Moving Stories: How Artists Grab Our Attention with Short Films


Creative Cloud

You’ve got a few minutes, or maybe just a few seconds, to catch the attention of the viewer with a good story. How do you do it? If you’re a short filmmaker, it’s all about getting to the emotion of the moment, and making an impression that sticks. To find out more about the process, we talked to film director, Günther Gheeraert and cinematographer and founder of RubberBall Productions, Mark Andersen.

Filming for emotion.

Günther’s short videos focus on feelings, poetry, and sensitivity. “My obsession is to show the beauty and the things that make people unique.” It’s this depth of feeling that helps him grab viewers. “A short film must absolutely capture the viewer’s attention from the beginning to the end,” Günther says. “For me it’s especially important to convey an emotion. When viewers are hit in the gut, it seems to work.”

Günther draws his stories from the people around him. “Human beings are an inexhaustible source of inspiration. I love to start with a small interaction between my characters and to open the field of view to show a wider story.”

Of course, making a compelling short film is a different challenge from producing a feature-length one, but Günther says the strategies are similar. “I think it’s exactly the same mechanisms of storytelling. The only thing is that in a short film, you have to go directly to the essentials because you won’t have time to develop your characters and their storylines.”

Building a story from stock — for the first time.

Although he’d never used stock video in his work before, Günther was up for the challenge. For our Take 10 Challenge on imagination, we asked him to create a unique short video using only stock assets and an audio track by Butterscotch.

When he first dove into the stock collection to find the right pieces, Günther set out a few criteria: “I tried to find assets which could work with a variety of ideas; very simple, gorgeous shots that were different from each other and in 4K for maximum possibilities.”

From there, he turned 10 stock videos and a soundtrack by Butterscotch into a meditation on the abstract process of creation. “The video was created little by little with experimentation, and it was pleasant because it was very, very different from my usual process.” You can check out Günther’s Take 10 video here:

What’s mine is also yours.

Mark, a cinematographer in his own right, also makes short stock videos like the ones Günther used for his Take 10 challenge. Shooting stock, Mark says, means developing your own stories, but thinking about how else they can be used. “You’re telling the story as a filmmaker, but you’re also trying to support other people and help them tell their stories.”

For most shoots, Mark and his team start out with a concept and work to build a narrative into every clip. For example, the team recently filmed teenage girls out on the town shopping and eating. “We didn’t just want to show them walking out of the store with bags. Instead, one of the girls opens her bag and when the other looks inside, you can see she’s excited about the contents. There’s a little bit of emotion there. It’s a story, even though it’s a very simple story,” says Mark.

When it comes to stock, Mark says those moments of emotion have to be especially quick: “They need to happen in a second or two because editors don’t want to use too much of their precious screen time. They may want to montage your piece with other things. Some of our stories take 12 or 15 seconds, but you hope that if someone takes two seconds out of the middle it will still resonate and have meaning,” he says.

“What I love is creating authentic moments that feel real and capture life the way you expect to see it, but a little more beautiful. It’s about getting the idealistic and the real at the same time — it’s a tricky blend.”

More stories about storytelling.

If you’re interested in finding your own way to tell digital stories, check out tips from Adobe experts and read about how artists tell stories with still images. See more images and videos that tell stories on Adobe Stock.

Header image by One Inch Punch.

Chatbots for Change: Connecting Vulnerable People to Services


Creative Cloud

Michael-Owen Liston is a designer with a diverse background, having worked as a musician and in social services prior to his career in interaction design and UX. As a designer, he has worked with companies like Nurun, Normative, Bibliocommons and Usability Matters. While completing his masters of interaction design at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, Liston became interested in the potential of using chatbots to help people who are underserved.

The Potential for Chatbot Technology to Play a Role in Civic Life

“It started with my fascination with chatbot technology. I was really curious about the medium and how I could reapply it to have a role in civic life. I figured I could use the platform of automated messaging to connect people in need to services that could help,” said Liston.

What if you could text the city a question?

Liston was surprised to learn about the challenges that Greenlandic people face in Denmark. Greenland is a former Danish colony, and Greenlanders automatically get Danish citizenship. However, Greenland is completely different society and culture to Denmark which means that when people make the move to Denmark, they can find themselves in over their heads. For example, Greenland has very few paved roads, so navigating an urban environment can be a new experience.

Part of the challenge that some Greenlanders face is that they do not necessarily know about the possible supports that are available to them. Coming from somewhere where they never needed homeless services or community lawyers, the concept of these supports is new.

“How can you even try to search for something when you don’t know that it exists? I started to explore the question of ‘what if you could communicate a basic need to a chat service and get directed to a place where you could get support, without having to navigate an entangled bureaucracy?’” said Liston.

Prototyping service materials and information in Greenlandic.

For many Greenlandic people, pride and face are really important, which means there can be an added barrier of stigma in asking for help. This meant that the automated aspect of a service that could assist was important, as it provided a layer of anonymity. Liston chose to prototype an SMS based service that would connect people to formal, governmental services, as well as to the knowledge and experience of people within the community.

Facing Design Constraints and Challenges

“One of the biggest challenges was language – Greenlanders have three major language groups, and there was no guarantee that people engaging with the service would be fluent in the language chosen. It’s also a language built on compound words, which meant there could be a lot of interpretation of the chatbot answers. For example, figuring out the most appropriate way to describe that the service was a ‘robot’ was really challenging!” said Liston.

