Sprout Course Standout, AYV Alum and Educator, Ismail Swati


Adobe
Receiving Provincial Youth Peace Network Award
AYV Alum and educator, Ismail Swati is a 25-year-old social activist and founder of Optimistic Youth Network, an organization focused on social issues and youth empowerment in conflict-affected Swat, Pakistan. For 6 years Ismail’s organization has worked with youth who are drawn into radicalism and offered them alternatives to joining these movements. Ismail has used social media campaigning to create community awareness and advocacy to redirect these youth. His organization also builds social cohesion and tolerance in a tribal society suffering from ideological differences and a sense of deprivation. Ismail has trained over 600 youth and implemented more than 100 social actions that have resulted in youth leadership, community development and entrepreneurship. The European Union awarded him with a gold medal in recognition of his activism for youth and peace.
What compelled you to found Optimistic Youth Network?
Sixty-seven percent of the Pakistani population consists of youth who face extremism, unemployment, drugs, and other activities which are harmful for them and society. While in college, I observed in my community the trauma and youth involvement in these destructive activities as well as child labor and marginalization. I founded Optimistic Youth Network with friends for the purpose to empower the youth and to make them the agents of social change.
Since then, I have conducted training on active citizenship for the British Council and other organizations. Through my project, Youth Action for Governance and Democracy, funded by National Endowment for Democracy and implemented by College of Youth Activism and Development, my team and I have trained more than 400 youth on leadership, good governance and democracy, and taken 50 social actions towards the latter. We have also worked on the participation of women in the civic and electoral process and conducted consultative meetings and public forums to advocate for peace, social harmony and election manifesto.
How has your work impacted your culture and your community?
After getting proper training the youth become active in the community as responsible citizens who identify issues and resolve them by using dialogue and mediation. Governance level issues are being advocated by youth leaders on social media. Some are involved in short video making and journalism. While the culture of Swat has high values which promote peace, respect and hospitality, we are challenged by the era of extremism.
What methods have you used to inspire youth to build their social and economic capacities?
First there’s youth development where we provide education, leadership training, active citizenship, counseling for job preparedness, and awareness of human rights. For community development, we facilitate youth’s social actions in areas of their interest; community services, establishing partnerships, and collective efforts in community peace building and advocacy. We engage youth by creating and strengthening digital platforms for exchange and dialogue, for peace and education. We also encourage and evolve culture of dialogue and interaction amongst them. Lastly, for youth employability, we work with government institutions to create opportunities of internship, professional placement, fellowship, and volunteerism.
You mentioned that your programs help to divert youth from joining extremist movements. How are you able to do that?
As a trainer I have worked with national and international organizations including the British Council. Yet, diverting radical youth is always a challenge – I apply my motivation skills while working with these marginalized youth on self-assessment, identity development, and what their role is in the community as active and responsible citizens. We develop a way forward. It is a comprehensive 5-day course which can change the life of a person from extremism to volunteerism.
Tell us about a particular student that stands out as an example of the power of community cohesion and empowerment.
Three years ago, my trainee was disappointed from his life due to high unemployment in his community. He could not get a job so he was going to take his own life. But when he went through the five-day youth leadership training, he struggled first, then after trial and error, he became employed by the government. Another youth, was involved in militant activities, but after proper counseling he become de-radicalized through sports activities. He left his militancy and became a sports man that arranges cricket matches and tournaments for the youth in the valley.
 Ismail’s Blog, Twitter, Facebook
Patricia Cogley is manager, Adobe Youth Voices.

What You Can Learn from Testing Multiple Sign-In Areas


Adobe

There’s a lot of trial and error on our team. We’re constantly performing experiments on our products in an effort to land on the magic formula that will delight and compel our customers. In this series, we pull back the curtain on what our data scientists are up to–and extrapolate what that can mean for your business.
The Problem: When a user reads a Slate the only point of entry to creating their own lived at the bottom of the page in the bumper with a button that asked users to “Get Slate.” Under that experience the conversion rate was only .8%. We wanted to see if we could convert more Slate readers into Slate creators by adding an additional call-to-action in a more visible area, without intruding on the content.

