31/01/2013

I'm looking for a Mid-Senior UI Designers (please RT)

About You
You need to dream in pixels.
You'll have a strong opinion about Helvetica.
You'll have an attention to detail which some think is bordering on obsession, but you know it's normal to fly into a rage when things don't line up.
You also, of course, need to have experience designing beautiful websites and apps.
Ideally you'll have a degree in Design.
Three to seven years experience working in a full time design role.
An impressive portfolio of lickable design work which you don't mind us pawing.
An innate understanding of user interfaces and user centered design.
Experience of designing for 'mobile first' and thinking responsive.

About The Job
Interface design is an important part of this role, so there'll be a lot of that
You'll be based in our Horsham office, but occasional international travel is required.
You'll work closely with the Lead Designer (that's me) and the rest of the design team, also UX Designers, Content Managers and Developers.
You'll work on projects with MORE TH>N's in the UK, as well as our global parent company RSA across the world.
You'll need to take briefs, understand them and, where necessary, elaborate on how those briefs are going to be realise.
It will be important for you to handle multiple projects, present to stakeholders, provide design consultancy and support the growth of the team.
Every month we will give you money. Plus flex time, free parking, pensions, training of your choosing, annual bonuses and all the weak tea you can consume.

Interested or know someone who is?
Drop me a mail martyn.reding@uk.rsagroup.com for more details.

18/01/2013

In response the @design_week 's article on the HMV closure

Design Week recently published an article regarding the closure of HMV, written by the brand agency Venturethree.

It's a well written, thoughtful article from one of the UK's best brand design groups, but something didn't sit right with me. It was this section in particular...

"There will always be the need for some form of physical consumer space - people like being together physically, and websites can never recreate the serendipity of a shop-floor."

Perhaps this kind of thinking is inherently why the organisation failed to survive. It's no longer a matter of recreating a retail experience with a website, it's about acknowledging that the consumption (and discovery) of music has fundamentally changed.

HMV is not just competing with Amazon, it's competing with Spotify, Rdio, iTunes, Shazam, Soundcloud et al. I have a soft spot for HMV and I'm sad to see it go, just like I'm sad to see my old car go. But it simply doesn't fit my current lifestyle.

(I did attempt to post this as a comment on the Design Week website, but ironically their site is broken).

10/01/2013

Cineworld - The unsung hereos of UX


I believe Cineworld deserves some recognition for its User Experience. From booking to collection and from membership discounts to feedback forms - they provide a brilliantly easy interactions which include some robust fail-safe processes.

I love films. Good films, bad films, odd films, new films, old films. I love them all. Generally speaking I prefer watching films at home - with two small kids it's just more convenient. There are some lovely independent cinemas around which offer an enhanced social experience, beyond the film. So it's fair to say I have no hidden agenda with this post. I simply noticed how seamless their systems work.

Film info and showing times arrive in simple weekly email digest. Bookings can be made via the site or via the iPhone app. Along the booking process you can use a number of small, but delightful, features like adding a favourite cinema venue, watching trailers or having an SMS booking confirmation.


Additionally you are encouraged to create a "My Cineworld" account. The account set up very straight forward and can be done via Facebook login or using an email, but ultimately it's a 'quid pro quo' arrangement. You give them data, so they can track which films you see and where. You get a 10% discount off your ticket price and a quicker booking process. They've struck a good balance between pain & reward. For giving up my data, I get cheaper tickets. But it's not a locked out system. You can still access all of the features, apps and processes without an account.



Moving, cancelling and transferring booking is much less of hassle than you might imagine. In fact all of it can be done via the web and rarely do Cineworld fall back on telephone support. A win for digital as far as I'm concerned.

Beyond that the experience moves gracefully from screen to retail environments. The touchscreen ticket collection setup is not very responsive and often faulty. But when it works, you're golden. The realtime ticketing system is so well connected that you can buy a ticket online, from the back of a queue and instantly walk to the drinks/food til to pick them up, just using your payment card. No delays just large salted popcorn please.

Each film you see is followed up with an opportunity to feedback on your experience. This usually arrives the day after, via email. A positive sign that Cineworld are interested in your views and want to improve, but also that they know how to use each comms channel effectively.

Cineworld's cinema venues are not beautiful. Generally they are staffed to a minimum and the film selections are squarely aimed at the middle of the road. But I have the utmost respect for their digital experience. A tip of the hat to whomever is responsible.

04/01/2013

Is the future of digital design in industrial design?

Power Buttons by Ruben Platte
 From it's early days digital design has borrowed metaphors from other design disciplines. There really aren't any physical manifestations of the engines and rules that drive software design, so we use things that users can relate to. I guess the most obvious example here is a computer desktop, with folders and trash bin. But more so buttons and other interface elements are given shading, perspective and shape to make them look like something mechanical, something we could touch. Sometimes these methods are taken to extremities and become skeumorphic. When you boil it down to it's core element interface design often involves making something digital look tangible, so users understand how to use it (affordance).

Now if you consider where digital design may be heading in the next 5-10 years, you may well look at touch screen devices and you may well look at products like Twine, which connects digital with industrial work and you may also consider the content of today's Maker Faires - very little of which is on a screen, with a keyboard/mouse. To see future trends you could also look at where major tech companies are going. Google for example is currently touting it's Glass project - which has an audio/visual interface built in to wearable technology. Apple has been bringing interface and industrial design closer together for some time. None more visibly than with the high profile merging of its industrial and interface teams. Amazon is designing and manufacturing devices, like Kindle to buy/read books on.

So when you look at these two notions and you consider who is best placed to design the interfaces of the future. You could come to the conclusion that instead of visual designers attempting to mimic industrial interfaces, perhaps industrial designers have more to offer the digital interface. After all UI designers currently spend time aping built artifacts - who is better to inform that approach than the designers who are trained in materials, affordance and ergonomics?

When you look at the most significant examples of digital products from the past five years, it's almost always when they are married with physical products (eg; iPhone + iTunes, Nintendo wii, Nike+ etc etc).

Perhaps the line between digital interactions and physical interactions will continue to overlap, until the difference is negligible. This would mean the future of digital design sits firmly at the cross section to industrial design. In a world where 3D printers are becoming cost effective and accessible, this doesn't seem to be much of leap. Now would be a good time for digital designers to finally detached themselves from the notions of print design and walk open armed towards our new friends in industrial design.