While SMS is a very accessible platform choice, the technology choice also created some constraints. Working with the complexities of the Greenlandic language and text message character limits proved challenging. “One English word could transform into 15 or 20 characters, which meant instead of sending one text message it became two, and there was no way of guaranteeing they would arrive in the correct order,” said Liston.

All of this meant that Liston had to rely a lot on the participation and kindness of people he met during the design process – staff and members at the Greenlandic House, an organization serving Greenlandic people in Copenhagen. These co-participants in the process helped with research, testing, and translation, among other things.

“Initially when I was doing research, I would tell people that I’m looking at the potential of using a chatbot to connect people to services. I quickly realized that this was a pretty new concept for people and it was challenging to grasp. When I actually had prototypes to test with people, lots of questions emerged, such as ‘Where do these answers come from? How do we know they are going to be right? Is there a person talking to me?’”

TikilluaritSMS Participant Responses from CIID IDP on Vimeo.

These questions informed the experience of the service. Liston wanted to design something that had the right tone. He wanted to create something that was conversational and empathetic, rather than something officious.

“My goal was not to create a bot that could have complex conversations or be a ‘friend’, but instead to push people to a face-to-face interaction, for example at the Greenlandic House, as soon as possible. When I tested the prototype with people, I was surprised at the emotional response people had. In particular, having a service that was in Greenlandic made people feel good.”

Mapping the automated message flows in the TikilluaritSMS app.

The success of the project and service prototype continued beyond Liston’s master’s project. Liston used the work on TikilluaritSMS project to apply to the IxDA student design challenge and was accepted as a finalist. He won second place in the competition and started to think about how to evolve the work he had been doing in other contexts.

IxDA Student Design Challenge 2016 Submission Video: SMS Chatbots for Civic Engagement from Michael-Owen Liston on Vimeo.

From Greenlanders in Denmark to Syrians in Canada

After the design challenge, Liston returned to Canada and worked on projects initiated by the Government of Canada, looking at innovative solutions to meet the needs of Syrian newcomers to Canada. He worked with a project partner from Ulula, Manu Kabahizi. This work led to a project that went into production – a text notification system for family class visa applicants.

“For people who are sponsoring a family member to come to Canada, once they send off their paperwork, the overriding concern is whether that package made it. Questions about this make up 30% of the visa call center volume. The notification service that went into production alleviates this pain point.”

The work that Liston did on TikilluaritSMS set the stage for envisioning the potential of text, chat and voice technology to support those in need. For Liston, one of the key roles UX and design can play is in envisioning what the experience might feel like.

Prototyping text messaging services for Syrian newcomers.

“As a designer, it’s not just about mapping out requirements, it’s about telling the story, visualizing it and making it real. My projects play a role in capturing people’s imagination for what these sorts of services could do. This allowed us to communicate the value of services like the family class visa notification service, which seems simple, but in fact, glues together a longer application process.”

Liston would like to thank all of those who supported his work. He encourages designers to get involved in similar projects that can always use financial support or volunteers. You can explore this topic further on Liston’s web page about messaging services for newcomers.

One Student At Time With InDesign Publish Online


Creative Cloud

There are almost 3 million Syrian refugees currently in Turkey, creating one of the most heart-wrenching humanitarian crises in the Middle East. Local organizations like Eğitim Reformu Girişimi (Education Reform Initiative, or ERG), established in 2003, are effecting real change by improving primary education for Syrian refugees.

ERG is a non-profit that provides research, training, and advocacy to improve education for children in Turkey, and their ability to share their unique insights with teachers, policymakers, and the community is crucial to their mission. This year, ERG needed to publish a study to illuminate the educational challenges school-age Syrian refugees in Turkey are facing and outline the subsequent policy recommendations.

In creating this report, ERG faced a three-pronged challenge: present lots of data, detail policy recommendations, and keep their audience engaged. They were challenged to find the most effective way to convey this heft of information in an easily consumable way, but the success of their mission depended on it.

Solving for those three challenges led ERG to use InDesign’s Publish Online feature. They ultimately created an interactive online booklet called “Community Building Through Inclusive Education” in partnership with their Istanbul-based design firm, Myra. The report, published in Turkish and English, outlined the scope and complexity of the challenges that refugees and their host communities face, and provided deep insights on policy recommendations to improve the educational prospects of school-age Syrian children.

Publish Online enabled ERG to powerfully convey their story through interactive charts, timelines, maps, and multimedia content. It solved the challenge of conveying lots of data in an engaging and memorable way.

But ERG then faced another obstacle: finding a scalable and cost-effective way to widely distribute their reports. Publish Online was also up for that challenge. Publish Online created a shareable, public URL for their booklet that allowed ERG to publish the link for their new content in e-bulletins, email blasts, social media, and, of course, on ERG’s website. With a few simple steps, audiences everywhere had single-click access to the report from their mobile or desktop browser.

“We decided to use Publish Online because it is easy for our readers to reach; it’s interactive, and very user-friendly,” said ERG Head of Communications Özge Karakaya of her decision to use Publish Online. “It helped us present our data visually and in a more holistic and interesting way, supplemented by infographics, animations, photos and videos. Moreover, it enabled us to track the interest in our publications and analyze our impact.”