The Experiment: We added a subtle top bar on Slates that appears when the user scrolls and prompts the reader to “Create Your Own.” 50% of users got both the top bar and bumper call-to-action, while the other half got the original experience. The test has been running for a couple weeks, and the early results are promising. The test will continue to run to weed out any environmental variables, and to also get feedback from our users.  

The Results: Readers who got both the bottom and top buttons converted (i.e. signed in) at more than twice the rate of readers who did not. In general we saw a lift of 130-175% under the new experience. Adding just this single button in a more discoverable location could result in anywhere from 50-150K more signups in the coming year. Now that we know the top bar performs, next we’ll test different prompts in order to land on the call-to-action that compels the most readers to start creating.
The Takeaway for You: Give your customers or users multiple points of access to perform your desired action whether that’s signing up, sharing your content, or buying your product. “We found different people responded to different things and were able to double our clicks,” says Director of Product Brian Nemhauser. “So don’t be afraid to add a button, especially higher up in your story where more readers will find it.”
 

Joke Productions Cuts New Series with Adobe Premiere Pro CC


Adobe
Joke Productions, founded by the husband and wife team of Biagio Messina and Joke Fincioen, creates and executive produces unscripted TV shows, documentary series, and reality television for major networks. Like many people in this industry, they started working in a one bedroom apartment. Today, they operate a 7,000 square foot studio located in Hollywood, California near Universal Studios.
After working with Final Cut Pro 7 for years, the company switched to Adobe Premiere Pro CC to edit its new Oxygen series, Snapped: She Made Me Do It. Joke Productions workflow is now 100% Adobe Creative Cloud and the team has declared Premiere Pro CC “reality ready.”

Adobe: Tell us about Snapped: She Made Me Do It.
Messina: Snapped: She Made Me Do It is our latest crime re-creation series airing on Oxygen. Joke had the idea for the show early one morning while driving to LAX. We immediately cut a sizzle tape that described the show: crimes committed by people who fell into a female mastermind’s web.
Fincioen: A few days later we were on our way to Real Screen, a large unscripted TV convention, where we pitched the show to the female networks and crime networks. There was a lot of interest and our agents ultimately agreed to make the deal with Oxygen. The process from that point took two-and-a-half years, but resulted in the series premiering on Oxygen on September 9, 2015.

Adobe: What is your editing background?
Messina: I’ve been editing for nearly 20 years, and I’m the lead and sometimes only editor on all of our TV pilots and pitch tapes. I also do everything from lead editing to polishing on our TV series.
Fincioen: I’ve always edited from a story producer perspective, doing string outs and using editing timelines as more of a workbench. When we got our first gig as showrunners we had to use Avid, but after the show got picked up we convinced the network to let us use Final Cut Pro. That’s how we started building our careers.
Adobe: How did you start working with Adobe software?
Messina: We’ve always experimented with software to make shows look like they are bigger budget productions than they really are. Early on, we realized that we could make our shows look much better by combining Final Cut Pro with Adobe After Effects to composite titles and graphics.

Adobe: Why did you start looking for a new NLE?
Messina: Networks trusted us to make our own TV shows and we were doing really well, but then Final Cut Pro X was released and it wasn’t what we were expecting.
Fincioen: In an industry that is already running based on a certain way to edit and organize projects, it isn’t feasible to make everyone change how they think, which is what Final Cut Pro X required. So we kept working with Final Cut Pro 7, with operating systems that were several versions behind. We knew our options going forward were Avid or Premiere Pro.
Adobe: Why did you end up switching to Premiere Pro?
Messina: Adobe told us that Premiere Pro could already do most of what we needed to support the intense work that we do. In addition to learning how we worked, Adobe implemented some of our suggestions, such as the “export selected to project” command, in the software.

