Lorne Balfe and Hans Zimmer arranged a little competition to come up with original versions of Zimmer’s “Genius” theme for the National Geographic series this year.
Since the original version features lots of percussion and strings, I thought it would be fun to strip things down and arrange the theme for the woodwind section of the orchestra – flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and so forth. For this arrangement I used the Spitfire Symphonic Woodwinds library, with the original section reverbs.
You can check out my submission below, and if you enjoy it, please “Like” it – thanks!
This week’s NoVA UX meetup was my last as an organizer for the group, which I founded back in 2012. At the time there simply wasn’t a group for designers in the Northern Virginia area; the only UX meetups were in DC, which can be quite a hike.
Our first event was seven people watching a demo of eye-tracking hardware. Since then, we’ve done 64 monthly events and grown the group to 3,000 members. It’s been a privilege to give back to the VA/MD/DC design community, but it was time hand over the reins and let my fellow organizers take things from here. I’d like to thank my fellow organizers Kit Unger, who has since moved on to Seattle, Will King, Jody Thomas, Jane Robbins, and Alex Hsiao.
To celebrate the group’s birthday we did a little retrospective, looking back at the various topics we’d covered over five years. As promised at the event, here is a collection of presentations from late 2012 to early 2017. Enjoy!
UI testing & behavioral design
NoVa UX Presentation on Iterative Process of Action Design
Usability testing demystified
Building the Right Product: How to Approach the Discovery Process
Secrets of Site Optimization
UX Memory Design: How to Make Your UX Unforgettable
I shared a number of books and articles this year, but looking back the most impactful read was definitely Tom Greever‘s 2015 Articulating Design Decisions.
As designers and creative leaders, we rely on our ability to communicate our ideas, inspire our teams’ creativity, and solicit and respond to feedback. Unfortunately, these skills are not necessarily part of design curriculum, so we must develop them ourselves and coach our teams as to how to present their ideas effectively.
At a recent design summit for my organization, I used elements of Tom’s book for a workshop session, to practice presenting design, giving constructive feedback, receiving feedback, and responding in kind.
Tom’s book outlines specific strategies for developing and practicing these communication skills, which are critical regardless of the size of your specific team or organization. I encourage you to check it out, and share it with other designers on your team.
Have a safe and happy New Year’s celebration!
Team origami exercise!
This week the Oracle Data Cloud UX team gathered in Virginia for an all-day design summit where we shared work, did some skill-building, and even made some origami together.
December’s NoVA UX panel discussion on Design Thinking
That night was the final NoVA UX meetup of the year, where panelists from IBM Interactive Experiences, CHIEF, and FJORD shared their experiences with Design Thinking as a creative process.
Refreshed game room hackathon project
The next day, we kicked off this quarter’s hackathon, where team members revamped the office game room and built a very fun arcade cabinet, with over 3000 games – handily winning the UX award.
Hackathon UX award winners for the new arcade cabinet – great design and quite a hack!
It was great to have the whole team together in the Vienna office, get to know each other better, learn a bit and collaborate.
What a week it’s been!
If you work on or lead a user experience design team in an organization, you’ve probably experienced challenges building executive buy-in for design. As designers, we sometimes forget that we speak our own language, and that’s not always the same language as our company’s leadership.
Check out this deck by John Whalen in which he discusses strategies for better communicating what we do, how it maps to our organization’s business priorities, and how as designers we can provide strategic leadership to our teams.
Our September event featured Curt Arledge, a UX designer at Viget, who shared a fantastic presentation about creating memorable experiences. The event was sponsored by and held at Viget’s headquarters in Fall Church, Virginia.
Curt began by describing Daniel Kahneman‘s Peak-End Rule, which describes how people remember experiences based on the average of the most intense moment and the final moment. This is important to experience design because we can mitigate poor parts of an experience by creating memorable moments that offset them, and ensuring that endings are great.
To this end, Curt suggested several strategies for creating memorable experiences:
You can check out Curt’s slides on Slideshare. If you would like to join us a future NoVA UX event, check out the group and we’ll see you soon.
My old friend and co-worker Foo designed this lovely new blog theme. It’s responsive, beautiful and of course features AddThis tools. Thanks Foo!
For our August NoVA UX meetup event we had two fantastic speakers, Dori Kelner from Sleight of Hand Studios and John Whalen from Brilliant Experience (who also sponsored the event, thanks!)
Dori spoke about structured content, the Drupal platform, and strategies for planning content to be available in any form factor and context.
Reprising his latest UXPA talk, John spoke about how we as designers can build consensus with executive stakeholders, and act more strategically in our respective organizations. Here are John’s slides on Slideshare.
Check out video of Dori’s and John’s talks on YouTube – we’d love for you to subscribe to the channel so we can get a proper URL! – and follow us on Twitter.
Next month’s event, “User Memory Design: How to Make Your UX Unforgettable“, will be held at Viget’s offices. See you then!
This week most of my team flew to the Datalogix offices in Westminster, CO to participate in the first cross-ODC (Oracle Data Cloud) hackathon. For those who aren’t familiar with this kind of event, at hackathons team members set aside daily work for two days and instead work on interesting and creative ideas for 24 hours.
At the end of the 24 hours, participants vote on the most popular project, and judges assign awards for the most interesting, impactful hacks. It’s not only a fun way team member to meet and work with new people, but it’s also a great way to discover creative new solutions to problems.
This week’s event was the first time we brought together participants from all four of our constituent companies – BlueKai, DataLogix, AddThis and CrossWise – and the results didn’t disappoint. In addition to some amazing technology ideas, one team won for building an Oracle-branded gaming console from scratch, wood panels and all, in just 23 hours. The result was one of the most polished projects I’ve seen come out of one of these events.
Since I was one of the judges, I chose to just do a culture-oriented installation project that the Datalogix team could hang in their new offices. The project framed five themes that capture the culture of the Oracle Data Cloud – smart, collaborative, flexible, innovative and of course fun.
Everyone had a fantastic time, and we’re all looking forward to the next event.
I went to the new Jason Bourne movie after work yesterday, and what a fun ride. I’ve been a big fan of the series and of John Powell’s excellent soundtracks since they began back in 2002.
[For some reason the third soundtrack, Bourne Ultimatum, isn’t available on Spotify at the moment… but you can check out a number of remixes of Moby’s Extreme Ways, used in end credits for all five movies.]
This film ignores the forgettable Bourne Legacy with Jeremy Renner and picks up years after the end of the third movie. Julia Stiles returns as Nicky Parsons, who has had a complicated relationship with Jason and pulls him back into action with more secrets from his past.
I wouldn’t say that this movie breaks new ground for the franchise, but if you enjoyed the first three movies you’ll have a blast (literally) watching this one. Definitely worth seeing on the big screen.
And, when you watch the big car chase at the end, isn’t that how you would have rather the road-full-of-traffic gag in Bruce Almighty played out? I know I did.