Ms. Karakaya estimates that publishing this report online helped ERG double the reach of their typical reports printed and distributed via PDF. At the same time their audience grew, their costs were cut in half.

The report also created a tangible and unanticipated engagement factor: ERG got numerous requests to organize events around subjects mentioned in the report as well as invitations to a number of important partnerships from other organizations engaged in education issues. Publish Online helped increase the general interest in ERG’s activities and brought it more visibility.

Publish Online provides a perfect publishing solution for groups and organizations around the world struggling to present complex information. To see other examples of how Publish Online is being used, check out this gallery of Publish Online projects. You can learn more about how to use Publish Online by viewing the tutorial at Lynda.com, “InDesign: Publish Online,” or visiting the Adobe Help pages.

ERG’s Community Building Through Inclusive Education Online Booklet:
https://bit.ly/ERGCommunity

Learn more about the Eğitim Reformu Girişimi (Education Reform Initiative):
http://en.egitimreformugirisimi.org

Check out Diane’s session at Adobe MAX:
“InDesign WOW! Publish Online and Animations”

Bringing Brand Events to Life: 5 Social Media Tips for Your Small Business


Creative Cloud

When you’re a small business targeting a local audience, events play a crucial role in how your brand and the public interact with each other. These public experiences can give businesses a chance to meet other industry players, customers, and potential customers.

However, if you’re a small business with limited resources, reaching your audience and creating the marketing collateral, like invitations, social media graphics, flyers, and signage can be difficult. That’s where a good social media strategy and access to helpful tools can make all the difference. One of those tools is Adobe Spark with premium features — a powerful application used to create impactful social graphics, web stories, and animated videos — included in a Adobe Creative Cloud for teams membership and offered as a standalone application. With it, and our next level social tips, small businesses can create beautiful graphics to start leveraging brand events online.

1. Make Your Event Invite POP

Amy Copperman, Editorial Content Lead and Community Manager for Adobe Spark says, “An event invitation can sometimes be the first interaction a customer has with your brand, so it’s important to make an impression that entices and stays true to your company and your event. It should look and feel like your brand.”

Elements like your logo, brand colors, and fonts are important for carrying over this brand identity to your event and social media promotion. And a tool like Adobe Spark with premium features can take your brand elements and auto-generate on-brand templates, relieving some of the design heavy-lifting and freeing you up to focus on communicating your message, conveying the mood of your event, and letting your creativity shine.

Be creative with how you approach your invitation. Maybe you want to create an eye catching flyer for social media or send your guest list a personal video invitation with images or video clips from a previous party. As you develop your design, remember:

  • More images, less text. On social media, images connect with audiences more than static text. Wisely choose the text you decide to overlay on your graphics. Focus on the crucial details of your event: the what, when, and most importantly, the where. You can always supplement information with a caption to provide more event details.
  • Consider design hierarchy. Use design principles such as the rule of thirds and typography to bolster your designs and solidify hierarchy. Share your project with coworkers and other designers to make sure your information is coming across clearly.
  • Move to the next level with video. The almost one-on-one connection you can attract with video is unique to the medium. It’s very difficult to replicate that connection through static words or graphics. Video makes your event come to life and build buzz as the big day approaches. Learn how to get started creating your videos here.
  • Be authentic. No matter how you choose to advertise your event, think about authenticity as a crutch to reaching your audience. Genuine interaction, be it through text, graphics, or video is key to getting your audience excited for your event and creating an emotional connection. There is a lot of noise on social media — authentic posts and videos will stand out.

For inspiration, start with a few of these templates from Spark Post:

Concert Series

Save the Date

Workshop

Open Mic Series

2. Think About Distribution

Once your event invitations are perfected, you need to think about distribution. Would your audience appreciate a physical invitation, an ecard, or perhaps even a personal video message? Are you inviting a select few or blasting your social feeds? Is your intended audience more the Twitter or the Instagram crowd? All of these questions are factors to consider when determining how to reach your audience — and you may use a combination of distribution methods.

Whether it’s an Eventbrite invitation, a Facebook event, or a newsletter list, make sure you have the right size of graphic. Different platforms have different size restraints, and graphics appear differently on different viewing devices. Use a tool like Spark Post to easily resize your invitation graphics.

If your event is public, you also need to post reminders. Consider making a countdown to build buzz and keep it top of mind for guests.

3. Make Sure Your Event Is Social Media Friendly

When you throw an event, you’re investing in showing attendees a good or meaningful time. If you’re pulling it off, they’ll be inclined to pull out their phones and share the event with their followers. Make sure your brand is coming along for the ride. Showcase your social media handles or designate a hashtag for the event.

“You’ve got to make it fun and easy for attendees to talk about you on social media. Seriously, put your social handles or hashtags on signs and branded SWAG. Serve up Instagrammable moments. It will delight your attendees and you’ll see more ROI,” Copperman says.

4. During the Event — Share, Share, Share

You’re the best source for making sure an event supports your brand message. Designate a photographer to capture candids, share snapshots on your own branded social channels, and connect with attendees online to bring your event full circle and build your community.

“Whenever I organize live events for Adobe Spark, I make sure to designate a couple people to help me snap photos and share in real time or shortly after. It gives a personal face to our brand,” Copperman says. “I also keep an eye on our social channels to monitor what guests are saying about the brand and look for opportunities to connect with them, thank them for coming, or share their photos. It reminds our followers that there are real people on the other side of the newsfeed.”