Adobe: What do you like about working with Adobe?
Messina: Adobe cares about getting things right for the pro market. It’s clear that people who work at Adobe want to make a product they are proud to put out in the world. We started cutting all of our pilots and presentations on Premiere Pro. What I could do in half a day in Premiere Pro and After Effects would have taken twice as long on any other platform. I would fly through sizzle reels, pitch tapes, and cold opens for pilots.
Fincioen: After more than a year, we used it to cut a two hour special. It involved a few editors, a handful of people in post, and some compositing. After that success, we rolled into Snapped: She Made Me Do It for Oxygen and decided to go for it with Premiere Pro.
Adobe: Why are unscripted projects challenging from a production and post-production standpoint?
Messina: Unscripted projects are among the most demanding types of projects for most editing systems. We often work with thousands of hours of footage, up to 20 or more cameras, loads of graphics, heavy visual effects for our reenactment shows, and up to 50 audio tracks. We also have 20 or 30 people, including editors and story producers, connected to the content. With Premiere Pro, we can be more creative because it works the way we need it to work instead of forcing us into a pipeline.
Fincioen: Cutting an average scripted TV show is definitely less taxing on an editing program. We have heavy, complicated timelines so it was important to find a post solution and workflow that was right for us, based on the kind of TV shows we make.

Adobe: What other Adobe Creative Cloud apps do you use?
Messina: Several of our editors know After Effects and have a good time creating anything from muzzle flashes for guns to dramatic time-lapse skies and subtle lighting effects. They have the luxury to try new things and the show looks vastly better for it. The integration between Premiere Pro and After Effects is amazing.
We also use Adobe Prelude CC every day for ingesting footage. Every single piece of footage for Snapped: She Made Me Do It came in through Prelude. We’ve colored one pilot with Adobe SpeedGrade CC and we use Adobe Audition CC for some audio editing, including our podcasts.
Adobe: What did you learn working with Premiere Pro on the series?
Fincioen: We learned that Premiere Pro is officially reality ready. We’d now be happy to do any reality show or documentary series using Premiere Pro. Our investment in Adobe Creative Cloud has paid off in terms of both time and money.
Messina: The series had a ton of graphics, photo-real visual effects, multiple cameras, lots of editors and story producers, and crazy fast turnaround times. Building multicams is something of a joy in Premiere Pro. It’s very easy to swap in other camera angles after the fact if you missed one. The handoff process was also smoother than previous shows. If you like to go to town editing, building graphics, and doing your own sound mixing and color correcting, Premiere Pro is for you. We’ve tried to make Adobe Creative Cloud our base for everything, because the better we get to know it the more we get out of it.
Learn more about Adobe Creative Cloud
Joke Productions actively reaches out to creatives who are aspiring producers, especially Adobe Creative Cloud users. Creatives can pitch unscripted film and TV projects through the Joke Productions blog and podcast, Producing Unscripted.
Follow Joke and Biagio on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jokeandbiagio

Women in Sales

Adobe
More often than not, when we hear the word sales we tend to associate it with a male-dominated field. Well, we’re breaking that stereotype at Adobe. Our goal is to have a sales team as diverse as our global customer base.
Meet these four women who are making successful sales careers for themselves on a regional and international scale. They share their perspective on Adobe life, what makes them love their line of work, how they’re integrating work with their personal passions, diversity, empowerment and more.

Inspired to join our team? Explore opportunities on our career site today!

Security Bulletins Posted for Adobe Acrobat and Reader

Adobe
Security Bulletins for Adobe Acrobat and Reader (APSB16-02) have been published. These updates address critical vulnerabilities, and Adobe recommends users update their product installations to the latest versions using the instructions referenced in the relevant security bulletin.
This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties and confers no rights.

UX: Defending Your Ideas

Adobe
As a UX designer, you need to present your ideas, a lot. Whether it’s your own team, your boss, or your client, sharing your work should demonstrate that you know your craft, that you’ve done your homework and that you’re a good listener. Building trust as often and as early as possible will make the rest of the project run much smoother and even help to mitigate the occasional irrational, flip-flopping, revision hungry, bad-idea-factory of a client.
TL;DR: In the end, clients are much more likely to agree with your conclusions if they trust you. As a UX designer you can build that trust quickly by properly framing up your presentations, backing up what you’re saying, and asking for specific feedback.
Framing the Question
When we say we’re presenting our ideas to clients, the unspoken part is that we’re trying to sell them. Clients have paid us for our ideas and our execution, so presentations where we show them what they’ve paid for are definitely part of the sales process. Charles Kettering is often attributed the saying “A problem well stated is a problem half-solved.” One of the most important parts of a presentation is making sure everyone understands what problem or goal you were aiming at.
Your questions should be concise, focused and demonstrate your understanding and expertise. Here are some examples of basic questions that could be answered in an opening:

What did the client ask for?
Who are we making this for?
Why do users want it?
How are users accomplishing this now?
What benefits will the business get by making/providing this?

