Monday, June 22, 2015

Weekly Update - Upside Down

Music: Eagles of Death Metal
My teenage crush Josh Homme is back with new music from his wondrously not-Queens-of-the-Stone-Age band Eagles of Death Metal and I am so excited. If you haven't heard of the band before, think of 80's cheesy rock and roll...but with a hilariously self-aware spin. Homme and Jesse Hughes are back for a new EoDM album after seven long years since 2008's Heart On (one of my favourites) and they have a new song out to promote the upcoming album. Can't wait to see them at Riot Fest this year! While you're listening (no video yet) I urge you to notice the amazing imagery they've also released. Seems to me like two confused dudes who found some old Star Trek uniforms and attempted to pay some homage. Note the devil horn patches that replace the usual insignia.

Another face is complete! Actually, two faces. As promised, I also doodled a likeness of my beautiful father for his birth-of-a-father's day yesterday. And oh, what a face he has. Dan Boeckner also has an interesting face, complete with some very lustrous hair that I tried to recreate through the magic of vector and gradient. I wonder if I should add in some stubble?

I have also begun my research into festival stuff as of late. I am brewing some awesome playlists for both, but I realized that the set times for Wayhome haven't been announced yet! Grr. I wait with baited breath.

It appears that Arlen Thompson's musical history has become too intertwined in the diddies of Wolf Parade for me to continue to overlook his cowboy-mustachioed face. So, in addition to the excitement of drawing his excellent scruffs, I will be adding him to the timeline along with the other six fellows. Just how and where, that will all be decided in time.

Random Thought: Product Design vs. Video Games
For all the great video games out there, no matter the platform, there are inherently as many instructional introductions that show the player how to play the game. I know that the average person moves through this period of the game as quickly as possible – it's decidedly the 'boring' part of the game. But still, it is all too necessary. Without these processes, how would we know how to switch dimensions in Fez, or to control that dang ball in Super Monkey Ball? The really well-made ones will be fun for the player, and may not even have to divulge that they are teaching the player anything at all.

In product design, user onboarding is a similar process. For every app, there is a different set of controls that we expect the user to learn. You might think this is a simple process, but it is actually the opposite. I find that if an interface is simple and easy for a user to learn, the amount of time and skill that went into creating the user onboarding flow was inversely proportionate. It takes skill to create something so simple that it's idiot-proof. That's definitely a teachable lesson I have learned since I started working.

Inspiration: Kazbrella
One of my favourite things in life is when someone decides to take an existing design that is considered the be-all and end-all of its niche. These objects are often hard to use but we don't consider changing them, for whatever reason. It may seem impossible to improve, or nobody would adopt a new improvement over the tried-and-true. So the instance of improvement on a design that's been around since before I was born, something that everyone has in their home, is quite a rare one. And yet it's happened.

In many stores and public buildings, you'll find an umbrella stand or a repository of plastic sleeves, all to keep the water on your umbrella from dripping all over the floor and blurring the lines between indoors and the wet damp mess that currently exists outside. Sometimes literally.

Or, maybe you're opting to stay outside and the wind is picking up. It's the only thing that makes rain worse. You're holding onto your umbrella for dear life, until the wind catches hold of it and flips it inside out. 

I'm sure this scenario played out for the inventor of the Kazbrella, an umbrella whose closed position is 'inside-out' as we would view an umbrella now. All of the water is contained inside, with the dry part facing out. Now it won't leak all over the pant leg of the man standing next to you on the subway (hooray!) and if the rain flips it, it's only closed! Feel free to easily pop it back open again and you're right as rain (sorry).

I really believe that even though a product seems like the best possible solution to a problem, there's always room for improvement. Sometimes, you just have to flip an idea upside down to see its potential.

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