5. Don’t Forget the Follow-Up

The follow-up is maybe the most important part of making sure all of your designs and social media efforts turn into business results. It’s the opportunity to convert attendees into customers, get them to take a desired action, or simply thank them for attending and leave them with positive feelings.

“Everyone loves to relive a good time with photos and video. Even a simple graphic thanking guests can go a long way in continuing the conversation after the event,” Copperman says.

Try creating a beautiful photo story with Spark Page or Spark Video. Simply add your photos or videos to a project and Adobe Spark will make it look pro with automatic responsive design and beautiful animation.

Ready to begin creating engaging visuals and video for your event? Visit Adobe Spark to learn more, and access premium features with a Creative Cloud for teams membership.

Elevate your Social Activity at MAX with Adobe Spark


Creative Cloud

Get ready to MAX out your social feed with some sample templates from the Adobe Spark team.  Adobe Spark Post is the fastest way to create stunning graphics for your social feed. Install the iOS app or log in on web before MAX so you’ll be ready to share your favorite MAX memories in a beautiful graphic in just a few clicks. Want to test out thr sample template above? Just hit remix and give it your own spin.

 

 

How To Break Into UX Design: A 10 Step Guide To Landing Your First Job In UX


Creative Cloud

‘UX Designer’ is quickly becoming one of the most popular career choices in the design industry. Executives are realizing that creating a positive user experience for their company’s product or service is crucial to their bottom line. The demand for designers of all levels is high, and hiring UX designers is a top priority for many companies right now.

Despite high demand in the industry, it’s often difficult to get an entry-level UX position when you don’t have the relevant past experience. ‘How do I get started in UX?’ is a fairly common question for those who want to move into the field. There’s no prescribed path for getting that all-important first job in UX design, so we’ve created a 10 step actionable guide to help you get started.

1. Understand UX Design’s Many Fields

Since the field of UX design is so broad (and still growing), you need to decide what parts of user experience you want to focus on. What type of designer do you want to be? Do you want to be an interaction designer, UI designer, motion designer, or product designer? Or maybe you want to focus on both design and research? It’s important to understand the difference between disciplines, so as a first step, I suggest exploring them all and focusing on the ones you enjoy the most.

Tip: Find skills in your previous work experience that you can transfer to the UX field.

2. Get Educated

The first thing you need to do before working in UX design is to learn how to do it properly. The path you choose for education can vary significantly, and it all depends on you and your preferred learning method. There are several popular ways you can learn UX design, like academic learning at a university, applying for a UX training program, self-learning, etc.

A lot of people ask a question “Do I need a university degree in UX to have a career in it?” In my experience, you don’t need a university degree. It’s not just the money required, but also the time required — you’ll spend a few years learning and likely won’t have enough time to work on real projects. A university degree also won’t help you get hired — hiring managers rarely ask about it during interviews.

Applying for a training program is a much better option. A training program can help you learn the theory behind UX practices in a structured manner and this will make the process of learning UX more straightforward. If you live in a major metropolitan area, you can apply for boot camp program, such as General Assembly. If that’s not your case, you can apply for Springboard or Designlab online courses. These courses will help you learn the fundamentals of UX and pair you with mentors for project feedback and critique. At the same time, finishing a boot camp or online course won’t instantly give you all the required UX skills. Only lots of self-learning and practice can do that. Read, watch, and listen to everything you can get your hands on in order to understand how and why UX Designers do what they do.

Tip: Once you have the basics, start learning about trends in the design industry. Technology is constantly evolving, and it’s important to keep current by constantly teaching yourself new tools and techniques. This will help you adapt quickly to any changes and better shape your career path.

3. Find a Mentor

Any great designer will tell you that they didn’t get where they are in their career alone. Most of them have mentors. Mentorship is a great accompaniment to your learning program and can even fast-track your journey to landing your first UX design job. Mentorship doesn’t have to be a formal relationship, it can be simple and informal — a mentor can be your friend with a breadth and depth of experience who can provide insights into how to solve design problems or manage your career (the latter is especially important when you’re at the beginning of your UX career path).

Tip: Be careful not to demand too much of someone’s time. Just like any other person, your mentor will be busy working on his/her own goals. Make it easy for people to help you.

Find a mentor in the UX field — a person who is experienced in UX, and text or call him/her occasionally when you need advice.

4. Master the Right Tools

In terms of software, it’s absolutely crucial that you get yourself a copy of some prototyping software. According to the recent research conducted by Adobe, 42% of hiring managers think that ‘knowledge of UX tools’ is the most important skill they look for in UX designers.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to select a right tool — there is an overwhelming selection of tools available on the market, and often it’s simply unclear what the best option is. The task of choosing a tool can be even harder for someone who just recently has made her/his first step into the field of UX. My advice? I suggest selecting a tool that will help you iterate your design — a design tool should allow you to go from a rough low-fidelity prototype to high-fidelity implementation really fast.

Adobe XD makes it possible to transfer a static mockup into an interactive prototype in just a few clicks.

5. Get Practical Experience

Your next step is to find a way to put some of this new-found knowledge into practice. UX hiring managers want to know how you solve problems, so find a way to apply UX in actual project work. From first glance, it seems like a classic chicken and egg situation: ‘How can I get practical experience if I’m just starting out for the first time?’