This is your opportunity to show you understand your clients goals very clearly, and that’s a great foundation to build trust on.
Research
I once worked with a CEO that said “Statistics are like torture. You just keep hitting them with it until they see it your way.” While he was probably right, research does play a critical part in our work.
Did you do a basic competitive analysis? Did you research some best practices? Conduct any labs, surveys or even just hallway usability? It’s great if you did, so make sure you communicate it. It’s hard to make the best “User Experience” without actually talking to some users, so make sure you share what informed your decisions.
Rationale
Speaking of decisions, as a designer you had to make several to produce your work. As an expert, it can be easy to overlook the knowledge you have as obvious when it’s nothing but. Why’d you do it that way? Why is it that colour? How come the navigation is on the left instead of the right?
Rather than describing the UI they can already see, use the rationale as the basis for your walkthrough. “We know that search is the primary method for our users to engage with us so you can see how we’ve treated it,” rather than “We put the search bar at the top and in the middle so it’s prominent.”
Design at its core is intention. The more clients know why something was done, the more they can judge it beyond first impressions and personal opinions.
Wrapping it up
What you should never, ever, EVER ask is if they like it. If you catch yourself asking this question, politely excuse yourself for a moment, step out of the room, taser or waterboard yourself and then come back and start again. The problem with “Do you like it?” is that if they say “yes” then it seems like you got lucky and if they say “no” then you’re absolutely screwed. Why don’t they like it? Is it too blue? Well you’re probably not going to convince them that they like blue, so I guess it’s back to the drawing board.
Instead, as you finish up the presentation, bring it full circle and touch on the key points you mentioned when you defined the problem. These are the criteria that your work needs to be judged by. If we all agreed to the premise at the beginning, then the question should be “Do you agree that we’ve met the goals/solved the problems we set out with this work?” If they agree to that, then even if there are items they still don’t “like”, you’re on a much better footing to have the discussion.
Final Pro Tip
Since we’ve agreed that presentations are a form of sales, it’s also important to remember that your presentation should be interesting. What you don’t want is to knock out all but the most heavily caffeinated with KPIs, statistics and long drawn out explantations. This is your work and you should be proud of it. Share that pride. Get them excited. I know it can be tough and sometimes the subject matter is a bit dry, but you don’t have to make it worse by boring everyone. Keep it snappy. Throw in a joke if you’re funny. (Note: ask someone you aren’t related or married to if you are in fact funny before trying this.) When people are interested, when they feel confident that you know your craft and you know their challenges, your ideas will practically sell themselves.

Matching Image and Canvas Size in Photoshop

Adobe
To make a document the same size as another open document, while in the Image Size and Canvas Size dialog boxes, select the other open document from the bottom of the Window menu and Photoshop will automatically fill in the values.

Onboarding and Designing Login/Registration Pages


Adobe
Logging into websites is a commonplace daily activity. To help users, simplify form layouts and logins. You want users to sign up for your app or service, so remove any unnecessary friction points and potential onboarding roadblocks. Asking for a name and email or email and password are the simplest ways to start the onboarding process.
Once the user is onboarding, you can prompt the user to provide additional information as part of the customization process and create credentials like a password or email preferences. Use a confirmation email sparingly as many users will forget to acknowledge the confirmation request. Remind users on subsequent logins to add more information and/or confirm their email.
Login vs Registration
Clearly differentiate the login and registration screens. Even experienced users can confuse “sign up” and “sign in” buttons on the Evernote landing page. I know that I have found myself creating another account on occasion when I intended to login via the registration form. An unintended consequences of the ‘sign up/sign in‘ confusion was that I had created three different accounts with three different emails with three different passwords.

