Monday, August 5, 2019

Jackie Davis, Business Cards & User Inyerface

Weekly Update 2019-27: Unexpected discovery of 1950s lounge jazz, the power of business cards and a look at why user experience is so important with an anti-example.

Music: Jackie Davis
I am pretty darn excited because I have uncovered a new genre on Spotify that I am really digging. Lounge music from the 50s and 60s is really making this summer happen for me and I want to share this new gem with all y'all. Jackie Davis was one of the earliest jazz organists from the era, being born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1920. It's such calm, nice music that I am finding so carefree and pleasant to bop along to. The drum beats are repetitive and syncopated, which keeps things interesting against the old-style synth-sounding pipe organ. Man, I love organs.

I attended a really cool Pride-themed meetup at the Connected office downtown. It's around the corner from ecentricarts where I used to work, which was a nice blast from the past. I had also met some Connected staff previously at VentureOut Conference, and was happy to connect with them again.

The talks were a real knockout, three people from different backgrounds in tech spoke about how to promote diversity in the workplace. All of the talks were choc-ful of examples and actionable ways to build and promote a diverse working culture. The keynote by Stefan Kollenberg really went the extra mile; he prepared a full online article on how to prepare a business case for more diversity in your workplace. Check it out here.

I spent a blistering hot Saturday postering around the neighbourhood for my band's upcoming Block Party show next Sunday. Pato wore his big straw hat which was perfect for blocking the sun and getting people's attention. Strangers kept stopping him to ask about the show (which was great!)

I'm so mad you can't see the hat but it was great.

Speaking of heat, I was finding it hard to cook or even eat hot foods lately so I made a bunch of salads this weekend. I have a new favourite recipe for a cucumber quinoa salad with basil, red onion and feta. It has a delicious lemony vinaigrette that's super easy to make and even easier to eat. Between the quinoa and the feta, I figure I'm getting enough protein. Check out the recipe.

Nom nom nom.

We ended off the weekend with a lovely BBQ down at Sunnyside beach. We did a bit of drumming performances in between lying in the sun and eating meat that Pato brought to BBQ. He put out a hat to pay for the meat he grilled, and it all came out really nicely. Here's a photo of Christin - total fluke that she flipped her hair so beautifully. She does have beautiful hair, anyway.

I am super excited to go fishing with my dad next week. I've started to prioritize taking the whole week to spend, because it really is a very relaxing and nice time. No other vacation slows the brain quite like this trip, so I can really relax for a week with my dad. Plus, it's looking like all the kids (my sister as well as my dad's friend's kids) will be returning for at least a portion of this trip. It's the first time that's happened since something like 2006.

I'm also going to start reading through some of the books I won from A List Apart. Though they're part of a huge 40+ book multi-topic series, there does seem to be some sense in reading them chronologically by publising date, so I'll start with the first: Design For Real Life by Eric Meyer and Sara Wachter-Boettcher.

Random Thought: The Power of Business Cards
In my younger, more carefree days, I thought it would be a good idea to purchase 1000 business cards. I was slightly headstrong in my confidence in the design (though I do still like it) and 1000 was only $10 more than 50 after all. But it has left me with a surplus of cards that I end up handing out on random occasions - usually to looks of surprise that anyone even still has business cards. It's great.

But lately I've noticed that business cards still carry some power. Take Joe Rockheads for example: it's a rock climbing gym smack-dab in the middle of a mini tech hub of offices, and my office is directly across the street from it. Naturally, they offer a discount to neighbourhood offices (mine included), but all they require as proof of employ is a business card. It would be so easy to make a business card that I can't understand why they don't simply require a pay stub. I mean, maybe it's the graphic designer in me who would think anyone could possibly bother to do such a labour-intensive thing just for a discount.

I have seen it on con-men style tv shows so often, people are convinced by well-design business cards that people really are their falsified alter-identities and it works 100% of the time. Of course this is made-up, but it stands to reason that business cards are the last unspoken realm of paper-based truth (or perceived that way).

Inspiration: User Inyerface
A cute play on the term "User Interface", this website challenges one's perception of what good user experience is and decidedly is not. Test your wits against the most counter-intuitive user interface ever, truly just a mess of experiences that brings your mental models down to their knees. Sounds like fun, right?

I can't even. Look at that big NO button. In any case, I do love these sorts of tests because they serve to showcase the need for good user experience design and everything I do in my job. I dare you to see how fast you can beat the test - and I refuse to replace any punched-through computer monitors.

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