In fact, there are a lot of possibilities to apply your knowledge and skills. For example, you can take on small UX projects in your current company, find a local nonprofit and offer to design for free, or even redesign your favorite online service. Once you have an idea for a project, apply what you’ve learned to an assignment and test your knowledge.

6. Create a Portfolio

Once you have practical experience and real projects under your belt, it’s time to create a portfolio. A portfolio is the most important requirement in the UX job application process. It’s one of the best ways to prove that you have the experience and skills to perform well in a design job.

Here are a few things to remember when creating your portfolio:

  • It’s recommended to present each of your projects as a case study. Each case study should explain your UX process, problem-solving, and storytelling abilities.
  • Attempt to showcase all of your work in a visual way. Use sketches, wireframes, and other design artifacts to give weight to the story.
  • Your portfolio should be presented online. Many designers these days use Behance to showcase their portfolio, which means you don’t necessarily have to buy a domain and create a website in order to showcase your work.
  • Look at some ‘best-of’ portfolios to learn what’s expected. Check out our article on portfolios to find examples to strive for.

Getting your portfolio ready can feel like a monumental task, but believe me, it’s worth it. You should think of your portfolio as an investment into your future and this investment will get you the job you love.

Tips:

  • Resist the temptation to include everything you’ve ever designed in your portfolio. A portfolio is a place for your strongest work only.
  • Before submitting your portfolio, ask an experienced UX designer or your mentor to review it.

Having a portfolio is a critical part of getting a UX design job. Image credit: Behance

7. Become a Blogger

The ability to write well about UX design is a huge bonus for any UX designers. Blogging can demonstrate that you’re both knowledgeable and interested in the field. Blogging is especially important if you’re a novice designer since it shows potential employers that you understand different aspects and concepts of UX even if your portfolio has a limited number of projects.

Tip: It’s possible to combine blogging with education. For example, when you read about a concept that you find interesting, write a blog post about it.

8. Get Connected

Establishing a network of contacts is important for any UX professional, but it’s absolutely essential when you’re first starting out. Just like other industries, the best UX jobs aren’t advertised — they come through LinkedIn, Twitter, local events, and referrals.

Here are a few things to remember:

  • Most people try to create a network of contacts when they are actively looking for a new job. But ideally, you should have a professional network in place before you need to take advantage of it.
  • One of the best places to start networking is LinkedIn. Join UX groups and get connected with your peers.
  • Consider getting more involved in the local UX community. Take the first step, go to Meetup.com, and commit to going to at least one or two meetups or talks each month. Introduce yourself to community members and get to know them.

Tip: It’s totally acceptable to tell people you’re trying to get into UX, but take it slow; don’t just show up and start asking for a job. You need relationships with people before they will help.

Experienced UX designers are key to your next job, and the best way to get connected with them is to attend as many UX events as you can. Image credit: palici

9. Apply for Your First Job/Internship

Use your first UX design job or internship as an opportunity to learn and grow. When applying for jobs, look for companies where good design is a top priority for business. These companies tend to attract the best designers and give them enough freedom to do their best work.

When you’re just starting out, you need a workplace where you can:

  • Learn from great UX designers
  • Work on end-to-end projects (design products from initial concept to final product)
  • Work on various parts of the design process
  • Work on a variety of platforms (design for the web, mobile, IoTs, etc.)

10. Be Prepared for Your UX Interview

Once you have your portfolio ready, it’s time to start applying! Applications for designer roles are relatively easy. You submit your CV and a link to your portfolio. In most cases, you’ll be critiqued mainly on your portfolio for the initial screening. If your portfolio looks great, there’s a high chance that you will be invited to an interview.

While every interview will be different, here are some useful questions to have answers ready for:

  • How do you define UX design? Why does it matter?
  • What’s your design process?
  • What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on?
  • Tell me about a project that was difficult. How did you handle the situation?
  • Do you prefer to work alone or with a team?
  • How would you work with engineers/product managers/other designers?
  • What are some apps and websites that you love?
  • Who in the industry do you follow and read?

Hiring managers often seek the following traits in entry-level UX designers:

  • Empathic understanding of the people you’re designing for
  • Passion for the craft
  • Curiosity about technology
  • Ability to learn quickly
  • Willingness to accept constructive criticism and improve your work based on it

If you have most or all of these traits, that’s a good sign.

Finally, here are two important tips for you:

  • Remember that honesty is the best policy. If you lack the experience to answer certain questions, be honest.
  • Always ask for feedback from the companies that have interviewed you. This valuable feedback will help you focus on things that require improvement.

Conclusion

As you can see, becoming a UX design self-starter isn’t a simple thing to do. But no one said that starting a new career would be easy. If you put time into each of these 10 steps, then you’re well on your way to a successful career as a UX designer.

Stock Content Wanted: Body Positive


Creative Cloud

The stock industry is an ever-changing landscape that continues to evolve and change with the times and trends of the season. We’ve seen the shift from stereotypical, staged images to more natural and relatable images. Another need we are seeing in the marketplace is the demand for diversity, both in terms of racial representation and more varied body types.