To prevent confusion and unwanted account creation, keep login and registration forms on separate pages. From a design perspective, the forms will look similar as login and registration screen have been simplified to email and password fields.
The combination of both forms on the axureShare page illustrates how simplification leads to duplicated layouts that have little visual differentiation, especially when the same form labels are used.
Email Address vs Username
One of the most unique pieces of information users that have is their email address. Don’t make users create unique usernames when registering for services or access. Generally, users have two email addresses – one for work and one for personal use. Once users have logged in, you can allow them to customize their profile and create a welcome message. Customization should allow users to change their email address or add a secondary email address to access their account.
Consider allowing users to login using their phone number for your site or app. Logging in with a unique (mobile) phone* number is quick and easy for user to remember and type in.  Stripe checkout integrates a phone number (and animation) to part of their “remember me” option.
*Phone login is different than the two-step verification used by many services which text a pin code to the user in order to complete a secure login.

Show Progress
A progress bar gives users a feedback loop that helps users accomplish set goals. Provide the user with context so the user can see how much needs to be done and has been done in a multi-step onboarding process. Be transparent in the number of steps the user needs to complete at the start of the progress and their progress through the onboarding. Progress bars are an essential part of progressive disclosure, breaking up the complex tasks of onboarding into smaller, simplified tasks and presentation.

Progress bars also provide users feedback and establish where they are in the onboarding information space.
LinkedIn’s profile strength meter is an example of a profile completion bar that motivates users to complete their profiles or provide additional information.

Animation
Use animation to communicate how to fill in the form correctly by highlighting form elements and directing users. Create a flow and engage users to the call to action through animation.
The Readme.io owl points to each registration field and, on the login page, the owl covers its eyes as you type in your password. The animation adds an engaging twist to filling in a standard web form. Similarly, Shopify uses label animation to show to prompt the user to the next step in the form.

 
Third-Party Login
Not every user will opt to connect to your service with their Facebook, LinkedIn or social media credentials, but offering this option gives users a simple way to login and manage their login details. It is an option that allows users to onboard quickly and efficiently without having to remember an additional set of login information.

Show Passwords
Keeping the password field masked can create typing and input errors. Give users the option to see their password as they type.  This is especially important for mobile users as most typing today is done with the thumbs and having to wrestle with auto-correct on mobile devices makes typing and input more difficult.

Make creating a password a simple process. Remove double entry of emails and passwords.
"Your password must contain at least 8 letters, a capital, a plot, a protagonist with good character development, a twist & a happy ending."
— Nic van 't Schip (@NicvantSchip) October 13, 2014

Over 82% of people have forgotten a password used on a site. This stat will only increase as the number of websites, social media sites and apps that people use on a daily basis increases. Provide users with an easy method to retrieve their password and not have them answer a series of non-sequitur questions.
Warn If Caps Lock Is On
Before users start entering in passwords, warn them if the Caps Lock button is on. Providing a textual or visual warning will help avoid multiple input errors, user frustration and potential account lockouts.  Most browsers incorporate a cap locks warning. Make the Caps Lock warning message easy to see and read. Small text or icons may go unnoticed as users are focused on typing their passwords and they can develop “tunnel vision” while trying to complete the task.

Avoid Anti-Patterns
There are patterns and there are anti-patterns. Patterns guide users to beneficial success. Anti-patterns appear to guide or help users but lead to unwanted results or consequences, for example:

Removing inputs/information, especially passwords when submitting with errors.
Allowing for users to begin the registration onboarding even if they already have an account.
Having labels or visual (form) elements that are not clickable, but look clickable.
Limiting character inputs on form or text fields without warning the user or providing a character counter.

Remove CAPTCHA
Remove CAPTCHA and improve conversion. CAPTCHA is a frustration-wrought barrier for users. On average, over 38% of users fail on the first attempt and 15% of registrations end in total failure where users simply give up after their fifth attempt.

REDDIT removed CAPTCHA from their registration page and saw an 8% increase in registrations. If CAPTCHA is necessary to minimize spam or for other security reasons, opt for reCaptcha, the “I am not a robot” version that asks users to identify a set of images.

Conclusion
Onboarding needs to be frictionless and simple to maximize conversions. Sign up forms should be designed for (mobile) devices first as users no longer sit in front of their desktops. To help users with difficult tasks and to prevent them from feeling overwhelmed, present information through progressive disclosure. Use animation to bring attention to important elements, information and calls to action. CAPTCHA and email verification are difficult to accomplish on devices and are barriers to conversion.

