December 16, 2016

The best articles that never made the One Weekly

Ever wonder how we compile the One Weekly? Throughout the week, the super smart, super connected ODC team submits articles to the Weekly editor for consideration.

Sometimes, for one reason or another, really great ideas just don’t make the cut. So we decided to search the archives and pick some of our favorite Weekly submissions that never made it in. But don't worry, we had very real, very valid excuses for why they were left out.

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December 1, 2016

One Of Us: Stacey Shintani, Senior Project Manager

Go beyond the LinkedIn bio to get to know One of Us.

Name: Stacey Shintani

Job Title: Senior Project Manager

What do you tell people you do? I manage timelines, budgets, and scope for web, identity, and strategy projects—but that's really all just a clever ruse to write neatly on whiteboards and keep things organized with Google spreadsheets.

How long have you been with ODC? I started on May 9, 2016.

What did you do before you arrived? I spent a mostly glorious 15 years at the University of Chicago's in-house web agency, Web Services.

What do you bring to ODC beyond your PM skills? Aside from the neat handwriting and a jack-of-all-trades web design background, I'm a beekeeper and was raised as a Buddhist, so I'm pretty solid on the calm, meditative front.

Settle the debate. What’s the best flavor of La Croix? Pamplemousse ALL THE WAY.

What music do you gravitate towards when you have to be extra productive? I actually have a hard time listening to music without getting distracted. So it's either got to be something gentle and familiar, like R.E.M or M. Ward, or else this 24-hour loop of the ambient engine noise of the USS Enterprise (a.k.a. the best white noise machine ever).

Name the moment when you realized you were part of the ODC family I happened to start work just before our 2016 ODC retreat, so I finished out my first week on the job by sharing a loft adjacent to a distillery with all my new co-workers. James brought along his guitar and sang Purple Rain while we were all still in heavy mourning for Prince. There may have been some tears.

Favorite Chicago neighborhood? My own: Bowmanville. Our neighbors are amazing. On a typical summer evening we might see the mom from two doors down teaching her daughter to pogo stick in the street, a couple from the next block bike by on a tandem wearing a suit and a dirndl to go serve beer at a German Festival, and the little girl next door come over for a free hug. All while we're hanging on the porch waiting for our friends to come over and pick up our dog (and us) for a beer at the dog-friendly taproom around the corner.

November 18, 2016

One Of Us: Brad Nowak, Project Manager

Go beyond the LinkedIn bio to get to know One of Us.

Name: Brad Nowak

Job Title: Project Manager

What do you tell people you do?
I manage scope, schedule and budget on web, application print and other design projects. But more that that I’m responsible for making sure that our team is empowered to do great work, which includes ensuring that we have open lines of communication and a good working relationship with our clients. I also manage to interject myself into the project in other ways in areas like strategy, user experience and others, where I feel I can make a positive impact given my background and experience.

How long have you been with ODC?
A little over a year

What do you bring to ODC beyond your sweet skills?
A love of family, a sense of humor, a taste for good beer, and a lifelong love of the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs!

Favorite ODC moment so far?
ODC’s participation in the annual Cross-Park Challenge where we went head-to-head against other design firms in feats of athletic - and not so athletic - competition. I’ve been fortunate to work on a number of cool projects for interesting clients in my first year at ODC, but spending the day having fun with everyone at the company outside in the sun, being active, and indulging my competitive streak is definitely a highlight.


First CD/Album you ever purchased?
The first album I ever bought on my own with my own money was By All Means necessary by Boogie Down Productions (on cassette).

Would you rather be able to teleport or travel through time?
That’s tough, but I’ll say teleport. Loving to travel, traveling for work, living in the city, and generally being impatient, I’ll opt to reduce my time spent in transit. You can enjoy the journey, but if I could trade in my time spent in packed rush hour commutes on the CTA and security lines at the airport...