These images reflect the realistic majority of female body types as opposed to an idealized minority. As a culture, we are moving beyond this traditional perception of women, and as image suppliers to the marketplace, our goal is to ensure that the Adobe Stock collection supports positive body image and celebrates women of all ages, diverse body types, and ethnic backgrounds.We encourage photographers, videographers, and illustrators to depict models of different ethnic backgrounds and body shapes. If you have this content in your archives, submit them to submit them to Adobe Stock today.

We’re looking for naturally posed, beautifully lit images of plus size models in everyday situations – images that celebrate our differences and reflect the real world.

Remember to include a model release when submitting photographs and videos that feature recognizable people. For more information on legal guidelines, visit our HelpX page. Our latest integration with Adobe Sign lets you send and receive model releases directly from the Adobe Stock Contributor Portal.See more images from Adobe Stock that embrace all shapes and sizes.

Banner image by Gregory Lee.

From Accountant to UX Designer: How Yu Siang Turned His Passion into a Design Career


Creative Cloud

There isn’t a standard blueprint for a UX designer; people flock from all sorts of disciplines, tech and non-tech, to work in design’s hottest field. Yu Siang’s journey is a little more unusual than most. The Singapore-based designer was on the fast-track to becoming an accountant. Despite pressure from his family and his peers to stick with a career in financial services, his heart was pulling him in a very different direction. We asked him to share his story of how he went from accounting student to visual designer at the Interaction Design Foundation.

How did you go from accounting to UX design?

I chose to study accounting in university because I wanted job security. Although I had dabbled in graphic design since I was in my teens, I’d never considered it anything but a hobby. Besides, in Singapore and in my family, there was a general sense that an arts or design education wouldn’t provide you with ‘a good future,’ which is a euphemism for ‘a well-paying job.’

Two years into my four-year accounting program, I started feeling that I’d never been satisfied with a career in accounting or auditing. After all, I thought, my career would define a large chunk of my life, and I would never want to spend it doing something I didn’t enjoy. So I started finding opportunities to do design professionally. I managed to get internships, one at Ogilvy as an art director and later in a local startup as UI/UX designer. After a while, I realized that I really enjoyed the processes and multidisciplinary nature of a UX career.

Now I’m a Visual Designer at the Interaction Design Foundation, a Danish non-profit offering online, self-paced UX courses. I do a mix of interaction, UI, and UX design, and I also help create some of the educational materials used in our courses. I feel immensely satisfied knowing that my designs directly impact the lives of tens of thousands of designers around the world, all of whom are learning to get better at doing what they love.

When did you first realize that design your passion?

I’ve always loved beautiful things and creating beautiful things. When I was young I used to recreate the Windows XP desktop UI out of PowerPoint together with my twin brother (who also made the switch from accounting to UX design). Of course, now I know that great design is more than aesthetics, but I think my eye for visuals has definitely helped in my UX career.

It wasn’t until I did my design internships that it clicked in mind that my passion in design could be transformed into an actual, decent-paying career. When I was offered a job at the Interaction Design Foundation one semester before I graduated, it sealed the deal for me. That’s it, I thought, I’m gonna be a UX designer!

What challenges did you face when you made the transition from accounting?

There is a great deal of inertia in Singapore when it comes to pursuing a career that’s not conventionally deemed as a good, secure job. When people think ‘nice career,’ they usually think accountant, engineer, banker, lawyer, and doctor. This is changing now, of course, but not as rapidly as the tech industry has changed in recent years.

My first challenge was facing some resistance from my family. There was one point where my mother had specifically told me that it’s impossible to make a career out of something I love, that I’d grow to hate it and thus destroy whatever I liked about design. It was very disheartening to hear, but I ignored what she said anyway.

Another challenge I faced was the perceived waste of effort and time when I decided to swap my education in accounting for something not even remotely related. I saw this is a sunk cost fallacy, however, so it didn’t affect my resolve to become a UX designer.

Lastly, having transitioned from accounting to UX design, I think the imposter syndrome is much stronger than what most UX designers already feel. To cope with this, it’s useful to read about what other designers have felt (you’ll realize that the imposter syndrome is much more common than you think, which is reassuring), and learn as much as you can from more ‘orthodox’ literature sources like Don Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things.

How have your accounting skills helped you in your current design career?

I think it’s very important for UX designers to have a good sense of the business models they’re working with. After all, UX design is an alignment of business needs with user psychology. In that sense, my accounting training has made it easy to understand how businesses work. I recently calculated the opportunity cost of not conducting A-B tests and presented it to my team, for instance, in order to persuade stakeholders to kick start the testing process.

Design is also not the stereotypical opposite of numbers and mathematics–data and numbers play a significant role in a UX designer’s job. Having an accounting background, I feel, makes me much more at ease with dealing with numbers, and it also means my mind is much better at organizing my designs, files, feedback, etc.

You worked hard to transition in your career. What’s the best part of now being a UX designer?

I love creating beautiful and meaningful things. That’s the part I love about being a UX designer. In my current role, I control not only the user flows but also the interface and interaction design. It gives me so much satisfaction to see a carefully researched and designed mock-up be transformed into an actual, live site.

I also love the multidisciplinary nature of UX design. It’s about aesthetics, data analysis, interview techniques, psychology and biology, and so many other fields. This means there are always new things to learn. It also means there are very little barriers (in terms of formal education prerequisites) to a career in UX.

