Download EIGHT.psd

Download EIGHT.psd

Haven’t done this in years, and it feels totally oldschool. I’m okay with that.

In the spirit of fostering design learning, I’m offering a peek at how I pieced together the visual design for this year’s Authentic Jobs EIGHT campaign in Photoshop.

Download EIGHT.psd here.

Fonts have been rasterized to protect their use, even though you can’t alter the type without already having the fonts.

Additional details about the design:

  • The EIGHT word mark was designed by Sergey Shapiro. (It’s also been removed from this version.)
  • The looping video was licensed from iStock, and stills like the one above were made from the HD video.
  • Whitney, Knockout, and Numbers fonts were rendered as webfonts in the final design, using H&FJ’s Cloud.typography.
  • The charity: ball VIP ticket was comped in Illustrator, and then Adam Spooner masterfully rendered it as HTML & CSS in the final design.

Authentic Jobs 8th birthday giveaway and $100,000 charity: water campaign

Today I’m elated to announce the Authentic Jobs 8th birthday giveaway and $100,000 charity: water campaign. It’s been months in the working and incorporates the talent of several amazing people.

Most importantly, please considering donating generously to our campaign. We hope to surpass $100,000 in donations to charity: water over the years, and we’re confident we can do it with your help.

And of course, a birthday isn’t a birthday without presents, so we’ve got lots of great prizes to give away, including T-shirts designed by Sergey Shapiro:


Additionally, one of you (and a guest of your choice) will join me in New York City for charity: ball 2013 on Monday, December 16—all expenses paid. Apply for the chance to join us.

A special thanks to Sarah Parmenter for lending her voice to the video, and our sponsors for helping make this possible:

  • Campaign Monitor, whose terrific email marketing app I’ve trusted for years
  • Squarespace, which makes website building gloriously simple and beautiful
  • An Event Apart, whose conferences are unparalleled in our industry
  • InVision App, a masterful prototyping tool that we use all the time for Authentic Jobs

Lastly, 8 years… I honestly can’t believe it. What started out as a sidebar on my site eventually grew into what it’s become today. Please continue to post a job or find a job, and we’ll keep trying our best to make a difference in our industry and in the fight for clean water.

Adobe Generator for Photoshop CC

Yesterday Adobe unveiled Adobe Generator, an update for Creative Cloud subscribers who primarily use Photoshop for the web. The update is available immediately.

WebdesignerDepot has written a nice overview of Generator, which I’ll substitute for my own commentary on the matter.

I will, however, observe the following:

  • I’ve yet to install the update (that won’t happen until I’m at my main computer tomorrow), but the ability to export image assets without having to Save for Web seems incredibly useful.
  • Million dollar idea: 1) fork Photoshop, 2) call it simply Webshop, 3) iterate new web-specific features like Generator, 4) quell public outcry about PS falling short for web work.
  • Perhaps Generator will also quell complaints about the Creative Cloud subscription model. Immediate updates such as this are the perfect counter-argument. (I’ve been a subscriber nearly since day one, and I’m loving it.)

DIY Collapsible Sound Booth

So, my office echoes like you wouldn’t believe. Actually, just listen to the first 10 episodes of Hired and you’ll be a believer. Laminate flooring and sparse furniture doth not a recording studio make.

Hence, I needed a system for eliminating the echo, but without permanence as we record only once every one to two weeks. The solution? A collapsible sound booth, inspired by Josh Long (listen to this episode).

Here’s the finished product:

Sound booth, finished

Sound booth, finished

And here’s the finished product disassembled for storage:

Sound booth, disassembled

Assembly and disassembly takes just 5 minutes each. Two panels are hinged together, while the third attaches with two brackets.

I fashioned the booth out of 1/4” plywood with reinforcements on the top and bottom of each panel. The soundproofing material is comprised of the Auralex Roominators kit and a three 2’x4’ Auralex panels, all purchased from our local Guitar Center.

Roominators kit

3m adhesive

Panel arrangement

I recommend you not use the glue that comes with the kit. Instead, use 3M spray adhesive or something like it, as it’s much faster. Just be sure to use an adhesive that’s safe with foam. The ‘90’ product from 3M didn’t have any warnings on the label that concerned me, and so far it seems to be adhering well.

