Tag Archives: Programs

Scouting Local Design graduates at their senior show

Senior shows are a great place to easily and efficiently check out a lot of potential candidates. Now that I’ve been more accountable for hiring, going through the process of posting a job, screening people, and interviewing candidates is a bit of a … lets keep this positive… a crazy shit-show, when you’re also trying to do your normal work too.

A senior show is a such a relief. You can literally walk around and have mini-interviews with these soon-to-be graduates, which is a great first-level screening process. Its not too hard to get a feel for their passion (or lack of), design careers direction, attitude, and personal interests. This saves me about 20-40 hours of email, resume hunting, scheduling coordination, and phone chats.

Some times, like this latest one at San Jose State Univ,, there’s a website where you can view the students, their bio, and a link to their portfolio. I love that. I put it on our design team to review all candidates and pick out the top 5 people for us to aggregate and go after. But its not real surprise that when we got to the show our opinions changed a bit based on our interactions with them. Maybe next time, I’ve save the up-front time of reviewing them and just go to the show with the expectation of talking to every single person and taking it from there.

For the record, I will say I was a bit shocked at some of the lack of digital or motion knowledge that the students had (or should I say “received from their instructors”). One question I asked every student was, ” Do you know what 4k is?” Only 1 student even tried to answer, and even that 1 student just knew it was a type of high video resolution. The kick in the balls was that this whole graduating class just went through a motion graphics class, where their project was produced at some small size like 900×600 (or thats at least what most students tried to tell me when I asked, but the really didn’t know). I just feel like the size of the “composition” in after effects is one of the first things to discuss. How the hell did this instructor not at least chat about that, or better yet, require these kids to produce their motion graphic piece at 1080p? Hello, the real world called. How far removed are college instructors today???  Maybe after 2 good startup buy-outs, I’ll feel comfortable enough to go teach college…. that article is to come!!!

Planning Media Buys Might Just Drive Ya Nutz!!!

Looking towards the next year, I started looking into media buys aligning to our 2016 marketing budget allocation, which is when I felt some extra gray hair coming in. (like I needed that) I had captured all the influential industry outlets that I wanted to target and now was the time to reach out for all their material and pricing. Doesn’t sound that hard, does it?

I setup folders per each website and event that I was targeting, which already got confusing because some companies owned multiple, and some events actually mapped back to some industry websites but didn’t actually have their own section. But, at last, I got that ironed out and put their various PDFs in each folder. Yeah, various PDFs… each organization sent between 1 and 4 PDFs that ranged from pricing tables, screenshots, audience graphs, media examples, etc. So that was fun.

Then I took a deep breath, went and bought some beer, and then started trying to compare the options. Each one was completely different in how they package and price their options. Literally, from pricing media per view, per 1000 views, per page, per email, per month in an email, per blast, per 1000 emails, etc. And the best is, no sales person wants to give you the easy answer because they actually want to know your budget, then they’ll sell you a sweet package for about 130% of your budget. I’m not mad at them. They know its easy for us to approve that then haggle for weeks with them.

So you finally get the sales people to give you buttoned up proposals of clear options so you can really compare them. Then the hard part…. presenting those options with your recommendations to your boss, controller, or anybody else who gets to chime in. Now I know just to prepare to go back and forth with those proposals at least 3 times before everyone is happy and satisfied. I’ll just plan on writing another blog article after Q1 next year, when I share marketing results and get feedback galore on how I chose wrong!

New Sport Stadiums Promoting Sales through Experience Centers

With my second visit to a stadium experience center (you’ll see the SF 49ers and the Sac Kings above pictured), its amazing the effort and detail that goes into promoting a new sport stadium center and how impactful it really is. Its one of those things that you never really think of or know exists until you’re fortunate enough to be involved and see the production and experience of it.

The centers are usually nearby the new stadium location and can view the construction, but it is a promotional area that features renderings of the stadium in different mediums; digital 3D renderings, architectural models, to actual suite rooms with projection walls showing the view to the playing area.

The actual suite rooms are the most impressive and might need to be since selling the suite space is one of the key goals. The room has the actual layout, furniture, materials, and actual seats. And the wall were the view would be is sometimes a projection wall with game footage so you can get a sense of your view and perspective.

Using Axure to build a Prototype, Easy for Designers

If you’re a designer and don’t know HTML from your backside, you can still use Axure to easily create a prototype for a client. I had to rip out a prototype for a project and instead of brushing up my HTML skills for mobile, I just used Axure to save my time in finding a developer real quick to do it right.

If you don’t know Axure, I think it started out as more of a User Experience tool, which allowed Sitemapping and Wireframing linking. But then I think it saw its audience use it more for rapid prototyping, and then some really cool features starting coming out like responsive settings for mobile and its file hosting platform Axshare.

To be honest, I was forced to use it at one of my agency jobs and I wasn’t happy about having to create a fully functioning prototype as an User Experience Architect (my role at that agency), but I did see clients really light up and fully understand the wireframe concepts when they could easily click through the prototype themselves.  The program is really easy to use, as far as importing image graphics and leveraging their text boxes, drop downs, radio buttons, etc which all work in various browsers perfectly.

I will say that the mobile settings work really well for creating a mobile app prototype. When you start wanting to demonstrate sign-up flows and any text forms, using Axure’s ready-to-use elements makes this extremely quick, almost faster than wire framing them in some other program and then they automatically work on a mobile browser using the native functionality of the browser. Love it.

New Bar Tablet Application at Chili’s, with Menu and More

I grabbed a seat at a Chili’s bar to catch a football game, and when the bartender didn’t come over for a minute, I ironically noticed a little tablet staring at me which was playing a brand loop with little promo videos about drinks and appetizers. Ok, I’ll bite. I touched it and it gave me some intuitive options of drinks, menu, games, and more. Nicely done Chili’s, I didn’t see that coming. It actually helped me get my beer order ready before the bartender arrived. The interface was pretty simple (good job not overdoing it), but it did have a slough of bar-like games to play.

chilies bar tablet email signup

Upon browsing, I was happy to see a free giveaway for an email signup. It was done pretty tastefully (pun intended) and the signup form wasn’t too overwhelming. This is one of those points (digital takeaway, or user activation) that someone in the industry is always looking to see how others do, or if they did. I’d be interested to see the conversion rate for this bar tablet signup, but at least they are leveraging their digital experience to try.

New 3D Styled Maps and Floor Plans for Interactive Wayfinding

As I was looking into new stylistic approaches to creating floor plan maps, all the 3D modeling stood out as the more innovative and visually interesting approach. The irony here is that I just convinced a client that having walls or features in a standing perspective gets in the way of the viewer clearing seeing walkways and other features behind them. Oh well.

Having a floor plan modeled in a 3D program, not only creates a visual interesting graphic (with shadowing and skewed angles) but also is very efficient in how your create and edit it. You’re not just illustrating it, but you’re creating the floor plan and dimensions and then you have that set to modify with the program doing the hard part of rendering it out at the perspective you want. Thank you Maya.

The first time I leveraged a designer to create our floor plan in Maya (3D) for us, I was thrilled to see him deliver a PSD with separate layers for the floor, walls, shadows, etc. Now, he might have worked some magic, as he’s an experienced badass, but it was ultimately the perfect deliverable for the additional design elements to be set with and then to hand off to development to create the application.

So I guess using Illustrator is going out the window to create floor plans from now on when you can use 3D modeling programs like Maya … if you know 3D or maybe a new media designer or motion graphic designer who knows the right programs.