What’s your advice for anyone out there, in accounting or otherwise, who wants to break into UX design?

Start by doing. Take action, on multiple fronts.

For one, practice doing UX design. Learn that UX is more than just about pretty interfaces (this idea is prevalent in many design showcase sites like Behance). Start conducting interviews, creating wireframes, designing interfaces, etc. Start making mistakes to learn faster.

At the same time, look out for opportunities. When you’re transitioning from another field to UX design, internship or job opportunities can make a big difference. They will tell you if you actually like the job, and if you’re cut out for the job. They will also help you build a network from which you might get new career opportunities.

Lastly, start learning. There are many ways to learn (the best way is to learn by doing), and many platforms that offer courses. This might be a shameless plug, but the Interaction Design Foundation offers around 30 UX design courses from beginner to advanced level.

Other platforms like Udemy and Cooper also offer courses, but their prices tend to be ironically affordable only after you’ve secured a UX design job. You can also learn from good old books. Really, any learning is better than nothing. Just be wary about one thing wherever you choose to learn: When someone tells you that you can be a UX designer in weeks, run, don’t walk, away from them! Becoming a UX designer is a (life)long process. Thankfully, it is a thoroughly rewarding and enjoyable one.

To read more about Yu Siang’s journey from accounting to UX design and to see his work, visit his website here.

InDesign Publish Online Week #IDPubOn


Creative Cloud

InDesign can do more than help you create stunning print layouts. You can also leverage its intuitive tools to publish interactive documents online and track their engagement.

Since InDesign Publish Online was launched two years ago, daily use of the feature has grown exponentially. Today, users access more than 50,000 documents published online through InDesign. This is a testament to the ease and simplicity of using this feature to create and easily share immersive publications directly from InDesign.

With Publish Online, you can transform your print documents into digital experiences that you can share online via URL or generate an embed code for publishing on any website or blog.

After you publish your documents, they are accessible on any device, in any modern web browser, without installing a plug-in. And the best part? You can track how your documents are performing in real time.

None of this functionality requires any technical setup — no servers, no hosting fees, nothing. All of this can be done with a single click.

There’s a lot to be excited about when it comes to Publish Online in InDesign. That’s why this week we’re going to highlight the power of this feature. We’ve partnered up with Lynda.com and Adobe Stock to provide free training and templates. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to get free Lynda.com tutorials, be inspired by great examples from other designers, and learn tips and tricks on using InDesign Publish Online to create interactive web experiences.

Full list of Lynda courses available this week

Please note the the courses will be available for free for 7 days starting on the dates below on Lynda.com.

Tues, Sep 19 – InDesign: Publish Online by Diane Burns
Wed, Sep 20 – InDesign: Creating Animations by Diane Burns
Thurs, Sep 21 – InDesign: Fixed-Layout EPUB Interactive Techniques & Publish Online by Keith Gilbert
Fri, Sep 22InDesign: Interactive Documents by Mike Rankin

Finally, mark your calendar on Tues, Sep 19 at 1pm PT for a Facebook livestream on how to publish your InDesign documents with Adobe Evangelist Terry White.

Don’t forget to share your work or inspiration with us on social media using #IDPubOn.

From THINK to FEEL: The Design transformation of IBM

{$inline_image}
Creative Cloud

“Design is so simple. That’s what makes it so complicated.”

— Paul Rand

In its 105-year history, IBM has created a lot of things. IBM invented the ATM, the barcode, the smartphone, fractal geometry, and laser eye surgery. In fact, IBM has more patents than almost any company in history. The company has won Nobel Prizes, has helped put a man on the moon, and has now embarked on one of the most ambitious experiments in corporate history.

This is the story of how IBM transformed itself from a company designed by engineers into a company engineered by designers by embracing Design Thinking.

Design Thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that was first adapted for use in business by David M. Kelley, who founded IDEO, the legendary design consultancy. It’s iterative, flexible, and focused on collaboration between designers and users. Here, we use five stages of the Design Thinking process to help dive deeper into IBM’s inspiring, thought-provoking story.

STAGE 1: EMPATHIZE

To create meaningful innovations, you have to know your users and care about their lives.

In 2012, IBM faced a crisis. Companies were no longer looking for off-the-shelf software solutions. Businesses needed software that was tailored to the way their employees worked. The kind of software they could use without help from the IT department. Software that worked the same across devices and platforms.

Customers wanted things to be familiar and intuitive. They wanted things easy to learn and understand. They wanted IBM software to look and feel the same across a multitude of products, apps, and services, many of which had been acquired and were never designed to integrate with IBM’s fractured ecosystem.

In fact, what companies and customers both sought wasn’t just better software — it was a better software experience. And that raised a serious challenge. Improving the user experience of your products is not simply a matter of doing the same thing, only better. You must fundamentally change your approach. It isn’t about changing the way you build. It’s about changing the way you think.

IBM identified this necessity of having a customer-centric business model as core to its success and next sought to turn around the steamer ship of its established “that’s-how-it’s-always-been-done” thinking to make things nimbler and more design-centric.

STAGE 2: DEFINE

Framing the right problem is the only way to find the right solution.

So, despite its past successes, IBM had begun to earn a reputation as a forward-thinking, backward-designing company by the early 2000s.

