26/04/2011

Stop The Press! KFC in good advert shocker



It's not very often that a TV ad makes me stop what I'm doing, so imagine my surprise/horror/dismay/joy/confusion/depression when it turned out to for KFC.

PS: I realise I should be nicer to KFC considering I did some design work for them a while back, but let's face it the food is gruesome.

25/04/2011

BankSimple - UI Design to change banking



BankSimple is a US based startup who are hoping to shake up the personal banking world by applying User Centre Design to the classic banking model. The project is not live at this point, but the whole venture is gaining a great deal of attention already. You can follow the startup's progress on their blogs and twitter feeds. I know that I'll be watching very closely to see what I can learn from them about the Financial Sector.

When I first read about this I applauded the idea. After a little time I realised the huge audacity of the project. Imagine taking on one of the world's mightiest economic services and doing it from a UX standpoint. I'm sure most people in US banks are expecting/hoping this fails. Because it could ultimately change customers' expectations and force a sea change.

There is not a huge amount of detail on the offering, but the screengrabs of the UI look lush. I have my fingers crossed for them.

20/04/2011

Native App design at #iOSLondon



Yesterday I took a (rare) day out of work to attend an iOS design workshop. I haven't been on any kind of training for a some years. Partly due to expense, partly due to work pressures and partly because when designers (myself included) reach Creative Director/Design Lead level there is a tendency to not bother with training at all. However I'm keen to not be constrained by any of these and take opportunities to learn from experts in the field.

Design for mobile is becoming a bigger part of my work by the day. Although I've been involved in mobile projects in the past and I've read a huge amount on the subject I don't feel like I've got to grips with some of basics. Basically I skipped the first two chapters and went straight to strategy section. So this workshop was about ensuring I had exposure to all aspects of the mobile design process.

Photo by Sarah Parmenter

The day covered an iOS design project from writing the initial ADS all the way through to preparing your polished files for publishing. It not only gave me a comprehensive grip on the the finer points of app design, but it also helped me build an understanding of when apps can and should be used. The whole day made me more confident in my mantra that 'mobile is at it's best when it saves time or wastes time'.

Photo by Sarah Parmenter

As an addded bonus I got to meet and work with some very interesting people who are at different stages of the journey in to design for mobile.

18/04/2011

Apple are seeking a UI Designer

Apple is advertising for a "User Interface Designer / Prototyper". Essentially this role aims to invent Apple's next software/hardware combinations and dictate their visual design. How fucking cool is that? The designer who lands this job will live two steps ahead of the UI design world in one of the world's most notable design groups.

Throw in some kind of beer tasting responsibilities and that's just about my perfect job.

Check out the full job description:
The Human Interface Device Prototyping group at Apple is looking for a User Interface Designer / Prototyper. We’re a small, unique group at Apple composed of hybrid designers / engineers. We work on the long-term vision for human interface technologies and user experience across all of Apple’s products.

Responsibilities
Invent - We come up with novel ideas for how new hardware technologies can improve the user experience. You should have a passion for building new things and running with ideas.
Design - You should have a proficiency in illustration, an understanding of user interface principles, a sensitivity to typography and color, a general awareness of materials / textures, and a practical grasp of physics and animation.
Prototype - We build working, interactive prototypes to test, explain, and explore ideas. Our process includes sketching, pixel-perfect mockups, animations, code, electronics, and models. You should be able to explore ideas at many different levels of fidelity, and in the end, produce real software we can interact with.
Collaborate - We work with people all over Apple: UI designers, industrial designers, engineers, marketing, and executives. You should be comfortable working in a studio environment and participating in individual and group critiques.
Present - A big part of what we do is demonstrate our prototypes and explain our designs. You should be comfortable speaking to your work in front of small and large groups.

Qualifications
A portfolio of innovative designs, with working prototypes or implementations.
Possible degrees / backgrounds: Human Computer Interaction, Interaction Design, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Art, Computer Science, or Electrical Engineering
Required skills: - sketching / storyboarding of UIs - visual design using Photoshop, Illustrator, or similar tools - coding interactive user interfaces using Objective-C, Action Script, Processing, C/C++, OpenGL, OpenFrameworks, or other environments
Nice to have experience with: - designing multi-touch interfaces - electronics (Arduino, Make Controller, Phidgets, microcontrollers, sensors, etc.) - rapid prototyping (hand tools, plastic, cardboard, 3D printing, laser cutter, etc.) - 3D graphics, motion graphics, traditional or special effects animation - signal processing (simple filters, thresholds, basic heuristics, etc.)

07/04/2011

Where does #brand design end & #UX design begin?


Where does brand design end and UX design begin?

This question has challenged me (and I've been challenged with it) a number of times in the past year.

If we can broadly agree that the definition of a brand design is to design customer touch points for an organisation and the definition of UX design is to design digital customer experiences for an organisation. Then we can ask if a brand only exists in digital

Consider brands like Skype, Spotify and Facebook. They provide no physical service or tangible product, so there brands only ever reach the customer on screen. So should their design be left to brand designers or UX designers?

I don't yet have an answer to these questions, perhaps there isn't one and it simply comes down to semantics. If you have any views on it, I'd love to hear them, on the usual channels.

TWITTER UPDATE
@WilliamBloor ux is brand
ux is a component of brand experience, says
@WolffOlins ux is part of 'brand'
@WilliamBloor To me it's how users interact with a brand in a functional and behavioural way. So is a UX company, or should be.

04/04/2011

10 Spartan Rules - by Dentsu

In 1951 The president of one's of the world's largest advertising networks Dentsu wrote "10 Spartan Rules" to inspire his employees. To this day they can be found on the wall of every Dentsu building around the world.

1.  Create work for yourself; don’t wait for work to be assigned to you.
2.  Take an active role in all your endeavours, not a passive one.
3.  Seek out large and complex jobs. Trivial tasks debase you.
4.  Welcome difficult assignments. Choose them. Progress lies in accomplishing difficult work.
5.  Once you begin a task, complete it. Never give up.
6.  Lead your fellow workers. Be an example for them to follow.
7.  Set goals for yourself to ensure a constant sense of purpose.
This will give you perseverance and hope for the future.
8.  Move with confidence. Confidence gives your work force, focus and substance.
9.  Find new solutions. This is the way we ensure satisfactory service.
10.  When conflict is necessary don’t shy away from it or be afraid. Conflict is the mother of progress and the source of aggressive enterprise.  If you fear conflict, you will become timid and servile.

I like these. Although it's somewhat pious to be speaking of fear and conflict, when you're really just talking about making ads that flog cars, but it still says something relevant about collective problem solving. Right now I'd say the first five are my favourite.