Inside the booth

Booth detail

As for recording quality? It’s not where I want it just yet. With an office as barren and ceilings as high as mine, I really need to lay down a large rug or somehow sound proof larger portions of the room. But it’s a significant improvement, and I have plans to sound proof additional areas around and inside the booth even further.

Total cost: ~$300. Construction time: ~4 hours.

“A love letter to the fog of San Francisco.”

Adrift" by Simon Christen is the most stunning thing you’ll watch today, guaranteed. In his words:

'Adrift' is a love letter to the fog of the San Francisco Bay Area. I chased it for over two years to capture the magical interaction between the soft mist, the ridges of the California coast and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. This is where 'Adrift' was born.

The weather conditions have to be just right for the fog to glide over the hills and under the bridge. I developed a system for trying to guess when to make the drive out to shoot, which involved checking the weather forecast, satellite images and webcams multiple times a day. For about 2 years, if the weather looked promising, I would set my alarm to 5am, recheck the webcams, and then set off on the 45-minute drive to the Marin Headlands.

Dedication. And it payed off in spades.

/via @evalottchen

Keynote video, and upcoming speaking events

Future Insights has posted the video from my keynote talk last month in Las Vegas. Please have a watch, as I’m particularly pleased with how this one turned out.

As for other events, my roster through the Fall is fairly stacked:

Hope to see you at one of these.

What Apple [Might] Announce Today

All speculation aside (and there’s no shortage of it), this observation from Sean Everett is pretty insightful:

Jon Ive did add a “breathing” indicator light on prior generation MacBooks when the lid was closed and the computer was still powered on. The light pulsed at the same rate humans breath when sleeping. Hence, the reason the light performed that way. The computer was “sleeping”.

I think the thing that Apple will announce today will be something like this. Buried deep into the OS. Something you might not even notice at first. Something that might not even get talked about during the presentation today.

/via Designer News

The Launch is Dead

Kelly Sutton:

Launches … are a poor representation of how great software today is built. It’s a holdover from the days of boxed software, where supply chains had to be managed and masters golded. The same that is true then is still true now: great software is the result of continuous refinement. The only thing different today are the release schedules.

Software today is developed on a continuum. The discrete measure of software progress is a commit.

Seth Godin: “Leading Up”

From Seth Godin’s Creative Mornings talk last week, expounding on a principle he calls “leading up”:

One of the things that I hear the most after I give a talk or someone reads one of my books is, ‘That’s great, but my boss won’t let me. I’d love to do something like that, but my boss won’t let me.’

Well of course she won’t! Because what you’re saying to her is, ‘I want do something really cool and really neat, and if it works I’ll get the credit, and if it doesn’t you’ll get the blame. Because you said that it was okay.’

Who would take that deal?

In fact, what we see is that the people who have jobs or who have clients who are making a dent in the universe, are doing it by leading the people who are ostensibly in charge to make better decisions; leading those people to have better taste; leading those people to have the guts to do the work that they’re capable of doing.

The remarks quoted above begin at 05:15, but of course, the entire talk is worth watching.

“We’ve been conditioned for web apps to suck.”

Rob Foster, on web apps vs. native apps:

There is no single explanation [for why web apps generally suck]. The reason browser apps lose this fight is because of a raft of small things. It’s death by a thousand cuts.

After sharing some of those ‘cuts’ in detail, Rob lets loose with his opinion:

When an organization is making the decision not to spend developer money on building native, what they’re saying to me is that they value development costs over customer experience. I believe to do it right, you should offer your app in the way people want to use it the most. That may mean doing it browser-only, but it usually doesn’t. A business will always benefit from giving their customers a great (or insanely great) experience.

I agree pretty thoroughly with Rob’s sentiments, and I’ll tackle this issue at Breaking Development Conference in July. However, given my remarks are titled “Pitfalls and Triumphs of the Cross-Screen Experience”, I’ll also tackle the issue of integrating native apps and web apps into a cohesive, delightful user experience. (Sneak peek here.)