This was quite a shift from its celebrated history of working with some of the greatest designers of the time. Charles and Ray Eames both worked for IBM. Eero Saarinen and Marcel Breuer designed groundbreaking corporate architecture for IBM. Paul Rand designed its logo.

So why the shift? Part of the problem stemmed from the ratio of IBM designers to IBM engineers. As IBM grew in size, it employed more software engineers, eventually employing 33 coders for every one designer.

Having identified this imbalance, and seeking to elevate the role of design in the company, IBM hired more than 1,000 designers between 2012 and 2017 to bring the coder/designer ratio closer to 8:1.

IBM leadership knew it had to do more than just bring in more designers and hope they’d change the culture. In fact, shoehorning talented designers into a process tailored for coders and engineers is an expensive recipe for disaster. So IBM did more than just expand designer ranks — it created a core team that focused on redesigning processes to encourage the customer-centric problem-solving that’s the hallmark of Design Thinking.

STAGE 3: IDEATE

It’s not about coming up with the right idea. It’s about generating the broadest range of possibilities.

Working with design thinking experts at IDEO and Stanford University, this core team created a repeatable set of practices known as IBM Design Thinking:

  1. Focus on outcomes not outputs. At IBM, we’re not measured by the features and functions we ship. We’re measured by how well we fulfill our users’ needs. Whether we’re helping them discover a cure for cancer, collaborate across continents, or just do their expense reports a little faster, our users rely on us to help get their jobs done every day.
  1. Treat everything as a prototype. Human needs fundamentally don’t change. The ways we address them do. Solve old problems in new ways.
  1. Move faster by empowering diverse teams to act. To ensure our teams’ ability to generate better ideas and deliver real-world outcomes for users, we consider two important team factors: diversity and empowerment.

Once IBM had created these principles, the next task was to communicate them to the entire company in a meaningful way. Not just by telling employees, but by actively and thoughtfully engaging them in an ideological and practical collaboration. This had real potential to impact nearly every facet of IBM’s corporate culture — as well as its bottom line.

STAGE 4: PROTOTYPE

Build to think. Test to learn.

The Design Thinking team launched the Design Camp pilot program — a calendar of interactive workshops for employees at every level, designers and non-designers alike — that explained how Design Thinking worked and demonstrated the real value it created.

For example, one Design Camp exercise is to reimagine existing processes. What if you applied the discipline of Design Thinking to something as simple as running a brainstorming session?

In a traditional approach, you might gather people in a room and start writing down people’s thoughts as they have them. In a Design Camp exercise, however, you’d reimagine this process, starting with the user.

What if everyone took an hour to write ideas on sticky notes and then shared a photo of these “notes” with brainstorming colleagues? The brainstorming session could be used to discuss the merits of each idea, whittling the list down to the very best three and working on next steps to prototype them. This method for brainstorming has proven to yield not only more ideas but better-quality ideas. All without adding any time or extra resources.

That’s the value of Design Thinking — reimaging new solutions to old problems. These Design Camps helped to not only drive a Design Thinking mentality across the entire organization, but they also helped IBM build the momentum needed to drive cultural change.

STAGE 5: TEST

Testing is an opportunity to learn.

Another key component of IBM Design Thinking is to create a set of testable and measurable hypotheses about what you design and deliver. Testing these hypotheses helps determine whether or not you’ve managed to create the compelling product you’d hoped to build.

With your set of hypotheses in hand, you can then identify the smallest, least expensive thing that can be built and delivered quickly to test one of your hypotheses and help you learn and evaluate your effort.

So, at IBM, they don’t just build and test. They make, try, gather feedback, refine, and repeat. In this way, the goal is constant evolution and experimentation. And that’s a powerful approach that can have far-reaching ramifications beyond product development, filtering into every aspect of the way a company does business.

CHANGE IS GROWTH. DESIGN IS POWER.

Both a willingness to be open to change, as well as the mettle to follow through on the hard work to make it happen, are hallmarks of companies that have stood the test of time. That an established, tech-focused company like IBM turned to Design Thinking (and designers themselves) to lead the charge for innovation speaks to design’s power as a discipline. But it also underscores the value of creativity itself as a dynamic, collaborative, and efficient way to solve problems at every organizational level.

In taking on the challenge of steering an extensive engineering culture toward a more agile, human-centered collaborative approach, IBM has continued its longstanding tradition of reinvention, of adapting to the ever-changing needs of its customers.

If history is any guide, IBM is in good company. The success of other forward-thinking, design-centered companies supports the conclusion that “Design Thinking wins.” When slow-out-of-the-gate companies like Airbnb and Slack turned their attention to user-centered design, their fortunes followed. In fact, research shows that 46 percent of design-led companies report a competitive advantage, 41 percent report greater market share, and (perhaps most importantly) 50 percent report more loyal customers.[i]

IBM has been in business for over a hundred years because it’s doing some things right — and one of those things might just be knowing when to lead and when to follow. In this case, IBM is following in the footsteps of companies far younger than it is. IBM and these like-minded companies have discovered one secret to success — the knowledge that Design is Power.

To be sure that design no longer takes a back seat in your organization, you need to know where you’re starting from, so you can make a plan to grow from there. Take this brief assessment to see where you stand.
Take the assessment

[i] “Design-Led Firms Win the Business Advantage,” Forrester, commissioned by Adobe, https://adobe.ly/2wo0ggt.