ILM (Industrial Light & Magic), created by George Lucas to create the special effects for Star Wars, has maintained a lead role since pioneering computer graphics in Hollywood movies. This Encore Special, covers ILM’s story from the first Star Wars film to its role in movies like Iron Man and Transformers. One of the more interesting aspects covered in this documentary is seeing how the company transitioned from analog to digital effects.
Matt Diffee, a cartoonist for the New Yorker since 1999, talks at Cusp 2011 about how he designs jokes. Titled “Things You Might Not Think I Think About”, Matt shares his process for coming up with jokes and many of the tips and rules he uses. From the composing the visuals that maximize the comedic effect to the word play, there is no doubt that Matt is right as rain speaking at a design conference.
Yves Béhar talks at Cusp 2011 on his company’s projects including the Puma shoebox, NYC condoms, Herman Miller Sayl Chair, One-Laptop-Per-Child, and many others. With every project, Yves team strives to make long-term partnerships with their clients and are keen to strive for innovative, sustainable, and ethical designs.
National Geographic goes behind the scenes with this Megafactories special in HD. Get a complete end-to-end view at the detailed, hand crafted, and highly specialized manufacturing process of this one-of-a-kind machine. Part car, part aircraft, jaw-dropping facts abound, including the fact that only 17 titanium bolts hold the front and rear sections fo the car together, each of which costs $100 to create.
Miguel Endara, creates a drawing of his father composed entirely out of 3.2 million ink dots. The beautifully crafted video shows the progress from the very first dot and the fine precision and detail produced as the result after a mear 210 hours (8.75 solid days or 5.25 full-time office weeks) of work.
This short documentary, created by Hira Verick and Gary Hustwit tours the Sony Ericsson design house. The documentary focuses on extracting the design philosophy from the designers that goes into the entire user experience including the hardware, the software, and even the soundscape. The documentary interviews the entire design team including George Arriola, head of Human Interface Design, Rei Fukuda, Marten Jonsson, Hanne-Marte Holmoy, and many others.
Scott Farquhar, the co-founder and CEO of Atlassian talks about his experience growing the company to $100 million with no sales team. Nothing short of a must-see for entrepreneurs, Scott presents 10 commandments for startups at the Business of Software event. A few of the commandments are ‘Use your own product’, ‘measure everything’, ‘think long term’, and ‘build somewhere that you want to work’. For a full writeup, check out Mark Littlewood’s notes.
Bonnier R&D and BERG created a conceptual video about how the magazine experience would translate to touchscreen devices. The video was made back in 2008, before the iPad was on the scene. With magazines like Wired and Project, it is easy to still long for an experience envisioned in this two year old video. To date, perhaps the best interactive reading experience is that of “Our Choice” from Push Pop Press which incorporates several of these ideas but takes interactivity to a whole new level.
Lyle Alzaldo and his friends cooked up this cute video on being an Interaction Designer. In short the colorful video is a rallying cry around the love of sticky notes and prototyping, and creating overall great user experiences. As UX designers we thrive on bringing clarity to complexity, finding order in the chaos, and now there is a video that expresses our excitement for just that.
Hans Rosling, famous for his lectures which explore enormous amounts of public data and presents it in a storytelling fashion, presents data on 200 countries in 200 years. Weatherman and sports commentators can step aside as Hans presentation style is both exciting and engaging and for the first time steps it up with the use of augmented reality. In this video Hans shares the story 200 countries have moved from being poor with low life expectancy to wealthy and high life expectancy using over 120,000 data points in the process.
Salman Khan, renowned voice from the amazing library of 1,400+ online videos posted at the Khan Academy, speaks at GEL 2010. His talk focuses on how his accidental approach towards teaching online has struck a chord with students. While teachers are quick to say that classroom instructors can’t be substituted for by online videos, Sal wonders if that is really true. Among the many reasons discussed, perhaps the one that goes unsaid most often in classrooms is the intimidation factor. Peer pressure, eagerness to impress, and desire not waste others’ time can inhibit students from taking advantage of the benefits offered by personal attention. Several other factors Sal mentions that have led to success include him not appearing in the videos, keeping the video durations to 10 minutes, and the ability for students to pause, rewind, and jump around to topics in any order they desire.
Tom Wujec studies team dynamics and puts on workshops around team building and prepares groups to solve large and complex problems. During his workshops he gives teams The Marshmallow Challenge, an 18 minute challenge to build the tallest structure from a few items including spaghetti and marshmallows. Interestingly, kindergarteners produce some of the tallest structures. Tom chalks up their success to iterative prototyping and trying lots of ideas. On the contrary, business school students do the worst.