Favorite Chicago neighborhood?
Despite the gravity that Wrigley Field has, I’m going to say my neighborhood, Logan Square. I lived there for a few years almost fifteen years ago, and returned in 2009. It’s been home ever since. I love the diversity of the people who live there, the ever-expanding options for dinner and drinks and just the overall feel of the neighborhood. It’s a great place to live - and visit.

November 9, 2016

reCaptcha: No Bots Allowed

Recently, one of our client’s sites has been dealing with a large number of malicious bots signing up for its email newsletter. There are a few common strategies for dealing with bot traffic:

  • Honey Pot: Hide form inputs from users, but keep them visible to bots, so if they are filled in we will know it is being accessed by a bot
  • Confirmation Emails: Users are sent an email and are emailed a link to confirm that the email was valid
  • Captcha: Some sort of puzzle/question that a bot will have trouble answering

Due to the sophistication and volume of bots, we decided that the most elegant solution for this site was to use a captcha system. But what captcha system? A captcha typically involves showing the user an image of a word and the user must type out the word. Usually the image is warped in a way that a computer will have a tough time recognizing it.

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October 14, 2016

Book conference rooms in a flash with Amazon Dash (buttons)

When One Design moved offices this January we decided to hand roll our own conference room displays for two reasons:

  1. We could.
  2. We liked the idea of leaving them open to custom integrations.

We built all sorts of nifty little tricks into them like on demand weather/transit/news updates, Slack triggered sound effects, and the ability to play a person's theme song when they entered the room (patent pending).

The displays worked great, You could book a room, end a booking, jump in the associated Hangout, and even monitor how much the meeting cost in real time.

Another bit of technology we have in the space are Amazon Dash buttons. We have a button for when you start a pot of coffee timed to alert slack when it finishes. One on the kegerator that invites the team to join you for a pint. One in the kitchen to signify the arrival of treats. So we're pretty big fans of simple "one" button interfaces.

After using the displays for a couple months we started thinking about how they could work together. Then it hit us, What if we could book rooms via a Dash button? Brilliant! We can build it. We have the technology.

So I went about updating my dashgong library to fire HTTP requests to our existing API. About 30 minutes of work later and viola! The Instant Gratification Room Booking Button was born.

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October 7, 2016

One Of Us: Canine Edition

Our well-loved office dogs bring elements of chaos and entertainment to ODC's office environment. Because they occupy such a major position at the office (and in our hearts), we thought we would introduce you to One Design's canine cast of characters that greet you, for better or worse, the moment they hear the elevator doors open to the studio. 

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September 22, 2016

One Of Us: Elizabeth O'Malley, Associate Account Manager

Go beyond the LinkedIn bio to get to know One of Us.

Name: Elizabeth O’Malley a.k.a “O’Malley”

Job Title: Associate Account Manager

What do you tell people you do?
I multi-task between business development and project management.

How long have you been with ODC?
A wonderful year and 23 days.

What do you bring to ODC beyond your sweet skills?
A background in competitive Irish Step Dancing and a stellar 4.8 out of 5 Uber rating. Coming soon...the ODC dance troupe!

What are you excited about developing as part of the team? I’m excited to hone my fluency in all things related to design, development, social media strategy, and brand strategy. I also hope to further advance my promising hand-modeling career through ODC Social photo shoots.


Favorite office pooch: That’s a tough one. It’s a tie between two visiting, fun-sized office pooches- Nellie and Sprout. Office pooch that favorites me? The one and only, Jay. We have an undeniable bond.

Favorite emoji to use on Slack? After completing a particular project phase or delivering a proposal to a prospective client, the liftoff/ rocket ship emoji is quite satisfying. The smiley with sunglasses emoji is also a classic.

What's a good book you read recently?
String Theory: David Foster Wallace on Tennis, and I’m currently enjoying, Fear and Clothing: Unbuckling American Style by Cintra Wilson.

It's 11 am on Sunday. What are you doing?
Getting my caffeine fix. I’m really digging the recent cold brew and draft latte trend. Might stop by the local farmer’s market afterward.