Sunday, May 31, 2015

Weekly Update: Puhka rahus, kallis Ene

Music: Hot Chip
Hot Chip has been a favourite band of mine for a long time. I found them around the time their second album The Warning came out in 2006. Since then, I've transformed into a giddy schoolgirl each and every time they released a subsequent four albums came out. I think the longest wait has been between 2012's In Our Heads and 2015's Why Make Sense?, which has made me the most excited for this new one.

In true Hot Chip style, lead singer Alexis Taylor combines curiously cheeky lyrics with Joe Goddard's sickly-sweet synthesizer to make tunes that just make you want to dance. By this, their sixth studio album, I'd say they've got the formula for the dancefloor all worked out.

Not to mention, they only played a measly 40 minute set at Grove Festival in 2013 when I first saw them. I have just freshly scored a ticket on Kijiji to their sold-out show on Wednesday, and I can't wait to break out some sweet moves to Huarache Lights. Try your moves out below:

I've continued working on the Wolf Parade infographic, as intended from last week. I think it'll take a little longer than anticipated, though, because I am clearly the most indecisive individual when it comes to colour. I'll be continuing it today and throughout the week whenever I get the chance, but the next big work day will be next Sunday. It's a busy week ahead, what with two concerts and the Mac & Cheese Fest coming up as well! My favourite.

I also completed a new page on my portfolio site, for Design Latitudes. Now that the project is completed, I am so excited to show it off to others. It's really rewarding to be able to finish a freelance project for someone. In the best scenarios, everyone comes away a little more enriched by something. I know I did.

Still working on Wolf Parade stuff, but I'd like to take a bit of time this week to look into some Lynda tutorials about Photoshop. Soon I'll be using it a lot more than I have in past, and I want to make sure my skill level is up to the task.

I found a pretty good one: Photoshop CC for Web Design with Justin Seeley. If anything, I hope this will get me a little more comfortable with Photoshop CC. I've been using CS5 for about five years now and am as afraid of change as the rest of the poor souls who cry everytime Facebook changes their layout, so wish me luck!

Random Thought: Personas
If you aren't familiar with the term, personas are a theory used in user experience design. A persona is a fictional character that represents a user who will interact with your product. For example, a general persona for a travel app is someone who likes to travel (that's an easy one). A persona may also be specific, depending on the product. For example, J-17 Magazine's main persona of users is American girls roughly 17 years old.

It can be difficult to do research with personas for products that reach a larger audience, such as Facebook. Take location tagging for example. The other day, I was looking through my newsfeed and noticed that my dad had tagged a photo from our backyard as "Home Sweet Home," which happens to be a restaurant in Karachi, Pakistan. Leave it to my father to single-handedly ruin the analytics of Facebook with his location tagging.

I asked him about it to see what he thought of location tagging in general, and his answer was pretty good. He doesn't see the feature as quantitative so much as qualitative, in that people on Facebook will see that these beautiful Trilliums are growing at our home. Whether or not the phrase "Home Sweet Home" will register to Facebook as my dad's actual home doesn't matter to him. It was a very interesting thing to think about how he uses Facebook versus someone like me, who likes to check in at specific places to make my friends jealous (in a nice way!)

This whole experience begs the question; what kind of persona does my dad fit? Are others like him using Facebook in the same way, and messing up the statistics for all the poor souls who pay Facebook for the accuracy of such services? Does the owner of Home Sweet Home in Pakistan care that my father is mistakenly announcing to Facebook that he has been there?

I think the one piece of information I can glean from this is that no matter how thorough you are with user testing and personas and research, there will always be a person who will use your product for a purpose for which it was not originally designed. And hey, isn't that where innovation comes from? All the power to you, dad.

This is a bit of a sad one, so prepare. My very good friend's mother lost her battle with cancer last week, and I did my best to be there for her. I have never known loss akin to that of losing one's mother, and from what I can tell, she was truly loved. Having been a wearer of many hats such as ballet, animation and library sciences, this woman was truly an inspiration. Honestly, I knew that she was a wonderful person from having the joy of knowing her three children. Her eldest daughter took the time through her mourning process to design the funeral program, which just furthers the fact that design has the power to do much good in the world.

Even before we arrived at the funeral home, we noticed a copy of the program tacked up on a bulletin board in a nearby restaurant. This woman touched the lives of so many people that her loss was felt throughout the community and beyond. I also noticed that more chairs had to be put out every few moments as more people poured through the doors of the funeral home to pay their respects.

My condolences to her family and friends, all of those who were lucky enough to know her. Even though I wasn't one of those people, I still feel lucky to know her family and hear stories about her as told through her loved ones. Some are happy, some sad, some incredibly funny. It's comforting to me (and hopefully to others) to know that her spirit will clearly live on in those with whom she interacted.

Puhka rahus, kallis Ene. 

Rest in peace, dear Ene.

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