Nine Patterns Among Virtuoso UX Teams

The above slide deck is from my keynote presentation at Future Insights Live 2013 in Las Vegas, given earlier this week. (Access it here if it’s not showing.)

Update: A written version of this talk is now available.

Creating and managing teams that iterate, build, and ship quality projects is one of the most challenging things to master in our industry. And to ship quickly and consistently? Even more challenging.

This presentation presents nine patterns that I’ve found common among great UX teams. I draw on interviews with teams at the likes of Twitter and Kickstarter, as well as my own background running Authentic Jobs.

I’ll be publishing a written version soonly, as it’s tough to understand each pattern without the context of my spoken remarks.

Side note: Speaker Deck is pretty fantastic. Browse a couple other recent presentations of mine here.

A Week with Google Glass

Luke Wroblewski:

Almost a week ago I picked up my Glass explorer edition on Google’s campus in Mountain View. Since then I’ve it put into real-world use in a variety of places. I wore the device in three different airports, busy city streets, several restaurants, a secure federal building, and even a casino floor in Las Vegas. My goal was to try out Glass in as many different situations as possible to see how I would or could use the device.

A couple nights ago, I sat across the table from Luke at dinner (and later caught a pretty amazing show with him, Kristina, and Brad). He had his Glass in Vegas, and he rattled off some of the pros & cons he mentions in this article.

I still remain highly cautious about the actual utility of Glass, but I can appreciate Luke’s closing argument about its potential utility:

Any of these features alone could be considered magical, but together they’re a vision of the future.

Follow the project here.

“We’ve been hoodwinked into a trap of technological dependency.”

Frank Chimero:

One of the problems with the prevalence of solutions is it overvalues invention and undervalues behavior. We look for a gizmo, when changing how we act can have the desired effect. It seems like we’ve been hoodwinked into a trap of technological dependency.

But, technology is only as good or bad as what we use it to do, and I don’t think anyone who works in tech gets into the field with malice as their intent. In fact, usually the opposite, which is why I like this business. Hell, I’m one of the the folks in technology, so none of this criticism excludes me—I only suggest we stop looking at technology as the primary way to fix problems, and stop turning a blind eye to its negative consequences and to the new problems it produces.

Author Neil Postman argued the same more than 20 years ago when his book, Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology, was first published:

Most people believe that technology is a staunch friend. There are two reasons for this. First, technology is a friend. It makes life easier, cleaner, and longer. Can anyone ask more of a friend? Second, because of its lengthy, intimate, and inevitable relationship with culture, technology does not invite a close examination of its own consequences. It is the kind of friend that asks for trust and obedience, which most people are inclined to give because its gifts are truly bountiful.

But, of course, there is a dark side to this friend…. Every technology is both a burden and a blessing; not either-or, but this-and-that. Nothing could be more obvious, of course, especially to those who have given more than two minutes of thought to the matter. Nonetheless, we are surrounded by throngs of zealous Theuths, one-eyed prophets who see only what new technologies can do and are incapable of imagining what they will undo.

I first read Neil’s words nearly five years ago, and they’ve stuck with me ever since. I’ve found cognizance and respect of technology’s power—the good and the bad, for better or for worse—serve to bridle my appetite for it. For example, scan my Twitter timeline and you’ll be pressed to find a single tweet on any given Sunday from the past seven years. That’s my day of rest from technology (to the extent possible), and it’s a weekly opportunity to assess my dependency on it.

But much like Frank, I’m thrilled to be part of a community that embraces technology in such fascinating, meaningful ways. We’re fighting the good fight, and I’m honored we’re in this together.

Coincidentally, I’ll be speaking on this very subject in the closing keynote at HybridConf later this year.

In Defense of the Floppy Disk

Connor Tomas O’Brien:

Those who believe that the floppy cannot represent saving a document because nobody uses real floppy disks anymore miss an important point: while symbols initially piggyback on the meaning we assigned to a material object in order to stand in for something more abstract, once a symbol is used often enough, the symbol itself is enough to carry meaning, and the material object is no longer important.

I attempted to respond to the original discussion on Branch, but I gave up. I couldn’t phrase my opinion—nearly identical to the one quoted above—as well as Connor has articulated his.

/via @dstorey