frog is excited to announce the launch of Yona, a new approach to radically empathetic healthcare for people with vaginas. The project began in January of 2017, when two frogs based in the San Francisco studio, Sahana Kumar and Hailey Stewart, set out to redesign the dreaded speculum used in pelvic exams. With the addition of Fran Wang and Rachel Hobart, the project grew to encompass industrial design, experience design, visual design, mechanical engineering, and extensive design research. The result is a stylish suite of proposed products, including an app that guides you through the process of the pelvic exam, updated amenities for the exam room, and of course, a speculum fit for the 21st century.


After a rockstar Kickstarter campaign that reached and surpassed its goal in the first week, the Sensel Morph, a next generation input device, is now available on the market. Sensel worked in close partnership with frog in developing the Morph along with the brand and strategy behind it, emphasizing user insights from their key audience of musicians, artists, and creators of all walks. “Sensel came to us with...


Current frogs and alumni celebrate with frog founders Hartmut Esslinger and Patricia Roller.

Often credited as the first designer to bring human-centered design to the world of complex hardware and software technology, Esslinger was the recipient of the 2017 Cooper Hewitt Lifetime Achievement Award presented this month. As part of National Design Week on October 19, we had the honor of celebrating Hartmut’s achievements alongside him and to once again be inspired and invigorated by his unfailing dedication and vision to advancing the human experience through design.


Esslinger in Italy with Carrie Vincent, frog General Manager, EMEA and Tjeerd Hoek, VP, Design.

In a true honor for a truly global designer, Esslinger won the 2017 WDO World Design Medal from the World Design Organization. The honor showcases industrial designers who drive positive change in the world through design. The unanimous decision from the selection committee was based on his decades of experience in the field (which includes founding frog with his wife Patricia Roller in the...

Aiva, an AI-powered music composer, suggests algorithms are capable of remarkable creativity. Google Translate’s invention of its own interlingua—the ability to translate between two languages it has not yet been trained to interpret—may lead some to fear the machines are on the brink of autonomy.

So much of what is written about the future of AI amounts to broad philosophical statements, often about the nature of humanity, knowledge and life itself. We asked Sheldon Pacotti, Senior Solution Architect at frog Austin, to unpack some of this complexity for us. Here he shares his view on the current state of AI in product design, its common misconceptions and a look at where we’re going next.

Why does AI spark such philosophical debate?

What’s unfortunate—but fun—about AI is that it’s in fact deeply entwined with the field of philosophy. Analytical philosophy, from Hume to 20th century figures like Donald Davidson, has had a direct impact on how truth is represented in “symbolist” AI systems, for instance. As a computer scientist, I would say that W. V. Quine’s theory of “observation sentences” and Jerry Fodor’s Language of Thought both read like software architecture.

It’s hard to imagine creating intelligent human-machine interfaces without considering epistemology, phenomenology and other -ologies developed by abstract thinkers. Complicating things further, a half-dozen other fields, including neuroscience, mathematics and cognitive science, are also core to the advance of AI. This situation makes it much more difficult to predict when we will devise the “right” theories of intelligence, and in what order these theories might appear. To build a thinking machine, you need a good theory of thought, perception and reasoning.

In design, through the practice of cultivating empathy, we routinely...

From data collection to analysis, to the usage and communication of results, using data to deliver quality customer experiences takes careful consideration. Here are nine principles for designing engaging data products that your users will love.

1. Collect Data Passively
Collecting user data should never interfere with the quality of the user’s experience. While privacy is certainly an important issue, consumers have growing expectations for how their shared data can be used in exchange for better experiences. This is especially true for millennials—80 percent say they have some or a lot of trust in the companies they do business with to keep their personal information secure. Smartphones present an enormous opportunity for passive data collection: accelerometer data, GPS data and app usage data can all be used to learn about your users and to provide better user experiences. Google Maps uses GPS data from its millions of users to provide the fastest routes and help users avoid traffic.

Passive data collection also unlocks hidden business value. For example, most companies collect clickstream data, but few go beyond the use of standard analytical solutions. At frog, we helped a Fortune 100 client assess one year’s worth of clickstream data from its web application to better understand their users’ behaviors. What we found were ways to redesign the interface to help more customers complete transactions digitally, rather than contact the call center. To do this, we generated User Interaction Flow Diagrams, which visualized the flow of users through the...

A great fallacy of organizational structure is that its impact is only felt internally. Internal structures have serious implications on an organization’s ability to deliver a best-in-class customer experience. Take Amazon, for example. CEO Jeff Bezos coined the term ‘Day 1’ as a shorthand for commitment to maintaining an agile, startup-inspired, customer-driven mindset to avoid the stasis and eventual irrelevance of ‘Day 2.’ Said Bezos, “There are many ways to center a business. You can be competitor-focused, you can be product-focused, you can be technology-focused, you can be business model-focused, and there are more. But in my view, obsessive customer focus is by far the most protective of Day 1 vitality.”

In disruptive and tumultuous times, investing in customer-centricity can help build resiliency within organizations, freeing them to innovate and adapt to customer needs. Here are five steps to organizing around your customer.

1. Establish a customer-obsessed culture. The old models of relying on incentive schemes to help achieve short-term financial targets across disparate, sometimes competing departments are over. Too often, these tactics translate to a substandard customer experience taking the form of aggressive salesmanship, hassle-ridden return policies or even low quality products or services. Modern organizations understand that a more viable option for sustained profitability is to establish a culture that puts the customer first. To be successful, this culture must be fostered across the organization, from the C-level down to frontline staff. One example of this culture creating a strategic advantage is at leading retail...

In this installment, we speak to Shawna Murland, an associate creative director in our Austin studio. We cover her early love of art, learning empathy as an exhibit designer at the Holocaust Museum and the craziest thing she’s ever done. The interview was lightly edited for clarity.

When did you first know that you were interested in becoming a designer?

I’ve always been interested in the arts since I was a kid, but I didn’t necessarily know that was going to lead me to design. I was always drawing, always wanting to go to the museum. My perspective on the world was constantly around organizing it in a visual way. It included rearranging my room a million times; every month my bed was in a different place. That said, when I entered college, I started down the pre-med track because I had a deep sense of wanting to make an impact on the world, and pre-med was the only very clear path I thought could fulfill that. After a few months, I realized that was not the direction for me. I needed to figure out how to merge my passion for making a difference with staying true to what I actually, truly loved, which was to create. To that end, I turned to the fine arts and studied painting.

Tell me about the first time you were able to merge your love to create and your passion for making a difference.

I worked at the Holocaust Museum in Houston as an exhibition designer...