Watch: Jason Levine leads an Adobe Audition Masterclass


Adobe
Happy new year!  It’s already well into 2016, and I’m halfway through my 5th David Bowie record of the mo(u)rning.  Only a dozen or so to go.  I know y’all could use some cheering up, so I’m really happy I get to share this video with you.  Almost a year ago, Jason Levine hosted several 90-minute classes on Audition for broadcasters at the BVE event in London, and with thanks to Matt Gyves, we were able to record one of those sessions.  I’ve finally gotten around to editing and posting the session on YouTube, so if you’re looking for a bit of training by one of the best in the business – and if you only know Jason as the extremely enthusiastic Adobe guy on stage, you’ll love this more subdued and embraceable Jason in educator mode – please set aside some time to learn and laugh as he covers everything from Premiere-Audition roundtrip, repairing distortion or “hot” recordings, mixing for surround, and more!
The whole enchilada can be viewed at http://adobe.ly/1mRf9DK

Some highlights:

Repairing distortion in dialog recordings
Sending a sequence from Premiere to Audition (Note: Shortly after this video was shot, we release Dynamic Link Video between Premiere and Audition, removing the need to render a reference video!)
Batch Volume Normalization (Note: “Match Volume” panel has been replaced with “Match Loudness” panel with additional Loudness formats and additional parameters)
Creating scripted Favorites
Remixing for surround
Remixing for surround using Frequency Band Splitter
Restoration in the Spectral Frequency editor

A Glimpse Beneath the Mask


Adobe
Designers Paul Douard and Victor Vergana brought their distinct illustration styles together in a series inspired by voodoo and dark magic of the past. In Elemental Masks, they played with the disguising nature of masks to give earth’s primary forces a physical form. And the results were stunning.

It’s fun to visualize the celestial being behind the Arcanic Mask, glowing wisps trailing from a vaguely feminine face; or to picture what could have withstood the Metal Mask’s weight. Are wearing these faces a high privilege or a burden? Each mask is distinctly impressive, but the fan favorite may have been the time-weathered Vegetal Mask. We recently had a chance to chat with Paul about how he did it.
Can you tell us about your background as a designer?
I’ve been working as a product and graphic designer for a promotional product agency for three years, and I use Adobe Illustrator for product design and to create technical documents. Lately I’ve been trying out those very same tools and techniques for my freelance design. And now that’s what I really love doing.
What was the inspiration for this particular mask?
I wanted to create a piece that fell somewhere in between wood and vegetation, showing the strength of nature through the wood’s rough texture.

I looked at photos of wrinkled old men to help create realistic age indentations in the wood. I was also inspired by light, like the way rising sun falls on treetops in a forest. So I spent a ton of time on the glow that’s radiating from inside the wood. It symbolizes power and eternity.

Did you run into any challenges during your design process? How did you resolve them?
I started the Vegetal Mask after completing the Arcanic and Ice Masks, so I had picked up new methods while working on the first two. For example, when I first started working on the Vegetal Mask’s beard, I was tracing every shape with Illustrator’s Pen tool. Eventually I realized I could use the Brush tool and Eraser to work faster while producing this irregular and raw effect that I loved. By the end of the series, I had definitely learned to create light and shadow more efficiently.

How much time do you usually spend on a piece like this? What’s your favorite part of the process?
It depends on the project and the complexity of the illustration. But either way I’ll keep working until I am satisfied. I spent almost 100 hours on the vegetal mask alone from the first sketches in Adobe Photoshop to the full colorized illustration in Illustrator. I like spending time perfecting each detail in the drawing, but it won’t be final until I’ve traced it in vector.

 
My favorite part of the design process is colorization–especially the light. I think it’s the most important part. It’s the moment when the character takes life. When I give the illustration atmosphere. You can get a sense of that in my Behance tutorial before and after the glowing light has been added. I love the metamorphosis.

Any tips or tricks you can pass along?
 I don’t think I’m in a place to give tips because I’m a still a beginner, and I’ve been working in Illustrator for eight years. To get better, you’ve just got to be curious, patient, and experiment a ton within the app.  I also recommend using a “pen on screen” table. I use the Wacom Cintiq13HD daily.
Try new techniques, even when you think you’ve mastered a process. Behance is a good place to learn from the best creatives and get your daily dose of inspiration.