens of thousands” customers are already using its machine learning capabilities via Amazon SageMaker, a managed service platform that allows developers to build and deploy ML models at scale.
  • Developers interested in taking advantage of the new ML offerings are directed to visit Amazon’s Aurora, Athena and QuickSight product pages.
  • In addition to machine learning tools, the AWS Marketplace includes data analytics and data product software, as well as other enterprise solutions.

About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.


Is popularity enough to switch nav patterns?

Instagram is one of the most popular apps in the world. It started humbly in 2010, initially as an iOS only app. The first versions of the app used skeuomorphism for visual communications and introduced photo filters which fueled a lot of it’s popularity.

Today Instagram is used by at least 1 billion people each month, with around 500 million using it every day. Is this enough to influence the entire app industry? Let’s find out.

Before we begin

Let’s get the most obvious problem out of the way — touch targets. They are not going to be the main focus here, but they’re still worth mentioning. Instagram somewhat fixed it (or at least made it slightly better) in the latest versions, but still trying to tap on user names can be cumbersome — especially in the part where it shows the most recent likes under your post. This is of course due to the fact that the text is too small and slightly too close to other elements, that can also be activated. More whitespace or a bigger font would do the trick.

While tab bars are “the way to go” with mobile apps the way Instagram handles it is far from ideal. This is mostly due to the fact that depending on where you are and what you did, the tab can contain different information. It means that if you go deeper into the flow of each tab, the tab itself stores the current page information all the time.

This is how a typical mobile app would handle tabs.

The main understandable pattern would assume all of the main tabs have the bottom menu. However the next step you take (deeper) removes the menu in favour of the back button. That makes the navigation more linear, and possible a little bit slower, but at least it’s logical.

This is how Instagram does it.

Instagram decided to take another path. The only tab that adheres to the Apple imagined good navigation practices is the camera. All the other tabs have BOTH a back button and all the tabs available.

The flow in search results can look something like this.

If you look closely, we started at search. Then clicked on a profile. On that profile we selected one post. From that post we went to likes. From those likes we proceeded to one of the profiles. And then to that persons post. We can of course go on and on, supposedly forever.

Notice how the selected tab is always the one we started with. Search.

It means we went through most of the page-types and had the same tab highlighted.

Now imagine we switch tabs.

We were in search / someone’s post — at least 5 levels down. Then we go “Home”. And then to search again.

Instead of the expected search tab we end up with that profile again. We can of course “back out” of it by using the back arrow or simply tap the search icon again to go back to front.

Again this is not what we naturally would expect from a SEARCH tab.

Who’s profile is it anyway?

Here’s another example. We go to our own profile. Then we go to a post. After that to our likes. From the likes list we select a profile of one of our friends. We look at his cool photos. Then switch tabs to home.

When we come back to our own profile — it even has our logo as the icon! — we end up on our friend’s profile instead.

This loop breaks the logic and expectancy. It may make sense on a high level of the “entire navigation”. But deep down, logically it doesn’t.

This should be OUR profile, not someone else’s.

If we didn’t have the tabs available all the time, we’d have to back away the cumbersome way (one by one) which would take forever. So looking at it from that perspective it seems they made a conscious choice here that works.

It is however still unnatural and the only thing making it natural is the sheer popularity of the platform.

Not logic. Not easy-to-understand interface. Not some “great UI navigation pattern”.

We grew to understand it or even like it because we had no choice.

If apps could talk 😉

There is no “right way” to do this kind of navigation. You’re either a bit illogical, or a bit more cumbersome but preserving logic and consistency.

So the question here is — should other apps adapt to it? Or should some use the more common “regular tab pattern” instead of “instagram tab pattern”?

Because for the sake of the experience we should probably stick with one at least until we make a major breakthrough and come up with an even better solution.

Otherwise people that are really into Instagram will have a hard time using other apps.


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Great design leadership can be measured by looking at two things:

  1. The team. Is the team happy and performing well, and are we hiring and developing team members well?

  2. The results. Is the team delivering great design outcomes?

People are the most important part of any business, but the business and team won’t thrive if the outcomes are bad.

So how does a design leader build a strong team and deliver great results? Here are four important roles a design leader can have whether leading a single design team or multiple teams: 

If a design leader is a people manager, often her primary responsibilities are building a strong team and creating an environment where the team can do incredible work. A great manager:

  • Nurtures their current team:

    • Are team members growing in their roles and careers? A design leader must set clear role expectations, find the right projects, and provide ongoing feedback and coaching. 

    • Are team members set up to do great work? A design leader must establish purpose, give guidance on how to work with others, and provide the right information and tools for team members to be effective.

    • Is the team happy and satisfied with their work? A design leader must listen closely to team members to ensure they feel fulfilled and have an environment where they can do their best work.

  • Builds the future team: A design leader must assess whether they have the right people for what the business needs, and, if necessary, advocate for help and hire well to meet those needs.

  • Is accountable for the team’s results: A design leader is responsible for their team getting to great design outcomes. If outcomes are bad, they must take action. To help team members get to great outcomes, design leaders should define what great looks like, provide early guidance on how to approach projects, and give feedback on work as part of reviews or working sessions.

There are many functions that must be established on a design team in order for it to perform at a high level, and often these functions must be re-established as the team scales. A design leader must ensure these are working well:

  • Hiring processes. Are hiring needs, role requirements, and interview plans clearly defined? Are interviews evaluating the right attributes? Are interviewers trained? Are the processes efficient and effective for hiring talented people who meet the needs of the business? 

  • Designer levels. Is it clear what success looks like for team members in their roles at their levels? Is the path to promotion well-defined? Does the team feel they are growing in their roles?  

  • Design critiques. Is there a strong culture of designers getting feedback on their work? Do designers feel safe sharing their work in critique? Are design outcomes better because of critiques? Do designers feel like they are growing because of critiques? 

  • Specialized teams. Are there dedicated efforts or teams to support functions like UX research, UX writing, design operations, and design systems? How strong are these practices? When is the right time to scale them? Do they partner successfully with the rest of the team?

  • Others include: design process, design principles, team vision and values.

Design leaders must represent Design within the organization to make sure it can have the biggest impact possible for the business. This involves: 

  • Representing Design in planning. Design must be the strongest advocate for the user in serving the short- and long-term interests of the business. Design leaders can shape planning by advocating for strategic research or visioning projects, defining success metrics for UX quality, and ensuring that designers have enough time to do high quality work.

  • Educating others about design and its value. What is the perception of design among leadership? What is the perception of design across the organization? If it’s misunderstood or not well-understood, design’s voice and influence within the organization will be limited.

  • Helping to define the org structure. Is design set up in the org structure to be a strong partner to engineering, product, and other functions? Will the org structure enable teams to deliver holistic user experiences? 

Sometimes design leaders take on IC projects. It might be because they manage a small team and their other responsibilities don’t require much time. Or, in some cases, it might be because it allows their team to have an even bigger impact by focusing on more substantial projects. 

As a design leader, others will look to you as a role model, so if you’re taking on IC projects, it’s important to set a great example for others.

With all of these roles and responsibilities, how should a design leader prioritize? They should focus on maximizing long-term impact. That almost always means prioritizing the team, which will have a multiplier effect, over IC projects.

There’s one other critical responsibility of design leaders: taking care of yourself. Design leadership can be exhilarating and deeply fulfilling, but its demands are unending, so balance is essential. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to help others.

What do you think makes a great design leader? How do you see the various roles and responsibilities of a design leader? Would love to hear your thoughts.


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