Seth Priebatsch, Chief Ninja and CEO of SCVNGR, a mobile start-up looking to build a game layer on top of the real world. In this TEDx Boston talk, Seth talks about the fact that the social layer (think Facebook) is now complete, and that the next step is creating a game layer. Games already exist in today’s world, be it credit card and frequent flyer miles, or the happy hour at your local bar, but they are not very well designed. Seth believes we can do better. Seth advocates using game dynamics for good, be it getting people to take their medicine on time, reconsidering the grading systems in schools, and organizing communities around common goals.
Ji Lee, Creative Director at Google, speaks at the 99% conference about his personal endeavor in 2002 to break out of the creative constraints of his advertising job by creating his own art project. Ji’s ad-spoofing Bubble Project entailed printing out stickers in the shape of word bubbles and sticking them on advertisements all around New York City. Ji would return later to document what people would write into the bubbles. Amusing, political, and esoteric, the bubbles were a hit and spawned campaigns by others. Ji now advocates for using personal projects to provide an outlet for personal creative freedom, create platforms for others to collaborate, meet new people, and to learn new skills.
David McCandless, award winning designer, writer, and author, speaks at TED on his passion for exploring data and creating meaningful visualizations that convey information in the form of a story. With a plethora of examples from his latest book, Information Is Beautiful, the talk is both facinating and inspiring. In one example he displays the carbon output from the Icelandic volcano that grounded thousands of flights over Europe in 2010. By comparing the carbon output that those flights would have produced themselves, the eruption was the first carbon-neutral volcanic event the world has seen. David posts his visualizations on his website and it is worth diving in to take a look.
James Archer, Managing Director at Forty (a design and marketing consultancy), posted a great webcast explaining how people make purchasing decisions and gives some very practical advice for designing websites seeking new users and customers. Potential customers fall into four different categories (called Decision Modes): spontaneous, competitive, humanistic, and methodical. The categorization depends on two scales. The first, fast or slow, and the second, logical or emotional. By taking into account the information each of these consumer types look for, you can ensure success in communicating the value proposition and convert more customers.
Tan Le, head of Emotiv Systems talks at TED about their creation of the EPOC, a brainwave reading headset. The EPOC has won a 2010 Red Dot Award for design, and uses new algorithms to read the brainwaves of any individual. Unlike previous brainwave reading headsets which take a long time to set up and cost on the order of tens of thousands of dollars, the EPOC is available now for $299 on the Emotiv website. The applications for the device are incredibly diverse and endless as it provides the ability to control any digital device with one’s mind. Emotiv is currently seeking developers and researchers to expand upon the platform and come up with new applications for the device to usher in all new and exciting human computer interactions.
Don Norman, one of the fathers of user experience (now 75 years old), gives an excellent talk at Business of Software 2009 on the ten rules for successful products. Throughout the talk, Don stresses the importance of creating positive experiences with many anecdotes and provides many tips along the way. For example, make sure to have a strong beginning and strong ending to an experience, because that is what people remember. By placing the undesirable or painful parts in the middle, even if that requires creating a false beginning or ending, people will come away with a more positive memory of the experience. And it is that memory that they will share with others and remember long after the actual experience.
The 10 Rules:
1. It is all about the experience
2. Design systems
3. Everything is a service
4. Everything is a product
5. Don’t be too logical
6. Memory is more important than actuality
7. Complexity is okay
8. Design for the real world
9. Design for people
10. It is all about the experience
Philip Zimbardo, the man behind the famous Stanford Prison Experiment, talks at RSA ( Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) about how people perceive time differently. This perception is sometimes faith based, geographically based, or may be indicative of one’s age. The result of which directs one’s behavior in the world. The presentation is fascinating to say the least and Philip recommends first recognizing how other’s perceive time and then take that into account to better understand where they are coming from. RSA has posted a brilliant 10 minute animated featurette, and the full 41 minute talk can be found after the break as well.
Time perspective is one of the most powerful influences on all of human behavior. We’re trying to show how people become biased to being exclusively past-, present- or future-oriented.
- Philip Zimbardo
Genius of Design, a TV series appearing on BBC2 in the UK, focuses on all thing industrial design. Episode 1 of the five part series focuses on the evolution of industrial design throughout history and the move from craftsmanship to industrialization and consumerism. Guest appearances include Ford’s global head of design J Mays, and legendary designer Dieter Rams.
If you look at the customer… go into the customer’s home as an example, and you will see who they are. See that same customer driving around in their car, and that is who they want to be.
- J Mays, Global Head of Design at Ford